Slip and Fall Case: What Is Negligence?

If a property owner/manager chooses to neglect safety issues that existon his/her property the law holds that property owner/manager liable for the injuries that occur as a result. Hazardous floors and stairs are common areas where people get hurt if property managers to not regularly inspect and maintain their properties. Slip and fall injuries are a serious problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one million Americans suffer slip, trip, and fall injuries each year and 17,000 people die annually because of falls.

The legal test in cases like these is whether a property owner/manager chooses to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition.If the property owner/manager is inviting the public onto their property for business purposes, then if the owner/manager does not maintain that property in a reasonably safe condition and, as a result, someone is injured or killed, the property owner is responsible for all the harm done. These cases are referred to as “Premise Liability” cases.

The law does not hold a property owner responsible for every injury that occurs on their property, but the law does require that property owners/managers keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. This is especially true if the property owner is inviting people onto their property as part of their business. When the public is invited onto a property, theproperty ownerhas a responsibility to learn and follow the safety rules that protect people from being injured while on their property. That means more than simply not creating new dangerous conditions or inspecting their property when they first open it to the public, although the owner certainly has both of those duties, but the owner/manager must be on the lookout for potential hazards that might develop on their property;when hazards are discovered, a commercial property owner must act promptly to either remove the danger or protect people from the danger. Sometimes this means cordoning off an area, other times it means using warning signs, but it always means taking reasonable action to keep people safe. By age five most people are very accomplished at walking and they don’t just fall downwithout a reason. If the reason someone falls is the condition of the floor, and if the property manager knew about the hazard, or with reasonable inspections he/she should have known about it, then unless the property manager acted reasonably toprotect people from that danger, the law holds the property owner/manager responsible for all of the harm done to the injured person.

An Everett personal injury lawyer like David Duce understands that premises liability cases, including slip and fall cases, require quick action to preserve and collect evidence and determine what actions the property owner/manager took to keep their property safe for customers/visitors/tenants. If you have questions about a possible premises liability claim give us a call.