Losing your balance and tripping is, of course, quite common. Most of the time, a little embarrassment is the only damage done. But sometimes, a slip can cause more serious injuries and potentially lead to a personal injury claim.

If you slip and fall on someone else’s property, do they owe you damages? It depends. Getting injured on another person’s property does not, in itself, make you eligible to receive damages from the property owner. However, there are some cases in which the owner may be held liable. In general, the owner may be made to pay damages to the fall victim if the owner’s negligence – or direct actions – created conditions that were unsafe. For example, the owner could be held liable if ice or snow has accumulated on the property, sidewalks are damaged, or potholes and debris pose a risk to walkers, and reasonable steps to remedy the situation have not been taken.

However, this kind of negligence is not always easy to establish. In most cases, the property owner must have been aware of the unsafe condition prior to the fall. If the owner could not have been reasonably expected to be aware of the hazard, they likely won’t be held liable.

Furthermore, if the owner was aware of the hazard but did not correct it, they still aren’t likely to be considered liable if proper notice was posted. For example, if a damaged sidewalk is in the process of being repaired, the municipality probably won’t be held liable for someone falling if warning signs have been posted and the area under repair has been roped off.

Property owners are also unlikely to be held liable if the hazard was extremely obvious. For example, if there is a very large hole in a parking lot, it is expected that those walking through the lot will see it and go around it. In general, individuals are considered responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure their own safety.

Demonstrating that another party is liable for your slip and fall can be difficult. If you would like legal advice, feel free to contact our team of West Virginia slip and fall lawyers anytime. Or if you’d prefer to contact us online, please fill out this form and we will respond right away.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law