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How can I prove liability for a slip-and-fall accident?

Property owners must maintain their properties in good condition, especially if the properties are frequented by consumers or the general public. Should property owners fail to comply with this responsibility and someone suffers an injury from a dangerous property condition, the property owner may be held liable in a premises liability lawsuit.

Slip-and-fall accidents are some of the most common types of accidents that result in premises liability lawsuits. These kinds of accidents occur when someone either slips or trips and injures him- or herself as a result of conditions like torn carpeting, uneven or damaged flooring, wet floors, icy sidewalks, dangerous stairs, poor lighting, etc. Property owners can be held liable for accidents that occur inside or outside of buildings, depending on whether they are legally responsible for maintaining that part of the property.

Merely slipping and falling in a store or public building does not mean that the property owner is liable for a person's injuries. A court will analyze both the care taken by the property owner and any potential negligence or carelessness of the person who suffered the injury. In order to win a premises liability case, a plaintiff must generally prove not only that a dangerous property conditions existed but also that the property owner had knowledge of the condition. The risk posed by the property must be both unreasonable and unlikely to be foreseen by the person who was injured.

A plaintiff can generally prove that a property owner knew of a dangerous property condition in one of three ways. If the property owner created the condition, he or she will be presumed to be aware of the risk it poses. Another way of establing fault is by proving that the owner knew of the condition but took no action to correct it. Finally, a third way involves proving that the condition existed for such a long time that the property owner should have been aware of it even if he or she lacked actual knowledge at the time the accident occurred.

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