Many people receive serious injuries every year when they slip or trip and fall on dangerous surfaces. It may be uneven pavement, ripped or torn carpeting, a flight of stairs, or a poorly lit hazard that causes your fall. While the pain and anguish from the accident may be obvious to you, determining who is liable for your injury is not a simple process, which is why it is important to enlist the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
While it is true that landowners have an obligation to maintain their property with reasonable care that does not mean they can be held liable every time you are injured on someone else’s property. When you enter another’s property you also have a duty to look where you are going, and you cannot blame your own carelessness on another.
In general, these are the three theories for holding a landowner responsible for your injury that occurs on their property:
- The owner or his agent caused the dangerous condition to exist.
- The owner or his agent knew of the dangerous condition and did not remedy it.
- The owner or his agent should have known about the dangerous condition, because a reasonable owner in his position would have known about it.
Judges and juries take a practical approach to many of these cases, examining the conditions of the property and analyzing whether or not the actions of the landowner rose to the standard of a reasonable person in the same situation. They will also consider your actions, and decide whether or not you contributed significantly to the cause of your accident. These two decisions are weighed against each other to determine the final liability.
The injuries caused by slip and fall accidents can be severe. When the compensation you need to recover and return to your normal lifestyle is at stake, you should seek a lawyer to advise you on your options. Remember to always be careful!
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