Defective Premises cases involve a claimant who slips, trips or falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property. Slip, trip and fall accidents can occur inside or outside of a building, and on residential, commercial or public spaces. Whether a claimant is entitled to compensation for injuries depends largely on the type of dangerous condition and whether an owner had knowledge of the condition. You may have a defective premises claim if you sustained an injury because of any of the following, as well as other circumstances:
- Steps in poor repair
- Potholes or uneven pavement in parking lots or sidewalks
- Food or liquids on floors in retail or other business establishments
- Dangerous objects in store aisles
- Building Code violations (e.g. lack of handrails on stairs)
- OSHA violations (e.g. failure to erect safety barriers at construction sites)
- Ice and snow on driveways, parking lots and sidewalks
What to do if you are injured
Inspect the area where you slipped, tripped or fell to determine the defect, then photograph it with your cell phone or otherwise, immediately. Remember, conditions can change quickly so if you are unable to photograph the condition which caused you to fall, contact a friend or relative and ask them to photograph it. Take several photographs of the specific defect (e.g. pothole, cracked pavement, ice), and the surrounding area.
Report the incident to a manager, property owner or other appropriate person, and get a copy of the incident report. If a commercial establishment, ask that an incident report be prepared, and that you be given a copy. If they claim that cannot give you a copy, ask to review it, and take a photograph with your cell phone.
If a manager, or employee comments that they knew of the dangerous condition or someone previously reported the problem, or someone else fell in the same location, ask for the name of the person making the comment, and write down what they said to the best of your recollection. Also write down anyone who was present.
If any emergency personnel come to the scene of the fall, report your injuries, and tell them how and why you fell so that they may accurately describe it in their report. If a paramedic, police officer or firefighter who responds to the scene, makes a comment about the defect (e.g. “It’s very slippery, get some salt”), recall the responder’s comment and write it down when you have the chance, after you leave the scene.
Seek medical attention immediately
Obtain the services of a medical professional and relay the cause of your injury. Follow the advice of your doctor.
Consult a legal professional
Defective premises cases are complicated, and your ability to bring a claim is limited. Make sure your rights are protected. As soon as you are able, contact a lawyer with knowledge and experience in defective premises cases.
-AnnMarie Cienava Rocco, Esq.
Disclaimer: While this blog provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with an attorney, please call one of our lawyers at (860) 316-2741. The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship.