How Premises Liability Applies To Slip And Fall Incidents

Posted on: 30 April 2020

One of the most common arguments a slip and fall attorney will use to support a claim is that the owner of the location is responsible under premises liability. This is the concept in American law that the owner of a property has certain responsibilities to prevent visitors from being hurt while they're at the location. You may be curious how this logic might apply to your case, so this article looks at what a slip and fall lawyer may have to say.

The General Notion of Premises Liability

In injury law, there is a general concept of reasonableness. Suppose you were in a craft supply store and a box full of beads fell onto the floor. Beads spilled all over the place. A reasonable person would clean the beads up because leaving them there is a potential hazard to others. If the store's staff left the beads there after learning about or seeing them, they would be liable for any injuries a customer who slipped on them might sustain.

Limits to the Reasonableness Standard

There are some things a reasonable person would understand couldn't be addressed. For example, it would be hard to hold a homeowner liable if a garbage can got loose during a windstorm and caused someone on a nearby sidewalk to fall.

Such limits are tested, however, when some amount of time passes. A shop probably wouldn't be liable for a slip and fall that occurred on its sidewalk during a sudden snowstorm, for example. If they did nothing for hours after every other shop around them had cleaned up the snow, it would be harder for them to claim the suddenness of the event prevented them from taking action.


It's common for states to apply a standard known as invitation. When it comes to businesses, the invitation standard is pretty easy to understand. The business opens its doors to the public, and people assume they've been invited to shop there.

Anyone who has ever been in a mechanic's garage and seen a sign stating only employees are allowed past a certain point has seen a business literally draw a line on how far the invitation goes. You might be invited into the waiting room of the garage, but you probably aren't invited into the work area.

A few states don't use an invitation standard. In fact, California's premises liability law is so broad that even an intruder might be able to pursue a slip and fall claim.

For more information, contact a slip and fall attorney


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