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What Is a Dangerous Premises Liability or “Slip and Fall” Case?

Premises liability cases refer to accidents caused by dangerous or defective property, either inside or outside a building. These cases can be the result of many factors, such as faulty design, poor construction, low-quality building materials, dangerous clutter, or poor building maintenance.

If dangerous property causes an injury, the owner or occupier of the property may be liable for those injuries. Whether the property is commercial or residential, the property owner has a legal duty to anyone who steps on the property that they are not subject to unreasonable risk of injury.

What Are the Common Causes of Premises Liability and Slip and Fall Cases?

Hazards and imperfections are the main issues that lead to premises liability cases. A few of the most common issues with properties that lead to accidents are:

  • premises Slick surfaces

  • Potholes in parking lots

  • Uneven sidewalks

  • Electrical hazards

  • Unsafe structures

  • Damaged decks and porches

Beyond the scope of damaged property, other dangerous premises cases can arise when a property owner fails to ensure the safety of the occupants. For example, not providing sufficient lighting, not properly marking areas being repaired, or creating retail displays with sharp corners can all present dangers.

What Happens if You Fall at A Store?

First and foremost – seek necessary medical attention. Your health is of the utmost importance. Emergency medical professionals can provide initial care and recommend further medical visits and treatments that might be necessary. It is not uncommon to require several forms of medical treatment, such as chiropractic care, physical therapy, pain management, or even surgery.

Documenting the scene is very beneficial. In the event you were injured due to a flawed area, such as a broken floorboard or a missing tile, the property owner could quickly replace this to avoid other injuries or potential lawsuits. Taking photographs can significantly help a case.

Other suggestions following a premises liability case include – filling out an incident report at the location of the accident or with an officer, writing down everything you recall from the incident, and gathering information from witnesses.

Just as important as the “what to do” list is the list of “what NOT to do”. Try not to overcommunicate when recalling the accident. It’s common to speak out of nervousness and fear, but this often leads to saying too much or saying the wrong things. Also, it is strongly advised that you never speak with an insurance company without consulting your attorney.

How Is Fault Determined for A Slip and Fall?

Proving fault requires prompt and thorough investigation by someone with the experience and knowledge to build the strongest case and protect your rights. Each case is unique, as the liability may involve certain safety codes or may hinge on whether the property owner was aware of the dangerous conditions that led to the accident.

First, an attorney will consider the legal status of the visitor. Someone invited to the property is viewed differently than a person who is trespassing. If the person injured was trespassing, fault could fall on that person rather than the property owner.

Actions of both the owner and injured person(s) are also examined. Unsafe areas needing repair, such as a broken step or an unsafe floor, should be properly marked to warn people of the hazards and avoid injury incidents until fixed. If the injured party does not adhere to warnings or if they act in an unsafe way, liability may not be pinned on the owner. For example, if someone slides down a railing, breaks the railing, and sustains injury – this would be that person’s fault for not using the railing as intended.

How Much Can You Get for A Slip and Fall Lawsuit?

Premises liability cases often are classified as negligence cases. If someone was negligent in the upkeep of a property and this negligence caused your injuries, you deserve compensation. But what kind of damages are recovered in these cases? Check out our list below for the most common damages sought:

  • Medical expenses – Reimbursement often is issued for medical treatments needed after the incident, including future treatment.

  • Lost wages – If you miss work for medical appointments or your injuries prevent you from working, you are entitled to payment for this lost income.

  • Pain and suffering – Physical and emotional pain and suffering can take a toll on your life following the incident. A premises liability attorney will know the value of this portion of your claim and be able to recover these additional damages for you.

  • Punitive damages – These damages are intended to punish the negligent party and are usually awarded when that person’s actions were especially outrageous. To learn more about these damages in particular, click here to check out our blog from our distracted driver series where we delve deeper into punitive damages.

The best way to establish which damages you are eligible to receive is to contact an experienced attorney, as they can provide you with a realistic picture of what you can expect to recover.

How Do I Sue for Falling?

If you are injured in an accident caused by dangerous property conditions, it is important to call an attorney sooner rather than later. Promptness is key as important details, witness accounts, and other forms of evidence can be lost or forgotten over time.

Kansas has a statute of limitations on these personal injury cases, so a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the incident.

You have nothing to lose in speaking with one of our attorneys, as we offer free initial consultations. Even after you hire us, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not owe anything upfront and we merely receive a percentage of the settlement when the claim is finished.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to dangerous premises conditions, call Biesterveld & Crook or contact us online.