In the United States, claims for injuries resulting from slip-and-falls are considered tort cases. Typically, an individual who files the slip-and-fall claim suffers harm in an accident on another person’s property.
The property in question may be private or public. However, most slip-and-falls occur on private lands, especially business premises. The individual liable for the fall is most likely the property owner.
Ordinarily, the individual filing the claim (plaintiff) will ask for monetary compensation for the injuries sustained and other damages from the slip-and-fall accident.
Proving a Slip-and-Fall Injury Claim: What’s Required?
The plaintiff should prove four basic things in order to prevail in a slip and fall case. These basics are similar to the ones in any personal injury action:
- Breach of duty
The law requires that the defendant, in this case the property owner, put up measures that prevent individuals from suffering injuries while on the property. In court, the defendant will be judged according to the legal obligations set by the state.
The court will look at what a reasonable person in the same situation would do. Legally, every property owner has the responsibility of preventing predictable injuries suffered by individuals working or visiting the premises. Once the duty is determined, the plaintiff should be ready to demonstrate that the duty was breached. In simple terms, the plaintiff has to prove before the court that the defendant violated his or her legal mandate of ensuring the security of the business.
The next step is to show causation. This involves proving that it’s the defendant’s fault negligence resulted in the slip-and-fall injury suffered by the plaintiff. Basically, the defendant does not need to contribute to the plaintiff’s injury to be charged.
Just the mere fact that he or she is proven to have failed to create a safe business environment is enough to hold him or her accountable for the offense. Finally, the victim must demonstrate to the court that an injury or injuries resulted from the accident, and it’s a slip-and-fall injury. In this case, physical evidence will be demanded to back the claim of the plaintiff.
The Defendant’s Defense
As the plaintiff is preparing to prove the slip-and-fall claim in court, the property owner is expected to build up a defense to counter the accusations. He or she will have to answer negligence or fault charges.
If the injury occurred within the business premises, the defendant will try to demonstrate to the court that he or she observed all the reasonable care practices to keep the business safe for the customers. The law requires all business owners observe due diligence so as to make their businesses secure. The practice involves hazard detection and control.
The defendant will fight hard to show the court that the accident was beyond his or her control. For example, if the injury was caused by another customer who accidentally spilled liquid on the floor, the property owner will need to prove to the court that the mess was purely accidental.
On a different angle, the defendant may claim that the injury occurred because of the victim’s fault. Everyone is expected to exercise care so as to avoid harm. If they don’t and an injury occurs, the defendant will suggest that it was due to the plaintiff’s negligence. For example, if the victim is proven to have seen the spilled liquid and stepped into the mess anyway, then he or she is liable for negligence.
Whether you are a defendant or a plaintiff, you need a good legal team to defend you and help you build a strong case. In the long run, it’s all about proving a slip-and-fall injury claim and getting the justice that you deserve for damages suffered.