A slip and fall case represents a type of legal action commonly pursued by a personal injury lawyer on behalf of a client. A key consideration in a slip and fall case is determining who is at fault. There are three legal elements to a slip and fall case that determine who is responsible for the incident and the injuries sustained by the person who falls.
Duty of Care
The first element of determining liability in a slip and fall case is ascertaining whether a duty of care exists. In general terms, a duty of care is a legal obligation imposed on a person, or legal entity like a corporation. The legal obligation mandates that the person exercise reasonable care to avoid causing harm to another person.
A common situation in which a duty of care exists in a slip and fall case involves a store. The owner has a legal obligation to keep the store in a reasonably safe condition.
Breach of Duty of Care
The second element used to determine liability in a slip and fall case a breach of duty. A store and safe conditions on the floor provides a solid way of illustrating breach of duty of care.
A hazard cannot be permitted to remain on the floor in a manner that risks the safety of a customer. A common example would be water, or some other liquid, left on the floor. Because of the failure to mop up the liquid, a customer ends up slipping and falling.
In order for liability to exist in a slip and fall case, the breach of the duty of care must be the proximate cause of injuries sustained by someone. Proximate cause is obvious when a person slips on a liquid on the floor of the store and breaks his or her leg.
Proximate cause can become less clear in other situations involving a slip and fall case. For example, assume a person slips and falls, breaking a leg. The person then fails to follow doctor’s advice regarding staying off the broken leg for a set period of time. Because the person did not follow the doctor’s directives, he or she ended up with a permanent disability.
The permanent disability is not like to be the proximate result of the slip and fall incident. Intervening conduct on the part of the person who slipped and fall was the real or proximate cause of the permanent disability.
A personal injury attorney typically explains the matter of liability during an initial consultation with a prospective client. As a general rule, the best personal injury lawyer Toronto does not charge a fee for an initial meeting with a potential client.