Understanding What Defines Negligence in Slip & Fall Accidents

When a patron, guest, or visitor slips and falls in a store or business, there is often the assumption that he or she will sue without hesitation and collect full compensation. This assumption may largely stem from entertainment media showing this chain of events in movies and television. In reality, creating a successful premises liability claim after slipping or tripping on a business’s property is a little more difficult than it seems, often requiring the expertise of a personal injury lawyer.

In only a relatively few amount of cases will someone question whether or not the visitor slipped. The complications arise when considering if negligence caused the patron to slip, or if it was just an unfortunate and largely unavoidable circumstance. Accidents can and do happen, but it is not always due to the negligence of an outside force. To win an injury claim like a slip and fall accident, the plaintiff must show the negligence was not their own.

Unreasonable Negligence in a Slip & Fall Case

No property controller will ever know about every slip hazard the moment it happens. That would be unreasonable to expect. But all property owners or store managers should know about hazards sooner or later and immediately take action to protect patrons from it. When this expectation is not met, negligence may be found on behalf of the property owner, not the person who fell.

Consider a scenario in which a shopper at a grocery store drops a jug of juice and makes a puddle on the ground of the aisle. After picking out the juice he does want, the shopper tries to step away from the puddle, slips, and gets hurt. All liability will be on that person, most likely, because he was the only one aware of the issue, created the hazard himself, and did not call out for help from an attendant.

On the other hand, if that shopper made the mess, walked away, and told someone of the puddle, the liability starts to shift. Even though the puddle of juice was made moments ago, the attendant told of the hazard now has the duty to take care of it and keep patrons away from the mess until it is cleaned. If another shopper comes down the aisle and slips, the store could be held responsible for not cleaning it up and not training its staff to react accordingly.

Proving Negligence in a Slip & Fall Claim

A person trying to gain compensation for slipping and falling in a business or store might be up against a large corporation, depending on what company runs or owns the location. In order to achieve success, a keen eye for detail will be needed, looking under each metaphorical stone for evidence of the business’s negligence. What caused the floor to become slippery? How long had that trip hazard been there before the accident? Did the store make an attempt to warn patrons? All of these questions and more need to be considered.

If you need to make a claim against a business that caused you to slip and fall, then working with an injury lawyer can help you get all the answers you need to build and strengthen your case. Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. has been helping people throughout Ohio seek compensation for 50+ years of total experience. Call 419.318.0772 to connect with our Toledo premises liability attorneys and learn your legal options today – initial consultations are free!

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