One of the most difficult parts of a slip and fall injury case is proving that the owner knew (or should have known) that the hazard existed. However, once it is established that the owner had constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition, it becomes much easier to demonstrate that he did not take appropriate measures to warn visitors and remedy the problem.
Gathering Proof That a Property Owner Was Aware of a Dangerous Condition
While property owners can be held liable for injuries that occur on their land or in their businesses, it is the victim’s responsibility to show that the owner was negligent. In Rhode Island, premises liability laws state that landowners may be responsible for an injury “provided the landowner knows of, or by the exercise of reasonable care would have discovered, the dangerous condition.”
Victims may be able to establish a property owner’s constructive knowledge of a hazard through:
- Time requirements. Property owners must be given a reasonable amount of time to discover the dangerous condition in order to have the opportunity to correct it. Footage from surveillance cameras or video taken by other visitors may show that a condition was allowed to exist for hours before the injury occurred.
- Foreseeability. The dangerous condition must be of a nature that would be obvious to a reasonably careful person. Photos of the accident scene, including the size and location of the hazard, can establish that an owner should have noticed it.
- Witness testimony. If the injury occurred on commercial property, there is a chance that employees and other customers reported the hazard to the property owner days or even weeks before the accident occurred.
- Code violations. Injury victims may be able to prove negligence if the dangerous condition was in violation of a safety statute or building code. For example, if you suffered a fall in the stairwell of your apartment building, you may have a valid claim against the building owner for a violation of a residential building code involving stair height, ceiling height, or proper stairway illumination.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall, we can determine if you are owed compensation and who may be held responsible for damages. 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.