In order to prove liability in a slip and fall accident case, it must be shown that the defendant either created the hazardous situation that caused a slip and fall accident, or that he/she knew about it. In legal terms, there are two kinds of notice of the situation – “actual notice,” which means that the defendant had direct knowledge of the hazard, either written, by prior complaint, or seeing it in person; and “constructive notice,” which means that the defendant should or could have known about the existing hazard. If either actual or constructive notice cannot be proven, it will be hard to hold the defendant liable for injury.
Constructive notice is the more complicated concept, but very important in giving victims a means of obtaining compensation for their injuries. It means that people have a duty and an obligation to inspect and take care of their premises to avoid an injury to others. Otherwise, property owners could simply claim ignorance of a dangerous situation, leaving victims of their negligence helpless to recover any compensation for their injuries. In a case involving constructive notice, a hazardous situation must have existed long enough that it is reasonable to assume that the defendant was aware of it, or should have been aware of it.
Time is always a factor in constructive notice. If a customer drops a glass jar in the store while shopping and another customer immediately slips on the shards and is injured, it may not be reasonable to expect the store to have cleaned up the debris within seconds of the incident. However, if hours after the customer dropped the jar the mess has not been cleaned up, it could be assumed that the store had been put on constructive notice of the hazardous condition through regular inspection and maintenance of their premises. In a scenario where a slip and fall accident happens on snow or ice in a parking lot, the time factor for constructive notice could be much shorter.
Delaware County Slip and Fall Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC are Familiar With Constructive Notice
Every case has different circumstances. Our Delaware County slip and fall lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC will give your case the personalized attention it deserves to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Contact us online or call 215-569-8488 for a free consultation.