On visit to Wal-Mart to purchase some wood chips for her yard, Diane Brooks slipped in a puddle of water and suffered an injury to her left knee that required surgery.
Based on a video that showed a Wal-Mart employee walking past the puddle, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled the store could have known the dangerous condition existed when the plaintiff slipped and fell near a carpet cleaning kiosk inside the Boise location.
In any slip and fall accident including the incident at Wal-Mart, the injured party must prove negligence to collect compensation. Wal-Mart, according to the court, is “charged with a superior knowledge of their premises and the possible dangers located there, as compared with their invitees.”
Like any other property owner, Wal-Mart was considered negligent and at-fault for the woman’s injuries by failing to keep its premises safe for visitors. Establishing negligence, or duty of care, is the first and most important element in a slip and fall dispute. Without this condition, the injured party cannot win the case.
What about you and your injuries? The personal injury attorneys at Shiner Law Group recommend you consider five important elements to determine whether or not you have a valid case:
- Is the manager or owner of the property responsible for visitor safety;
- Should the defendant have known of the threatening condition on the property;
- Was the condition, in fact, dangerous;
- How much did the plaintiff suffer as a result of the slip and fall.
Do you think your case has some merit? In order for you to hold a property responsible for a slip and fall accident, as the injured party, you will need to prove these five points of negligence:
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Duty of Care
Duty of care holds an individual, organization or business legally accountable for providing a standard of reasonable care for visitors where the accident occurred. In other words, if you slip and fall on either public or private property, the proprietor could be responsible for your injuries. Duty of care does not apply to unlawful trespassing.
Breach of Duty
A proprietor who is irresponsible or negligent of a property is in breach of duty to warn visitors of potential hazards. Notice is one of the most important considerations in a slip and fall dispute. Besides establishing that the location was dangerous, an experienced personal injury attorney will prove that the proprietor deviated from standard practice or had prior knowledge of the hazardous condition and failed to act in a timely manner to remedy or warn of the threat. For example, a supermarket that fails to regularly check for spilled items during normal business hours could be considered in breach of duty.
When a proprietor has prior knowledge of a threatening situation and fails to take action to repair or alert visitors to the risk of slip and fall, then that party is likely to be held accountable for any resulting injuries. However, if the slip and fall occurs within moments of when the threat first surfaces, then the proprietor, in most cases, will not be responsible for damages.
The injured must show that damages sustained were a direct result of the proprietor’s breach of duty. In other words, the property owner’s negligence caused the injuries and not some other contributing factor. A civil litigator would have a difficult time proving a broken step was to blame for a slip and fall if the injured party was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Any injuries will need to be consistent with the damages contested.
Any financial loss, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and medical expense as a result of negligence are considered damages. Lost wages, long-term disabilities and, in a worst case, funeral expenses are worthy of compensation in a slip and fall accident. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, get medical attention immediately and document your treatment.
For your free consultation, call 561-777-7700, 24/7.
You are not to blame for another’s negligence. In Southeast Florida, the law entitles you to compensation for any injuries when proper regard for your safety is violated. Give the aches, pains and bruises you sustained in a slip and fall accident the attention they deserve. Shiner Law Group has a history of resolving personal injury disputes in Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and Port St. Lucie. Put your mind at ease. The firm’s attorneys are accessible and prepared to listen to your claims.