These are common accidents. They can occur anywhere, on a public footpath, in a shop or in a neighbour’s house. However, just because an accident causes injury it does not automatically result in another party being responsible or having to pay compensation. In seeking compensation, negligence has to be established by the plaintiff.
If an accident happens resulting in injury caused by a trip or fall, the owner of the property where the accident took place, may be responsible but that has to be proved on the balance of probability.
Following a slip, trip or fall on someone else’s property and before engaging your solicitor, check out the following:
• Make a note of when the accident occurred, what the date was, the location of the accident etcetera.
• Take pictures of the accident area.
• If the injury requires medical attention get same as soon as possible and keep a record of it.
• Consult your solicitor.
In any subsequent correspondence by your solicitor or in court, evidence of the accident is very important, so collect the evidence at the time of the accident and keep all records of doctor or hospital visits and receipts as they can all be refunded.
This is the crucial point in personal injury claims.
• The owner of the property or an employee must have caused the accident, for example, a cleaner might leave a floor wet thereby causing it to be hazardous.
• The owner of the property or an employee must have known of the dangerous surface but done nothing about it or was careless about it.
• The owner of the property or an employee should have known of the dangerous surface because a “reasonable” person taking care of the property would have discovered and removed or repaired it.
A judge in hearing such cases often applies the ‘Reasonable Man’ test. If, for instance, a person slips on a supermarket floor which had water on it because a cleaner had not properly wiped the floor. If such a shopper noticed the wet floor and continued down the aisle, slipped and was injured, was that the action a Reasonable Man would take? Here a judge might rule that the plaintiff knew there was a risk and walked on anyway. A judge might then either dismiss the claim as the plaintiff took on the risk himself or might rule the plaintiff contributed to the injury by continuing to walk down the aisle knowing the danger.
Establishing liability is the hard part of these cases. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent and if that is accepted by the court, the claim will most likely be successful.
CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT
In almost every slip or trip and fall case, a plaintiff must decide whether their carelessness contributed to the accident:
• Would a careful person have noticed the dangerous spot and avoided it?
• Warning Signs: were there any such signs?
• Were you doing anything that distracted you from paying attention to where you were going, for example looking at your phone?
If considering a court case, listen to the advice of your solicitor and if proceeding estimate the approximate compensation range. Not all cases are High Court, here the costs are much higher so consider the Circuit or even the District Court before issuing your proceedings.
If you have been injured through no fault of your own and would like to discuss matters with us please do not hesitate to contact us.