Proving Fault in Slip and Fall Accidents

There are times when it is very hard to show who is at fault for slip and fall accidents. There are thousands of people who are injured yearly, mostly are severe cases of injury, from slipping and falling on the floor, stairs, or other surface that become very dangerous. An uneven ground can become dangerous as it can result to severe injury. But, there are times when it can be hard, if it is not impossible, to show that the property owner is accountable for the slip and fall accidents.

Can the Owner of the Property Prevent the Accident?

If you or a member of your family is injured in a slip and fall accident, it is a challenging experience to seek out justice through filing of lawsuit immediately. But you must determine first if the accident is a simple and natural consequence, where regardless of how careful the owner of the property was, could not have been prevented.

If there is a leaking roof that results to a slippery condition for slip and fall, the owner of the property may not be accountable for your injury, if there is a drainage grate in the floor which is made to prevent slippery conditions. Additionally, the owners of the property are not always responsible for the things that a reasonable individual would have prevented, like tripping over a thing that normally be discovered in that area, such as a leaf rake on the yard during the fall season. Each individual has an accountability to know of your surroundings and do something to prevent hazardous conditions.

Property Owner’s Responsibility to Sustain Reasonably Safe Conditions

Although property owners are not liable for the injuries of other people due to slip and fall on their properties, owners of these properties must develop reasonable ways to make sure that their properties are free from dangerous conditions that cause someone to slip and fall. Here are some helpful tips that the courts and insurance companies apply to determine the error in slip and fall accidents.

Liability for the Slip and Fall Accidents

If you are suffering from an injury due to slip and fall accident on somebody’s property because of a hazardous condition, you need to prove the presence of any of the following to have any chance of winning a lawsuit for your injury:

  • Either the owner of the property or the worker of the owner should have known of the hazardous condition since another “reasonable” individual in his/her position would have known the dangerous condition and repaired it.
  • Either the property owner or the worker of the property owner know about the dangerous condition but did not fix it.
  • Either the owner of the property or worker of the property owner caused the dangerous condition such as worn area, broken flooring, spills, and the like.

Since the owners of the premises are generally, good about the maintenance on their properties, the first circumstance is usually the one that is sued in slip and fall accidents. But the first condition is also tricky to prove because of the terms “should have been.” This brings a different meaning to different persons, although they may be hearing the same case. After showing your evidence and arguments, it will be the judge who should have been whether it was the slippery step that really caused your injury.


When you try to prove that the owner of the premises is accountable for the injury you sustained during your slip and fall accident, you also need to present the reasonableness of the owner’s actions. To assist you with this condition, here are some questions to help you determine prior to filing a case:

  • For how long that the defect has been present prior to your accident? This means that if the leaking roof over the stairwell has been leaking for the past three months, then it is less reasonable for the owner to permit the leak to continue rather than when the leak has just begun the night prior to the accident when the landlord is just waiting for the rain to stop and fix it.
  • What are the types of daily cleaning activities does the owner of the property engage in? When the owner of the premises claims that he/she is checking the premises every day, what kind of evidence can he/she can present to support the claim?
  • If the slip and fall accident involved tripping over something that was on the floor or in another area where you have tripped, was there a reasonable reason for that item to be there?
  • If you slip and fall accident involved tripper over on an object that was left on the floor that has a justifiable reason for being there, did the justifiable reason still exist during the accident? For instance, tripping over a can of paint in a living room may be unreasonable if the previous room was painted two years ago and the owner has no immediate plans to repaint the room.
  • If the slip and fall you experienced involved tripped over a thing that was left on the floor contained an acceptable reason for being there, could the thing has been placed or stored in a manner that could have reduced the chances of somebody to trip over it?
  • What are the types of precautions could the owner of the property have done to reduce the chances of somebody being involved in a trip and fall accident on his/her premises? Lesser precautions such as a simple plastic fence, the lesser reasonable it was to not to take the precaution.
  • Was there a problem with any of the surroundings, which is also under the control of the owner of the premises that contributed to the trip and fall accident? For instance, you tripped on a slippery staircase that has no working light bulbs giving light to the staircase.

If you can answer one or more of the questions in a manner that favorably support your slip and fall claims, then, you may have the chance of winning in your lawsuit. But, you still have to consider if carelessness on your part contributed to the accident.


Most of the states adhere to the rule of comparative negligence about slip and fall accidents. It means that if you contributed to your own injury, like you were on the phone and you were not paying attention to the warning sign, the award for your injuries and other damages may be reduced by the amount that you were comparatively at fault. The percentage of who is at fault will be determined by the judge or jury.

  • Did you have a legitimate reason for being on the premises of the owner when the accident occurred? Should the owner know that you were coming or somebody in the same condition to you, being there?
  • Will the person of reasonable caution in similar situation noticed and avoided the dangerous situation, or handled the situation in a manner that would have reduced the chances of the slip and fall accident like holding on the handrail while going down the icy stairs?
  • Did the owner of the property build a barrier or provide sufficient warning about the hazardous condition that resulted to your slip and fall accident?
  • Were you holding activities that resulted to your slip and fall accident? Example of this condition are texting while walking, running around the edges of the pool, trying to ice skate while in your school shoes, jumping or skipping, and the like.

If you are discussing with an insurance company regarding a probable settlement for your injuries, you may be asked several questions similar to the questions here. Even though, you may not have to show to the insurance company that you have been very cautious, you may have to show enough so that the insurance company will be able to believe that you did not act negligently.

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