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Who is liable for a slip-and-fall injury?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | Personal Injury

Being injured in a public location, such as a store or business office, can be a life-changing event. Victims of these incidents may decide to seek compensation for the financial damages incurred as a result of such falls. Before one can determine whether she has grounds upon which to file legal action, she must determine who’s liable for the injury in question.

In Indiana, as in many states, determining liability in slip-and-fall cases involves understanding the legal concept of negligence. This concept is crucial in identifying who can be held responsible for an injury resulting from a slip, trip or fall on someone else’s property. Depending on the circumstances surrounding an accident, property owners, occupiers and sometimes other parties can be found liable.

The role of premises liability

Under Indiana law, property owners and occupiers must take reasonable steps to ensure their property is safe. This includes regular inspections to identify potential hazards and taking prompt action to repair dangerous conditions or adequately warn visitors of their presence. Failure to do so can result in the property owner or occupier being held liable for any injuries that occur as a result.

This responsibility varies based on the status of the visitor. Invitees on the property for their own mutual benefit and that of the property owner, like customers in a store, are owed the highest duty of care. Licensees who are on the property for their own purposes with the owner’s permission and trespassers who are on the property without permission are owed lesser duties of care.

Establishing negligence

For a slip-and-fall victim to hold someone liable for their injuries in Indiana, they must prove negligence. This involves showing that the property owner or occupier knew or should have known about the hazardous condition, failed to take reasonable steps to address it and that this failure directly resulted in the injury.

Proving negligence is often the most challenging part of a slip-and-fall case, as it requires evidence of the property owner’s knowledge – or that they should have known – of the hazard and their failure to act. Because this is such a complex undertaking, victims can benefit from seeking legal assistance to gather the facts of their case so they can launch their claims before the statute of limitations expires.