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'Tis the Season for Slip and Falls -- Who's Liable?

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. | Last updated on

Who's liable for your injury after a slip and fall accident? That depends on a number of factors, most importantly where you fell, whether it's public property, a business, or a residence.

Premises liability law makes home and business owners responsible for injuries that occur on their property. If you fall in a store or some area the business manages, like the parking lot, then the store may be liable for your injury if it was caused through its negligence. Similarly, if you are a guest in someone's home and you get hurt as a result of a failure on the owner's part, the homeowner may be liable.

Proving Your Claim

To win a slip and fall case, you must show that there was a dangerous condition that was known or should have been known to the property owner or holder. The failure to address the dangerous condition caused you harm and it was foreseeable that someone could get hurt from it.

In other words, there must be a negligent party. If you just slip and fall for no apparent reason and you happen to be visiting a friend with a mansion and deep pockets, don't bother filing a lawsuit. Accidents do happen and there is not always someone to blame when things go awry.

Who to Name in a Suit

Who you will name in your suit depends on the details of your slip and fall. If you were hurt at the mall, there may be multiple parties to target -- mall management, the cleaning company that management hires, maybe a store, or security company, and perhaps even other entities. Similarly, if you fall in the mall's snow-covered outdoor parking lot, then you may also name a company responsible for snow clearing there.

When you fall in a residential property, the proper party to name is usually the property owner. But if you get hurt in a rental and the tenant was responsible for repair, that person may be a more appropriate target for a lawsuit.

People also fall on municipal property, in subway stations, on sidewalks and in parks. It can be a difficult world to navigate, and sometimes there is someone to blame for it -- maybe even the city or state.

Consult With Counsel

If you have fallen and are hurt, or were otherwise injured, speak to a lawyer. Consulting with an injury lawyer costs nothing and you can learn whether you have a claim.

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