When Can I File a Lawsuit for a Slip and Fall Accident?
Posted on behalf of Edwards Law Firm on Sep 26, 2017 in Personal Injury
If you were injured after slipping or tripping and falling on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Slip and fall accidents are covered under the legal concept of premises liability, which holds a property owner liable for an injury caused by a dangerous condition located on his or her property. However, there are certain conditions that your slip and fall accident must meet in order for you to seek compensation from the property’s owner.
At the Edwards Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys in Tulsa have represented many victims of slip and fall accidents and are well aware of the requirements needed to bring a valid premises liability claim against a negligent property owner.
Our attorneys will review the following factors to determine if you have a valid claim:
What Was Your Status on the Property?
The basis of whether your slip and fall claim entitles you to file a lawsuit depends on your reason for visiting the property. The duty of care that property owners have toward an injured person depends on his or her relationship with the property owner.
In Oklahoma, property visitors fall into three categories:
An invitee is someone who visits a property for a reason that benefits both the invitee and the property’s owner. This typically includes someone who is conducting a business transaction with the property’s owner, such as guests visiting a restaurant or a contractor hired to perform repairs on the property.
Property owners have a duty to protect invitees from any dangerous condition that the owner knows about or should know about. A property owner is obligated to regularly inspect his or her property to identify and fix any hazards that exist or adequately warn the invitee about the hazard.
A licensee is someone who has been invited onto the property by the owner for a social visit, such as a house guest. Property owners have a duty to protect licensees by warning them of any known dangerous conditions that exist on the premises.
A trespasser is someone who has entered a property without the owner’s permission or knowledge. Property owners cannot create dangerous conditions or make existing ones worse in order to harm a trespasser.
However, property owners are not obligated to fix dangerous conditions or warn trespassers about them.
Was the Accident Caused by the Owner’s Negligence?
All property owners have a legal obligation to use reasonable care to ensure their property is safe and free of dangerous conditions that could harm a guest or visitor.
However, in order to file a lawsuit for a slip and fall accident, you will need to prove that your injury was caused by the property owner’s failure to maintain his or her property. This includes situations where the property owner:
- Should have reasonably been aware that a dangerous condition existed and removed or repaired the potential danger
- Knew the dangerous condition existed but failed to correct it or warn about it
- Created the dangerous condition leading to the slip and fall accident
Our attorneys will review the cause of your slip and fall accident to determine if the property owner failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent the dangerous hazard from causing you harm. We will consider factors such as:
- Did the dangerous condition exist long enough that a reasonable property owner or employee could have corrected or eliminated the hazard?
- Did the property owner, manager or employee routinely check the premises for potential hazards? If so, was there a policy in place to document whether the maintenance was performed immediately before the accident occurred?
- Was there a reasonable justification for creating the dangerous condition? If so, did the reason exist at the time of the slip and fall accident?
- Could the hazard have been made less dangerous by adequately warning others of its presence?
- Did poor lighting, low visibility or other obstructive features contribute to your slip and fall accident?
Did Your Negligence Contribute to the Accident?
An important element our attorneys will examine in your slip and fall case is whether your actions may have contributed to causing the accident.
However, this does not disqualify you from filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Instead, Oklahoma will use the concept of contributory negligence to determine your level of liability in a personal injury case.
Under contributory negligence, a court will examine your actions and assign you a percentage of fault based on your level of negligence. Your claim’s value will then be reduced by this percentage.
Furthermore, if the court finds that your actions contributed a greater level of negligence than the property owner and assigns you a level of fault at 51 percent or higher, you lose the right to pursue compensation.
Contact an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney in Tulsa
If you believe your slip and fall accident was caused by a property owner’s failure to ensure the safety of his or her guests or visitors, do not hesitate to contact a skilled attorney.
The Tulsa slip and fall attorneys at The Edward’s Law Group have decades of combined experience representing victims of negligence and are determined to help you recover compensation for your pain and suffering.
As a prospective client, we will provide you with a free, no obligation initial consultation to review your claim and determine if you have a valid case against the at-fault party. We provide all of our legal services on a contingency fee basis, which means we only require payment if we help you recover compensation for your claim.
Complete our Free Case Evaluation form to get started.