You may still be entitled to recover damages if you noticed the hazard before your slip and fall injury. The key issue will be whether you could have avoided the danger but failed to do so.
Being aware of a hazard is not in and itself enough to deny your injury claim. However, there are several steps you will need to take to prove the property owner or proprietor was legally responsible for your slip and fall accident and resulting injuries and losses.
The defense in your case may argue that the slip and fall accident was avoidable. This is one of the few defenses available in these cases. However, you could still be entitled to a financial award for your fall, even if you were aware of the hazard if it were considered unreasonably dangerous.
In some instances, it can be too late to avoid a fall once you are aware of the hazard’s existence.
Duty of Care
Another aspect you may have in your favor is that the property owner has a general duty of care to remove any known dangers that may cause harm to visitors or guests. If there are known potential hazards at the location, the property owner or proprietor may need to rope off that area or correct the problem so no one else can suffer harm.
This may require maintenance, repairs, or replacement of parts. If the invited person suffers harm, then the property owner may be held legally accountable and could be required to pay for damages.
Even if you noticed the hazard before your slip and fall injury, if you can show you exhibited a degree of care to avoid the accident, you could be entitled to compensation.
Four Elements of Negligence
The four elements of negligence you or your slip and fall lawyer will need to prove to successfully win your claim or lawsuit are:
- Duty of care: The property owner owed you a legal duty of care to ensure a safe environment that was free from harm.
- Breach of duty: The property owner breached that duty by acting in a negligent manner or failing to act.
- Cause: That breach of duty caused your injuries.
- Damages: Those injuries left you with damages (medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, etc.)
Keep in mind that premises liability cases require you (the plaintiff) to show that the property owner was negligent and did not keep up their property, or that they knew the danger could harm or injure a visitor or guest on the property and failed to mitigate it. This is where a slip and fall lawyer can help by collecting evidence, investigating the incident, negotiating with the insurance company, and preparing your case for trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached.
Status of the Visitor
Another critical part of your premises liability case is the status you fall under when you were on the other person’s property. All visitors to a property are divided into three categories:
- An invitee: An invitee is someone the property owner has invited onto the property, such as a friend, neighbor, or family member. In these cases, the property owner typically owes a duty of reasonable care to the invitee.
- A licensee: A licensee is someone who has permission to be on the property, but is there for their own purposes. This could be a contractor or salesperson. A property owner owes a licensee a lesser duty of care. However, they must warn them of a dangerous condition that could present harm.
- A trespasser: A trespasser is someone who is not authorized to be on the property. Property owners generally owe no duty of care to trespassers, although there are a few exceptions that a slip and fall lawyer can make you aware of if you were a trespasser.
Because these rules vary from state to state, it may help to consult with a slip and fall lawyer familiar with your state’s laws and statutes regarding premises liability cases.
Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC Today
If you or a loved one suffered injuries on someone else’s property and you believe the property owner’s negligence caused those injuries, you may be entitled to financial recovery for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), medical costs in the U.S. for slip and fall accidents were $50 billion in 2015. If you faced any sort of medical bills because of a hazard on someone else’s property, we want to help you get compensation.
At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, we can investigate your claim and fight for the compensation you deserve. We do not shy away from tough cases. Call 800-959-1444 to speak with a member of our team today. The call is free, and there is no risk or obligation. We do not receive payment unless we secure a fair settlement on your behalf.