You found out that a parent or grandparent slipped on some spilled liquid in the store, fell and suffered a concussion. Maybe they tripped on a vacuum cleaner cord that was slithering around the floor of a hotel lobby as someone was cleaning and they broke several bones in their foot and ankle.
Then you learned that they have no plans to ask for compensation from the owners of the establishment because they think their accident and injuries will just be blamed on them because they’re older. Is that true? Are property owners less responsible for accidents suffered by older and/or disabled people?
Was there a hazard?
Much as some property owners think that’s true – or would like it to be – that’s necessarily the case. If there wasn’t any kind of hazard on the property but someone simply lost their balance and fell – maybe because they weren’t using their mobility aid or didn’t have their glasses on – it can be hard to blame those responsible for the property.
However, if the property owner or manager was negligent in not cleaning up, repairing or at least calling attention to a hazard, it shouldn’t matter whether the victim was a teenage Olympic gymnast or a little old lady with a cane – or anyone in between. They could well have grounds for a negligence claim.
What’s necessary for a negligence claim?
There are essentially four elements that a plaintiff must prove:
- A defendant (typically the property owner) had a duty of care
- They breached that duty of care.
- That breach caused harm.
The harm caused damages that are compensable (like medical care, lost income and pain and suffering).
Falls and other accidents that might cause relatively minor injuries in young, healthy people can cause serious and even fatal injuries in older ones. That doesn’t mean that older people aren’t entitled to the compensation they need to cover the treatment of those serious injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to a property owner’s negligence, don’t let anyone convince you that you or they aren’t entitled to seek compensation because of age or mobility issues. Preserve any evidence you have, and talk with someone who can offer experienced legal guidance.