If you trip, or slip and fall, and you’re on someone else’s property, who is liable for your injuries?
Say you get out of your car to go into a doctor’s appointment, and right in the walkway – but not in plain sight – is a rock. You trip and injure yourself; in fact, your hand requires stitches. Do you have a legal case against the doctor?
Premises liability cases are some of the most difficult cases to handle. They have a lot of moving parts, one of which is called “open and obvious”. In the above case, was the rock in plain sight, had it been used to prop open a door but had inadvertently been knocked away?
These are questions that a jury would ask if the case ever came to trial.
Basically, the defense says that if it was something out in the open, obvious, and not camouflaged, and if you had been paying attention, you would have seen it and would not have tripped. In that case, you’d most likely be barred from recovering any damages.
Another way that landlord liability occurs is when an accident happens on the premises. Let’s say you’re at the grocery store and someone has dropped a banana peel. If you slip on the peel just after it is dropped the store may not be held liable. Number one, because they didn’t cause the hazard, and two, it was not there for a length of time that they knew, or should have know that it was there.
If the store knew about it, and they did nothing to remove the hazard, then they will most likely be held liable.
You have to prove negligence. Just falling and injuring yourself on someone else’s property does not equal a legal recovery for injuries.
In any accident, make sure that you take pictures (if you’re able); once the evidence is gone, you’re out of luck. And the burden of proof becomes next to impossible.
If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.