When a guest is injured in a slip or trip and fall on another person’s property due to a dangerous condition, a negligent property owner may be liable. Important details in slip and fall (premises liability) cases relate to whether or not the property owner was negligent in the following ways:
- Not discovering a dangerous condition,
- Failing to remediate a dangerous condition, or
- Failing to warn guests about a dangerous property condition
Insurance companies are typically responsible for paying slip and fall claims when a property owner is negligent. Not surprising to most, insurance companies can be difficult when it comes to fully compensating an injured party and our Federal Way slip and fall attorneys are familiar with their commonly raised defenses to liability. See below for a more detailed explanation of those defenses.
Common slip and fall defenses
- Property owners claim they had no knowledge of the dangerous condition. This may not matter if the property owner should have known about the dangerous condition. For example, if a retail store claims that it was not aware of ice on the sidewalk in front of their store, that may not be a valid defense because they have a duty to keep public walkways free and clear of dangerous conditions.
- Defendants will raise a statute of limitations defense when a plaintiff has waited too long to file a lawsuit. It is important to contact a slip and fall attorney as soon as possible after an injury so that you do not miss any filing deadlines, especially if the liable party is a government entity that may have different notice and filing requirements.
- Property owners may claim that the plaintiff’s own negligence led to his or her injuries, but even if the plaintiff was partially negligent, it does not bar recovery from a property owner who was also negligent. For example, a retail store may argue that you were negligent in attempting to cross an open and obvious icy patch located directly in front of their customer entrance. You may argue that there was no other way to enter the store, so you had no choice but to cross the ice. Even if you are partially at fault for attempting to cross the ice, the store owner is probably more at fault for the ice that he or she should have taken care of before the store was open for business.
- If you were a trespasser, a property owner will argue that he or she did not owe you a duty of care and sometimes that is the case. There are several exceptions to the trespasser defense when recovery may be allowed such as when the injured party is a child trespasser.
If you have been injured in a slip or trip and fall on someone else’s property, contact our Federal Way slip and fall attorneys at Russell & Hill, PLLC to schedule a consultation. If a property owner’s negligence caused your injuries, you deserve a full and fair recovery for your injuries and damages which may include medical bills, lost wages, lost future earnings, and pain and suffering.