Dangerous Conditions of Public Property, How Proven

By: Atty. Gabriel Cosh

Slip or trip and fall accidents are common. Such accidents cause a lot of injuries to a lot of people. After an accident, there is presumably negligence involved, whether it be against the person injured or the owner or lessee of the property where the slip or trip and fall accident occurred.

On the part of the injured person who is claiming for damages due to alleged negligence on the part of the property owner, it is easier to claim when the latter is a private person or entity. It is a different matter altogether, however, if the injured person has a trip or slip and fall accident while on a public property.

In case you are that private person who was unfortunate enough to be injured as a result of the dangerous condition present in the public property, it is important for your claim to prove that dangerous conditions existed at the time of the incident and that dangerous condition is the proximate cause of your injury.

In order for you to recover against the public entity for injuries as a result of the dangerous condition of the public property, you must prove the five elements set forth below, otherwise, you can forget your case against the public entity.

First, you must prove that the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury. This means that the condition of the property is such that it creates a substantial risk of injury when the property is used without any contributory negligence on your part.

Second, the dangerous condition must be the proximate cause of your injuries. This means that the condition of the public property is the necessary cause of the injury and it is the reasonable cause of the happening of the accident.

Third, that the public property’s dangerous condition creates a foreseeable risk in that it could cause the type of injury you incurred by the use of the public property. This means that by using the property, it is likely that you will receive that type of injuries you did receive as a result of the use of said public property.

Fourth, that the public entity had constructive knowledge or actual notice some time prior to the accident that there existed a dangerous condition in the public area that could cause injury to the public. This means that the public entity knows or should have known that the public property has defects or damage that could reasonably lead to somebody’s getting hurt by using said public property.

Last, that the public entity’s inaction or inadequate action is not reasonably enough to prevent the dangerous condition.

Once you have proven the above five elements, you maybe able to claim against the public entity for the dangerous condition present in the public property that cause the accident and consequently your injuries.


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