I slipped and fell on another person’s property. Who pays?
So you went to a barbecue at a friend’s house. When the time came to leave, you were walking down the driveway when you turned around to wave goodbye one last time, and you stepped on an oil slick. This caused you to slip, fall and break your ankle. Now what? Who has to pay the medical bills?
This is where the concept of premises liability comes in. When you step onto another person’s property, you do so with the reasonable assumption that the premises are safe. Indeed, the property owner has a duty to others to keep his or her property reasonably safe. If the owner breaches this duty, and someone is injured as a result, the owner may be found liable for the injured person’s damages.
In an instance such as the one described above, your friend failed to maintain a safe environment by not cleaning up the oil slick on his driveway. This caused you to fall and sustain an injury. Therefore, he as the property owner, may be found liable for your medical bills.
It’s important to note that other factors may apply. In the barbecue scenario, imagine that you had been drinking the entire time you were present. If you were intoxicated when the slip-and-fall accident happened, the property owner may not be liable.
The burden of proof will always fall to a claimant in a premises liability suit. For this reason, it is always helpful to talk to an attorney about their opinion of your claim, and what you would need to be able to prove. Also, they can assist you in making sure you are claiming all compensation that you may be due.
Source: Findlaw.com, “Premises Liability: Who Is Responsible?” accessed Oct. 4, 2017
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