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April 28, 2021

How Do You Prove Liability in a WI Slip and Fall Case?

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Posted in Wisconsin Workers Compensation Related News

Slip and fall injuries can be quite serious, and they’re sadly common. People can trip over something on the floor, or slip because the floor is slippery. They may suffer broken bones, dislocated bones, dislocated joints, or even injuries to their head.

Proving liability can be challenging at times. It’s not as simple as proving that you, the plaintiff fell and got hurt on a property because it was hazardous. No, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant knew, or should have been aware of the hazardous condition that caused them to get hurt.

There are two different avenues to recover damages that someone who has been injured in a slip and fall case can pursue. They can make a claim using the common-law theories of negligence, or they can pursue a claim saying it violates Wisconsin’s Safe Place Law.

Every person in Wisconsin has a legal duty to act with care towards others—this means in slip and fall cases, the property owners and possessors have a duty to ensure the premises are not dangerous. To use the negligence theory, injured people must show that their injuries were caused by a preventable hazard. A “dangerous condition or hazard” is defined to be a hazard or risk that cannot be observed or anticipated by visitors to the property.

To win using this theory, the plaintiffs have to be able to prove that the owner of the property knew the danger was there. The owner had to have knowledge of the hazard, and must have had a reasonable amount of time between learning of the hazard and the incident to fix the hazard.

Furthermore, the plaintiff has to prove that despite knowing about the hazard; they did not attempt to fix said hazard.

The Wisconsin Safe Place Law is a law that imposes a higher standard of care than regular negligence claims. It requires every employer and every owner who owns a public building to ensure their building and property is safe as can be reasonably permitted. This must be safe for employees and customers who would frequent the area.

Negligence law just requires the property from known dangerous conditions, the Safe Place Law requires employers and property owners to do everything that they can to reasonably protect those who may enter the property—they must aim to protect their life, health, safety and welfare of anyone on the premises. This doesn’t mean that employers or owners must take every possible safety measure, though they’re just required to be reasonable in their safety practices.

The Safe Place Law does not apply to private property—so if you’re injured by slipping and falling in Wisconsin, reach out to a slip and fall lawyer in WI to see whether you should file as a negligence claim or Safe Place claim. The slip and fall lawyers, like the ones at Hickey & Turim SC, can help you.

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