Constructive Notices in Slip and Fall Accidents: What You Need To Know
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 20 to 30 percent of all slip and falls result in moderate to serious injuries, leading to more than 1 million emergency room visits a year. The fact that slip and fall injuries are so common means that you need to be aware of your legal rights. It’s essential to know what to do if you experience a slip and fall due to the negligence of another person or a business.
Providing Evidence of Notice in Premises Liability Cases
In a slip and fall accident, victims are required to prove that the property owner had notice of the risky or dangerous conditions that led to the accident. Essentially, you must be able to prove that the owner of the property was aware or should have been aware of the dangerous conditions and yet still took no action to lessen the risk of an accident.
This notice can be actual or constructive. Actual notice refers to when the owner was directly made aware of the dangerous situation either because someone personally warned them about it or they saw the situation with their own eyes. While actual notice is fairly straightforward, constructive notice is quite a bit more complicated.
To prove constructive notice, you must be able to show that the property owner didn’t require actual notice of the hazard as they should have already been aware of the dangerous conditions. For instance, if the owner knows that a particular part of their property becomes icy in the winter and fails to post the required warning signs or put down salt or sand to prevent slips. Similarly, if a store washes or waxes their floors without warning customers of the slick floors or if they fail to clean up a spill for several hours and someone eventually slips in it.
There are many examples that can qualify as constructive notice. However, actually proving that the owner or management should have been aware of the slip-and-fall hazard isn’t always simple. In most cases, you will need to establish several key facts in order to prove that the owner should have been aware of the hazard and is thus liable for any damages.
Generally, you will need to show exactly where the hazard was located on the property and how long the dangerous conditions had existed. The court will also take into account the nature of the hazard itself and whether it was dangerous enough to warrant a warning sign or other effort to mitigate against accidents.
The location is obviously important. If the hazard was directly in front of the property or in plain eyesight, it’s much easier to prove that the owner should’ve been aware of it. Similarly, if the hazardous conditions were present for hours or days, you’ll also have a much stronger case than you would if the dangerous conditions developed just prior to your accident.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the injury, proving constructive notice can either be straightforward or quite tricky. Therefore, it is essential that you choose an experienced slip and fall lawyer, like a lawyer Fort Collins CO relies on. for legal counsel if you wish to receive compensation for your injury.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cannon Hadfield Stienben, LLC for their insight into slip and fall accidents.