A vast majority of slip and fall cases are dismissed. However, do not let that fact deter you from filing a claim against a company or individual responsible for your slip and fall injury. Good attorneys know the common pitfalls of slip and fall cases, and they take steps to protect their clients from having their case dismissed in court.
Most dismissals are an issue of property owner responsibility; and, in most cases, an unqualified attorney rushed into a lawsuit before reviewing the facts of the case. If you have been injured in a slip and fall, you could be successful with your claim, but you must speak with a Savannah personal injury attorney to have your claim assessed.
The General Rules of a Slip and Fall Case (Known as Premises Liability)
- A property owner is required to maintain safe premises, but does not need to fully guarantee their guests safety. After all, some issues are out of an owner’s control.
- Property owners are not liable for injuries caused by a third party on their premises unless the plaintiff can prove:
- The defendant knew about the hazard and had adequate time to correct it.
- The defendant actively created the hazard.
- The defendant would have known about the hazard, had he or she done due diligence.
The most important caveat is that the defendant must know about the hazard or have reasonable time to correct the hazard. This issue alone is why most slip and fall cases fail.
Proving Liability and Negligence on Behalf of a Property Owner
To prove a slip and fall case, you and your attorney must establish the four elements of negligence, and show that the defendant is guilty of all four. These include:
- That the defendant (i.e., property owner) owed you a duty of care. The defendant was in control of the property and owed you a duty to keep the premises safe.
- The defendant had ample notice. No one expects a property owner to correct a hazard within the same minute of finding it, but the court does expect the owner to correct a hazard within a “reasonable” amount of time. Therefore, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant knew about the hazard and had adequate time to fix it, but did not.
- The dangerous condition was present. A minor defect that would not normally cause an accident is not grounds for a slip and fall claim. Instead, there must be an obvious defect or hazard, such as an obvious sheet of ice on the sidewalk.
- Damages were suffered. Even if the top three apply, the plaintiff must have suffered damages, such as medical costs, time missed from work, and more. Without damages, there is no purpose for the lawsuit.
Injured in a Slip and Fall? Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
To help preserve the evidence and ensure that your slip and fall case is successful, contact B. Clarke Nash. Attorney Nash understands what you are going through, and knows that you have plenty of questions. He works hard to educate his clients on the legal process, but also fight aggressively for their right to compensation.
Schedule a free consultation with B. Clarke Nash today by calling 912-200-5292 or requesting more information online.