Slip and fall victims may generally recover when it’s established that the owner or operator of the premises had knowledge of the hazardous condition before the injury, and the injured party was unable to avoid the accident by exercising reasonable care. The law imposes a duty of care on a landlord, owner or operator of a premises to eliminate hazardous conditions on their property or provide guests and patrons with knowledge of the hazard.
On a rainy day or after cleaning, you may notice “Wet Floor” signs in your favorite store. These signs establish the owner’s knowledge of a particular hazard and serve as a caution to those entering the premises. Once a party is aware of a danger, it is up to each person to avoid the risk and protect themselves. Everyone is expected to exercise ordinary care for their own safety. Even with signs present, there may still be an issue of whether the signs were sufficient to give equal knowledge of the hazard. The defense will always try to make comparative negligence (each party’s responsibility for their own safety) a central defense, so it’s crucial to collect photos, witness contact information, and other evidence from the accident scene.
There are also fixed or static conditions of a property that may be dangerous. These may include curbs that are not marked with paint to warn of the elevation change or lighting that fails to illuminate stairs adequately. Additionally, design issues may create optical illusions that make it difficult to detect changes in elevation or drop-offs. Stairs also have code requirements for rise and run, and if constructed with an uneven rise and run may cause a person to stumble and fall.
Often when there is a slip and fall claim involving a static or fixed condition, the defense will try to absolve themselves of liability. One defense is that the injured party had encountered the situation previously and without incident. Insurance adjusters often try to get injured parties to admit equal knowledge when they take recorded statements, so it’s essential to speak to an attorney before speaking with the insurance adjustor.
Understanding the many nuances of personal injury law is essential to protecting your rights. Businesses and insurance companies will often call non-stop, seemingly eager to help, after a slip and fall injury. This information will be used against you when you make your claim, so it’s important to consult an attorney who can explain your rights.
While the defense will often try to claim that the injured party had a relative knowledge of the hazard, it is not enough to remove fault from the property owner. The injured party must have equal knowledge of the specific condition that caused the fall, not general knowledge. This is one of the many reasons it’s vital to seek legal counsel as quickly as possible after an injury and before speaking with anyone representing the owner or operator of the premises.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact the experienced legal team at Saladino & Schaaf as soon as possible. At Saladino & Schaaf, we have decades of experience representing Kentuckians in premises liability claims, including slip & fall lawsuits. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact us online or call us at 270-444-0406 (Paducah, KY) or 270-753-1529 (Murray, KY) to schedule a free consultation.
Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC is dedicated to providing high quality, aggressive legal representation to victims of personal injury and wrongful death. Since 1984, this firm and its predecessors have had one goal in mind – to help the victims of personal injury put the pieces of their lives back together.
Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC is a Personal Injury Law Firm with offices in Paducah, KY and Murray, KY. We serve clients throughout Kentucky and Illinois.
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