Slip and fall accidents outside buildings happen for many reasons. Cracked pavement, spilled liquids and food, and potholes in the parking lot a few of the hazardous conditions that could cause you to fall and suffer serious injuries. You may have a right to be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering you experience due to your injuries. However, like with many issues in slip and fall accident cases, it is not always easy to determine who is responsible for compensating you if you are hurt outside a business.
How to Determine If a Business—or Another Party—Is Liable for Your Injuries After a Fall Outside of a Building
While a business’ liability for a dangerous condition that its owner or staff knew about in the building is fairly straightforward, responsibility can be much more complicated when an injury happens outside the building. A number of factors will determine whether the business, another party, or both are responsible for compensating you. Some of the considerations include:
- Does the business own the property? If the business owns the building, the business would be responsible for the upkeep of the common areas, parking lot, and sidewalks. In this situation, it is likely that you can hold the business liable for your injuries.
- Does the business rent its space from the property owner? When a business leases its store, office, or other structure, it can become much more challenging to determine who is responsible for the upkeep of the building and the areas surrounding it. You would need to review the lease to see if the owner of the property or business had control of and was responsible for the upkeep of the outside of the property. If this was the owner’s responsibility, you may need to pursue your claim against the owner and not the business. However, if the business knew about the dangerous condition, such as a large pothole, and did nothing to warn guests of the danger or to get the property owner to correct the problem, the business could face some liability as well.
- Is there a contract with a third party to maintain the outside of the building? Some businesses or property owners will enter into a contract with a third party to maintain the outside of a building, such as landscaping, care of a parking lot, or removal of snow. If this was the situation in your case, this third party could also be at least partially responsible for compensating you. Depending on the facts in your case, you may be able to file a claim with the business’ or property owner’s insurance company as well.
An experienced slip and fall attorney can help you identify the negligent party and obtain a copy of the business’ lease, which you probably will not be able to get on your own. If you injured yourself in a slip and fall accident outside a business, fill out an online form to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys to discuss your situation with you and learn about your legal options.