Who Is Liable for a Slip and Fall?
Embarrassment is one of the most common emotions people feel after taking a fall. Slipping and falling has been played for laughs countless times on TV and in movies, with the person who falls generally presented as clumsy.
In reality, slip and fall accidents are no laughing matter. Victims may suffer serious injuries in falls to the ground. Furthermore, liability for the fall often rests with another party.
The Whitley Law Firm fully investigates slip and fall accidents to determine how your injuries occurred and identify who is at fault. Please contact a slip and fall attorney today in Raleigh, Winston-Salem, New Bern, or another area of North Carolina for a free case review.
Liable Parties in Slip and Fall Claims
Slip and falls can happen anywhere, from the driveway of a private home to the aisle of a supermarket to the grounds of a government building. The liable parties in your claim will depend on the type of property where the accident occurred, as well as the party responsible for safe conditions on the premises.
Determining liability for a slip and fall accident can be complicated, which is why it is important to speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer may be able to pursue a claim against one or more of the following parties:
1. A Property Owner
The owner of a property is most commonly identified as the liable party in premises liability claims. Both the owner of a residence (such as a homeowner or landlord) and a commercial property owner may be liable for a slip and fall.
Claimants must present evidence of negligence on the part of a property owner to recover compensation for injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident. Examples of negligence that commonly result in slip and falls include:
- Improper or delayed cleanup of a spill
- Leaving objects in walkways that present slipping and tripping hazards
- Uneven flooring and loose carpet
- Poor lighting of publicly accessible areas
- Failure to remove snow and ice
- Damaged sidewalk pavement and asphalt in parking lots
- Poor maintenance of steps and staircases
- Failure to warn guests about possible hazards (such as spills, objects in walkways, etc.)
Homeowners insurance typically covers slip and fall accidents that occur on the premises of a residential property, while the owners of commercial properties should have general liability coverage for injuries that occur on the premises. In either case, you will be going up against an insurance company with significant money, resources, and experience.
For this reason, it is important to contact an experienced slip and fall attorney as soon as possible. Qualified legal counsel can help you protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
2. A Tenant
Generally, property owners are responsible for maintaining safe conditions on the premises. However, liability for a slip and fall or other accident may be different if the owner leases the property to another party.
As a condition of their lease, residential and commercial tenants may agree to perform some or all of the cleaning and maintenance functions that the owner typically handles. If you slip and fall because the tenant fails in this duty, the tenant or occupant may be liable.
The renter of a house, for example, may be responsible for removing snow and ice from the walks. If you slip and fall on a patch of ice that the renter made no effort to remove, you may be entitled to compensation through the tenant’s renters insurance.
Similarly, if a business leases space from a commercial property owner, the business renting the property is generally responsible for day-to-day cleaning and maintenance. Commercial tenants are generally liable for slip and falls and other injuries caused by temporary conditions in spaces such as restaurants, retail stores, malls, and more.
3. A Government Entity
It can sometimes be difficult to know if public property is owned and operated by the government or by a private individual or business. Thorough investigation is key for determining if a government entity is responsible for the safety of the property on which you slipped and fell.
State, county, and local governments may be liable if negligence on the part of their employees (such as custodians and maintenance crews) results in a slip and fall accident. Claims against the government are subject to special procedural rules and caps on damages, so it is important to work with a knowledgeable attorney who can build a strong case on your behalf.
What If I Am Blamed for the Slip and Fall?
One of the most common strategies employed by liable parties and insurance companies alike in premises liability claims is to argue that the claimant contributed to his or her own injuries. This argument is the basis of most low-ball settlement offers, as well as denial of legitimate injury claims.
Personal injury claims in North Carolina are subject to a pure contributory negligence rule. If it is determined that you bear even the slightest amount of responsibility for the accident, you will be blocked from recovering damages.
Insurance companies are aware of this, and they will employ a number of tactics to try to limit their liability after a slip and fall. Without a lawyer, it is difficult to overcome allegations that you are partially at fault. A slip and fall attorney can take action on your behalf to establish liability and pursue fair compensation on your behalf.
Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney Today
Slip and fall accidents and other types of premises liability claims can be complicated. Although serious injuries can occur in a fall, property owners and their insurance carriers often try to trivialize claims of negligence and dispute damages.
The attorneys at Whitley Law Firm know the stakes in your case are high. We thoroughly investigate the slip and fall accident, identify all of the liable parties, and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf. By hiring our firm, you will enjoy the full benefits of the Whitley Advantage – from total commitment to the successful resolution of your claim to personalized, caring service every step of the way.
Please call the slip and fall attorneys at Whitley Law Firm at (919) 785-5000 today for service in or around Raleigh, Winston-Salem, New Bern, and other areas of North Carolina. It won’t cost anything to see if we can help.