Common Defenses in a Slip and Fall Case

Many people incorrectly assume that a fall in a store or other public space is an “easy lawsuit.” Nothing could be farther from the truth! When a victim brings forward an injury claim, it’s up to them to prove their case. On top of that, you can trust that the store will come with their defense lawyers, ready to put up a tough fight. 

In our brief post today, we’ll look at some of the common defenses that victims might have to overcome to win their case and ultimately, compensation. 

Defense #1: “The hazard was open and obvious.”

One of the most used defenses of all is that whatever caused you to slip and fall was “open and obvious.” In other words, you should have seen it. Anyone would have seen it and avoided it. You just weren’t paying attention. If the defense is successful with this line of reasoning, it shifts the blame away from them.

Defense #2: “You weren’t being cautious.”

Again, the goal of the defense is going to be to deny any fault. There are many ways they might try to show you weren’t being careful. They could claim you were distracted, weren’t wearing your eyeglasses, or were wearing the wrong footwear. You’d be surprised at the many ways they might try to do this!

Defense #3: “We tried to warn you.”

The property owner may point to any and every potential “proof” that they had adequate warnings. For instance, they may say there were signs, caution tape, or other notices. 

However, even if this is true, the warnings may not have been sufficient enough to have caught your eye or prevented your fall. 

Defense #4: “We had no idea about the hazard.”

A property owner could claim they were unaware of the spill down the frozen food aisle, or the accumulation of snow and ice on the sidewalk. 

It’s up to you to prove that they should have known, or that they were negligent in some other way. For instance, suppose the store does not provide regular sweeps of their aisles – then they may be negligent.

Defense #5: “It was someone else’s fault – not ours!”

It’s possible the property owner could try another tactic altogether and point the finger at a third party. For example, they may say it was a contractor who failed to properly repair a sidewalk. Or a delivery company who created a slick surface coming in and out of their store. 

Bottom line: Find a Lawyer 

We’ve written before about slip and fall cases and how they can be particularly difficult to overcome. A skilled lawyer can anticipate the potential defenses and help you build a solid case. 

The first step is to call an experienced slip and fall lawyer and ask for a free case review. Our lawyers are always happy to do this for prospective clients.  

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Angela Russell
Articles: 73

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