Can You Sue for a Slip and Fall?

Slip and fall accident lawyers help victims injured in slip and fall accidents caused by hazardous and dangerous conditions on another’s property. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident on someone’s property as a result of owner negligence, then you do have a right to sue for compensation for your injuries. Specifically, a “slip and fall’ is the term for a type of personal injury claim sustained in a “slip or trip and fall” on someone else’s property due to the property owner’s negligence. The injured party is entitled to financial compensation for medical bills, lost income, loss of their quality of life, and so forth.

In the middle of winter, the accumulation of ice and snow creates slippery conditions that can lead to slip and fall accidents. Walkways, sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots that are not plowed, shoveled, or sanded can create hazardous conditions. Without routine maintenance or treatment, stairs and handrails can crack, break or rot from wear and prolonged exposure to the elements. Slipping and falling on an icy step or doorstep can lead to a serious injury with months of recovery. It is particularly treacherous because the impact of the fall has the potential to cause greater harm. 

A fall on a set of stairs can result in such injuries as broken wrists and elbows, neck and back injuries, broken hips and spinal cord injuries, or even a traumatic brain injury.

Stairs can be hazardous or broken in several ways:

  • handrails can be loose or missing 
  • wood could be rotted out
  • concrete or brick stairs could be cracked and crumbling
  • stone steps could be loose and wobbly

Add the daily winter cycle of freezing and thawing between storms and, without routine maintenance or treatment, those hard surfaces become increasingly dangerous.  

Accidents Can Be Prevented

Every property owner has a “duty of care” toward their customers or guests who are their premises, i.e., their property. A duty of care is the legal responsibility of a property owner to anticipate any conditions on their property that could reasonably be foreseen that may cause harm to others. If you are legally on someone’s property—a customer at a business or a guest at a house—and you slip and fall due to a broken step or crumbling stairs, the owner of those set of stairs has breached his or her duty of care towards you by failing to maintain them. It is a form of negligence and can subject property owners to premises liability.

Suppose you fall victim to such an injury. In that case, literally and figuratively, you, with your lawyer’s aid, will need to identify the hazardous and dangerous conditions on the property that caused the injury and prove that it was a result of negligence. 

How To Prove Negligence

Proving negligence is no easy task but is necessary to recover any compensation. You must show that the property owner did not use reasonable care to remove snow or ice on the doorstep that created the hazardous condition, for example. Negligence must be proven conclusively: that the property owner should have known of the dangerous or hazardous condition; that the owner or employee knew of the condition but took no action to remedy it; or that the property owner caused the dangerous condition through neglect or indifference; and/or that the dangerous condition existed for some time without any effort to fix or warn of the condition by the owner.  

Be certain that the legal team representing the property owner’s insurance carrier will do everything possible to cast doubt on who was at fault for the accident. Even in the most obvious cases of negligence, they will attempt to shift the responsibility upon you. Maine has a comparative fault negligence system that can assign a percentage of the blame for any accident to the injured party. If the defense can prove that you were 50% or more responsible for injuring yourself, you will not recover any compensation. You, the plaintiff, must be able to prove that you were 49% or less at fault to collect any damages for your injury. 

Why Should I Call a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer?

If you are the victim of a slip and fall accident due to a property owner’s negligence, then you have a right to seek just compensation to help you during your recovery. Contact Hardy Wolf & Downing for a free consultation. Maine’s experienced legal team and premier slip and fall lawyers have successfully represented property owner negligence victims for over 40 years. At Hardy Wolf & Downing, we help you receive the just compensation to which you are entitled.