What Is a Slip and Fall?
A slip and fall is the term that is used to describe an accident in which a person slips or trips and falls on someone else’s property and is injured. Slip and fall cases typically fall under the umbrella of cases known as premises liability. Premises liability cases involve injuries that occur on someone’s property.
These cases can stem from incidents at private homes, places of business, public property, or a combination of these, such as an apartment complex. When a property owner fails to maintain his property and that failure leads to an accident, the property owner may have been negligent and in most cases, can be held responsible.
What are Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in Delaware?
Slip and fall accidents can occur as the result of weather conditions, property disrepair, poor lighting, flooring changes, moisture, poor building design, and more. In general, all of these causes can be addressed with proper care.
While changes in the weather can pop up quickly, such as snow or ice accumulation on a sidewalk, property owners should understand the nature of their property and what steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of everyone. Additionally, repairs to aging or damaged areas on the property should be done promptly to prevent accidents.
If the property owner is unable to address a premises liability concern in a timely manner, they do have a duty to notify anyone who may visit their property of any potential danger. Even a simple sign can prevent an accident and painful injury.
Other common causes of slip and fall cases in Delaware include:
- Wet surfaces, such as floors that have just been mopped
- Recently waxed floors
- Uneven surfaces, such as loose floorboards
- Clutter left on floors
- Poor workplace training methods
What are Common Injuries Associated with Slip and Fall Cases in Delaware?
While it may be easy to dismiss a slip and fall injury as a minor occurrence, falling can have serious and long-lasting health consequences. Common injuries associated with slip and fall accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Back injuries
- Torn tendons or ligaments
Some of these injuries can be difficult to resolve, require surgery, or leave side effects that linger for weeks, months, or even years.
How do Delaware’s Comparative Negligence Rules Affect a Slip and Fall Claim?
The state of Delaware follows the rules of comparative negligence. Essentially, comparative negligence acknowledges that a victim may be partly to blame for an accident. The courts will examine the situation to determine how much fault each party holds. If the victim is more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, he would not be allowed to pursue a legal claim.
Additionally, if the victim is only partly responsible, the court would determine an appropriate percentage and any settlement would be reduced by that percentage. For example, if a person were to slip on an icy sidewalk or outside of a store, the court might determine the victim shared 10% of the blame. If the compensation amounted to $100,000, that settlement would be reduced by 10%, and the victim would receive $90,000. A skilled attorney can help victims obtain the maximum amount of compensation in their individual case.
What Types of Compensation Are Available to Delaware Slip and Fall Victims?
Delaware law allows accident victims to pursue compensation to cover costs associated with their injury. It is possible to recover compensation that covers:
- Lost wages (both now and in the future)
- Medical bills (both already accrued and in the future)
- Lost benefits
- Pain and suffering
Do I Have a Slip and Fall Case?
If your slip and fall accident in Delaware occurred because of a hazard or someone else's actions, you might have a case. You must have encountered an unsafe condition on a property that does not belong to you to qualify for legal action. The owner must have known (or should have known) about the unsafe condition, and failed to act to allow it to continue, such as choosing not to clear the snow from the sidewalk in front of their home. This willfulness must meet the legal definition. For instance, if the homeowner cleared some of the snow but didn't do a perfect job or your injury happened a few hours after the snowfall began, you probably won't have a case. However, if the homeowner let icy and dangerous conditions persist on the sidewalk for days following a storm without addressing them, you may have a slip and fall case.
Property owners need proper notice to take care of an issue. And if they post a warning giving you notice of a dangerous condition and you choose to ignore it, they are probably not liable.
What is Delaware Premises Liability Law?
Delaware slip and fall laws are fairly simple. According to premises liability regulations, homeowners can't knowingly create a dangerous or hazardous condition for passersby. If negligence by the property owner leads to an accident, the owner may be liable. Sometimes more than one party merits responsibility for the accident, too.
Negligence does require the property owner to be aware of the problem and choose not to do anything about it. Property owners must inspect the area and make any repairs they deem necessary so that people won't get hurt on their property.
Where are Common Places That Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?
A slip and fall accident can happen anywhere, but there are places where you are more likely to have an accident, including:
- Poorly lit or pothole-ridden parking lots.
- Sidewalks with gaps between the slabs.
- Shops or restaurants with worn carpeting.
- Construction sites.
- Stairs with loose handrails.
What if the Company or Owner Is Claiming Negligent Customer?
Often, the property owner or company where the accident occurred will claim your negligence caused the accident, but their claims must meet a reasonable standard. For example, would it be reasonable to expect anyone to navigate around the object you tripped over? Often the answer is no, and the property owner will have a difficult time making the negligence claim.
It is not up to you to prove you moved with care on the day of the accident. Companies and owners frequently argue for accident victims' negligence. Such a claim requires the assistance of slip and fall accident lawyers to ensure you don't take the blame for something that wasn't your fault. Ultimately, the court will decide whether you bore any negligence in the accident and, if necessary, adjust the amount you are awarded. But remember that you can still receive compensation even if you bore some responsibility for the mishap.
How Do I File a Slip and Fall Personal Injury Claim?
Our attorneys can walk you through the process of filing a slip and fall personal injury claim in Delaware. You will need to provide all the medical records from your case, as well as work with our investigators to get a full picture of what happened during the accident. Whether you slip and fall on a sidewalk or in a parking lot, with our guidance, you can file your suit and receive assistance as you recover from your injuries.