If you have been harmed in an accident involving a slip and fall on someone else’s property due to a hazardous condition, you will probably require to provide evidence of some key factors in order to have success in your personal injury case:
- Either the possessor of the property or his employee should have had prior knowledge of the hazardous condition because another, “reasonable” person in his or her same position would have known about the hazardous condition and corrected it.
- Either the possessor of the property or his employee did have prior knowledge of the hazardous condition but failed to repair or correct it.
- Either the possessor of the property or his employee caused the hazardous condition — through a spill, broken flooring, etc.
Due to the fact that many property owners are often fairly active on maintaining their properties, the first scenario that is often the focus of most litigations involving slip and fall incidents, but the first scenario can be difficult to prove because of the phrasing “should have known.” It will ultimately be up to the decision of the judge or jury to choose if the owner of the property should have had knowledge of a slippery step that resulted in your injuries after you present the full extent of your evidence and arguments.
If you think you have grounds to claim negligence due to a slip and fall injury, it is advised that you understand the types of damages that can be regained through a lawsuit, such as medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. If you want to get a general figure of what the value of your damages is, you should contact a qualified Salt Lake City personal injury lawyer.
When you are attempting to establish that a property owner is responsible for injuries that were sustained in a slip and fall incident, you will likely have to show the reasonableness of the actions exhibited by the property owner, at some point. Here are some useful questions that you and your legal representation may want to consider before beginning a claim:
- How long had the hazard been present before the time of the accident? Essentially, if the leaky roof over a walkway had been leaking for the past five months, then it would be seen as less reasonable for the property owner to allow the leak to continue, rather than if the leak had just started the evening before the accident and the owner was just waiting for the rain to stop to begin repairing it.
- What types of daily maintenance activities does the landlord partake in? If the owner of the property claims that he or she inspects the premises regularly, what type of evidence can he or she provide to support this claim?
- In the case that your slip and fall accident was due to tripping over something that was carelessly left on the floor — or in another place — was there a valid reason for that object to be left there?
- In the event that your slip and fall accident involved tripping over something that was left on the floor that once had a valid reason to be there, did the valid reason persist at the time of your slip and fall incident? For instance, tripping over a can of paint in a dining room is likely not reasonable if the room had not been painted in over 2 years and the landlord had no evident plans to repaint the room at that time.
Recklessness, Clumsiness, and Comparative Negligence
A majority of states, including Utah, utilize a concept known as comparative negligence when dealing with slip and fall accidents. This essentially means that the plaintiff, in some shape or form, contributed to the accident — for instance, he or she was talking on their cell phone and did not notice a warning sign. This would affect the amount of damages that could be recovered, significantly reducing the final amount by the degree that the plaintiff is comparatively liable. This percentage is determined by the courts.
When researching the legal responsibility of a landlord, there are some key questions that can help you evaluate the chances that you could be found comparatively negligent after a slip and fall accident:
- Was there a legitimate reason for you to be on the premises of the property owner when the accident took place? Should the landlord have expected you, or someone in a similar situation as you were at the time of the accident, being there?
- Would a person of reasonable caution in a similar situation have been aware of and avoided the hazardous condition, or handled the situation as to have lessened the likelihood of being injured by slipping and falling — for instance, holding onto the handrail while walking down an icy stairwell?
- Did the owner of the property erect a barrier or provide warning of the hazardous condition that resulted in your slip and fall incident?
- Were you participating in any activities that contributed to your slip and fall incident? For example, running around the edge of a pool, being on your phone while walking, jumping or skipping, trying to ice skate while wearing your tennis shoes, etc.
If you have been discussing your case with an insurance company concerning a possible settlement for your sustained injuries, you will likely be asked certain questions that are similar to the ones provided here. You will not have to prove that you were extremely cautious to the insurance provider, but you will likely have to show that you exercised enough caution so that the insurer does not believe you acted negligently.
Slip & Fall Accidents in Utah
Slip and fall injuries are by far the most common personal injury claim in the U.S. Nearly 30 percent of those injured in a slip and fall experience severe injuries.
Siegfried & Jensen’s team of skilled Utah slip and fall attorneys believes that no victim should take on the financial burden of an accident resulting from a negligent property owner. Call us today at 801-845-9000 if you or a loved one has been injured on someone else’s property.