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Who is liable in a slip-and-fall accident?

Shoppers expect a smooth purchasing experience when they visit a store, but that is not always the case. Slip-and-fall accidents can cause serious injury to customers and leave them with expensive medical bills.

Victims deserve compensation for these injuries, but the question after an accident is who exactly is liable for paying for the injury?

Premises liability

These cases fall under “premises liability” claims. In a premises liability claim, the owner of the property is the liable party responsible for compensation. 

However, the victim must prove the accident was due to a “dangerous condition” and that the owner of the property was aware of that condition. Dangerous conditions are those that present an unreasonable risk to someone who is on the property and one that the injured party should not have anticipated under the circumstances.

This means anyone who enters a property must be aware of and avoid obvious dangers.

Proving liability

Proving a property owner of a store was aware of a dangerous condition requires establishing one of three factors:

  • The owner created the condition
  • The owner knew the condition existed and did nothing about it
  • The condition existed for such a long time that the owner should have known about it and corrected it by the time the slip-and-fall injury occurred

Most premises liability cases fall under the third umbrella – that any responsible owner would have discovered the issue and corrected it in time – but it is harder to prove what someone “should have known” without the help of someone who can build a case and gather evidence there was negligence on the part of the property owner. 

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