Slip and fall law refers to the legal rules governing cases in which an individual falls to the ground and suffers harm due to a dangerous condition on someone else's property.
A case is considered a personal injury case if the injured person happened to be on the defendant's property and was hurt due to a dangerous condition on that property. As a subset of personal injury law, these cases are controlled by the basic rules of negligence. If you are injured on federal government property, federal law applies.
Municipalities typically set their regulations that apply to property within their borders. Building code violations at the local level can be relevant if an individual's case involves a local property owner, federal government property, or a mixture of local and national government property.
The law states that all property owners must lawfully keep their premises safe for customers and other people on the property. This applies to indoor and outdoor accidents, as long as somebody is hurt while using the property.
The first step in any slip and fall lawsuit is the identification and designation of the responsible parties. The responsible parties are those in control or ownership of the accident site.
The responsible parties may be an individual employee or tenant who caused the hazard (a defendant) or one or multiple parties who exercised control over or owned the accident site (who may ultimately bear liability for the accident under the doctrine of premises liability). The other parties may include property managers, business owners, landlords (who may be held liable under the principle of premises liability), or the property owner.
If a person's name is not known when a lawsuit is filed, that person can be named a "John Doe" defendant. This allows the plaintiff, who is researching the case, filing the lawsuit on time. Once the name has been substituted with that of the correct party, the court has no choice but to dismiss the case.
If a slip and fall happen to take place on public property, special considerations must be made when determining who is potentially at fault. First, the issue of sovereign immunity must be addressed. Historically, humans could not sue the government for negligence, although this law has since been amended by statute. Thus, injuries taking place on public property may be actionable if, and only if, a few rules are met. These generally include strict notice requirements and time limits.
Finding evidence that proves the defendant is liable
If a person is not careful, they may suffer personal injury due to an accident. The claimant must prove the defendant was negligent in making a personal injury claim.
Negligence is often associated with slip and fall cases, and for a good reason: if the defendant was aware of a dangerous condition (i.e., a broken stair), and the plaintiff was unaware of it, then the defendant acted negligently and should be held legally responsible for any harm the plaintiff suffers.
If someone falls and gets hurt after slipping or tripping and falling, they are allowed to file a lawsuit against the property owner in the civil court system.
The plaintiff can typically gather sworn testimony regarding what happened before a trial, referred to as "discovery." This is accomplished by conducting depositions (a recorded interview) with anyone that witnessed the accident.
Subpoenas can also be issued to the defendant and other parties to show up to be deposed at the office of the plaintiff's attorney and to answer questions about the accident on the record.
As the plaintiff goes about their deposition testimony, a significant detail might come to light, informing the case's defense. By securing evidence early, both the plaintiff and defendant get a clearer picture of the circumstances of the incident. Taking this information into the negotiation phase, each side can flesh out potential settlements.
A company is not uncommon to dispute a slip and fall or trip and fall claim. For this reason, these cases often are decided at trial. Settlements, on the other hand, are rarely reached through negotiations. The defendant will almost always claim comparative fault on the part of the plaintiff.
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