A person who suffers injury, as a result of a slip and fall, may be entitled to bring a claim for damages for the injuries sustained.
Most slip and fall accidents occur within shopping centres or public places. The cause of same can be quite varied. It may be the result of slipping on a substance left on the floor or alternatively, a structural defect within the floor itself such as a raised tile or paver.
No matter what the cause of the accident, in order for a successful claim to be prosecuted for damages for injuries sustained, there are a number of elements that require proof to the satisfaction of a court. The burden of proving these things rests with the injured person.
What has to be proved?
Firstly, it is necessary to establish who is the owner or occupier of the premises where the accident occurred and whether a duty of care to the injured person is owed.
Secondly, it is necessary to establish what actually occurred. Accidents do not just happen, they are caused.
A forensic analysis of the circumstances of the accident must be undertaken in order to establish its cause. Sometimes, the cause of the accident is quite obvious. Other times, not so much.
In fact, we are often called upon to engage an engineer or someone similarly qualified, to undertake a site inspection and any necessary testing, to determine the cause of the accident. Such testing could include a dynamic co-efficient friction test of a floor to ascertain whether the floor complied with the relevant building code and council ordinances as to the level of slipperiness that is acceptable or otherwise.
Also, particularly with respect to tiles, consideration must be given as to whether the tiles were wet or contaminated with a substance at the time which would affect the co-efficient of friction testing. Additionally, whether the surface was sloping or otherwise is also a relevant consideration.
If the accident arose as a result of a “trip hazard” being present, then consideration must be given as to whether, and to what extent, the trip hazard was “obvious”. There is legislation and judicial precedence to establish that if a risk is “obvious”, same may serve to negate the liability of the owner or occupier of the premises for any injury which arises as a result of the trip hazard. That is, the owner and/or occupier may successfully argue that the trip hazard was obvious and therefore known or ought to have been known to the injured person who could have taken steps to have reduced if not negated the risk entirely.
However, if the trip hazard was indeed obvious to the injured person, would it not also be obvious to the owner or occupier of the premises?
If the injured person can establish that the accident arose as a result of the failing on the part of the owner or occupier to take reasonable precautions for the injured person’s care, and that as a result of that failing the injured person suffered injury, loss or damage, then a successful claim can be mounted.
What can be claimed?
In the successful prosecution of a slip and fall claim, the injured person is entitled to recover damages for:
- Non-economic loss (pain and suffering)
- Medical and related expenses for the past and future
- The value of commercial and/or gratuitous care and assistance provided and necessitated by reason of the injury (subject to certain statutory restrictions)
- Economic loss for the past and future
- Vehicle and house modifications
- A contribution towards legal costs
What do I do next?
Strict time limits apply with respect to the prosecution of all personal injury claims. If you, or someone you know, has suffered injury as a result of a slip and fall, then they should seek expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Brydens Lawyers are experts in the prosecution of all personal injury claims including slip and fall accidents. Our team of specialised lawyers will assist you with every step of the process, providing expert legal advice and representation as they support you through what can be a difficult and challenging period.
For expert and specialised legal advice and representation in relation all personal injury claims, contact Brydens Lawyers without delay on 1800 848 848 or at brydens.com.au. At Brydens Lawyers – #WE DO personal injury claims.