One of the most common questions that premises liability lawyers are asked is who is responsible if someone falls on someone else’s property. This is an important question for property owners and visitors to know the answer to because slip and fall accidents are among the most common types of personal injury accidents in the U.S.
The question of whether a property owner is liable for injuries to a visitor depends on several things. Property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a safe and hazard-free way. But visitors also have a duty to behave in a reasonable manner and not ignore warnings or signs that a hazard exists. And then another consideration is whether or not the person who fell and was injured was on the property legally or not.
Let’s take a closer look at liability for fall accidents.
If Someone Falls on Your Property are You Liable?
Fall accidents injure thousands of people each year. These accidents are mostly slip and fall accidents that occur due to ice, uneven ground, poorly maintained stairs, potholes, etc. Fall accidents happen in retail stores, restaurants, in parking lots, in shopping malls, and on sidewalks.
Fall accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere. What is common between all of these accidents is that there is a property owner, a hazard, and a victim. In order for the property owner to be held legally liable for the injuries the victim suffered, premises liability laws require one of the following to be true:
- The property owner knew there was a hazard but did not correct it
- The property owner should have known about the hazard, and should have taken measures to prevent anyone from being injured
- The property owner created the hazard
A judge and/or jury will consider a variety of factors when determining liability, such as:
- How long the hazard existed
- Whether the property owner had sufficient time to correct it
- If the property owner’s attempts to correct it were reasonable and appropriate
- Whether the victim was careless in any way, thus contributing to their injuries
If the evidence shows that the property owner was careless and knew about the hazard, should have known about it, or was not reasonable in their attempts to correct it, he or she can be held liable for the victim’s injuries. The property owner could then be sued via a premises liability claim. Then, he or she would be responsible for paying the victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
However, if the evidence shows that the victim was partially responsible for the accident, then he or she may be held partially liable for the accident and injuries. In some states, that means that the amount of compensation they are eligible for via a premises liability claim would be reduced by a percentage based on what the court deems is their percentage of fault.
Proving Liability for a Fall Accident
As you can see, there are a lot of factors involved in proving who is liable for a fall accident. That’s why it is so important to work with a skilled premises liability lawyer, such as The Embry Law Firm, when building your case. No matter how serious your injuries are, or who you believe is at fault, the best way to protect your rights is to work with a lawyer who is skilled at managing this type of case.