“Slip and fall” is the term used in a personal injury case where a person slips or trips and is injured on someone else’s property. This usually falls under a premises liability claim. Slip and fall accidents usually occur on property owned or maintained by another person. The property owner may be held legally responsible in the case of your accident. Many dangerous conditions include poor lighting, a wet floor, changes in flooring and cracked public sidewalks. A slip and fall cause might occur when someone slips and falls outside when there is ice, rain or snow or falls into a hidden pothole or drain hole.
When a person gets injured in a slip and fall on someone else’s property, they must prove that the cause of the accident was a dangerous condition and that the owner knew of this condition previously. A dangerous condition must present an unreasonable risk to a person on the property and it must have been a condition that the injured party should not have anticipated under the circumstances.
In order to show that a property owner knew of a dangerous condition it must be proven that:
- The owner created the condition
- The owner knew the condition existed and negligently failed to fix it
- The condition existed for a length of time that the owner should have found and corrected it prior to the slip and fall incident
For the property owner to be held liable, it must have been foreseeable that his negligence would create the danger that is at question. There must be a responsible party whose negligence caused the injury.
To be legally responsible for the injuries someone suffered from slipping, or falling on someone else’s property, the owner of a store, restaurant or other business must have caused the spill, worn spot, or dangerous surface or item. They should have known of the dangerous surface because a “reasonable” person would have repaired if upon discovery or on the opposite end, they knew about the dangerous surface but did nothing about it. If a slip and fall happens on a commercial property, there are often a number of people and entities that may be held responsible for the injuries.
In a residential property, landlords may be held liable to tenants or third parties for slip and fall injuries on rental properties. To hold a landlord responsible for an injury the tenant must show that the landlord had control over the situation that caused the slip and fall, repairing the condition would not have been unreasonably expensive or difficult, a serious injury was the foreseeable consequence of not fixing the condition and the landlord’s failure to take reasonable steps to avoid an accident cause the tenant’s slip and fall injury.
Special rules apply when a slip and fall injury occurs on a property owned by a local, state or federal government entity. There are very specific and stringent notice requirements and broad immunity provisions that sometimes guard government objects from liability for injuries that occur on their property. If you are injured on government property, call your attorney immediately so they can give you the proper information you may need for your lawsuit.
Slip and fall accidents can be very pricey and if the fall was caused by another person or business, filing a lawsuit may be the only way you can recover medical expenses, loss wages and money for pain and suffering. Call your attorney as soon as possible since there are time limits where you can file a personal injury lawsuit.
What You Should Do Immediately After a Slip and Fall Accident?
- Get medical attention as soon as possible – This is important because some symptoms do not show up right away after the accident. By getting a thorough exam from a medical professional you will be able to have your diagnosis in writing for any future legal matters. If you have a broken bone, cuts or any other type of wound that was caused by the slip and fall document
- Inspect the area where you fell – Look around for the potential cause of the fall (weather conditions, uneven flooring or concrete, etc.) Write down what happened as soon as possible because it will help you in your case.
- Identify witnesses – Write down names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone in the area where the incident occurs (those who saw you fall and others who were around after the incident). Even if someone did not see you fall, they might be able to describe your pain and the conditions of the floor, lighting, etc. after you fell.
- Follow necessary procedure – If the incident happened in a store or place of business you may need to fill out an accident report or notify a manager. Make sure the store and manager knows about your accident immediately. If anyone employed by the store makes a comment saying that your accident did not happen in the store or suggesting that this occurred before, take notes especially the name of person of who made the comment.
- Take photos as soon as possible – Try to take pictures of the scene immediately after the accident especially if conditions start to change. If you do not get photos, you may be at the mercy of the property owner’s version of how they thought the slip and fall accident occurred. Even if the condition that caused your fall is permanent or semi permanent (ice on the sidewalk, cracks in the concrete) take photos of the area as soon as possible to that you have a record.
- Stay at the scene to fill out an accident report and keep talk to a minimum especially about how the fall happened.
After you submit your slip and fall claim, an attorney or insurance adjusters from the property owner or responsible party may approach you. Be careful what you say especially since these people work for the opposing party and their insurance companies and they will pay you as little as possible in your case. Don’t make simple mistakes by saying too much.
Speak with an attorney as soon as possible. They will know how to handle the insurance companies and the other party’s lawyers. The attorneys at Losi & Gangi are experienced in slip and fall injury on property cases. Call for a free for a free consultation and review of your case at 716-854-1446.
Article adapted from: https://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/slip-and-fall-accidents-overview.html