The Law of a Slip and Fall- Landlord Liability

Top five things to look at the scene if you have a slip and fall accident

  1. Was there something on the floor that caused you to fall;
  2. Determine what the substance is;
  3. Determine how the substance got there;
  4. Determine if the owner knew or should’ve known about the substance;
  5. Determine if there is a defect in the floor that caused you to fall.

In Nevada, whether you can recover for a slip and fall injury is very specific on the facts and circumstances surrounding the fall itself. The law in Nevada states that although an owner of a property is not an insurer of the safety of the person on the premises.  However, it goes on to state a landowner does in fact have a duty to exercise reasonable care to persons and guests that are on the property. The fact that an accident occurs on the landlord’s property does not in and of itself establish negligence. This is likely the biggest misconception of clients.  It is a commonly held belief that if anything happens on a commercial or private property, the owner is automatically liable for the injuries. This is not true.

An accident or a fall on a property itself does not mean the owner of the location where you fell or were injured is liable. However, they are certainly liable if it was negligence on their part that caused you to fall or become injured. In Nevada, it is critical to know that if you are the victim, you will have the duty to establish that the landlord was negligent and violated his duty of care. You’re probably asking yourself “how do I do that.”  The answer is by photographing everything at the scene where you fell and documenting the entire scene and the hazardous condition. It is extremely important to document what caused you to fall. It is extremely important to document what caused you to fall. Yes, I meant to write that twice. Whether it was a foreign substance on the floor or a defect in the floor itself, you need to photograph and document the area of the fall and/or injury.

You may be asking yourself what is this legal jargon “foreign substance. “  Generally the substance on the floor is a liquid. It is important to photograph the liquid and anything around the liquid to indicate where it came from.  Whether a landlord or property owner is liable will depend on what the liquid is and how it got there. For example, if the land owner or landlord had staff recently mop the floor and water is left, they are absolutely liable because they created the hazardous condition.  If a guest walked by and dropped a soda on the floor, it will depend on the gap in time between the time so it was dropped and the time the injury occurs. Meaning that if the liquid or substance was dropped only minutes before the injury, there may not have been enough time for the landlord to clean up the debris.

However if the substance has been on the floor for a significant period of time whether captured on video, by eyewitness testimony, or by the landowners failure to conduct regular “Sweep‘s” of the area and document the same, they may be liable for the foreign substance on the floor.   This is known as constructive notice by the landlord. Under the law in Nevada, if the landlord has actual notice of the substance on the floor or there is substantial evidence from which a jury could decide that the landlord had notice and should have known that there was a substance on the floor,  liability will be found against the landlord. This is established through evidence. It is imperative to collect evidence at the scene and notify the landlord so that statements can be taken. The plaintiff, aka injured victim. will need to offer credible testimony the substance had in fact been on the floor for a long period of time. Thus, the jury could infer that the landlord had constructive notice of the object on the floor because of the length of time it was there and should have cleaned it up.

This is why it is imperative to contact a personal injury lawyer like the Law Offices Of Laura Payne-Hunt, Esq.  immediately when you are involved in a slip and fall accident. In order to show constructive notice, the victim must show that the defect was visible by the landowner or his employees for a sufficient amount of time prior to the accident.  The victim will need to establish that the land owner had sufficient time to discover and fix or remove the hazardous condition.

In most cases, proving  the landowner or landlord had notice  is done by gathering sufficient evidence to  how long the substance was there. It will be important to establish the substance had been on the floor for appreciable lengths of time in order allow the business or their employees to discover and remedy the defect. This is where the experience of the personal injury Law Offices Of Laura Payne-Hunt, Esq. will be invaluable.  The personal injury Law Offices Of Laura Payne-Hunt, Esq. will obtain evidence to establish this fact. We obtain documents through discovery from the landowner regarding his employees, his processes and procedures that allow us to establish his negligence.

We can also obtain video surveillance footage that may show an employee in the area of the hazard who should’ve noticed and removed the hazard. The issue of constructive notice and the landlords negligence is generally a question of fact and that is why it is so critical to obtain a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas Nevada or Henderson Nevada to assist you with a slip and fall injury.  

There can be other substances on a surface that can cause a fall, such as sand or food particles so that is why it is critical that you document by photographing with your phone the entire area and the specific area where you fell. It is also very important to notify the landlord at the time that you fall so that the proper steps of investigation can be taken.

If it can be proven that the business owner or one of his agents caused the substance to be on the floor, the landlord or landowner may be strictly liable.   It is outside the standard of ordinary care to have liquid or foreign substances on a walking surface.

Special provisions exist for condominium associations and they are contained in the Nevada Revised Statutes at 116.3107. The statutes place a duty of a condominium association to maintain the common areas.   There is not a lot of law on the association’s duty. However, the statute clearly establishes the association has a duty to maintain the common areas including sidewalks, landscapes and other amenities of the community. There is a small body of law regarding a condominium association’s requirement to maintain security on the premises and this is an issue that will be dealt with in a subsequent blog.

If you have a question about a slip and fall injury and/or any questions regarding a personal injury, whether from a car accident or a slip and fall or any combination of injuries, please don’t hesitate to call The Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC, and Henderson Injury Attorneys for over 13 years. Please call our office if you or if a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence. If you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices today. At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to. Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.

         At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury Henderson offices. The Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.