Liability for slip-and-fall accidents in public places

On Behalf of | May 31, 2024 | Personal Injury |

When you slip and fall in a public place, determining liability can be complex. Delaware law provides guidelines on who bears responsibility for such accidents. It also outlines what injured parties need to prove to receive compensation.

Common hazards leading to slip and fall accidents

Slip and fall accidents occur in many public places. These include shopping malls, grocery stores, restaurants, public parks, and sidewalks. Each location follows different rules about liability.

Various hazards in these public places lead to slip-and-fall accidents. For example, wet or slippery floors without warning signs or uneven sidewalks. Other hazards include poor lighting, obstacles in walkways, and loose or damaged flooring.

Proving negligence

To hold someone liable for a slip-and-fall accident requires proof of negligence. This involves several key elements.

First, the property owner or occupier must have a duty of care. This means they must maintain a safe environment for visitors. If they do not address hazards or provide adequate safety warnings, it is a breach of duty.

Next, the injured party must show causation. Causation is a direct link between this breach of duty and the injury sustained. The hazardous condition must directly cause their fall and subsequent injury.

Finally, there must be actual damages. The injured party must suffer real harm. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

Comparative negligence

Delaware follows a comparative negligence rule. If the injured party is partially at fault, they will not receive full compensation, and their compensation decreases by their percentage of fault. For example, if an individual is 20% at fault and the damages are $10,000, they would receive $8,000.

Under state law, an injured party that is partially at fault can still recover damages. However, their fault must be less than 50%. If their fault equals or exceeds 50%, they may not recover any damages. This rule encourages both property owners and visitors to act responsibly. It also encourages all parties to gather evidence and build a strong case to reduce fault.

Understanding your rights

If you’ve been hurt in an accident, understanding liability for slip-and-fall accidents can help make navigating the aftermath a bit easier to handle. Knowing these legal principles helps you better protect your rights. When you understand your rights, you can pursue the compensation you deserve.