When Is a Property Owner Liable for Your Slip & Fall Injury?

Posted on 06/19/20

In Connecticut, any real estate owner—whether residential or commercial—has a duty of care to those who visit their property. Per the state’s premises liability laws, this duty of care means the real estate owner may be liable for any slip-and-fall accidents that occur on the property—particularly if the accident occurred because of a slippery floor or otherwise unsafe walking surface.

If you sustained an injury through a slip and fall accident, you may consider filing a claim for compensation. The laws in Connecticut are highly specific, however, and a variety of factors may affect whether you are entitled to compensation, and, if so, how much you might receive.

The Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is the time limit you have to file a claim, and it differs depending on the type of claim you file and where you file it. For slip and fall claims in Connecticut, you must file within two years of sustaining the injury. This statute of limitations is the same as all other personal injury claims in the state. It also applies to personal property damage.

As with car accidents, slip and fall claims are subject to the comparative negligence law. If you were partially at fault for the accident, the court will deduct that percentage of fault from your total compensation. If you were more than 50% at fault, you won’t be able to receive any compensation at all. So, while a property owner may have a certain duty of care, everyone else has the responsibility to watch where they’re going.

Generally, you can obtain compensation if the owner of the premises (or an employee):

  • Knew about the dangerous spot, area, or item and did nothing to address or repair it;
  • Caused the dangerous spot, area, or item; OR
  • Should have known about the dangerous spot, area, or item because a reasonable premises owner or employee would have discovered and addressed/repaired it.

If at least one of the above conditions are found to be true in court, you will likely be entitled to compensation.

The Challenges of a Slip & Fall Claim

One reason why it can be difficult to obtain compensation for a slip and fall accident is the word “reasonable.” The claim typically hinges on whether the premises owner’s actions leading up to the accident were reasonable, which is a largely subjective concept.

The court will likely believe that a reasonable premises owner would survey the property on a regular basis to ensure safe conditions. If there was a dangerous object on a walking surface, the reasonable next step might be to place a caution sign or other barrier near the object if it can’t be removed or fixed immediately. The object could also have been relocated to a safer place. Factors such as these can demonstrate a premises owner’s negligence—or lack thereof.

The other major challenge of a slip and fall case is the potential for your carelessness, which is what can reduce or even eliminate your eligibility for compensation.

The following factors might lead a court to decide you were partially at fault due to carelessness:

  • You did not have a legitimate reason to be where the dangerous area was
  • There were warnings (e.g. a caution sign) near the dangerous area
  • A reasonable person would have noticed the dangerous area and either avoided it or walked more carefully
  • You were engaging in a behavior that distracted you or prevented you from watching where you were going
  • You were moving about recklessly (e.g. running, jumping, etc.)

Ultimately, these situations will not be entirely clear-cut. Your success will depend on your ability to present your side of the story in a way that demonstrates the defendant’s negligence.

Bring Your Case to Our Experienced Team

In any personal injury case, full compensation can help the plaintiff pay for medical bills, take time off of work to heal without worrying about finances, and much more. At the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, we are results-oriented and fully committed to our clients. We worry about the legal process so you can focus on your recovery.

If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, call our team right away at (203) 806-7922, or fill out our online contact form.