Who is Responsible for a Slip and Fall?

If you have been in a slip and fall accident, the owner of the property where the accident occurred may be held liable, even if they warned of the hazard in advance.

A slip and fall accident can leave a victim with serious injuries, including neck and back injuries, bone fracture injuries, soft tissue injuries, and even a traumatic brain injury. When a slip and fall accident occurs, there may be a question of liability: Who is legally responsible for the accident and related damages? Liability depends on numerous factors, such as where the accident occurred, the duties of each party, and the specifics of the accident. Here is an overview of what you should know if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident on another party’s property, particularly if the business provided some warning of the hazard before the accident occurred.

Property Owners’ Duty of Care

Property owners have a duty to maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition. If a known hazard does exist, they have a duty to remedy the hazard in a reasonable amount of time or, if remedy is not possible in a timely manner, to post a warning or notice about the hazard.

Consider, for example, a spill within a grocery store. If the store employees cannot clean up the spill immediately, they may put down a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign to warn of the hazard. Does this mean that the store is not then liable if a customer slips and falls? Not necessarily.

Was the Warning Sign Adequate?

When a business places a warning sign about a hazard—such as wet floors, broken stairs, dangerous equipment, live electric wires, etc.—and if someone is harmed as a result of the hazard, the legal question is whether the warning sign was adequate to warn of the hazard.

For example, an attorney for the claimant may raise questions such as:

  • Was the sign placed in a location where it could be easily seen by customers?
  • Was the sign a reasonable size?
  • Was the sign displayed in the language spoken by the majority of customers in the store?
  • How close to the hazard was the sign posted?
  • Was the sign posted at a location that all customers entering from different directions would be able to see the sign?
  • Was there sufficient lighting for the sign to be seen?
  • Was the sign the most effective method of warning of the hazard?

Various versions of these questions could be applied to different types of warnings—signs, caution tape, locked doors, etc.

Get Help in Your Slip and Fall Case

Just because a sign was posted warning of the hazard that caused your slip and fall does not mean that you do not have a case and that the other party has escaped all liability. Before you jump to any conclusions, you should see a free case review by a skilled slip and fall attorney. At the office of Bednarz Law, our personal injury lawyer can review your case at no cost today and provide you with a legal recommendation for how to proceed. Contact us today to get started.