Why Is Liability in a Slip-and-Fall Case So Difficult to Prove?

By WRSH on September 16, 2016 - Comments off

Slip and fall accidents and injuries are among the most common personal injury claims filed in New York. With that in mind, however, they are also among the most notoriously difficult to prove in terms of liability for injuries. That is why you need an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you against an insurance company or homeowner and ensure that your voice is heard.

One of the key aspects of proving liability in a slip and fall claim is demonstrating that negligence occurred and caused the accident. It is not enough that you were on someone else’s property, fell, and hurt yourself. That is merely an accident. For there to be grounds for a civil suit or insurance claim, it is vital to establish negligence on the part of the property owner. When it comes to a slip and fall case, there are three possible ways to demonstrate negligence. The defendant must:

  • Knowingly cause or create the condition that causes the fall, or
  • Have actual notice about the condition prior to the fall, or
  • Have constructive notice about the condition prior to the fall.

It is very rare for a defendant to have actually caused or created a dangerous condition that results in a slip and fall injury. Actual notice refers to a defendant being directly informed about the condition, such as an employee telling a storeowner that there has been a spill. Constructive notice means that there is a recurring condition or one that is long-term, and the property owner would reasonably be aware of it.

In most slip and fall cases, it is necessary to prove actual or constructive notice, which can be relatively difficult without a New York personal injury lawyer to represent you. Once this is established, however, that only demonstrates that the defendant knew about the condition prior to the accident. For the property owner to truly be negligent, you have to prove that he or she did not act in a reasonable way to ensure the area was safe.

For example, if you walk into a building after a snowstorm, and slip and fall on the wet surface within, that may be grounds for a civil suit. To demonstrate negligence, however, you need to prove that the owner had knowledge of the condition prior to your fall, and did not act in a reasonable way to make the area safe. If someone recently mopped the area or there are mats down to make it less slippery, then your case may be damaged.

Liability is not easy to prove, especially on your own. If you or a loved one have been injured in New York, call the slip and fall litigators at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP today at (212) 986-7353. We can discuss your case, tell you about your options, and work to show that someone caused your injuries through negligence.

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