Over one million people visit the emergency room for slip and fall injuries every year. Plenty of environmental factors can lead to a falling accident. But some of those hazards could be avoided if a property owner was regularly checking and updating their property, whether it be residential, commercial, or government. Your falling accident could have been caused by a negligent property owner, which would fall under premises liability. But how do you know when you might have a potential claim? Here’s what you need to know about when you might have an eligible slip and fall claim:
When You Might Have a Premises Liability Claim
Property owners are legally responsible for the upkeep of their grounds and buildings, and if they fail to do that, they could be responsible for any accidents that occur on their property. Accidents could be as small as a fall resulting in a sore bottom, but others could potentially lead to death. Even though an accident happened on someone else’s property, you still must prove the property owner was at fault because they should have known about the danger or should have acted to fix the danger.
Before you file a claim, think about if you’re able to prove the owner of the property was negligent or did not provide enough care to their facility. Some of the elements of a poorly managed property are:
- Structural damage
- Wet floors
- Poor lighting
- Loose or missing handrails
- Uneven floors or pavement
- Falling objects
- Broken furniture
- Icy sidewalks
All these hazards become even more dangerous when warning signs are not posted. If one or multiple of these factors relate to your situation, you could be able to prove the liability of the property owner. If there were other people around who saw your fall, you could talk to them and get their contact information, so you have witnesses who support your claim. If possible, you should take pictures to provide as evidence to make your claim even stronger.
Reasons You Might Not Have a Claim
Even if a poorly managed property was part of the reason you fell, you still might be partially responsible. You might be partially liable if you were being negligent, which is also known as comparative negligence. This could mean that you were on your phone or texting and not paying proper attention to your surroundings when you fell. This could also mean you did not have lawful access to the property, or you ignored any warning signs posted. If this is the case, you could receive less or no compensation, depending on the percentage of liability you have compared to the property owner.
Even if you were not partially liable and the property owner was completely at fault, you still need to file your claim within the statute of limitations, which is two years in the state of West Virginia. Failing to report in time will make you ineligible to file your claim.
A fall could leave you with significant medical bills as well as force you to take time off work without pay. If you weren’t responsible for your fall, our Charleston slip and fall attorneys may be able to provide answers. Contact us and we can discuss your potential claim.