People fall while out in public for all kinds of reasons. Some individuals have health issues like vertigo or other medical concerns that may compromise their ability to safely move through public spaces. Other times, people may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which may lead to a loss of balance and a fall. In such scenarios, it may be a combination of factors that leads to someone getting hurt in a public space.
Sometimes, someone falling in a public place is not necessarily due to their medical limitations or personal choices but rather property safety issues caused by or ignored by a property owner or business. In some cases, those scenarios will give rise to premises liability claims that can compensate the person who fell for medical expenses and lost wages. To file a claim, the injured party typically needs to prove that the business or property owner was negligent.
How does someone establish negligence after a slip-and-fall?
Although what constitutes negligence may seem subjective, there is a very simple legal standard applied when someone makes a negligence claim. If a reasonable person would agree that certain actions would have reduced risk or that certain actions obviously increased risk, the behaviors or omissions will typically constitute negligence in civil court.
The reasonable person standard itself is somewhat subjective, but many injured people supported by a personal injury lawyer can successfully argue that a business was negligent. Failing to clean up spills or repair leaking equipment is often a negligent choice that exposes everyone visiting the business to risk. Understaffing practices also often connect to negligence, as companies could prevent incidents if they scheduled a few more workers to better meet the needs of customers and the facility.
Sometimes, premises liability claims will end up settling outside of court, as many businesses have general liability insurance policies and even specialized premises liability insurance to cover the costs that visitors might incur if they get hurt at the property. Other times, the claim may require litigation for someone who gets hurt to connect with an appropriate amount of compensation.
Recognizing when a business might be to blame for a slip-and-fall might help someone decide whether pursuing a claim is a worthwhile option. Seeking legal guidance is usually a good place to start.