Too many people who are older and/or have a disability don’t take any kind of legal action after suffering injuries caused by a property owner’s negligence. They assume that the accident that caused the injuries will be blamed on their own mobility or balance issues or simply on their age.
They may even blame themselves. The property owner or staff who were present at the time of the injury are likely to say something to the effect that it’s the victim’s fault as well.
The question is whether or not there was a hazardous condition that could result in harm to anyone – regardless of their age or physical fitness. If there wasn’t any kind of hazardous condition and someone fell and broke multiple bones because they weren’t using their cane, that’s likely not the property owner’s fault. If a spill on a building lobby floor was left for hours without being cleaned up or cordoned off and someone slipped and suffered a head injury, that’s likely going to be considered negligence – no matter whom the victim was.
What do you need to show in a negligence claim?
To bring a negligence claim against a property owner, you typically need to show four things:
- The defendant had a responsibility (duty of care) to those who came on their property.
- They breached that duty.
- The breach of duty caused harm to the plaintiff.
- The harm caused compensable damages (for example, medical expenses, lost pay and physical and emotional pain and suffering).
An injury caused by negligence can have far more serious consequences for someone who is older or already has medical issues than for others. A fall can have devastating and long-term effects on an elderly person, for example. That doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to seek the compensation they need to cover their damages.
If you were injured because of a hazard that a property owner knew or should have known about, don’t assume that you don’t have a right to seek justice and compensation because of your age and/or physical condition – and don’t let anyone convince you that you can’t. It’s wise to seek legal guidance to protect and assert your rights.