In slip and fall cases, liability is determined by examining a number of factors relating to the actions of both the plaintiff and the defendant. Many times however, the court will first decide if the property owner can be clearly shown as acting in a negligent manner. To determine if the property owner or operator is liable for creating a dangerous environment or allowing one to exist, the court typically looks at three major factors. For the premises to be considered liable, one of the following must exist:
- The property owner or operator must have caused the spill, worn, or torn spot, or other slippery or dangerous surface in question to exist.
- The property owner or operator must have known of the dangerous surface, but did nothing to rectify the problem.
- The property owner or operator should have known of the dangerous surface because it existed for a significant period of time—thus the owner/operator had sufficient time to discover the problem and fix it.
In situations where the property owner or operator may be considered liable, the court usually determines if he or she acted in a reasonable manner, or acted negligently. If the court feels that the property owner acted reasonably, and you acted recklessly and without due caution, you may not be eligible for compensation relating to your injuries despite the existence of a hazardous condition on the property. Just as the court looks at various factors in determining liability, also take note of different factors to determine if the defendant acted in a reasonable manner.
- If you tripped over a torn, broken, or bulging area of ground, or slipped on a wet or loose surface, had the dangerous spot existed for a long enough period of time so that the owner should have known about it and fixed it?
- Does the property owner have proof indicating a regular process of examining, cleaning, and repairing the premises?
- If you tripped over or slipped on an object, was there a valid reason for the object to be there?
- If there was a good reason for the object to be where it was, but that reason was no longer applicable, could the object have been removed?
- Was there a safer place or safer manner, such as a barrier, in which the object could have been located, without much hassle or expense to the property owner or operator?
- Did overall premises conditions, such as poor lighting or uneven surfaces, contribute to the accident?
An experienced Scranton, Pennsylvania-area slip and fall accident lawyer at our firm can review your case, and determine the best way to proceed. If we feel you’re eligible for compensation relating your slip and fall accident, we will aggressively litigate on your behalf. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.