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Who is liable for damages in a slip-and-fall accident?

The very first question that comes to mind in a premises liability case is who created the hazardous or unsafe condition which resulted in harm, and what obligations that person or persons had to ensure that the premises were maintained free of the hazardous condition? The answer in most cases is that it depends on the situation.

For instance, in a slip-and-fall accident, which is a type of a premises liability case, if the incident occurred at a business which rents a space, then both the landlord of the property and the tenant can be sued. The rationale is that the tenant, in this case the business, has a duty to ensure that its place of business does not have a condition which could cause its patrons injuries.

Similarly, since the business is renting the space, the property owner, also known as the landlord, has a duty to maintain the property and ensure that any hazardous or unsafe condition which has the potential to cause harm is fixed. Additionally, a landlord or property owner who is in violation of existing building code may be found negligent. An example of this includes not having handrails on a stairwell.

An individual who has suffered injuries due to a slip-and-fall accident may be able to hold a negligent property owner and other parties responsible for damages. An injured party may be entitled to medical expenses stemming directly from the accident, lost wages, future medical expenses and other physical and rehabilitative therapies that are necessary to make the person whole and functional.

However, it extremely important to keep in mind that a slip and fall incident does not automatically mean that the property owner is at fault and that the injured party is entitled to compensation. It is essential to have the facts of each particular circumstance evaluated for legal sufficiency.

Source: Findlaw, "Slip and Fall FAQ", accessed Aug. 25, 2014

Source: Findlaw, "Slip and Fall FAQ", accessed Aug. 25, 2014

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