Slip-and-fall cases fit in the category of premises liability. That basically means that there is something wrong with a property which causes an injury. Slip-and-fall cases usually have the same basic fact pattern—there is some problem with the property, whether something left on the ground (liquid, or something slippery, or a defective rug) or something wrong with the floor (crumbling steps, holes in the lawn, etc…).
Who is at fault?
In most slip-and-fall cases, the claim or lawsuit would be made against the owner of the property, and the operator. So, if a corporation owns a strip mall, and there is a store inside the strip mall where someone suffers a fall, the claim would usually be made against the corporation and the store owner. Sometimes one or both are at fault, and that can be ironed out during investigation or the discovery phase of a lawsuit.
Sometimes, some other entity is responsible. For example, if you fall in a grocery store because of wet floors, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the store’s cleaning company, if they outsource that work. The store is ultimately responsible, but the cleaning company may bring another insurance policy to the table.
Notice of a problem
It’s important to note that you cannot win an Oregon slip-and-fall claim just because you fall on someone’s property. Everyone has the same rights—if someone trips over their own shoelaces on your property, you are not responsible.
The typical example is that if someone slips on liquid in a grocery store, the grocery store owner will only be responsible if they knew or should have known about the liquid. If a customer spilled the liquid ten seconds before the fall, the grocery store is not likely at fault—they didn’t know about the spill, couldn’t have known about the spill, and didn’t have time to clean the spill or warn people about it.
So, the facts of each case are important. How long was the spill there? Did anyone know about it? Was it reported to management or to any employees? Is there any video surveillance showing employees passing by? Did anyone try to clean it up, but do a bad job? Does the store have a process for inspecting the store? Those are some of the questions we may ask to determine whether someone else is responsible for a slip-and-fall injury.
Deadlines to file slip-and-fall claims
If you can’t settle your slip and fall case, be mindful of the deadline to file a lawsuit. In most cases, a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the injury. If the fall happened on governmental property, you may need to file a formal notice within 180 days (6 months) of the fall.
What is my Oregon slip-and-fall case worth?
Like any personal injury case, the value of a slip-and-fall case depends on many factors:
- The strength of your liability case (whether there are witnesses, video/photographs, or evidence of negligence)
- The amount of your medical expenses
- The amount of your lost wages
- The location where any lawsuit would be filed
- The extent of your non-economic damages (things like pain, suffering, inconvenience, etc…)
If you have questions about an Oregon slip-and-fall case, give us a call at 1-541-617-0555, or fill out our internet Contact form on the right side of the page. We can help you to figure out if someone else is responsible for your injuries.