Your slip-and-fall accident would seem to be straightforward, but this is often not the case. A range of variables can make it difficult to pin the blame on a property owner.
You have to prove that the property owner could have prevented your accident. Otherwise, you may not win a settlement.
Questions for the property owner
Should the property owner or an employee have known about the slip-and-fall threat? This is the most common approach to seeking damages, but it is tricky to establish. You have to convince a judge or jury that a “reasonable” person would have addressed the issue.
Did the property owner or an employee ignore the dangerous condition? If the hazard was long-standing, you have a better chance of proving your case. If the risk was new or a condition that developed hours before your accident, the odds of winning lessen.
Did the property owner or employees cause the hazard? If so, they should have addressed the risk as soon as possible.
Questions for yourself
Assigning blame for a slip-and-fall accident is a question of negligence. You need to ask and answer a wide range of questions when you seek damages.
Was the reason you were on the property legitimate? If you were shopping in a store, the answer is yes. If you were taking a shortcut through private property, the answer might be no.
Should you have been aware of the hazard? It is your responsibility to be aware of your surroundings. Did you ignore a barrier or sign warning of the hazard, or did your own behavior otherwise place you at risk? Texting on your phone while walking on an icy sidewalk, for example, can undermine your case.
Questions about your future
As a slip-and-fall victim, you face medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You have a right to fair compensation.
Carelessness, though, goes both ways. A judge or jury will weigh both sides before ruling on full or partial responsibility. While pointing a finger at someone else, you may have to accept a percentage of the fault.