When you or a loved one is injured on someone else's property, it can be a stressful time. Not only are you dealing with doctor visits and recovery, but you also have to determine if you are entitled to a settlement to pay for those doctor visits. Check out these three questions to help you determine who is responsible for a slip and fall on someone else's property.
Was There a Dangerous Condition?
For the property owner to be held responsible for your slip and fall, there needs to be a dangerous condition, such as an oil spill, patch of ice, broken porch, etc. that caused your accident and injury. Typically, the property owner needs to be aware of the dangerous condition but did not take reasonable steps to correct the problem. Of course, it's easy for a property owner to claim they weren't aware of the condition. Luckily, in most cases, if the court determines that a reasonable person would have spotted the danger and fixed it, the property owner may still be held responsible.
In some cases, if you are the tenant of a rented house or apartment, you may be able to hold the landlord responsible for a slip and fall, but the requirements are a little different. Again, there must be a dangerous condition that could lead to an injury. However, in this instance, the landlord can only be held responsible if the condition could have been fixed with minimal money and the landlord actually has control over the condition.
Were You Paying Attention?
It's a homeowner's responsibility to fix dangerous conditions, but there are rules in place to help protect homeowners too. Without these rules, anyone could walk onto someone's property, claim a hazard, get injured and sue. To protect homeowners, the rules state that persons entering someone's property have a responsibility to keep themselves safe. If you fail to do so, you may end up being partially responsible. Things like not watching where you're walking and ignoring danger signs are just a few examples.
If you are partially responsible for your injury, you should determine if your state follows the contributory negligence system or the comparative negligence system. States that follow the contributory negligence system are harsher. If you are partially responsible, you typically get no money in these states. If your state follows the comparative negligence system, you'll probably get a reduced settlement. The reduction is based on your level of responsibility. If you are 10 percent responsible, your settlement is reduced by 10 percent. In some comparative negligence states, you only qualify for a settlement if you are less than 50 percent responsible.
Was a Child Involved?
If you are seeking reimbursement for your child who was injured on someone else's property, you may have an easier time proving the property owner was responsible. This is because the rules regarding children and personal injuries are different than those for adults. For starters, if an adult trespasses onto someone's property, they typically take on all the responsibility for their injury because they were breaking the law. However, children, especially young children, don't always understand that trespassing is wrong, so even if your child was trespassing while injured, they may not be responsible.
Another difference with cases involving children is whether the property had attractive nuisances. An attractive nuisance can be anything that is dangerous and appealing to a child, such as a pool, power tools, a hole, etc. Property owners are expected to take steps to prevent children from seeing or accessing these attractive nuisances.
If you or your child has been injured on someone's property, and you feel the property owner should be held responsible, don't wait. Contact a skilled accident attorney (like those at Swartz & Swartz P.C.) .in your area today to schedule a consultation.