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Slip and Fall

What constitutes a slip and fall claim?

Sign on slippery floor warning of slip and fall danger.
Slip and fall claims can be difficult to prove; an attorney can help you recover for your injuries.

This type of claim arises when one person slips and falls on the property of another. This does not mean that there is a claim that can be proved, however.

In order to establish a claim, it's necessary that the injured person show that either the person that owns the property, or possesses the property, has acted negligently in some manner. Negligence is defined as the failure to exercise the degree of care considered reasonable under the circumstances.

Slip and falls generally arise when someone slips on either ice or snow, or some type of slippery floor. With regards to snow and ice, it's difficult to show the owner is at fault as snow and ice naturally occur in the state of Maine. It's necessary to show that the owner of the property knew or should have known that the area would be dangerous and failed to take the necessary steps to make the area safe.

Examples of being negligent would include having an area that was icy, and had been icy for a substantial period of time, and the owner failed to put sand or salt in an area where he knew people would walk.

Another type of slip and fall claim arises out of a foreign object being on the floor. An example of this would be when something falls off a shelf or display in a grocery store and creates a slippery area. In order to prove negligence, it's necessary to show that the store either knew or should have known that there was a substance on the floor that made the floor slippery.

What is comparative negligence in a slip and fall claim?

Maine is a state that applies the doctrine of comparative negligence. As applied in Maine, if the judge or jury finds that the person making the claim is equally as at fault as the person against whom the claim is made, then the person making the claim cannot obtain a recovery. In the context of slip and falls, there is often the issue of whether the person who fell was adequately watching where he or she were going.

For example, if at a store there were a sign that said slippery floor and the person ignored the sign and fell, there would certainly be the argument that the person who fell was not being careful and was therefore negligent. When there are claims in the winter, there is the issue of whether the person had appropriate shoes — the claimant needs to show that his or her shoes were appropriate for the conditions.

In conclusion, slip and fall claims are difficult to prove but not impossible. There are circumstances when it can be shown that the owner of the property was negligent and the person who fell was not. In those circumstances, the claimant is entitled to recover for injuries.