A common misconception about slip-and-fall situations is that they are unavoidable or typically the fault of the person who falls. Certainly, there are scenarios in which an individual contributes to their own injury. Perhaps they were wearing very unrealistic footwear given the weather or their location. Maybe they went out in public while under the influence of alcohol and then engaged in horseplay, which led to them getting hurt.
With those unusual and notable exceptions, many situations in which people get hurt in a slip-and-fall scenario are actually the fault of the property owner or the business where the incident occurred. Slip-and-falls are one of the more common reasons that visitors to a property could end up injured, which means that property owners and businesses should be proactive about trying to prevent those situations. There could be grounds for a premises liability lawsuit if someone who falls can show that negligence caused their injury.
What constitutes negligence?
People sometimes think that negligence is a subjective term. After all, different people have different personal standards regarding behavior and safety. What seems negligent to someone with a history of certain injuries or a phobia might seem reasonable to the average person. For the purposes of personal injury lawsuits or premises liability claims, there is an established legal standard for what constitutes negligence. Negligence occurs when someone fails to do what a reasonable person agrees is necessary for safety or engages in behaviors that a reasonable person understands would compromise safety.
For example, retail establishments with refrigeration and freezer units will need to ensure that they maintain them properly, as they could produce condensation and puddling if they malfunction or leak. Customers could slip on the puddle caused by a poorly-maintained refrigerator or freezer. Similarly, dirt and sand tracked in near the entrance of a store could accumulate and lead to people losing traction, which could cause serious injuries.
Provided that the circumstances that led to someone falling were preventable and that reasonable people could understand how the business failed to prevent the incident, a person who slipped and fell may have the necessary grounds to take legal action against a business or property owner. Ultimately, reviewing the details of a recent slip-and-fall with an attorney can help someone more effectively determine whether or not they have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit.