A very confusing aspect of personal injury law arises from situations where the accident and injury arises from something outside the victim’s control. What are their options for legal recourse? Who is responsible for the accident?
This conundrum is extremely common in the slip and fall accident. The main issue that arises from this kind of accident is liability. Was the accident caused by the negligence of the occupier, or did the person who slipped contribute to their own accident and injury?
Finding out the parties who are potentially liable can be difficult depending on the situation. For example, if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident during a public concert do you sue the auditorium where the concert was held, or do you sue the company who organized the event? If the slip and fall accident was caused by a drunken patron, would those parties still be liable or would you need to make a claim against that patron?
There are practical considerations to make alongside with legal ones. A drunken patron may be liable but they may not have the sufficient funds available to compensate. If the drunken patron’s actions were committed because the concert organizers failed to implement security, then they may be liable as well. If the auditorium itself had shoddy floors or their staff failed to clean up a spill, the owners of the building may face liability as well. Most often, a lawyer will make sure to claim compensation from responsible parties who are able to financially afford the appropriate compensation for your injuries.
How Do We Prove a Slip & Fall Claim?
Generally, you must prove that there was a duty of care owed to you by the responsible party, and that the duty of care was breached and led to the accident and injury.
Most often, this duty of care is established from the occupier/owner of the property. Usually, a claimant must prove one of the following in this situation:
- Did the property owner sufficiently recognize a dangerous situation and properly address it (e.g. if there was insufficient lighting, floor damage or unstable travel surfaces). Sometimes, an owner will negligently ignore these hazards instead of paying those repair costs. However, this often results in increased risk to their occupants.
- Did the property owner actually cause the dangerous situation? For example, if the property owner employed staff and they did not adequately clean up a spill or warn other people about the spill’s existence. If it is reasonably foreseeable that someone would slip and fall due to that condition, then the property owner may be liable.
Reasonable foreseeability is an important component of proving a slip and fall claim. It would be unfair for an occupier to be held liable for circumstances that are simply out of their control, or so unlikely that a reasonable person would not have expected or been able to address the issue (e.g. if terrorists were to come and hold people hostage.)
A claimant must also show that a reasonable person in the property owner’s position would have done something differently to prevent the accident. Some considerations to make in these circumstances include:
- Did the hazard exist long enough that a reasonable property owner could have taken action to address, fix or clean up the hazard?
- Was there a routine policy to check for reasonably foreseeable hazards that may arise from the property? If so, what policies were in place to address those hazards?
- Could preventive measures be taken to minimize or eliminate the risk such as implementing warning signs, preventing access to the location of the risk, or providing safety equipment or fail safes?
- Was poor lighting or visibility a contributing factor to the slip and fall accident?
East Coast Injury Lawyers Can Help
If a slip and fall accident has occurred and you need to know your legal options, East Coast Injury Lawyers is willing to help. Simply contact us by filling out our case review form or calling 1300 720 544.