What is an Existing Hazard?
An existing hazard can be any condition that was present for a long period of time or about which other people lodged complaints such that the landowner should have been aware of its danger. For example, a faulty handrail on a set of stairs inside a business building is something that many people might have lodged complaints about in the past. Similarly, the same faulty handrail could possibly have been discovered if the business or landowner had performed adequate reasonable inspections on a timely basis to discover it.
Furthermore, the property owner or manager might have been aware of the dangerous condition, but due to financial considerations, chose to ignore its danger.
This is the classic “profits over safety” mindset of many business owners or landowners.
Sometimes, the business or landowner cannot afford to fix the problem. However, this does not absolve the business owner or landowner of his or her responsibility to fix the hazard or warn of its potential or danger.
An existing hazard should prompt a property owner to post a warning sign about the condition, so that no one is put at unreasonable risk of catastrophic injury. If no corrective action is taken, however, then the person who was hurt in such an accident might be eligible to pursue a premises liability claim.
Evidence to Support an Indiana Existing Hazard Fall Claim
It might be difficult to prove an existing hazard was present at the time of the fall – landowners might try to hide the problem or correct it later. That is why an investigation is vital to the future success of so many claims. Shaw Law has performed literally hundreds of investigations that prove a dangerous condition existed at the time of the injury – even though the circumstances and condition of the land changed in the interim.
Even if you don’t have direct evidence that the property manager was aware of the condition, and ignored the opportunity to correct it, you can use information such as the length of time that the hazard was present to prove your case.
For example, Indiana law imposes a duty to perform adequate reasonable inspections of a property in order to determine if a dangerous condition existed or not. This includes reasonable inspections after a snowfall or snow storm to determine if a snowy or icy condition exists for customers who might slip and fall on the ice.
Property owners cannot feign ignorance, or argue that it was too expensive, or difficult to fix a dangerous condition if it was reasonable to do so. They have a responsibility to keep their property free and clear of unreasonable hazards.
Many people can be exposed to a serious slip and fall injury while visiting stores, restaurants or other businesses. While children and the elderly are especially susceptible to slip and falls (the elderly due to balance problems of aging and children due to lack of experience in determining unsafe conditions), other age groups of different people might become subject to this dangerous condition. The property owner should do everything possible to minimize the risk of serious injury to ALL people, and when this doesn’t happen, they might be held accountable in a lawsuit when an trip and fall accident has already occurred.
If you have recently suffered broken bones, a fracture, internal organ damage, a traumatic brain injury, a concussion, torn ligaments, spinal injuries or spinal cord damage as a result of a slip and fall accident that could have been prevented, you need to hold the property owner accountable in a personal injury lawsuit. Contact an Indiana premises liability existing hazard slip and fall lawyer today.
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