Slip and fall accidents historically get bad press in the news, television, and movies.
Such is regretful because injured victims may hesitate to contact an attorney
when they have suffered a legitimate slip and fall accident. Readers,
therefore, should know upfront that slip and fall accidents are real,
they do produce serious injuries, and yes, the person that caused the
accident can be held accountable in a court of law.
These preliminary points aside, the experienced Kingston slip and fall
accident attorney knows that the phrase “slip and fall” is
much more that what one might expect. Sure, it does include slipping and
falling on ice, water, or any other slippery substance and or surface.
But it also includes tripping and falling; stumbling and falling; tumbling
down stairs; falling into a large hole or pit in a walking surface.
Where do slip and fall accidents happen? They happen almost everywhere.
Parking lots are a good example, so too are building entry and exit ways.
Stairwells and exterior steps are other places of danger on property.
Swimming pools and public parks are other examples. The property can be
residential or commercial.
But why hold the property owner accountable for such accidents when the
owner most likely never intended for anyone to get hurt? The answer is
simple. Owning property and holding it open to the public and or inviting
guests to come about comes with responsibility (even trespassers have rights).
For example, property owners and/or occupiers must not create a dangerous
condition and leave it there for people to be injured thereon. Consider
this hypothetical example. The owner of an apartment complex does not
like the look of the metal staircase railing, so he removes it and figures
he will get around to installing a nice wood railing later in the year;
he wants to find the perfect one.
Just as one might figure, a tenant ends up climbing up the stairs, loses
balance, and falls down the stairs. The owner is at fault here. Railings
are required to prevent this type of accident and staircases are simply
too dangerous to not have railings.
Now let us consider another cause of trouble for property owners; when
the owner knows that a dangerous condition existed on the property, but
failed to fix it. Owners simply cannot be so remiss. Allowing a dangerous
condition to persist is an invitation to be sued when someone gets hurt
by the hazard.
Now consider this hypothetical. The owner of a landscaping company has
nice displays set up at his storefront. People can come and walk through
the property to see what they can have done at their own place. One hot
item is the Japanese garden; it comes complete with an arched walking
bridge. The owner knows that the floorboards are rotten in his, but never
takes the time to repair the rotten boards, even though the boards are
visibly wet and crumbling apart.
A patron, visiting the Japanese garden at dusk walks over the bridge and
falls through the rotten board; the visitor falls five feet, breaks a
leg, and suffers serious lacerations. Of course, the victim has a good
case against the owner. The owner knew about the danger and never fixed it.
A failure to warn about dangers is a problem too. The common warning we
all have seen is the yellow caution sign at stores when the floor is wet;
“Caution, Wet Floor.” It is pretty simple to place such a
sign and it is necessary. Flooring is slippery when wet and it takes time
to dry. Warning of danger here is prudent. Failing to do so can give rise
to liability if it results in a slip and fall accident.
What if the property owner did not know about the danger? Well, the astute
attorney will ask, should the owner have known? This is because property
owners are also responsible to inspect the property for dangers; if the
hazard could have been found via a reasonable inspection, the owner will
be charged with constructive notice of the condition.
Learn more about how our
premises liability attorneys can help you file a slip and fall claim.