Imagine you are out running errands. You plan to get your dry cleaning, swing by the bank and then stop for groceries on your way home. Everything is going as planned until you check out at the grocery store when you slip and fall – hard.

Instead of heading home, you are headed to the emergency room with serious injuries. You can’t help but wonder, “Was this my fault?”

Determining fault for slip-and-fall accidents

People trip, slip and fall all the time without it resulting in a legal claim. People wear slippery shoes or don’t look where they are going; they lose their balance or stumble over an untied shoelace. In these cases, an individual could be responsible for his or her resulting injuries.

However, if a property owner knew about a dangerous condition (or should have known about it) and did not address it, he or she could be responsible for damages.

Common situations that can trigger lawsuits include:

  • Slippery walkways due to uncleared snow or ice
  • Wet floors resulting from an ongoing plumbing issue
  • Inadequate lighting in stairwells

However, before jumping to any conclusions about your legal options after slipping, tripping or falling on someone else’s property, understand that these cases can be more complicated than you think.

Preparing to make your case

As this article on defenses to premises liability claims notes, property owners could challenge a claim. They might argue that an injured party caused their own injuries or was trespassing. They could maintain that there was no way they could have reasonably known about the hazard. They might also say that the injuries suffered are not the result of the dangerous condition.

Considering all the ways in which a property owner might defend against a slip-and-fall claim, injured parties would be wise to detail every element of their accident and seek legal guidance. With proper preparation and familiarity with these laws, you can better prepare for any case you might decide to bring.