PROVING FAULT IN SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENTS
Every year, thousands of people are injured as a result of another person or company’s negligence, from slipping and falling, tripping on a heaved curve, or some other dangerous condition existing and causing an accident. There are many different aspects to a slip and fall claim, and often times, there may be several parties defending the claim. With that said, most claims come down to two very important legal issues: 1) liability and 2) damages. This article addresses issues of liability as it relates to slip and fall accidents.
COULD THE ACCIDENT HAVE BEEN PREVENTED?
Property owners must meet a standard of care to keep people relatively safe. However, this does not mean that if you are injured on a property, you are automatically entitled to money. Moreover, even if a hazard exists, you may or may not be entitled to compensation, depending on the specific facts of the case. If a property owner has done their due diligence trying to make something safe, it may significantly affect your case. Additionally, as a visitor, you have a responsibility to avoid accidents that a reasonable person would be able to avoid. In other words, every person has a responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and make best efforts to avoid harms way.
WHAT IS “REASONABLE”?
Generally, negligence claims hinge on whether the defendant acted reasonably or not. The law and legislation focus on whether the owner makes a reasonable effort to keep people safe. If the owner was put on notice of a hazard, and ignored it altogether, they may be significantly at fault. Whereas, if a hazard had just appeared for the first time just before an accident, that owner would be less liable than the owner put on notice. Therefore, property owners must keep their property relatively safe. A lot of the law in this area is determined by the Occupiers’ Liability Act, R.S.O. 1990 c.O.2 in Ontario, and there are a number of caveats that come into play when determining liability for a premises liability claim.
DID YOUR OWN CARELESSNESS CONTRIBUTE TO THE FALL?
In just about every slip and fall or premises liability case, you should consider whether your own negligence was a factor or not. For instance, if you were trespassing, did you have a legitimate reason to be in the dangerous area? Were there appropriate warning signs posted? Were you wearing shoes with good grip? Were you distracted at the time of the fall?
The law and insurance companies don’t demand everyone to be as safe as possible at all times. Additionally, even if you are partially responsible, you may still have a claim against the at-fault party in a proportionate fashion, known as contributory negligence. That is to say, they will have to compensate you for your injuries proportionate to their blameworthiness.
CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER AT YOUR EARLIEST OPPORTUNITY
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a slip or trip and fall, you should seek medical attention immediately. Additionally, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights. Our office works on contingency fee arrangements, meaning, we don’t get paid unless you receive a settlement. For a free no obligation consultation, give our law firm a call.
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