Determining Liability in a Slip and Fall Accident

If you sustain an injury in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the owner and/or operator/caretaker of that property. To recover compensation for your injuries, you must be able to prove the other party was liable for your injuries. For the defendant to be legally liable, at least one of the following must be true:
  • The owner/operator of the property or an employee caused a dangerous surface (a spill, worn spot or slippery spot) underfoot.
  • The owner/operator of the premises or an employee knew of a dangerous surface, but did nothing to rectify it.
  • The owner/operator of the property or an employee should have known the dangerous surface existed, as any reasonable person with a responsibility for taking care of the premises would have discovered and repaired it.

What constitutes “reasonable” in these claims?

The “reasonable” standard is frequently the subject of debate in personal injury claims. In determining the standard of what a reasonable person would do in a situation, courts will consider a variety of issues, such as the following:
  • Was the dangerous surface in its condition long enough that the owner should or could have known about it?
  • Does the property owner have a policy for regularly examining, cleaning and/or repairing the property? Is there proof of regular maintenance?
  • If the accident was caused by someone slipping or tripping over an object, was there a legitimate reason why the object was there? If there at least had been a reason for it to be there, could that object have been removed or otherwise made safer?
  • Was poor lighting a factor in the accident?
  • Could a barrier or warning sign have been placed at the location to prevent a slip and fall?
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident and considering legal action, it’s important to act fast. The statute of limitations in Tennessee is just one year from the date of the accident. For more information and guidance on filing an injury claim, contact a Bristol personal injury attorney. Call Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. today at 423-797-6022 to schedule your free initial consultation, or contact us online.