Fall Down Cases FAQ’s

I Fell on Someone Else’s Property. Do I Have a Case?

To have a case, you have to prove four things:

  • Duty: An injured person must show that the Defendant had a duty to him or her. Generally, the owner of land or a building, or the person in control of the land or building, has a duty to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition. They also have a duty to warn of any dangers or defects in the premises that are not likely to be known by the injured person.
  • Breach: The injured person must show that there was a breach of that duty. Generally speaking, they need to show that that person acted carelessly, or negligently, in order to recover.
  • Causation: The injured person must show that the negligence caused the injury.
  • Damages: You must show you have a compensable harm (e.g. a broken ankle or strained back).
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What Defenses Does the Property Owner Have?

  1. Notice: Many times, a Defendant will argue that it did not cause the hazard, know about it, or have a good reason to know about it. This is usually true in a case of falls in a supermarket when no one can tell for what period of time the liquid had been on the floor.
  2. Reasonableness: Defendants often argue that they did what was reasonable to prevent an accident. Defendants are not required to make their premises perfectly safe, just reasonably safe.
  3. Comparative Negligence: Quite often in fall down cases, the Defendants tries to pin the blame on the victim. The Defendant often argues that, if the victim had been paying attention, he could have avoided the hazard that caused the fall.
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Are There Any Special Considerations in Snow and Ice Cases?

These cases are now quite similar to any other fall down cases. To prove the Defendants’ negligence, factors such as the amount of time a Defendant had to treat the snow or ice, when was the last precipitation before the accident, whether the Defendant applied any salt or snowmelt to the area, the amount of foot traffic in the area, etc., all become important. Every case is different, but the guiding principle is that the victim must prove that the Defendant did not act reasonably in light of the accumulation of snow or ice.
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