When a party is liable, they can be forced to pay the damages of anyone who is harmed. Proving liability is an important first step when harm is done by a slip and fall accident. Find out what must be demonstrated to prove that a person or business is liable for accident damages.
Proving Liability: The Legal Elements
To prove liability in a slip and fall case, the injured person (known as the plaintiff) must typically demonstrate that the owner or occupier of the property where the slip and fall occurred (known as the defendant) was negligent. Negligence means that the defendant breached a duty of care owed to the plaintiff and that this breach of duty caused the plaintiff's injuries. That can be summed in four elements, and all must be present for the party to be found liable and negligent:
- The defendant had a duty of care. The plaintiff must show that the defendant had a legal duty to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of visitors to their property. That generally requires the defendant to take reasonable steps to address any known hazards or dangers on their property.
- The defendant breached their duty of care. The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant failed to meet their duty of care, for example, by failing to take reasonable steps to address a known hazard or danger with their property. This can include failing to fix a broken handrail, failing to clean up a spill, or failing to adequately warn visitors about a hazardous condition.
- The breach of duty caused the plaintiff's injuries. The plaintiff must show that the defendant's breach of duty was the direct cause of their injuries. For example, if the plaintiff slipped and fell on a wet floor that the defendant failed to clean up, they must demonstrate that the fall was caused by the wet floor and not some other factor.
- The plaintiff suffered damages because of their injuries. The plaintiff must demonstrate that they suffered damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other losses, as a direct result of their injuries.
In addition to these elements, slip and fall cases can also be affected by factors such as the plaintiff's own negligence or the defendant's notice of the hazardous condition. Liability can be complex in slip-and-fall cases, and it's important to work with an attorney to determine your rights and options if you've been injured in a slip-and-fall accident.
Reach out to a personal injury law firm like the Law Office Of Timothy M. O'Donovan to learn more.Share