A loose piece of carpeting or flooring at a store in a neighborhood mall could easily cause a trip and fall. Slippery floors, uneven walking surfaces and unmaintained icy sidewalks also increase the risks of a slip-and-fall injury. Second only to car accidents, slips, trips and falls account for many serious injuries including back injuries, head injuries, sprained ankles/ wrists and broken bones.
Some accidents cannot be prevented, but when a retail shop or building management company fails to fix a known dangerous condition remedies may be available. For example, medical bills may be covered, as well as lost wages while recovering from the injury.
In Connecticut, a property owner has a duty to "reasonably inspect and maintain the premises in order to render them reasonably safe." When there is a danger not easily spotted, the owner needs to provide a warning. In the context of an apartment building, the landlord owes a duty of reasonable care over common areas that might include hallways, staircases and the building lobby.
An individual needs to show that the property owner had either actual or constructive notice of the condition to bring a Connecticut premises liability lawsuit.
A recent case provides an example. A woman shopping at a Wal-Mart slipped and fell to the ground severely injuring her rotator cuff and rupturing her hamstring. She was near the checkout in a high activity area and slipped on a puddle of water. A customer in front of her buying a dripping bag of mulch caused the puddle.
There was very little time between when the water dripped on the floor and the woman slipped. The store did not have a chance to discover the dangerous condition before the woman fell. If the puddle had been on the floor for longer and employees should have discovered and fixed the situation, but did not, then the store would have been on constructive notice.
Often there will be questions about when a dangerous condition happened and how long it took the property owner to address the situation. It often comes down to what is reasonable. For example, it might not be reasonable to expect a store to discover a spill within a minute, but if five minutes went by without action in a high traffic area it could be a different outcome.
When to seek the help of an experienced attorney
If a slip-and-fall injury occurs because of a possibly unsafe condition - an unmarked step in a dimly lit area, a broken handrail or black ice in the parking lot - contact an attorney to discuss the facts of what happened. By bringing a lawsuit, you may be able to recover monetary damages and ensure the same does not occur to anyone else in the future.