We have all had a slip and fall at least once in our lives – that is just how it goes. But an issue arises when the cause of the accident was not our fault, and instead, was the fault of another. If you have slipped or tripped and fallen due to someone else’s negligence, then you may be entitled to compensation. It might seem straightforward at first, however, a lot goes into a slip and fall case. I will break it down step by step so that you know exactly what to look for if this happens to you.
Step 1: Who is at Fault?
In assessing a slip and fall claim it is important to determine who is at fault. For example, if you are playing on your phone and you slip and fall on a traffic cone outlining construction, then that would almost certainly be 100% your fault. On the other hand, if you are walking along a public sidewalk and trip and fall due to a huge crack in it then that could be the fault of whatever entity owns that part of the sidewalk. For the injured person to prove that the fault lies on property owner, they must show that the cause of the accident was a “dangerous condition”, and that the owner of the property was aware of the condition.
There are also certain situations where the fault can lie on both parties, this is called comparative negligence. Basically, if you are and the owner are somewhat to blame, you will still be entitled to compensation minus the percent you were negligent for. For example, if a jury finds that you were 25% negligent and you were awarded $10,000 in total damages, your damages award would be reduced to $7,500 because of the 25% that was your fault.
Step 2: Could it Have Been Avoided?
If you determine that the accident is indeed the owner’s fault, the next step is to find out if the owner took any steps to avoid such an incident. Even though it might not be immediately obvious, the owner could have a legitimate reason for having the object in place that you tripped over. It could also be too expensive for the owner to feasibly move or make the object safe. The object that you tripped over could be perfectly safe, however poor lighting could also contribute to the fall. There are several circumstances to consider when determining if the accident could have been avoided. To aid this process, we would find out if the owner was aware of the danger, if they took and precautions to make the danger safe, and if the owner has any logs or documents where they check on the condition of the dangerous area. Pictures of the dangerous area are also invaluable during this process.
Step 3: File a Lawsuit
If you have not done so already, hire an attorney. An attorney can aid you with any step in this process. Once you believe that the accident was not your fault and it could have been avoided had the owner acted reasonably, then you have a great case to bring forward. Have your attorney draft up the complaint and start the litigation process. Odds are, you will be compensated in some capacity for the negligent behavior of the owner of the danger, and you are making the world a safer place in the process – it is a win, win!
If you believe that you have slipped or tripped and fell due to someone else’s negligence, then you might have a legal claim to compensation. Feel free to call, email, or visit us at Fortman Law for a free consultation. While located in Florissant, Missouri, Fortman Law practices throughout the state of Missouri and we are always here to help in any way we can.