Slips and falls can be relatively minor and result in nothing more serious than a few scrapes or bruises. They can also lead to major injuries, like broken bones, fractured spines and brain injuries.
Generally speaking, if you suffer an injury from a slip and fall while at a business, the business owner may be liable for your injuries if there was any negligence on their part. Property owners and managers are expected to keep the premises reasonably safe for others to be there. However, your ability to file a lawsuit could hinge on exactly why you were on the property in the first place.
Why the reason behind your presence matters
Sometimes it’s obvious why you might have been at a business based on where and when your incident occurred. An attorney might ask you why you were there in instances in which it’s not abundantly clear. They often do this to determine which of the four following roles you might fall into, including:
- Invitee. The law sees an individual who visits another’s premises at the request of someone else as an invitee.
- Social guest. Anyone who a property owner welcomes to the property falls into this category.
- Licensee. The law assigns this label to anyone who secures a property owner’s consent to visit their premises.
- Trespassers. Anyone who visits another person’s property without their expressed consent. Property owners generally don’t have to guarantee trespassers safe access to their premises (although there are exceptions to this rule that could still make a property owner liable for a trespasser’s injuries).
Existing laws generally see invitees, social guests and licensees as all being welcome to visit the premises and thus, property owners owe them a certain legal duty of care.
Honing in on liability in your slip-and-fall case
Insurance adjusters and your attorney will both place you in one of the above-referenced categories when trying to determine liability in your case. Working with an attorney is the best way to protect your interests.