Slip and Fall in a Public Place – Who is Liable?

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Every day, many people are injured as a result of slipping or falling in a public place. Some simply suffer nothing more than embarrassment and they just get up and continue with their day. However, for other people, these slip and falls can result in significant injuries that may require medical treatment, time off work, or could even lead to long-term health effects.

If you do sustain injuries as the result of a slip or fall in a public place, the first thing you need to do is establish whether this occurred due to negligence by another party. For instance, if you fall over and injure yourself simply because you were not paying attention to where you were going, then there is no liability other than with yourself. However, if you injure yourself as the result of the owner of the public property failing to do something or doing something wrong, then the liability lies with the other party. This means that you would have the right to make a personal injury claim because you sustained injuries as the result of someone else’s negligence.

The grey areas involved

Unfortunately, determining liability in this type of case is not always straightforward. If, for example, you slip and hurt yourself on a sidewalk, the liability could lie with various potential parties. This would depend on where you fell and also on the regulations of that specific state. In some cases, the liability would lie with the property owner while in others it may be the municipality. Liability could even lie with both of these parties. Therefore, it is important to understand that liability varies from state to state.

If it is the municipality that is liable based on the state you are in, you need to make sure you check on any time limitations that are in place for you to take action. This could include time limits on reporting the accident and the statute of limitations in relation to filing a lawsuit. These can vary from one state to another, so it is something that you will need to look into if you want to eliminate the risk of being unable to make a claim for your injuries.

Of course, in order for you to be able to make a claim against the property owner or the municipality, negligence must be proven. If you were simply wandering around using your phone and tripped because you didn’t look where you were going, then you would be responsible for causing your own injuries. However, if you trip because of a raised pothole, an uneven sidewalk or some problem that the responsible party should have known about and addressed, then the liability will lie with them.

Collecting the right information

When accidents occur in public areas, it can be difficult to prove what happened, when it happened, and why it occurred. Therefore, you should make sure you make note of the time and date, the exact location, and take photos if you are able to. There may be witnesses around in that same public area who are willing to give their details of the incident. It is imperative to get their contact information in case you need to speak to them as part of your personal injury claim.

Slip and fall accidents are quite unfortunate. The liability of the accident can be complex. Steinberg Law will take the time to simplify it all for you. Reach out to Brett Steinberg to get a better understanding of the legality of such accidents. 561.630.0053