Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Who’s at Fault If You Slip and Fall on a Neighbor’s Driveway?

June 3, 2019 by  
Filed under Health, Money/Business, Weekly Columns

( The fundamental question that urgently needs answering when you are injured in an accident that is someone else’s fault is who is going to pay your medical bills?

There are so many different scenarios where a seemingly trivial situation can escalate into a serious situation and one such example would be if you suffer a fall on your neighbor’s driveway.

It might not be the first thing on your mind, especially if you are friends with your neighbor but it could be that they are liable if the accident occurred on their property.

In this sort of difficult situation, you will often need someone who has a good understanding injury lawsuits to help you get the compensation you deserve and need to be able to pay those medical bills.

Someone is not always responsible

The first point to make is that if you have been injured on someone else’s property it is not a cut and dried case that they can be held responsible for your injury and subsequent medical costs.

Slips and falls can be part and parcel of everyday life and if your neighbor has just cleaned their driveway, for example, there is an expectation for you to notice this and avoid walking across what is an obviously slippery surface.

The general point to bear in mind is that we all have to accept that we need to watch where we are going, otherwise there would be all sorts of lawsuits being filed for very minor accidents.

However, it is also the case that property owners do need to be vigilant in maintaining their property and deal with any potential accident hotspots that could easily lead to a trip or fall.

The first step is about determining liability

Although there are definitely gray areas when it comes to establishing liability for an accident there are clear guidelines in relation to the way an injury has come about.

The main point to remember is that the owner of the premises must have caused the spill by demonstrating either an ignorance of the potential risk when they should have realized that there was a potential for an accident or through neglect when they ken that something was dangerous but chose not to do anything about it.

What often establishes liability is when the owner of the premises where you had your accident should clearly have known about a dangerous surface, for example.

The conclusion that is often drawn in these circumstances is that any reasonable person would have discovered and subsequently repaired or removed the problem that leads to an accident.

Common sense normally prevails in these sort of claims and if it is decided in court that the owner really should have known about the problem and acted upon it, but didn’t, the chances are high that they will be found liable.

There is still a question to answer

Even when it seems fairly clear that the property owner has failed to protect visitors from injuring themselves there is a big question to answer that is pivotal to the success of a negligence claim.

That question is whether the property owner acted reasonably or not.

The issue here is about determining what can actually be classed as reasonable, but at least there are some questions that often get asked in this situation to help determine the answer.

If the property owner can demonstrate that they carry out regular maintenance on their property and make every effort to keep it clean and safe that would make it harder to prove liability than if it was clear they had made little effort in the upkeep of their property.

For example, if you tripped over a broken tile that been there for ages it could be argued that the property owner should have known this had the potential to cause an accident and should have done something to repair or replace it.

Each injury compensation claim is unique in its own way and that is why it is wise to seek professional help to determine liability and help you with your claim.

Were you to blame?

Although you might not believe it to be the case at the time it is important to note that you will also be under the spotlight in terms of deciding whether your own carelessness might have been a contributory factor.

Again, determining the answer to this particular question can be a real legal minefield and there are going to be questions asked about your own conduct in relation to the accident.

That is not normally a cause for concern if you are sure that you did everything you could to protect yourself and acted diligently.

One obvious example where your own carelessness could be called into question would be when the property owner has put a signup warning of a slippery surface and you have ignored that warning and walked across the surface in question, causing you to suffer a fall.

It is not necessarily a case of having to prove that you were careful but it is a good idea to think about the circumstances surrounding the accident and anticipate the questions that might be coming your way about how careful you were or whether you had fair warning of a problem.

Understanding premises liability

In addition to the task of determining who is at fault in a slip, trip, or fall case, it is highly relevant to have a basic understanding of premises liability.

It is not just a simple case of someone being automatically liable and being able to make a claim that is then either settled or disputed as you have to go through the process already outlined before it can be determined that there is a case to answer.

If you think the answer is affirmative to the question of negligence and failing to take reasonable steps to protect people from injury then it may well be that you can make a claim that their insurers have to answer.

Staff Writer; George Hall

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!