When a person slips and falls on someone else’s property, the owner of the property where the accident occurred, whether it be a residential complex or retail store, may be liable for the injuries suffered by the victim. In order for an owner to be held liable for slip-and-fall damages, the injured party must file a personal injury claim against them. The injured party must then show that:
- The property owner created the dangerous condition (e.g. icy sidewalk, aisle obstruction, poor lighting) that caused the accident.
- The property knew or should have known about the dangerous condition that caused the accident.
- The property owner failed to take reasonable steps to fix the dangerous condition.
When determining liability, the courts will consider whether the owner properly maintains the property on a general basis, how long the dangerous condition had been present and whether the owner had reasonable amount of time to remedy it, and whether any actions taken by the property owner to remedy the condition were reasonable.
Victims may be responsible for their own accidents and injuries
While property owners can be at least partially responsible for slip-and-fall accidents that occur on their property, the victim themselves may also have contributed to their own accident by acting negligently. In Virginia, a ‘pure contributory negligence’ state, you will not be able to recover damages if you are partially or completely liable for your own accident.
Slip-and-falls can result in serious injuries, both permanent and temporary. Victims can recover damages from property owners to cover their accident-related expenses and pain and suffering.