Property Owners Have A Responsibility To Keep Their Premises Safe For Visitors
Slip-and-Fall accidents or trip-and-fall accidents (Premises Liability Claims) are one of the most common accidents next to automobile accidents. But liability in many automobile accidents is very easy to establish. Simple mathematical formulas can be applied in even the most complex accidents to determine the force, speed, and other likely vectors that would produce a given negligent scenario.
This is not the case with most slip-and-fall/trip-and-fall accidents, which occur in establishments catering to the public, such as grocery stores and general merchandise stores. This is especially true of grocery stores where it is not uncommon to find spilled liquid products or foreign objects on the floor.
Most people are not lucky enough to have their fall captured on a video. Here are some recommended actions you should take if you or a loved one experience a slip-and-fall.
If you, or if someone is with you:
1. Examine the area where the accident occurred and try to determine the nature of the substance that you slipped on, i.e., water, jelly, honey.
2. Examine the area around the fall to see if there is evidence that pedestrians have been walking through the substance or there are shopping cart wheel tracks on the floor near the fall. This is evidence that the substance has been on the floor for a sufficient time for the premises owner to be on notice of the condition.
3. If there is no slippery liquid substance on the floor, examine the area of the fall and see if there are any foreign objects on the floor such as a piece of cardboard or paper, or any other foreign object which could have caused your fall.
4. If you have sustained a serious injury you should not wash the clothes you were wearing at the time of the fall You should also place your shoes in a plastic bag for safe keeping and not clean the substance from the shoes, or continue wearing the shoes
5. If possible, take photographs of the area with a cell phone if you or someone with you happens to have one.
6. Always report the incident. Often when you slip you are embarrassed to report that you have fallen. Even when there are witnesses that saw the fall, the tendency is to say and quickly depart the area. It is also not uncommon in slip-and-fall accidents (like in automobile accidents) not to experience pain until the next day. It is better to report the incident to the store manager than to say nothing at all.
7. If possible, obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses, as the premises owner will not generally release their incident report.
8. If you believe you or a loved one has experienced serious injury, you should not only make an incident report, you should also request that any surveillance recordings be preserved. Failure of the premises owner to preserve such evidence can be later used as evidence of liability should the premises owner not do so; and
9. You should immediately seek medical attention for your injuries, and document that the injuries are related to an accident.
There are numerous other circumstances where one may be injured on private property, or even in someone’s residence due to a defective condition. As in any premises liability claim, one should do their best to document the circumstances of the injury and the defective condition that caused the injury. All property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. Unfortunately, many businesses and individuals do not keep their premises safe. If you have fallen and have been injured on someone else’s property, you may claim reasonable compensation.