Wet Floor Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents on company or personal property could lead to a civil claims case against the property owner or other responsible parties. The person that sustained the injury may receive financial compensation for their injury. However, the types of falls vary and so does the compensation.
This is a guide to understanding the definition of a wet floor slip and fall accident and what information will be productive or counter-productive to your case. Not all accident injury claims result in a payout, but your personal injury lawyer should be able to help you navigate the complicated retrieval of reports and records required to get you the compensation you deserve.
First, however, you need to figure out if you deserve it.
Types of Negligence
Injuries related to slipping and falling on a wet floor will not be compensated if the property owner or cleaning staff cannot be held responsible. Before you begin the lengthy and costly task of pursuing an accident claim, you should know how to classify your injury and how a lawyer and a civil claims court will view the incident.
To prove that your injury was the result of negligence on the part of the property owner, your accident attorney has to be able to prove that this owner had a reasonable amount of time to fix the issue before you became injured. This concept of reasonability will become important in your case since it is the main factor on the side of your opposition (in this case, the owner of the property at which you sustained your injury).
Reasonable notice means that the property owner had enough time for a reasonable person to respond to the wet floor before you were injured. For example, if someone spilled a drink, the manager saw it, they ordered a janitor to clean it up, and you slipped in it immediately as all this was going on, the manager may not be liable for your injury.
This is simply because they were following procedures promptly and could not reasonably prevent your injury in the time they were given.
On the other hand, if a spill is left alone for even a short time without any attempt to clean it up, set up hazard signs, or call a cleaning staff member, then it may be reasonably proven that the manager should have been able to prevent your accident and might be negligent in this case.
Additionally, if a floor manager orders a janitor to clean up a mess and the janitor forgets or takes too long, they could be the ones who are deemed negligent in your case and their insurance will be the one that has to pay out if you win.
Causes of Wet Floors
This seems semantic, but different causes can affect how the wet floor is treated in the context of your personal injury case.
For example, a wet floor could be caused by a spilled drink, in which case a manager would have to see the spill to respond; this somewhat extends the time they have to do so before they are considered negligent.
On the other hand, a wet floor caused by rainwater presents a different case. In the event of rain, many property managers are required to make certain concessions, such as a doormat or a cleaning crew on standby to clean up puddles in the doorway.
This is where the concept of reasonability matters. Since it’s raining and the manager must know it, it can be reasonably assumed that they have time to prepare precautions against slipping and falling, such as those mentioned. Many areas have ordinances that mandate how a property manager is required to deal with such a situation.
The Definition of Liability
We already went over reasonability as the first step to liability. A property manager must be proved to be aware of the wet floor for a reasonable amount of time before you can be compensated for your injury.
Knowing that it’s raining and reasonably preparing to keep customers safe from failing is another assumption. Due to this knowledge, negligence can be proven based on the reasonability of the response to the cause of your injury as well as the severity of your injury.
Remember that liability works both ways. While you may be eligible for compensation as a customer at a business such as a restaurant or a mall under normal circumstances, if you are not in an area that a manager can reasonably prepare for your safety, then the manager may no longer be liable for your injury.
For example, if you are in an employees-only area, it would not be reasonable for a property owner or store manager to prepare that area for customer safety. A slip and fall on a wet floor in such an area is not valid in an injury claim.
This also applies to trespassing. If you are not on the property legally, you cannot claim compensation for an injury you sustained there, even if the slip and fall injury was not technically your fault.
How to Start My Case
Slip and fall injuries due to wet floors are not always open and shut cases. Liability and reasonability have to be determined in order to assign blame. Only by proving that the property owner or manager was negligent in maintenance, construction, or general upkeep can you successfully build a case in your defence
Your accident attorney will gather the evidence you need to build this case, including maintenance reports and records of legal ordinances where required. The important thing for you to do is to recover and be with family while your attorney deals with the time-sensitive information required to build your case.
Regardless, knowing what constitutes liability in a wet floor slip and fall injury case will help you know whether you have one to begin with. If you can tell that a manager will not be liable (if you were trespassing, for instance), then there’s no reason to initiate the long process of legal preliminary work.