Sorrentino Legal | Connecticut Slip and Fall Lawyers
Slip and fall accidents are the most frequent and common types of premise liability cases. If you are injured on someone else's property the owner will be liable when there are dangerous conditions. It is the owner's duty to ensure that there are no safety hazards when he invites people over. When you are injured due to a slip and fall (or tripping) the injuries you sustain can be minor or become very serious. Minor injuries may include a few cuts or bruises, but serious injuries can be broken bones or serious lacerations. For some people their injuries may have an effect on them for the rest of their lives.
What are the common factors in a slip and fall case?
There can be many factors that would lead to your injury due to a slip and fall, here are a few examples:
- (1) Uneven flooring causing slip and fall injury;
- (2) Wet floors causing slip and fall injury;
- (3) Icy walkways causing slip and fall injury;
- (4) Pot holes/man holes causing slip and fall injury;
- (5) No handrails on steps causing slip and fall injury;
- (6) Lack of lighting in a parking lot causing slip and fall injury;
- (7) Stairs covered in snow or ice causing slip and fall injury.
Of course there is a duty on your part to be aware of your surroundings especially in some of those circumstances above.
What are the duties of a landowner?
Once you enter the property the duties required by a homeowner changes, and the law splits them into three categories. The legal duty owed, or responsibility the landowner has to prevent harm depends on your status or reason you're on the landowner's property. Those categories are: (1) trespassers, (2) licensees, and (3) invitees.
1. Trespassers: A trespasser is an uninvited guest on the property of the landowner. Generally, a homeowner owes no duty to a trespasser (meaning you can't sue), however there are some limited circumstances in which you may still hold a homeowner liable even as a trespasser.
Duties Owed to a Trespasser
- (1 ) Homeowner may not intentionally harm the trespasser or lay a trap for him.
- (2) The trespasser is entitled to reasonable care after his presence is actually known; until the person's presence is known. Landowners owe no duty to trespassers.
- (3) The possessor of land has no duty to warn trespassers of dangerous hidden conditions.
Trespassing Children and the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
There are a different set of rules for in regards to trespassing children. If you are a homeowner and you know or have a reason to know children might be on your property, then you may owe a duty to warn children and take measures to prevent potential harm and prevent injury. This is known as the attractive nuisance doctrine.
You may be liable if a child is injured on your property even without your consent; your duty is to protect them by fixing any hazards, or make affirmative efforts to prevent children from entering your property.
2. Licensees: A licensee is one known to be on the premises but whose presence gives no benefit to the property owner.
Duties Owed to a Licensee
- (1) Homeowner may not intentionally harm the licensee or lay a trap for him.
- (2) The licensee is entitled to due care after his presence is known.
- (3) There is no liability owed to the licensee for the obvious condition of the premises but conditions that may be obvious in the daytime may become concealed at night.
- (4) The homeowner has a duty of care for licensees or tolerated intruders if he is involved in a dangerous activity.
- (5) The homeowner of land must warn licensees and tolerated intruders of hidden hazards he knows about
3. Invitees: Invitees are wanted visitors on the premises for a specific purpose known by the homeowner, or there as a benefit to the landowner. For example, a customer in a store is most always an invitee. Landowners owe invitees the highest duty of care, and unlike licensees, the landowner must inspect the property to be on the lookout for potentially injury-causing defects.
Duties Owed to an Invitee
- (1) Homeowner may not intentionally harm the licensee or lay a trap for him.
- (2) The invitee is entitled to due care after his presence is known.
- (3) There is no liability owed to the invitee for the obvious condition of the premises but conditions that may be obvious in the daytime may become concealed at night.
- (4) The homeowner has a duty of care for an invitee or tolerated intruders if he is involved in a dangerous activity.
- (5) The homeowner of land must warn invitee and tolerated intruders of hidden hazards he knows about
- (6) Homeowner has the duty to inspect the premises and deem the property reasonable and safe.
- (7) Homeowner will be liable for defects that could be discoverable by an inspection and he has the duty to give invitees a warning. But he is not liable to anyone for unknown defects that could not be discovered by the exercise of reasonable care.
What do you have to prove for a slip and fall case?
In order to bring a case against a property owner you must prove each of the following by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning more likely than not (51% or more likely):
- (1) Dangerous defect: You, or the plaintiff, must prove that a dangerous defect or defective condition existed on the property, e.g. pool of water on a floor, ice on an unsalted staircase.
- (2) Notice: That the defendant either had actual notice of the defect or that such defect had existed for such a length of time that the homeowner should have discovered it in time to fix it.
- (3) Causation: that the defective condition caused the plaintiff to slip or fall resulting in injury.
- (4) Damages: That you suffered some physical and/or emotional harm because of the slip or fall incident. Additionally, you may have economic damages because of your slip or fall causing you financial harm, such as medical bills and treatment costs for your injuries. You should be made whole where you are injured by someone else's carelessness or negligence that is put in the same position you would have been but for the incident. Because sometimes you can't fully be made whole – where you've suffered a permanent injury – the law provides that you are entitled to fair, just, and reasonable compensation for your injuries.
Affirmative Defenses to a Slip and Fall Injury in Connecticut
Insurance defense lawyers will do whatever they can to minimize or prevent you from recovering the compensation you deserve after suffering from a slip and fall accident. Defense counsel almost always allege that you were comparatively negligent, meaning your recovery would be reduced by the percentage you contributed to your own injuries.
Other defenses might be that the defendant did not have reasonable notice of the defect that caused you fall, or that whatever it is you claim caused your injury was not a defect at all.
Trivial Defect Doctrine
In some states, where there is only a small deviation in the height of a sidewalk, you may be barred from bringing a claim. This is known as the trivial defect doctrine. For example, the defect is known to be ‘trivial' and thus not actionable. The trivial defect doctrine does apply in Connecticut CT, however there is no bright line number (i.e. 2 inches or less) and it is rarely decided by a judge and so you will most likely still be able to bring such a claim to a jury,
Statute of Limitations for a Slip and Fall Claim in Connecticut
Statute of limitations is a law that sets forth the time period allowed in which to bring a claim. In Connecticut, the statute of limitation on a slip and fall claim is generally two (2) years starting from the day of the accident. You have special notice requirements, however, when the defendant is a government entity controlled by a municipality or the state of Connecticut and may need to bring the claim even sooner.
If you fail to bring a claim within that time period you may have waived your right to bring a claim, unless an exception applies. Therefore, it is imperative that you talk to a skilled and experienced slip and fall lawyer
Contact an Experienced Slip and Fall Lawyer Today.
If you have had a Connecticut CT slip and fall accident, contact Sorrentino Legal, the experienced Connecticut slip and fall attorneys for a free consultation. You can reach us by calling (203) 518-8010 for a free consultation and tell us about your Connecticut CT slip and fall case to see how we can help you get you compensated for your accident today.