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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Liability in Slip and Fall Accidents: Proving Fault

When a person is injured in a slip-and-fall accident on someone else's property, they may wonder who is liable and how to prove a specific party is at fault. In some cases, this can be more complicated than others. This guide to proving fault in a slip and fall lawsuit or insurance claim covers who is at fault, why they are at fault, and how victims can successfully hold them liable for the financial damages caused by the accident.

To discuss a specific case, contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys for expert advice from experienced and dedicated Nashville slip and fall attorneys.

What Is a Slip and Fall Claim?

What Is a Slip and Fall Claim?

Slip and fall lawsuits and insurance claims are a type of personal injury case when injuries are caused by a person slipping on an unsafe surface on someone else's property. The most common causes of slip and fall accidents in Houston include unmarked met floors, slippery surfaces, obstacles and debris, and other spills. A slip and fall claim is taken out by the victim against the person deemed responsible for the dangerous condition.

Who Is At Fault in a Slip and Fall Case?

In most cases, property owners are liable for any slip and fall accident that occurs on their premises. Under the laws that apply in a premises liability claim, a property owner or business owner is responsible for providing safe conditions for patrons and visitors. Failure to do so, when it results in an accident, puts them at fault for the injuries and the damages that follow. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can go over landlord liability for slip and fall injuries.

Slip and fall accidents can lead to serious injury- including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal damage, hip fractures, and back injuries. A liable party would be responsible for the cost of medical bills, pain and suffering damages, lost wages, and property damage where relevant.

When Is the Property Owner Not Liable in a Slip and Fall Accident?

Although the property owner is usually the liable party, there are some exceptions.

Trespassers who slip and fall on a property they do not have permission to be in may be unable to make a claim, as the owner did not necessarily owe them a duty of care at the time. If the injury was caused by something any reasonable person could have avoided, they may not be at fault. The same applies if they did everything that was required by law to limit the risk of a dangerous condition.

If the injured party is found partially responsible for the accident, usually due to their own carelessness or by ignoring warning signs, they are likely to receive less compensation- if any at all. A case where $10,000 is awarded in compensation and the owner is 70% at fault, and the victim 30%, would see the property owner's insurance company responsible for $7,000 of compensation instead of the full amount.

In Texas, comparative fault laws state that a person more than 51% to blame for an accident cannot claim compensation for damages.

How to Prove Fault in a Slip and Fall Claim

How to Prove Fault in a Slip and Fall Claim

In any personal injury claim or premises liability case, the victim must be able to prove negligence- meaning they must show that someone else's actions or inactions were the leading cause of their accident.

A slip and fall claimant trying to show that it was the property owner's fault must prove that a dangerous condition existed because of something the owner or an employee did or failed to do when it was their responsibility. There are three stages to proving negligence and fault in a slip and fall claim:

  • Proving the property owner owed a duty of care to the victim

  • Determining that the duty of care was breached

  • Showing that the lack of reasonable care was the direct (or at least primary) cause of the accident

Here is a closer look at each part and how they work.

Duty of Care

Every property owner has a duty of care to provide the safety possible conditions for those occupying their premises. A victim must prove these duties if they hope to hold the owner liable. It is for this reason that people who are occupying a property illegally may not be able to claim compensation.

Breach of Duty of Care

To prove negligence, the claimant must show that the owner failed to perform their duty of care in some way. If there are dangerous conditions on a commercial property that the owner or an employee knew about- or should have known about- but failed to rectify, that would be a breach.

An owner must take reasonable steps to reduce risks to patrons, visitors, or customers. Cleaning spills quickly, implementing proper drainage, removing potential slipping or tripping hazards, and securing dangerous areas are some examples of actions that should be taken.

Direct Causation

The final step in proving liability and fault in a slip and fall claim is to show that the fall occurred because of a hazardous condition and the property owner's negligence.

Because of Tenessee comparative negligence laws, a property owner is only legally responsible for accidents that were more than 50% caused by their breached duty of care. Someone who injures themselves because they were not paying attention, entered a restricted area, or ignored clear and unmissable warnings is likely to be found at least partially responsible.

To prove fault, victims must provide sufficient evidence that someone else's carelessness, not their own, directly or primarily caused their injury.


When a slip and fall accident is caused by unsafe conditions on someone else's property that were not properly avoided or protected, the victim may be able to recover compensation from the owner.

A slip-and-fall accident lawyer can help gather evidence, collect incident reports, and provide compelling evidence to show that someone else is at fault. They can also advise on who is liable in a sidewalk slip and fall.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is a leading personal injury law firm in Houston, Texas, with unrivaled experience and expertise in slip and fall cases. Contact a trusted legal professional at Schuerger Shunnarah today to arrange a free consultation. They go to war for Hou accident victims and ensure the right person is held responsible for their injuries and suffering.


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