Slip and fall cases are a type of premises liability cause of action. As with all premises liability cases, property owners have a duty under the law to keep their premises and approaches safe. This duty on the part of owners or proprietors requires them to keep their premises free from objects and substances that can lead to their invitees slipping, falling, and injuring themselves. Slip and fall cases make up the bulk of premises liability litigation and often are the cases hardest fought by insurance companies, corporations, and businesses. If you or someone you know has slipped, fallen, and seriously injured themselves on the property of another, you may be entitled to compensation.
While each case is unique and is governed by its own set of facts and circumstances, there are some common principles applicable to all slip and fall cases. Most importantly, perhaps is the relative knowledge by each party of the dangerous condition in question. In slip and fall cases, it is frequently stated that the true ground for liability is superior knowledge by the owner or proprietor of the dangerous condition in question that may subject those persons invited upon the property to an unreasonable risk of harm. In attempting to establish "superior knowledge" on the part of a defendant owner or proprietor, there are many relevant considerations including: the nature of the dangerous condition itself; the length of time the dangerous condition has been present; and policies and/or procedures of the defendant owner or proprietor applicable to the dangerous condition in question.
Another principle applicable to all slip and fall cases is determining the nature of the hazard giving rise to the unreasonable risk of harm. In slip and fall cases, unsafe conditions typical take one of two forms: (1) static conditions; and foreign substances or finishes. A "static condition" is one that is not likely to cause harm or injury until one drives or falls into it or trips over it. These conditions are characterized as patent and longstanding and include but are not limited to: uneven pavement; break in pavement; and an irregular or poorly lit flight of stairs.
Foreign substances are the second major category of dangerous conditions often found in slip and fall cases. This category of dangerous conditions can be comprised of either: a foreign substance such as water, trash, vomit or some other substance on an owner or proprietor's floor; a misplaced object such as a box, box top, or toy; or a dangerously slippery condition due to waxing, oiling, etc. In order to plaintiff to recover under these circumstances it must be proven that owner or proprietor had superior actual or constructive knowledge of the condition in question and the resulting dangerous circumstance.
As with all premises liability claims, the applicable law governing slip and fall claims is extremely complex. Having a lawyer who can listen to the facts of your case and explain what rights you may or may not have is important. The Columbus GA personal injury attorneys at Philips Branch & Hodges have extensive experience handling slip and fall cases and proven track record of success. Do not hesitate to call Philips Branch & Hodges today for your free case evaluation.