Slip and Fall Accidents
Slipping and falling is one of the most common causes of accidents in the world, resulting in thousands of injuries every year, many of them extremely serious. However, it is often difficult to prove liability in these cases, since hazardous surfaces are often a part of everyday living.
Falling down a set of stairs or slipping on a wet spot may be unfortunate, or even tragic, but this does not always imply that someone can be held liable for injuries. Typically, one of three criteria must be true for liability to be had in a slip-and-fall case.
- The owner (or an employee) must be responsible for the hazardous surface. A waiter accidentally spilling a bottle of wine on a tile floor could potentially cause a restaurant to be liable for any injury that may occur. However, if a customer spilled the same bottle of wine, the restaurant would likely not be liable, unless other criteria are fulfilled.
- The owner (or employees) must have known a hazardous surface existed and did nothing about it. If the bottle of wine that the customer spilled on the floor was not cleaned up within a reasonable amount of time despite numerous waiters noticing the spill, the restaurant could be held liable. However, the key to this criterion is “within reason”; if another customer slipped fifteen seconds after the wine was spilled, it is unreasonable to expect the restaurant to be able to clean the wine within such a short period of time.
- The owner (or employees) should have known about the hazardous surface. Not knowing about a hazardous surface does not provide complete immunity to liability. If a “reasonable person” would have discovered the hazardous surface within the usual course of doing business, they could be held liable. If no employee of the restaurant waits on the table with the spilled wine for over half an hour, it could be claimed that the restaurant was being negligent because a “reasonable person” would have waited on the table and discovered the spill.
If you have been injured during a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, contact the Indianapolis personal injury lawyers at the Hankey Law Office, at (800) 520-3633.