It is not uncommon for people to lose their balance on occasion. Usually, these falls do not lead to any serious harm. But not all falls are minor, however. In some cases, these accidents lead to permanent health consequences that could radically alter your life forever. When these falls happen on another person’s property, a dedicated personal injury attorney might be able to help.
If you have fallen due to a hazard on the property of another person, you could seek financial compensation through a civil lawsuit. Whether or not the property owner or occupier is responsible for your losses will require further investigation. A Zebulon slip and fall lawyer could help explain your right to compensation following a dangerous fall.
Determining When Property Owners Are Liable
The owner of the property where a fall occurs will not automatically be at fault for any damages that occur. Like with any injury lawsuit, a plaintiff must first establish that the property owner was liable for their fall. Liability depends, in part, on the relationship between the plaintiff and the property itself. There are three different categories of visitors, with some visitors enjoying a higher duty than others.
The Three Categories of Visitors
Of the three categories, invitees enjoy the highest duty of care from the occupier or owner of real property. A person could be invited onto the property directly, or the invitation could be implied. What is important is that the visitor appears for the benefit of the property owner, as opposed to their own benefit. One common example involves a patron entering the premises of a business.
The duty that a property owner owes to a licensee is not as high as the one they owe to an invitee, but it is still substantial. Licensees are individuals with permission to enter the property, but they do so for their own motives or purposes. A social guest is a common example.
Meanwhile, a trespasser is virtually unprotected under the law. In most cases, a property owner is not liable for the injuries suffered by trespassers on their property. A Zebulon tripping accident lawyer could potentially help a person seek compensation even if they were trespassing under limited circumstances, including if the property owner intentionally caused their fall.
Preventable Hazards in Slip and Fall Cases
There are two general duties a property owner might owe. The first is to address and remove potential hazards in a reasonable amount of time. The second is to warn visitors of hazards that cannot be removed.
When there are man-made hazards, like a spilled drink or a loose floorboard, the property owner has a duty to rectify them in a reasonable amount of time. The amount of time considered reasonable can vary, and it even covers situations where the property owner was unaware of the hazard. If a reasonable person would have discovered and fixed the hazard, a defendant could face liability for failing to do so.
Some hazards cannot be addressed in a reasonable way. For example, there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of falls when it comes to an empty swimming pool or a drainage ditch. Instead, the property owner must take steps to notify the visitor of the hazard. A local slip and fall attorney could advise an injured party on whether the property owner had a duty to address the hazard in their case.
Speak with a Zebulon Slip and Fall Attorney Today
While a slip and fall injury might be accidental, that does not mean no one is responsible for allowing it to occur. Property owners have a duty to protect most of their visitors from these types of incidents.
If someone’s failure to reasonably protect you resulted in your fall, you could have grounds for a civil lawsuit. Call a Zebulon slip and fall lawyer today to learn more.