Slip and Fall

Facts:

In order to successfully bring a trip and fall claim in Kentucky, a victim must be able to prove the following four (4) elements against the owner of the property where the accident occurred.  Each element is described in detail below:

1)      That the owner owed a duty to the victim;

2)      That the owner breached that duty;

3)      That an injury followed; and

4)      That the owner’s breach of duty caused the injury.

slip and fall

Duty

The scope of a landowner’s duty depends on the victim’s purpose for being on the property.  The following legal terms describe the different duties depending upon the relationship between owner and victim.

Invitee
(Business Owner/Landlord)
This is the gold standard of duties and includes business owners, landlords, or other owners who invite someone on their property for their own economic benefit.  These owners owe the highest duty of care to customers and tenants (known as “invitees”).  This includes

a.)    A duty to warn invitees of the danger on their property;

b.)    Regularly inspect the property in order to identify dangers; and

c.)    To take reasonably prudent steps to repair any potentially dangerous condition.

Licensee
Owners owe a lesser duty to a “licensee,” who is someone such as a social guest that was invited to the property for some reason other than the owner’s economic benefit. The owner has a duty to warn these guests about dangers which the owner knew or should know about, but which the guest is unlikely to be able to see or avoid. NOTE:  In some states like Indiana, social guests are considered Invitees.

Trespasser
Property owners owe very limited duties to “trespassers.”  An owner, however, may NOT set a trap for the purpose of injuring trespassers.  When an owner knows that children are likely to trespass, owners potentially have a greater duty to protect these children from known dangers on the property.

Breach of Duty

In order to prove that the landowner breached their duty, the victim must prove that the owner could reasonably forsee that the victim would be injured by the danger and in the case of invitees, that the owner negligently failed to cure the danger.

 Injury

The accident victim must have evidence of a real injury as a result of the fall, usually one that a physician confirms.

Causation
The victim also must prove that a dangerous condition on the property directly caused the fall and resulting injury. For example, if an owner failed to remove a foreign substance from its store, but there is no proof that the victim actually slipped over the foreign substance, the owner can argue that he or she is not responsible.

If you, or someone you care about, has been injured as a result of a slip and fall accident, it is important that you contact legal counsel as soon as possible.  In Kentucky, there is a one year statute of limitations from the time of the accident for filing a slip and fall complaint.   Feel free to email or call 502-771-0588 for more information.