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When a person slips and falls while on another person’s property, they may assume that the property owner is automatically responsible to pay for their damages.

Unfortunately, North Carolina’s laws covering slips and falls are far more complicated. Despite the fact that slip and fall injuries are among the most common types of personal injury cases, they can be very difficult to prove.

A Burlington slip and fall lawyer understands the laws as they apply to slip and fall cases. Combining this knowledge with the facts of an individual’s case, an experienced personal injury attorney can form a comprehensive legal strategy to obtain compensation for an individual’s injuries.

North Carolina Slip and Fall Laws

Most slips and falls are the result of an accident. Because of this, they are pursued under the legal theories of premises liability and negligence. Premises liability is the concept that property owners have a legal responsibility to keep their land well- maintained and safe for visitors.

This can mean that they must repair any structural defects, such as a broken stair, but also must keep the area clear of any temporary hazards, like spills or ice.

In order for an injured person to win a slip and fall case, they must be able to prove that the property owner was negligent in their care for the property.

Proving Negligence

Negligence has five parts, or elements, that a plaintiff and the Burlington slip and fall lawyer must be able to prove to win a case. These are:

  • Duty – In some scenarios, a person has a legal responsibility to protect another person. This is known as a duty of care. This is never automatic, but people assume this duty when they invite others onto their property. Shop owners open for business, people having a house guest, or even inviting a delivery person onto their land creates a duty for the property owner to protect these visitors.
  • Breach – A breach of the duty of care happens when the property owner fails to protect the invited party. In slip and fall cases, this usually happens when a spill is not cleaned or cordoned off. The question of whether a breach happened is the central issue in most slip and fall cases. The amount of time since the spill, any actions taken by the property owner, and how obvious the spill was, are all pieces of evidence that will be debated.
  • Cause – The breach of the duty of care needs to be the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Medical documentation is the best evidence for this element, especially if the treating doctor states in their records that the injury was caused by the fall.
  • Scope – The injuries suffered need to be foreseeable given the facts of the case. Since falls can result in almost any type of injury, this element is not usually in dispute.
  • Damages – The plaintiff needs a true physical harm to prevail. Any non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or lost time at work can be added on, but the claim must be rooted in a physical injury.

How a Burlington Slip and Fall Attorney Can Help

People may believe that if they are injured due to a slip and fall on another’s property, especially a business, that their claim for damages will be simple. In truth, the law is far more complicated than proving that a person fell on another’s land. Questions will arise over how exactly the fall happened, at what time of day, and even if the injured person was responsible for the accident.

Burlington slip and fall lawyers represent injured individuals in their fights with insurance companies to answer these questions and demonstrate that the property owner is responsible for the accident.

By gathering the evidence, applying the law, and negotiating from a position of strength, most cases settle without needing to go to court. However, if a trial is necessary, litigators will present the case to the jury with force and clarity. There is a limited time to file a claim so do not delay; contact today.