Slip and fall accidents are the most common type of premises liability claim and are the result of a property owner or possessor’s failure to ensure that their property is free from hazards that could cause injuries to guests. If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident; personal injury lawyer Kris Helmick and the legal team at Pacific West Injury Law can help you understand the process of seeking compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injuries.
What Is a Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit?
In the legal arena, there are many types of claims. Personal injury claims involve compensation for the expenses and psychological impacts of injuries that were the result of someone else’s negligence. Premises liability is one type of personal injury claim, and slip-and-fall lawsuits are a subset of premises liability claims.
A slip-and-fall lawsuit generally begins with a demand to the at-fault party’s insurance provider. If the provider refuses to pay the claim or make a fair settlement offer to resolve the case, the claimant can then file their case as a slip-and-fall lawsuit. This is a legal claim filed in civil court that seeks to hold the property owner accountable for the slip-and-fall accident and to show the expenses and impacts that have been suffered as a result of their negligence.
Four Grounds for Slip-and-Fall Lawsuits
There are essentially four elements, or grounds, that must be present in order to prove a slip-and-fall case in court. Here is a look at each.
1. The Defendant Owns or Leases the Property Where the Accident Occurred
Premises liability refers to the responsibility a property owner or possessor has to protect guests from incurring injuries due to unmitigated hazards. This applies to the owners or possessors of commercial properties such as restaurants or hotels, the owner or tenant of a residential property, or even the agency that manages public property, and is referred to as the property owner/possessor’s duty of care.
In order to prove a premises liability claim, you must prove that the at-fault party controlled the property. Evidence that will establish this ground can include leases, deeds, and other property records.
2. The Defendant Failed to Fulfill Their Obligation to Guests
Property owners and possessors only have a duty of care to those they have legally allowed on their property. The duty of care refers to actions taken in order to protect the safety and property of others. Generally, the duty of care owed to permissive guests includes regular inspections of the property to search for hazards that can cause injury to guests and the prompt repair of the hazard or a prominent warning placed in the area of the hazard to warn guests of its presence.
Those who are considered to have permission to be on the property and are owed this duty of care include:
- Invitees: According to Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute, an invitee is a person that the property possessor has invited to be on the property for the economic benefit of the possessor. This includes business clientele, such as shoppers at a store or guests at a hotel or restaurant.
- Licensees: These are guests that the possessor allows on the property for the mutual benefit of both parties, such as social guests who have been invited to a dinner party at the private residence where their friend lives.
As explained in Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) §41.515, property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers with the exception that they are prohibited from deliberately luring trespassers onto their property for the purpose of injuring them. However, they are not required to ensure that the property is safe for trespassers or place prominent warning signs to alert them of hazards on the property.
3. The Defendant’s Failure Resulted in Injury
The third ground for a slip-and-fall lawsuit is that the failure of the defendant to inspect, repair, and warn about a property hazard that can result in injury is that it did, in fact, result in an injury. In order to prove this ground, you must be able to show not only that you were injured, but that the hazardous property condition that resulted from the defendant’s lack of care was the cause. Types of evidence that can be used to show this includes the testimony of eyewitnesses, surveillance video, medical records, and expert testimony that links the injury suffered to the type of slip-and-fall that occurred.
4. The Claimant Suffered Damages as a Result of the Defendant’s Negligence
The purpose of a slip-and-fall lawsuit is to “recover damages” incurred in the accident. The term “recovering damages” means obtaining payment in compensation of harm. The type of compensation you can seek after a slip-and-fall accident includes medical expenses, wage loss and/or loss of earning capacity (the ability to earn an income in the future), property damage, and physical and emotional pain and suffering.
How a Lawyer Can Help You Prove Your Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit
Satisfying the elements of a slip-and-fall lawsuit isn’t as easy as it seems. There are rules regarding how evidence can be collected, deadlines and court formalities to contend with, and the potential of a settlement through negotiations. While these are regular activities involved in being a personal injury lawyer, these are not things that most citizens know how to do. An attorney brings experience and knowledge to your case that can help prove that you have grounds to sue.
Your Slip-and-Fall Attorney in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson
If you suffered injuries as a result of a slip-and-fall accident in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, or Henderson, the legal team at Pacific West Injury Law can help you understand the process of seeking compensation for your injuries and the services we can provide to assist you with your claim. Contact us for a free case evaluation.