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Liability in Winston-Salem slip and fall cases is directly tied to the owner or landlord of the property on which the individual or individuals were harmed.

An owner or landlord could be held liable for the criminal conduct of third parties on the premises if the activity occurred routinely and knowingly. If no duty exists, the claim of negligence fails. For more information on how to establish negligence for any injury you may have sustained due to someone else’s negligence, contact a distinguished slip and fall lawyer.

Trespassing

Trespassing is considered anyone’s presence on the property, who does not have permission from the owner to be on the property. For example, if a stranger walks onto property that has a sign in the yard that says “no trespassing and no soliciting”, the individual would be considered trespassing.

An invitation to property can be either a direct invitation or an implied invitation. All businesses are impliedly inviting the public into their business just by being open. They are not especially asking a person to come to the business but they are impliedly asking everybody to come in. A direct invitation would be like a party invitation.

Role of an Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, a property owner must inspect and maintain something on the property that they know or should know would attract young children. The best-known example would probably be swimming pools. That is why you frequently see locked fences and fences with alarms around swimming pools so that people know who is entering their yard.

Another example is the dirt mounds on construction sites. Kids want to play on them. Individuals need to take extra steps to keep kids safe and keep them away from those attractive nuisances.

Liability for Public vs. Private Properties

The theory underlying liability in Winston-Salem slip and fall cases is to maintain and promote safety. The city of Winston-Salem has a duty to keep premises safe, but they are also entitled to sovereign immunity. Unless they purchased liability insurance, a person cannot sue the sovereign without their consent.

They have a duty, but it is possible they might not be held liable for damage costs if they fail to meet their duty. A person cannot sue the sovereign without their consent, so unless the city purchased insurance or there is a specific statute or ordinance that allows a person to sue them, then they are immune from suit and cannot be held responsible for civil damages.

Sovereign Immunity

Sovereign immunity has little impact on the liability in Winston-Salem slip and fall cases. The individual would give notice to the government entity they are suing and proceed with the personal injury case where the government has forgone sovereign immunity.

Defining Notice and Constructive Notice

Notice is telling the property owner or occupier that an incident occurred that caused harm. Constructive notice means they should know about a defect, such as through a reasonable inspection or police reports. For liability in Winston-Salem slip and fall cases, the actual notice means the person has been directly notified.

Impact of a Notice on a Slip and Fall Case

Notice can have an impact regarding the presence of a dangerous item on the ground or the presence of a defect in the land. If there is something on the ground not put there by the premises owner or occupier and they are not on notice of it and it has not been there long enough that the property owner should know about it, that can hurt the case. Under those circumstances, there is no duty to warn.

Duty is one of the elements of liability in Winston-Salem slip and fall cases. If a customer drops a bottle of laundry detergent and it spills on the floor, they cause the floor to be slippery. In that case, the danger was caused by a third party, not the premises owner. Imagine that the person who spilled the laundry left, and after only a minute, another customer slips on it. Is the store liable? Probably not. They did not put the slippery substance there, and it was not there long enough for them to know about it, even if they are doing periodic sweeps. Under those circumstances, the grocery store has no duty to warn a person about the presence of the laundry detergent on the floor.