What is a slip and fall case?
If you picture an old banana peel lying on the tile floor in a grocery store and an elderly shopper’s feet flying into the air as they step on it, you’ve got the basic idea. It is, of course, more complicated than that…
Slip and fall is a type of premises liability – the owner of a business, home, or even a sidewalk or driveway owes a duty to the public to keep their property safe and to correct any hazards that could injure someone. If they do not make their property safe or at least warn of the danger, that is a type of negligence and the property owner is responsible for any injuries that result.
What is a Slip and Fall Case?
A slip and fall case is exactly what it sounds like – someone slips on a floor hazard, falls, and is hurt as a result.
It could be an old banana peel in the produce department, a spill that the store didn’t clean up, or broken pavement on a driveway, parking lot, or sidewalk. If the property owner is aware of the hazard and does not fix it or warn the public about it, they are negligent.
If we are able to prove that the property owner knew about the hazard (or reasonably should have known about the hazard) and failed to make it safe by either correcting the hazard or providing adequate warnings if they are unable to correct the hazard, they are liable for monetary damages to compensate you for your injuries and other expenses caused by their negligence.
What is a Trip and Fall Case?
A trip and fall case is handled in the same way as a slip and fall case – the only difference is our client tripped on a hazardous condition instead of slipping.
Tools on a jobsite, loose rocks or gravel, store inventory left on the floor of a grocery store, or any object that is carelessly left where people can trip over it can result in a lawsuit for negligence based on premises liability.
What is Premises Liability?
Slip and fall cases are just one type of premises liability.
Property owners owe a duty of care to the public and to any person authorized to be on their property. Any hazardous condition on a person or business’ property can result in liability for the property owner’s negligence. When a property owner knows or should have known about the hazardous condition, they must correct it or provide adequate warnings to keep the public safe.
Some common dangerous conditions that result in premises liability lawsuits include:
- Spills on floors;
- Objects on floors that can cause a person to slip or trip;
- Swimming pools that are not properly enclosed or covered;
- Carpeting that is not secured;
- Ponds or streams that are concealed;
- Broken stairs or unsecured railings;
- Animal attacks (the standard is strict liability in SC); or
- Any hazard that would cause injury.
Premises liability, including slip and fall cases, are based on negligence – but for the actions of a person or business, the accident would not have happened. If you are injured because of someone’s negligence in a slip and fall case, who do you sue?
Who is Responsible for a Slip and Fall?
The owner of the property has a duty of care to ensure visitors are safe. Depending on the circumstances, others may also be liable, however, including:
- Property managers;
- Businesses who rent space in a building;
- Third-party vendors; or
- Manufacturers of defective products that contributed to the accident.
Your slip and fall attorney on the Axelrod team will investigate your case, determine all possible sources of recovery, and negotiate with or file suit against all defendants who are responsible for your injuries.
What are the Defenses to a Slip and Fall Case?
A business or individual is not liable for injuries that were caused by a hazardous condition that they did not know about or could not reasonably have known about. As part of your slip and fall case, we must prove that the property owner or other defendant had “notice” of the dangerous condition and then failed to correct it.
Trespass may also be a defense to a slip and fall claim. Property owners do not generally owe a duty of care to trespassers, although there are some exceptions.
The doctrine of “attractive nuisance” can result in a property owner’s liability for injuries to children when they should have known that children would trespass. If a property owner has a swimming pool in their yard, for example, it must be secured against the possibility of children entering the area and the homeowner cannot say, “well, they were trespassing…”
How Much Will I Be Compensated in a Slip and Fall Case?
As in other personal injury cases, your compensation for a slip and fall case will depend on the extent of your injuries, your medical expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other categories of damages that may apply based on the facts of your case.
If liability is clear, your settlement or verdict may be greater than it would be in a case where liability is in question or when there are comparative negligence issues. In some cases, you may be able to seek punitive damages against the property owner as well.
If you have been injured because of a slip and fall on someone else’s property, call 843-353-3449 or complete our contact form for a free initial consultation with a Myrtle Beach slip and fall lawyer on the Axelrod team.