You may have heard about the area of the law known as “slip and fall,” also known as premises liability. This personal injury claim is often the brunt of jokes. Surely everyone knows how to walk and not fall down, and if you do fall, it’s your own fault. But it’s really not as simple as that.
A slip and fall injury can be very serious. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five falls among older Americans causes serious injuries to the head or bones, and falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A broken hip,
for example, can be a life-altering experience for an elderly person and one
from which they may never recover.
The property owner may be to blame (for a slip and fall accident) if s/he invites the public onto the property but is negligent in fulfilling the reasonable obligation that it will be free of hazards. This is the basis for a premises liability case.
Alabama Premises Liability Law
A premises liability action can be initiated against any place of business and its owner if you are injured in their retail establishment.
According to Alabama law, the property owner has a “duty of care” to all visitors.
Regarding premises liability, the owner “owes a duty to business invitees to use reasonable care and diligence to keep the premises in a safe condition, or, if the premises are in a dangerous condition, to give sufficient warning so that, by the use of ordinary care, the danger may be avoided.”
In the following scenarios, a home or place of business can be dangerous for the public:
- Perhaps there is an uneven sidewalk that causes
visitors to trip or a business parking lot is inadequately lit and someone in a
high crime area is assaulted on the property.
- There may be large crates hoisted on high shelves of
a big box store that fall on someone.
- An unsecured handrail can prove to be a recipe for
disaster to a shopper as can a slippery substance left on the floor of a store
that no one has cleaned up.
- A property may be contaminated by toxins used by a previous owner which create a dangerous situation to one’s health.
In the above cases, the owner failed to do what an ordinary prudent person would do to make their property safe. When that happens, the owner is essentially negligent in his or her duty to the public.
Alabama’s premises liability law treats those bringing a claim over a defective property more favorably than a claim over a slippery floor; because the defect in the property, such as a hole in the floor, was an actual part of the property. The question of whether the owner knew there was a hazard will be decided by the court.
In a slippery floor case, you, the plaintiff, must prove that the substance was on the floor for some time and that the defendant knew (or should have known) it was there and failing to do so makes him/her negligent.
In both claims, you, the plaintiff, must show that the danger caused your injury.
If you are filing a premises
liability claim against the property owner for your injury, understand that in
Alabama, you have two years within which to do so.
Alabama Contributory Negligence
Contributory negligence law in Alabama gives a huge advantage to the negligent at-fault party. Under Alabama law, if you share even 1% fault for your accident, you can be completely barred from recovering damages from the at-fault party.
This serves as a giant barrier which a negligent party can use to turn the tables on you.
As your law firm, we will argue that there was a wanton or willful disregard for safety that existed on the part of the property owner.
We must bring evidence that the
store owner should be held completely liable because of his/her knowledge of
the danger and negligence that caused the customer injuries.
Compensation in an Alabama Slip & Fall
In the case of an injury you suffered in a retail store, if you have a viable case, the Alsobrook Law Group will initiate the premises liability action in order to recover compensatory damages. This can include medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, physical pain, lost earnings, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and mental distress.
The jury also has the option to award punitive damages, intended to punish the defendant. These types of damages are only awarded if the actions of the responsible party were especially egregious.
Call our Opelika office today at 334-345-2765 so we can begin your free consultation on your case.