Property owners have a Duty to Maintain Safe Conditions
This guideline means they are required to maintain safe conditions. Examples of this are hiring workers to clear snow and lay salt to keep sidewalks safe or having custodians clean often to avoid floors becoming slick. On the other hand, each individual has a responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and avoid dangerous situations. If you slipped on a banana peel, distracted talking on your phone that could be you did not use proper care. There are no clear-cut rules dictating whether or not a property owner is held responsible for an accident. Each case is unique, and attorneys are trained to ask the types of questions to gather enough facts to determine the value of your possible case.
In order to argue a successful case against a property owner, you’ll most likely need to prove one of the following:
- That a “reasonable” property owner would have been aware of the danger and taken steps to repair it, which the property owner in your case failed to do.
- The property owner knew about the dangerous condition, but failed to take action, or undertook action that was ineffective.
- The property owner caused the dangerous situation.
The first of these conditions is the most common argument in slip and fall accidents, but also the most difficult to prove. In this situation the plaintiff must prove that the property owner “should have known” that the danger existed, which, after presenting evidence to the court, will be decided by the judge or jury.
Some of the conditions of your accident that the court will most likely consider are:
- How long was the defect that caused the accident, such as a leak or misplaced object, present before the accident? It can be useful to make a sketch of the scene, marking high traffic areas, and putting arrows on possible hazards such as loose boards on a deck, uneven concrete, damaged rugs, etc.
- In what kind of daily cleaning, maintenance, and upkeep does the property owner engage? For example, if your fall happened in a bathroom in a puddle of water it could be useful to go back and take a photo of the maintenance log the company posts on the wall (if available).
If you’ve explored all of these questions and have any reason to believe that you were the victim, your next step is to contact an experienced Naperville IL slip and fall lawyer.
Thanks to our friend and contributor from The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into slip and fall cases.