Garza Law Firm: Liability
Can I Sue the Property Owner When I Slip and Fall?
With the Garza Law Firm, we make sure you understand the legal implications of even the smallest of experiences. If it’s important to you, it’s important to us.
When we venture away from our homes, there are many things that can make us stumble, slip, and fall. A seemingly routine trip to the grocery store can suddenly become dangerous when we encounter water on a tile floor, ice in the parking lot, or an uneven sidewalk. There seems to be an unlimited number of obstacles that can get in our way. Most of the time, these nearly invisible hazards make us temporarily lose our balance, but sometimes these hazards cause us to fall. And if that fall results in serious injuries, you will probably have the following questions: Is the property owner responsible? Can I recover damages for my medical bills and pain and suffering?
The first question that must be answered is whether the property owner can be held responsible for the dangerous condition. The law requires a property owner to make sure that their property is safe. However, just because a hazard exists on the property does not mean that a property owner can be held legally responsible. The law requires an injured person to prove that the property owner either caused the dangerous condition to exist or that the dangerous condition existed for enough time that the property owner should have become aware of it.
Let’s look at an example to see when a property owner may or may not be responsible for a dangerous condition on their property.
A customer enters a grocery store and walks down an aisle. In the middle of the aisle is a puddle of vegetable oil that spilled from a bottle that got knocked to the floor. The customer does not see the puddle of oil, slips, and falls to the ground. Is the grocery store responsible for this slip and fall? If the bottle of vegetable oil fell because the store’s employee either knocked it over or stocked the bottle improperly, then the store can be held responsible.
However, what if another customer while walking by, caused the bottle to fall? Then the property owner would only be responsible if an employee saw the hazard, but did nothing about it, or if enough time had passed that an employee should have become aware of it.
When a property owner can be held responsible for the slip and fall, an injured person is entitled to compensation for certain damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, there are some circumstances when a property owner may not be liable for a person’s injuries, even if a hazard exists for a long time.
If a condition qualifies as a “minor defect”, the law protects property owners from liability. A minor defect can include cracks in a parking lot, slightly raised sidewalks, and small holes. The law also provides some protections for governments and municipalities. Every case is unique, but it is important to know that even if a condition has existed for a long time and causes a person to fall, that does not necessarily mean that the property owner can be held responsible.
Here at Garza Law Firm, our team of attorneys are ready to review the facts of your case and discuss your options. Should you find yourself in need of a Personal Injury Attorney, call or email us. We’re here for you.
550 W. Main Street #340, Knoxville, TN 37902 | (865) 540-8300