Let’s face it: it’s cold here, and the winters are icy. In most cases, business owners and property owners do have a duty to keep property that they know is going to attract the public or house guests reasonably safe. In instances where their negligence has led to an injury from a preventable slip and fall, they will owe damages to a plaintiff. What you probably don’t know is that homeowner’s insurance and business insurance covers these accidents. This is a bit of a mixed blessing, because the insurance company will be representing the defendant very often if they are insured, and insurance lawyers are extremely aggressive. They want to protect the insurance company from paying out the claim regardless of whether or not their client was at fault. That means you need a skilled personal injury attorney to take your case, you want them to be someone who can and will stand up to insurance company lawyers.
The major difficulty in a slip and fall case is proving that the property owner is responsible for the accident. In order to prove that the property owner is responsible, the plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant, by some means, could have prevented the accident beforehand. That being said, there are some conditions under which a property owner might not be held liable. The fundamental question here is causality. If the plaintiff is found to have taken a risk in not avoiding an icy part of a parking lot, or there were some clear signs around that the plaintiff should have heeded, then the property owner may not be responsible for the fall at all.
The property owner does, however, have a duty to maintain reasonably safe conditions. For instance, an icy parking lot that hasn’t been plowed that expects a lot of early morning business can be held liable for not having the area plowed. A property owner will be held liable under the condition that they created conditions under which a reasonable person, using reasonable judgment, would have slipped and fallen under the conditions they created.
For those who think they have a case against a careless property owner who maintained unsafe conditions, keeping records of everything is of paramount importance. It may not be feasible at the time to take pictures of the parking lot directly after the accident, but hanging on to medical records, especially if an ambulance is involved, can go a long way toward helping your case. If you fall under unsafe conditions, it isn’t your fault. You are owed damages.