A slip and fall can happen anywhere. Sometimes a slip and fall just happens. Maybe you were not paying attention when you were walking down a street in Boulder and fell. In many situations, a slip and fall is not your fault, but someone else’s fault. Maybe you were paying attention as you were walking when you slipped and fell because of a slippery floor.
When you are injured and hurt in a slip and fall accident, you want the help of a personal injury attorney. It may be obvious the other party is at fault for your accident. That does not mean he or she will willingly pay you. It also does not mean that if the other party is willing to pay, he or she will pay you a fair amount. In fact, many people injured in this type of accident have to file a claim before the case is settled out of court.
Determining who is at fault for your accident is difficult to do without an attorney. It goes beyond just telling the court the other party harmed you. In Colorado, the court wants proof the other party caused your accident. How is liability determined? First, this type of accident falls under premises liability. So the following must be true for the other party to be liable:
• The premise owner or employee must have caused the dangerous condition. The dangerous condition may be a worn spot, torn spot or slippery surface.
• The premise owner or employee should have known about the dangerous surface because a reasonable individual taking care of a similar property would have known.
• The court uses a reasonable person standard to test the other party’s liability. If a reasonable person would have known about the dangerous condition, the other party would have been at fault.
• The premise owner or employee must have known the area where you slipped was dangerous and did nothing about it.
The tough part about trying to sue a premise owner without a lawyer is proving that he or she “should have known” about the slippery surface. A personal injury lawyer can find experts who will testify regarding what a premise owner should have known.
What Does the Word “Reasonable” Really Mean?
In legal terms the word “reasonable” is determined by asking several different questions like:
• Was the dangerous condition present long enough for the premise owner to know about it?
• Does the premise owner have regular procedures for spotting, cleaning and repairing a slippery surface?
• Were there any factors that contributed to the slip and fall accident, like poor lighting or broken rails?
Were You Careless?
The court evaluates the plaintiff’s carelessness in his or her accident. If you were careless and caused or contributed to the slipping and falling, it will stop you from suing, or it will lower your award amount. Some questions the defense lawyer and/ or claims adjuster will ask are:
• Did you have a legitimate reason for being in the slippery area?
• Were there any warnings posted about the area being slippery or dangerous?
• Would a person in your same or similar position have noticed the slippery surface and either avoided it or carefully walked through it?
• Were you distracted or not paying attention at the time of your accident?
Slip and fall lawsuits fall in the category of negligence. If you or a loved experienced this type of accident, contact a personal injury lawyer today.