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Proving Fault in a Slip & Fall Accident

Property owners have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment on their grounds. If you have been injured on someone else's property because they did not maintain their property as they should, you may be able to receive compensation. In order to have a premises liability claim there has to be a legitimate injury, not an "almost" injury.

Also, you will need to prove fault of the property owner. In order for the property owner to be liable for a slip and fall accident on their property, one or more of the following must be true:

  • The owner or an employee caused the spill or dangerous surface on the property
  • The owner or an employee knew about the dangerous surface and did not do anything about it
  • The owner or an employee should have been aware of the dangerous surface because a "reasonable" person in charge of property would have known and fixed the situation

Generally, it is the third scenario that makes the property owner liable. The issue with this regulation is that it says "should have known," and this is a subjective idea. The determination is made by thinking of what "reasonable" is. In order to determine if the property owner acted reasonably, the court will investigate into the situation. If they are able to figure out how long the dangerous surface was present or if the owner regularly examines their grounds, then the decision can be easier. If the owner had the time to fix the problem, then they are generally found to be at fault.

The three steps used to determine if a property owner is at fault, include; duty of care, breach of duty, causation of injury. If these three factors cannot be linked, proving fault may be more difficult. Property owners have a duty of care and if they breach that duty by acting negligently, they may be liable for injuries caused by their carelessness. This may seem simple, but this process can be complicated.

In order for you to prove liability, there are steps that you should take following the accident in order to preserve evidence. The best ways to preserve evidence, include:

  • Take pictures of the location of the accident, note the substance or condition that caused the fall.
  • Receive medical treatment in order obtain medical records.
  • File a report and make sure the property owner makes a written report of the accident, then keep a copy of it.
  • Collect contact information of any witnesses and the employees/manager present at the time of the accident.
  • Put the clothes and shoes you were wearing in a zip lock bag and do not wear them after because there may be evidence on the clothing.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall, contact a Charlotte personal injury lawyer from our firm for help proving liability.