Individuals are largely responsible for their own actions and therefore their own injuries. If someone decides to run recklessly through a parking lot while drunk, they would have no one to blame but themselves if they lose their footing and fall or get struck by a vehicle as they dart between the aisles.
However, someone who encounters an issue created by another party, such as dangerous property conditions caused by negligent maintenance, and who gets hurt at a business may have grounds for a premises liability claim.
Slip-and-falls are some of the most common reasons that people pursue premises liability claims against businesses. When is the business responsible for someone falling on its property?
When there are regulatory infractions or signs of negligence
Sometimes, a business or property owner will be subject to premises liability claims because they were not in compliance with state or municipal statutes regarding the condition of their property. Illegal activity or misconduct can give rise to premises liability claims.
However, a business does not have to break the law or flout safety statutes for a patron to be in an actionable position. Negligence regarding cleaning or maintenance can give rise to premises liability claims.
What constitutes negligence in a legal sense?
What you believe is an appropriate standard for cleanliness and facility maintenance could deviate substantially from what your spouse or your boss expects. When it comes to a claim of negligence, standardizing expectations is key.
It would be nearly impossible to address every conceivable maintenance issue in the legal code, so the rules on premises liability instead rely on a common law standard. Negligence rules are very specific, contrary to how interpretive they may seem on the surface. To show that a business was negligent, an individual typically needs to show that a reasonable person would agree that the situation was unsafe or required immediate action.
When a reasonable person would take different actions than the business did, then the courts may agree that maintenance and cleaning failures constituted negligence. If a careful evaluation of your situation affirms your suspicions that the business was negligent, you may want to pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and even property damage costs.
Some premises liability claims only require filing paperwork with an insurance company. Other times, people have to go to court to secure compensation. Evaluating your case can help you determine if you have grounds for a premises liability claim after a slip-and-fall incident.