When Should You Take Legal Action After a Slip and Fall Accident?
A slip and fall accident can be quite painful and affect you long-term. You and anyone else involved will hope that you recover right away, but what if you don’t? If someone else’s negligence caused the accident, at least in part, you will want to consider legal action.
While your own possible contribution to the accident will be examined, you should know that a property owner or operator will have legal liability if he or she has some fault in causing an accident.
A property owner and operator must make the premises reasonably safe; they have a positive duty to recognize a dangerous condition and take reasonable steps to ensure that the property is free from a dangerous condition. Failing to do so can put visitors, residents, or customers in serious danger.
What Steps are Reasonable for a Property Owner or Operator to Take?
In order to consider the extent a property owner or operator is responsible for a slip and fall accident, the reasonableness of the property owner’s actions need to be considered. A number of questions can be asked:
- What regular maintenance does the property owner or operator do? If an inspection of the property occurs daily, is there proof to support this claim?
- Was there any warning of a hazardous situation? (e.g., a sign or cone)
- Did the owner or operator cause the dangerous condition? (e.g., leave out a bucket in the middle of a walkway)
- If the accident entailed tripping over something, was there a legitimate reason for that object to be there? (e.g., a bucket to collect dripping water helps to avoid a floor that increasingly hazardous because it is slippery)
- How long was the defect present before the accident? (e.g., leaving out a bucket, cone and sign to warn against dripping water from the ceiling is less reasonable if the ceiling has had a slow leak for weeks than if the ceiling drip just started)
- Could the hazardous condition have been made less dangerous? (e.g., preventing walking access to a dangerous condition by blocking off the area with tape)
Duty to Care for One’s Own Safety
The standard of what reasonable steps should have been taken is always balanced against the care that a person who slipped and fell should have used. If you contributed to your own accident (e.g., failed to pay attention because you were busy talking), your award for your injuries and other damages could be reduced by your comparable fault.
Legal liability will rest with a property owner or operator if:
- Reasonable awareness of the hazard should have been known
- Steps were not taken to prevent an accident
- Your actions were reasonable and could be expected
If you can prove that a property owner or operator is liable, you may be able to claim the following compensation:
- Loss of future earnings (financial loss due to the inability to work, reduced earning capacity and loss of future opportunity)
- Future care costs (medical care, rehabilitation and other future costs, such as nursing or attendant care)
- Housekeeping and homemaking services
- Pain and suffering damages (for loss of your enjoyment of life)
- Compensation for family members affected by your injuries (for cost of services you provided and the loss of care, guidance and companionship they have suffered)
Contact Peter Unruh, Personal Injury Lawyer in BC if You Get Hurt from a Slip & Fall
If you had a slip and fall accident in the Lower Mainland, contact our personal injury law firm in Abbotsford BC for a free consultation. Mr. Unruh will examine the facts in the situation and determine if you have a case for compensation. If Mr. Unruh takes your case, you won’t be charged legal fees unless you get compensation. Contact us for more information and to schedule your consultation at 604-746-4357.