An Example of a Slip and Fall Case
An apartment complex’s Building Manager has been instructed to install a railing on the stairs leading up to the main entrance of the building. She has been notified by numerous tenants that the stairs are dangerous and that they have difficulty using them. The Building Manager decides that she will not have a railing installed in order to save money.
One day, after a rain storm, a resident was bringing his groceries into the building. As he was climbing the steep stairs, he slipped, lost his balance, fell backwards, and broke his arm. As a result of the accident, the resident potentially has a slip and fall lawsuit against the apartment complex.
The Owner Must Have a Duty
In order for a property owner to be responsible for your injuries, they must have owed you a “duty of care.” This is a complicated legal concept, but ultimately, if you were invited onto the property in some way, then the property owner owed you a “duty of care.” The property owner is required to keep the property safe for everyone they allow and invite to be on it.
The property owner must have known, or should have known, that the dangerous condition existed. This is sometimes tricky, because in certain situations a dangerous condition can occur suddenly and unexpectedly. However, property owners have the responsibility to act promptly when they are aware of a dangerous condition. In the example above, the Building Manager knew that there was a dangerous condition and she had a duty to make sure that the stairs were safe.
The Owner Must Breach That Duty
If a property owner did not properly maintain their property, this is called a “breach” of the duty of care. This means that the owner failed to do the things that they were legally required to do. If it can be determined that the owner had a duty and an injury resulted, then there was likely a breach of that duty. In the example above, the Building Manager breached the duty of care by failing to fix the unsafe stairway.
The Dangerous Condition Must Cause the Slip and Fall
It must be established that the dangerous condition itself caused the injury. This means that there cannot be an additional event which caused the slip and fall. Though this sounds simple, it is often difficult for a slip and fall lawyer to prove this concept of “causation.” If, for example, the man was intoxicated while bringing his groceries in, the intoxication may have been the cause of the fall.
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The Injury Must Be Caused By The Condition
The injury that you are suffering must have been caused by, or worsened by, the accident itself. For example, if the man had a pre-existing back injury when he slipped and fell, then he would only be entitled to compensation if the injury was made worse than it was before. If he had to go to the hospital, or he now experiences far more pain that he did before, or if he now walks with a cane, then he may be able to file a slip and fall lawsuit against the property owner.
Why Hire Us?
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident anywhere in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses. For a free (no obligation) case evaluation, call our Rhode Island Slip and Fall lawyers at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form on our website. Our experienced slip and fall lawyers can file a lawsuit on your behalf and they charge no fee unless you receive an award or settlement.