Who is Responsible for Slips and Falls on Property?
Slips and falls happen all the time and, fortunately, most of the time these incidents are harmless, if not slightly embarrassing. However, occasionally a person will come across property that has been poorly designed, constructed or maintained, leading to dangerous falls and injuries. In these cases, premises liability law comes into play. This type of law governs who is responsible for injuries on private and commercial property. If you are injured in a fall due to a dangerous property condition, there are a few guidelines you should be aware of in determining liability.
Some people have an idea of premises liability law that it is something of a loophole in the law. Often those you believe this think that if you fall down or in any way injure yourself on a person’s property, no matter the reason, you are entitled to collect money for damages. This is a vast understatement and reduction of the law.
In fact, you actually bear some responsibility for how you behave on the property. If a person injures him or herself while behaving in an unexpected, unauthorized or dangerously careless way, the owner of the property is not injured. In other words, if you enter a store on a skateboard and subsequently fall down and hurt yourself, in all likelihood the storeowner will not be responsible for your injury since you are acting in an unexpected (and probably unauthorized) manner.
Property owners do, however, have a duty to make their property safe. This includes eliminating any hazards due to construction, design or condition of the property. The reasoning for this is that property owners are in a position to both know about and take steps to eliminate these dangers, whereas visitors are generally not on such notice.
When property owners do not keep their premises safe, they are inviting danger for their guests and visitors. If you have been injured due to an unsafe property condition, consider working with a skilled La Plata personal injury attorney at Mudd Mudd & Fitzgerald.