Premises liability claims, more commonly referred to as slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall claims, are a common form of personal injury claim. There is a misconception among the general public about these types of claims: that if you walk onto somebody’s property, fall down and get injured, you have a personal injury claim against the property owner. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
Generally speaking, for liability against a business or property owner, the owner must have done something wrong, something negligent that caused your injury. The form this wrong takes in a premises liability case under common law is typically that the owner failed to warn or protect an individual lawfully on the premises from a dangerous condition that they knew or should have known about. This applies to all Rockford-, Machesney Park- and Loves Park-area premises liability cases.
In determining a property owner’s level of responsibility, the law concentrates on whether the owner makes an effort to keep the property safe and clean. Here are some initial questions you can ask to determine whether a property or business owner may be liable for your slip- or trip-and-fall injuries:
- If you tripped over a torn, broken, or bulging area of carpet, floor, or ground, or slipped on a wet or loose area, had the dangerous spot been there long enough that the owner should have known about it?
- Does the property owner have a regular procedure for examining and cleaning or repairing the premises? If so, what proof does the owner have of this regular maintenance?
- If you tripped over or slipped on an object someone had placed or left on or in the floor or ground, was there a legitimate reason for the object to be there?
- If there once had been a good reason for the object to be there but that reason no longer exists, could the object have been removed or covered or otherwise made safe?
- Was there a safer place the object could have been located, or could it have been placed in a safer manner, without much greater inconvenience or expense to the property owner or operator?
- Could a simple barrier have been created or a warning been given to prevent people from slipping or tripping?
- Did poor or broken lighting contribute to the accident?
Liability is generally an issue with slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall cases, as the insurance company can almost always find some necessary element in the facts to fight about. Documentation is extremely important, and having photographs, video footage and witnesses at the scene, or copies of correspondence that demonstrates prior knowledge of a dangerous condition by a business or property owner, can greatly strengthen a claimant’s position. Not all injuries result in a viable personal injury claim. An experienced attorney can give you an unbiased opinion on whether your claim is worth pursuing, and if so, how to properly document and preserve the evidence.
For a free consultation to discuss your Rockford premises liability case, call the Law Office of Paul M. Marriett at (815) 391-0089 to set an appointment, or contact us securely through our website. We are a Rockford, Illinois-based law firm, serving clients in Rockford, Machesney Park, Loves Park and Winnebago County.