A slip and fall accident isn’t really a literal term... it could be a trip and fall, miss and fall... or any kind of variation. Regardless, the law allows an injured person to make a claim against the owner of the property if the owner was negligent.
Generally, these types of personal injury cases fall under premises liability laws, which vary by state.
Continue reading for answers to some of the most common questions that arise from slip and fall accidents.
A: Negligence is when a person fails to take proper care to avoid harm to someone else. There are 4 elements to negligence:
A: The owner of a property can be liable for an injury suffered by another person on the premises. Usually, this relates to a person who has either express or implied consent to be on the property — either a guest or someone who’s there for business purposes.
Premises liability is based on whether the accident was foreseeable, which means the average person would’ve anticipated that the accident could happen based on the condition of the property. It also depends on whether the property owner made a reasonable effort to keep the property safe and to provide adequate warning if there is a dangerous condition.
A: You don’t have to damage your relationship or feel like you’re costing someone money. Instead, you can sue their insurance company. Every residence or business is required to have insurance for this very reason. Injuries happen, and insurance protects the homeowner or business owner for being responsible for covering the costs.
A: In general, the property owner (landlord) is responsible for maintaining the property. However, there might be instances when the renter is negligent (like if they do something that causes a hazardous condition, or if they fail to notify the landlord of danger so that the landlord can repair it).
Premises liability cases against a landlord are often complex. You should consult with an experienced attorney in your area for legal advice about your specific claim.
A: Most slip and fall accident injuries are caused by:
A: A slip and fall accident can happen anywhere but the most common places where these injuries occur are:
A: If your injury happens on your work site or during the course of performing work-related duties or tasks, you may be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim.
However, if the injury happens while you’re working on a site not owned or managed by your employer (for example, if you’re working as a subcontractor on a construction site or if your job involves visits to other offices or residences), you can often file a third-party claim if you’re injured because of a condition on the property. That means even though you were at work, you can still sue the property owner for your injuries if they were caused by negligent maintenance of the property.
A: Sometimes, yes. If you were injured on property owned by a government agency (city, state, or local municipality), you may still be able to sue for your injuries, but the process might be different.
The main thing to be aware of is that your deadline to file a lawsuit might be shorter, and there might be a few extra steps (like filing a Notice of Claim, for example).
However, there are some states that have sovereign immunity. This concept protects certain government employees and agencies from being sued.
It can be complicated and difficult to know if you’re able to file a lawsuit against a government agency or if you’re prohibited from doing so because of sovereign immunity. If your injury happened on public property, you should contact a lawyer who’s familiar with your state’s laws and processes.
A: In a personal injury lawsuit, you can recover damages to cover the costs of your injury and its effects on your life.
Economic damages have specific costs, like medical treatment (including doctor or hospital visits, rehabilitative therapies, prescription medication, assistive devices, and other items) and lost wages if your injury prevented you from returning to your job at the capacity you were in before the accident.
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering or mental anguish, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of activities, and possibly punitive damages. Usually, these costs become an issue if the injury is especially severe or life-changing.
A: That depends on the laws in your state. Each state follows 1 of 4 fault systems:
How does this work?
Here’s an example:
A: There are a few actions you should take immediately:
It can also be important to your case to obtain contact information for any witnesses who observed the area or the accident. Take each person’s name and contact information so that you or your lawyer can be in touch later to get their account of what happened.
If your injury accident happened in or near a business or public property, there might be a surveillance video that captured the incident. This is something to look for quickly because many places routinely delete surveillance video within a few days (or sooner), so it’s a good idea to act as soon as possible to ask any business that might have cameras if there’s video footage available.
A: If you’re a homeowner or property owner and someone was injured on your premises, you should call your insurance company right away. Homeowners’ insurance will often cover residential premises liability claims.
If you’re aware that there’s a potential hazard on your property (for example, broken steps, holes in the ground, broken tree branches, etc.), you must make a reasonable effort to either repair the condition or provide warning that there’s a dangerous condition.
A: The first priority is to keep your property safe. That means keeping an eye out for potential hazards and fixing them when they do arise.
Second, if there is a hazard that you can’t mitigate immediately, you can provide a warning (signs, cones, caution tape, etc.) so that any visitor to your property is aware to steer clear of the area.
A: It’s always a good idea to look for a lawyer as soon as possible after an injury accident, especially if there are questions of fact, there’s evidence to be obtained, or the other party is uncooperative or denies liability.
Your lawyer will act quickly to gather evidence and documents that are relevant to the condition of the property, who was responsible for maintaining the area, and other factors. Your lawyer will also evaluate the evidence in order to minimize your liability in order to obtain the most damages. It’s the lawyer’s job to negotiate with the insurance company or the other parties in order to obtain the best possible settlement, or to go to trial if a settlement can’t be reached.