What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
Anytime that someone is on someone else’s property and is injured, it is considered a slip and fall case. Under the law, this is a type of premises liability and the defendant landowner is therefore liable for damages to the plaintiff if the landowner has breached a duty, which he or she or it owes to the plaintiff. The duty varies based on whether the plaintiff was on the property lawfully or was a trespasser.
With these things in mind the following is what you should know about slip and falls in DC including who qualifies as a trespasser and what makes a landowner liable for damages. To learn more or discuss a specific case call and schedule a consultation with a DC slip and fall lawyer today.
Trespassing in Slip and Fall Cases
A trespasser is defined as someone who enters or remains on another person’s property without invitation, privilege, or consent. In that instance, the landowner or property owner doesn’t owe a general duty to manage or maintain the property in a way that protects trespassers from harm, but the landowner can’t intentionally or willfully injure the trespasser. The property owner must not maintain a hidden trap on the property either.
On the other hand, the law considers a person who is there for purposes of carrying on some transaction, either for the benefit of himself or herself or for the property owner, to be lawfully on the property. The same is true if the person is there for the benefit of the property owner, or when the land owner or property owner has invited that person on to the property. An invitation can either be an affirmative act by the landowner, or it can be inferred by the landowner’s acts or other appearances.
Duty of the Property Owner
The duty that the property owner owes the person who’s lawfully on the premises is that the property owner must exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. That means they need to keep the premises reasonably safe and to avoid injuring that person. That also includes performing inspections, as a reasonable person would, to find dangerous circumstances.
The property owner almost also must repair dangerous conditions, which are known to the owner or should be known to the owner, but which otherwise wouldn’t be apparent to the person coming on to the property. If the property owner doesn’t repair a dangerous condition that they know about or should know about, then the landowner has to warn a person entering the property of the existence of the dangerous condition.
What Does Premises Liability Mean?
Premises liability means that someone has been injured on the property of another and that that person had a duty to reasonably maintain their premises in safe conditions such that those who are legally on the property are not injured.