If you didn't see the uneven pavement, the patch of ice at the foot of the stairs or the knee-level boxes in the aisle, you may have taken a tumble. You may still remember sitting on the ground or floor rubbing your knee or ankle and wishing you could just crawl away by yourself. The embarrassment of slipping or tripping and falling in public may stick with you longer than the pain.
However, you may be like many who suffer serious, even critical injuries in a fall due to hazardous conditions in a public place. Perhaps you do not even remember the fall because you struck your head and lost consciousness. Perhaps there was no way for you to crawl off because the fall resulted in a spinal injury or internal injury. If you are now dealing with the pain and suffering of a fall, you may wonder if someone can be held responsible.
What makes a property owner liable?
Deciding to seek compensation from the owner of the property where you fell is not an easy undertaking. Proving liability in such cases is challenging, and you would benefit from the assistance of an experienced attorney as early in the process as possible. Your attorney can help you investigate the factors that contributed to your injury.
The court will want to see evidence of liability, so you should prepare to answer the following questions:
- Did the property owner know, or should the owner have known, about the hazardous condition?
- Did the property owner or one of his or her employees cause the condition?
- Did the property owner fail to remove or repair the hazard despite knowing of its existence?
- Did the property owner fail to erect signs or barricades around a hazard he or she could not immediately remove?
- Did the property owner have ample time to address the hazardous condition before you fell?
- Were you welcome on the property, either by direct invitation or because the property was open to the public, such as a store?
- Did you use reasonable caution to avoid the hazard or to avoid falling if the hazard was unavoidable?
Whether you are seeking benefits through an insurance claim or building a case for an Ohio civil court case, you will benefit from professional legal help, especially if you are still recovering from your injuries. You may be tempted to jump at a settlement offer, but it is wise to seek advice about all your options before making a decision.