Human beings are sometimes clumsy. That’s simply a fact of life. People stumble, trip, and fall all the time. However, sometimes a person slips and falls due to something outside of their control. When that happens, it’s possible that you can prove liability on the part of the property owner.
Thousands of people all across the country are in that position, and the payouts from such lawsuits can be quite large. However, it’s all predicated on being able to prove liability. That is, you have to be able to prove, in a court of law, that the property owner was at fault for the condition that caused you to slip and injure yourself. As you might expect, that’s not necessarily easy to do. However, there is information that can help you figure out whether or not the property owner is at fault. Here are the four things that need to be present to prove liability.
1) You slipped and fell.
This one is obvious. If you didn’t slip and fall, then there’s nothing for the property owner to pay for.
2) The property owner had a duty to protect.
This means that you can prove it was the property owner’s job to ensure people on their property were safe. There could be a number of reasons for this. For example, if the property is a rental property, it’s the job of either the property manager or the tenant to remove ice and snow from walkways. If they don’t do that, then they could be liable for damages.
3) The owner breached the duty to protect by allowing a dangerous condition.
This means that the situation had to be reasonably foreseeable. For example, if a real estate agent brings a potential buyer to a new construction property, and the potential buyer slips on wet concrete and breaks their wrist, there could be multiple people at fault. The real estate agent should have reasonably known that there could be hazardous materials around. The contractors and the property owner should have reasonably known that a person could sip and fall on wet concrete. Since these were foreseeable accidents, those people could all be held liable.
4) Injury was caused in the fall.
Much like the first part, this one should be obvious. If there was no injury, then there’s nothing to pay for. It doesn’t matter if someone is liable for the accident, since there was no damage done.
Remember that there could be multiple parties liable, as well. If a water pipe at a rental property bursts and causes water to freeze to the sidewalk, the property manager must deal with that. If they don’t, and a person slips and falls, both the property manager and the property owner could be liable. The manager should have fixed the problem, and the owner should have known whether or not the person they hired to tend to the property was doing their jobs.
There are many other nuances and details to judging liability, as well. However, these are the basics. If the situation isn’t covered by these four elements, then it’s not going to have a chance of standing up in court.