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How fault is determined in slip and fall accidents

Thousands of individuals are injured -- many seriously -- every year due to slipping and falling. Whether a slip and fall accident occurs on stairs, a floor or any slick or dangerous surface, it can have life-changing consequences. In a premises liability claim in New York and elsewhere, it is sometimes difficult to prove a property owner was at fault for the injury.

Property owners have a duty to maintain conditions that are reasonably safe. A victim must usually prove that the owner should have been aware of the dangerous condition -- i.e., if a reasonable person in the same position was aware of the unsafe condition, he or she would would have fixed it. If the owner (or the owner's employees) knew about the dangerous condition, but failed to fix it, this would typically constitute a failure to maintain safe conditions. Further, if the owner (or the owner's employees) actually caused the danger, this would also be evidence of the owner's breach of his duty to maintain a safe property.

Another aspect that must be considered is reasonableness. To prove that the property owner is liable for injuries sustained, the unreasonableness of the actions (or inaction) by the owner of the property must be documented. The rule of comparative negligence is another important factor concerning these types of legal claims. In other words, how much of the accident was the victim's fault -- for example, was the victim talking on a cell phone while not paying attention to a sign that warned of a dangerous condition? This percentage of comparative fault, which is determined at trial, may reduce the award for injuries suffered in accordance with how much the victim was responsible for the accident.

When someone is hurt due to a slip and fall accident in New York, it makes good sense to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as it is possible. Due to the statutes of limitations -- which limits how much time during which a particular lawsuit may be commenced -- individuals must act quickly. With experienced legal advice, the victim may focus on the most important things -- healing from the injuries suffered and moving forward

Source: FindLaw, "Proving Fault in Slip and Fall Accidents", Accessed on May 25, 2016

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