Many people assume that if they fall in a grocery store, public place, or on private property that the owner will have to compensate them for their medical bills and other losses. However, victims soon discover that recovery for these accidents is far from straightforward, and believing that owners will “do the right thing” often leaves victims paying for their injuries out of pocket.
Misconceptions About Liability in Slip and Fall Cases
Although property owners can be held responsible for injuries on their property, victims still have to prove that the owner is liable for the conditions that led to the accident. Any preconceived notions a victim has about liability can severely damage the injury case.
Here are a few misconceptions victims have after suffering a fall:
- The property owner has more money, so it makes sense that he should pay. A retail chain or restaurant may have more funds for potential damages, but it is under no obligation to pay for an injury unless ordered to. Additionally, the owners of the establishment will likely have the resources to fight a legal claim.
- Owners are responsible for any injuries caused by a spill. This is not necessarily true. Victims will have to prove that the owner knew (or should have known) that the spill was there and had an opportunity to clean it up. For instance, if you slip on a spilled liquid in a grocery store and owners installed “wet floor signs” to warn customers until the area is dry, the owners have gone a long way to protect themselves from liability.
- A large, obvious hazard caused my fall, so the owner must be responsible. Premises liability laws state that owners do not have a responsibility to warn visitors of any open and obvious hazards such as a large mound of snow in a parking lot.
- I filled out an incident report, so the store/owner will send me a check. Employees are usually required to make out an incident report after an accident occurs, and it is primarily used to protect the owner, not you.
- I was injured in my rental home, so my landlord will have to pay my injury bills. Most tenant/landlord agreements relieve the landlord of responsibility for injuries to a tenant and others inside the rented unit. Landlords and owners are typically only liable when injuries occur in common areas such as hallways, stairwells, or laundry rooms.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, the attorneys at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum offer free initial consultations for injury victims and do not charge for services until your case is resolved. Contact us today via our online form to schedule your initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer.