Slip and fall accidents are fairly common in the United States with nearly 1 million hospital visits recorded every year. If you suffer from a slip and fall accident on a commercial property, you need to prove your case against the proprietor of the business or the owner of the property. But this is often easier said that done, and a proprietor may be able to win a slip and fall case against you.
How Proprietors Win Slip and Fall Accidents
Determining who is liable for the slip and fall accident is always the toughest part for plaintiffs. A slip and fall incident doesn’t automatically entitle you to compensation from the property owner. You need to prove that they were negligent. Here are some instances when proprietors can win slip and fall claims:
- If the victim could have prevented the accident by being more diligent when walking, especially with no visible hazards in sight.
- If the victim was texting while walking and slipped and fell as a result of carelessness.
- If the victim failed to read signboards indicating slippery floors or broken staircases.
- If the owner took reasonable care to manage the property, and the victim slipped and fell by pure accident.
- If the victim tripped on something that was placed legitimately in the area.
- If the victim was illegitimately trespassing on the property, to begin with.
- If the victim was clumsy or careless, which is what led to the slip and fall accident.
In these instances, it’s quite likely that a proprietor can win the case, especially if they can prove that they took reasonable care to maintain the property. For a property owner or proprietor to be held negligent, they must have failed to act as a reasonable person would to have managed the problem or potential hazard.
The term reasonable is often vague because it could have different meanings for different people. Ultimately, the victim needs to prove that the proprietor was negligent with the maintenance of the property, which is what led to the accident in the first place. Without sufficient evidence to prove negligence, it’s quite likely that the proprietor will win the case against the plaintiff, especially if he or she is able to create enough doubt in the minds of the judge and jury.
Instances Where Slip and Fall Cases Were Rejected
In many slip and fall cases, the proprietor or his insurance company may have a counter appeal and claim that the plaintiff was fully or partially responsible for the accident. If the defendant can prove that the plaintiff may have slipped and fallen through carelessness, then it can be much harder to win the claim.
Slip and fall cases are tricky to prove, and can often end up in a situation where enough facts were not present to rule in favor of the victim. In the case of Latasha Hartman who sued David Clark when she slipped and fell in his Chick-fil-A restaurant, she was unable to prove that the proprietor had adequate knowledge of the hazard beforehand, and her testimony likely controverted the deposition.
In another instance, Marguerite Ragnoli who slipped and fell in an icy parking lot outside a medical facility had her decision reversed by the Michigan Supreme Court, as they said that the dark, icy conditions should have been obvious to the plaintiff on a wintry day.
How Can You Win A Slip and Fall Case?
In order to win a slip and fall accident case, you need to prove the following:
- The proprietor or property owner should have known or had known about the dangerous condition beforehand and took no adequate action to rectify it.
- The proprietor or property owner may have caused the accident by leaving hazardous objects in walking paths.
- The proprietor or property owner could have made the situation less dangerous through proper preventive measures and did not.
Demonstrating these particular situations will require victims to have sufficient proof of negligence on the part of the proprietor, which is often the most challenging aspect of a slip and fall accident case.