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How is fault determined in slip and fall accidents?

April 22, 2015

When you suffer injuries after you slip and fall, a very important question must be asked: Was the fall your fault or the fault of someone else? This is the focal point of slip and fall lawsuits, and there are a few things you should know about determining fault in New Jersey.

First off, you need to know that homeowners and business owners have to keep the property in condition that is termed to be “reasonably” safe. While the court can help to define what is reasonable in each case, it’s usually about what you would expect. If there were obvious dangers and no steps at all were taken to remove them or fix them, then the owner has not done a reasonable job.

Moreover, the court will try to decide if the property owner could have stepped up and prevented the accident from occurring in the first place. Some accidents are fluke events that no one could have prevented, while others are clearly just waiting to happen.

For instance, if you slipped and fell on ice that had just formed while the owner was away, he or she may not be liable since nothing could have been done to remove the ice in such a short time frame and without seeing it. If the ice had been building up for months, all winter long, and the owner still did not remove it, then he or she may be liable because it was a clear danger that entire time.

Finally, fault can be established if laws were clearly broken in the case. If the owner violated building codes, for instance, then the owner is responsible if that violation led to the fall.

Source: FindLaw, “Proving Fault in Slip and Fall Accidents,” accessed April. 22, 2015

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