I Slipped and Fell: Do I Have a Case?
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Apr 11, 2017 in Personal Injury
A slip and fall accident occurs when someone becomes injured after falling on another’s property due to the presence of hazardous conditions.
Property owners are obligated to ensure the safety of guests and visitors on their premises and may be held liable for slip and fall accidents that occur because of their negligence.
Accidents on Private Property
Slip and fall claims fall under an area of the law referred to as premises liability. This includes all personal injury claims filed against the owner of a property with unsafe or hazardous conditions.
A property owner has a legal duty to maintain his or her premises and is required to use reasonable care to warn of or fix any known dangerous condition on the property.
A slip and fall accident can occur for several reasons. Some might be slight and unnoticeable, while others might be due to the obvious negligence of the property’s owner.
Common examples of property neglect that lead to slip and fall accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Wet surfaces
- Uneven surfaces or floors
- Cracked or broken sidewalks
- Failing to provide barriers from unsafe conditions
- Poor lighting
- Unsafe stairwells
- Unmarked steps
- Torn, broken or raised areas of carpet
Property owners are also required to provide guests and visitors with adequate warning about any existing dangerous conditions.
The warning should accurately describe the condition and the potential cause of harm that might ensue if a guest or visitor ignores the caution. It should be easily visible to anyone in the vicinity.
Do I Have a Valid Claim?
There are standards that dictate when a property owner is liable for accidents that occur on his or her premises, including those of a slip and fall injury.
To establish a valid slip and fall claim, you must prove that:
- The property owner created the hazardous condition, either through action or inaction
- The property owner knew the condition existed but neglected to corrected it
- The condition existed for a period of time that the property owner should have known of the hazard’s existence and corrected it
If you can prove the owner knew of the condition for an amount of time that would have allowed him or her to fix the hazard, then he or she can be held liable.
Similarly, if you were not properly warned that a dangerous condition existed on the property that might cause harm, the property owner could be held liable. This could be in the form of a sign depicting the potential danger or preventative measures that would protect visitors and guests from the hazard.
If these standards were not met, you may be able to file a claim against the property owner. An experienced slip and fall lawyer can help you determine if the property owner is liable for your injury.
However, if you are attempting to file a claim, you must act quickly. Arizona has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury victims to take legal action against the at-fault party. If you wait to file a claim outside of the deadline, you forfeit your chance to seek damages through a lawsuit.
Accidents on Residential Property
There may be instances in which a person occupying a residential property is injured in a slip and fall accident and can hold the property’s owner liable.
This usually happens in a tenant-landlord arrangement, which is described in a contract that establishes which party is responsible for maintaining or controlling specific parts of the property.
In order for a tenant/occupant to prove that the property owner/landlord is responsible for a slip and fall injury, he or she must show that:
- The landlord had established control over the hazardous condition that caused the slip and fall accident.
- Repairing the condition would not have been difficult or impose an unreasonable financial burden on the landlord.
- The hazardous condition was likely to have caused a serious injury after being neglected.
- The landlord’s failure to attempt to remedy the hazardous condition is was led to the slip and fall accident.
However, a landlord must be properly warned that a dangerous condition exists within his or her established domain. If a tenant is injured after fulfilling this obligation, the property owner can be held liable for the damages.
Accidents on Government Property
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident that occurred on government property, you might be able to hold the government entity that controls the premises liable.
Claims filed against a government entity often involve hazardous conditions that were neglected by federal, state or city employees.
For example, you may be injured after tripping and falling over a cracked sidewalk outside of a government building. The sidewalk is located on a property owned and maintained by the government, which follows the same standards of liability held by owners of private property.
However, filing a claim against a government entity can be difficult and requires you to follow a different process from that of a personal injury claim brought against an individual.
If you are bringing a claim against a government entity in Arizona, like the City of Phoenix, you must first file a notice of claim before filing a lawsuit.
A notice of claim provides the city with a warning of your intentions to file a lawsuit and must specifically detail the nature of your claim.
These are the requirements for filing a notice of claim in the City of Phoenix:
- You must state sufficient facts that support your claim against the city and provide insight as to why you are filing a claim.
- You must serve the notice of claim in person to a city employee who can accept service for the city.
- You must state a specific amount of money that you will accept to settle your claim. You are also required to provide a detailed explanation as to how you came up with the monetary value of your settlement.
A notice of claim must be filed and served to the proper individual within 180 days after you have suffered an injury. If you wait to serve your notice of claim after the 180-day deadline, your claim will be denied.
The City of Phoenix is then given 60 days to determine if it is willing to accept or deny your claim for a settlement. If your claim is denied, you may file a lawsuit.
Legal Help for Slip and Fall Accidents in Phoenix
Slip a fall accidents may seem simple, but they can result in a victim suffering serious injuries.
Property owners have an obligation to maintain their premises for the safety of others. If you or someone you love was injured because a property owner neglected his or her duty, you may have legal options.
The Phillips Law Group is dedicated to helping victims of negligence overcome their injuries by holding the at-fault party responsible for his or her actions. We can discuss the terms of your slip and fall injury in a free consultation and will determine if the property owner is liable for your injury.
Do not hesitate to contact us for qualified legal help. Our clients are never charged any upfront legal fees and you only pay us if we recover damages for your claim.