icy sidewalkIn the middle of the winter, walking outside can be a dangerous game, especially in Utah. As temperatures plunge below freezing and snow piles up, the chances of a slip and fall accident on sidewalks, in parking lots, or any place outdoors increase dramatically. These falls can cause serious injury and, in many cases, could have been prevented. Property owners generally have a legal responsibility to ensure that their premises are reasonably maintained and safe. If a failure to do this causes you to slip and fall and become injured, you may have a case to collect damages.

If this has happened to you, you probably have a lot of questions about how to go forward. Here are some answers to the most common of these questions:

Who is Responsible?

Like we mentioned above, property owners are expected to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. In a slip and fall case, the answer to this question basically boils down to a comparison: the owner’s negligence versus your own. The owner is responsible if it can be demonstrated that they were aware of a potential danger (like an icy sidewalk) and didn’t try to fix it, or that they should have known and should have tried to fix it. They will also be responsible if it is apparent that they deliberately created the dangerous condition.

The second half of that comparison, your own negligence, can be important, too. Utah law uses a rule of “comparative fault.” This means that you will only be able to collect damages if the negligence of the property owner is found to exceed your own. The factors used to determine this can be complicated, so it’s best to talk with an attorney before deciding whether to begin a case.

Who Pays?

Since not all properties are owned by an individual, there are a number of ways that damages can be paid in a slip and fall case:

  • If you fell in a commercial location, like a movie theater or a restaurant, the business itself can be held responsible.
  • If you slipped in or outside of someone’s home, the homeowner or their insurance could be held liable.
  • If the injury occurred at work, a claim for workers compensation may be your only option.

Though slips and falls are usually accidents, they can cause serious injury and are often preventable. Medical bills can stack up, work can be missed, and recovery can be long and painful. Seeking help to cover these costs is very important. If you have any reason to think that you have a case, you should talk to an attorney. At Christensen & Hymas, we take our job to defend the injured seriously. If you’re looking for legal help, please tell us about your injury today..

Photo copyright to SmartSign

Russ Hymas
Managing Partner at Christensen & Hymas
Russ Hymas is the managing partner at Christensen & Hymas. He promotes awareness of legal issues and drives positive change in the cycling community.

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