Slip-and-fall accidents can trigger costly damages. The following is an overview of the common causes of these accidents and how you can prove liability.
Numerous dangers can cause slip-and-fall accidents, but the following are some of the most common.
Wet surfaces tend to be slippery because the offending liquids reduce friction between footwear and ground surfaces. Wet surfaces result from things like melting ice and snow, accidental spills, and cleaning liquids.
Uneven surfaces, especially those that are unexpectedly so, can also cause slip-and-fall accidents. For example, you don't expect to meet a missing tile on a tiled floor, so you can easily slip and fall on a section with a missing tile.
In some cases, it might not be the nature of the surface but rather the nature of your footwear that causes you to slip and fall. For example, your risk of falling is high if you have shoes with slippery soles or unusually high heels.
Carrying a heavy load raises your center of gravity; the higher the load is, the more it destabilizes your center of gravity. Your center of gravity thus destabilized, you risk losing your footing and falling even on surfaces that you would normally have navigated safely.
Adequate lighting allows you to see where you are stepping and avoid obstacles. Pool lighting renders all that impossible and increases your risk of slipping and falling.
Improper design of walkways and associated objects can also cause you to slip and fall. Uneven staircases or stairs without handrails are typical culprits.
Litter or debris
Litter or debris on the floor reduces the connection between your foot and the ground, which also increases your risk of falling. For example, you may lose your footing and fall after stepping on toys on the floor of a retail store.
Just because you slipped and fell on the floor of someone's premises doesn't make that person liable for your damages. There are three main things that determine whether you can hold that person liable for your slip and fall accident.
Cause of the Accident
First, you need to know the cause of the accident. You can only hold someone liable for an accident if that person caused the accident, whether intentional or unintentionally, or allowed the conditions that caused the accident. This means you cannot hold another person liable for your damages if your slippery shoes or heavy load caused your fall.
Knowledge of the Accident
If you didn't cause the accident, then you need to prove that the owner of the premises knew about the danger or that they should have known about it. The longer the dangerous situation that caused your accident existed, the easier it will be to prove that the owner of the premises should have known about it.
Lastly, you also need to consider the actions, if any, that the owner of the premises took to prevent injuries by the dangerous situation on their premises. For example, the owner of the premises may not be liable for your damages if they cordoned off a dangerous action of the floor and put up warnings to such effect, but you still ended up walking on and falling on that section of the floor.
Contact a personal injury attorney near you if you have more questions.