With potential dangers like slippery tile at the supermarket, a sheet of ice in a parking lot, or a snagged carpet inside a restaurant, it is inevitable that you or someone close to you will experience a slip and fall injury. Once you have received medical attention, you may reflect on what happened and wonder if someone else was liable for your injury. Liability for this type of incident is complicated, so properly documenting your experience is crucial. Knowing the basics of a slip and fall claim will make the difference in proving liability.
What is a Slip and Fall Claim?
A “slip and fall” claim is a type of personal injury case in which a person is injured as a result of slipping or tripping on another person’s property. These cases fall under the larger umbrella of premises liability cases. For a person to be eligible to collect, they must have suffered at least a minor injury, and the property must be maintained by another party.
Understanding Slip and Fall Liability
Determining if someone else is legally responsible for your injury has a lot to do with how caution was practiced and whether the property owner was aware of a potential safety concern. On the injured person’s side, investigation includes determining whether personal carelessness contributed to the injury. If the condition that caused your fall could have been easily avoided, it will affect your ability to make a claim. That being said, property owners do have a responsibility to take reasonable actions to maintain the safety of their premises. One consideration will be whether the property owner was aware of the dangerous condition on their property. Dangerous conditions may include uneven flooring, poor lighting, ice, disorganized parking lots, hazardous stairs and more. If the property owner was aware of the issue, the next consideration is whether any actions were taken to limit the dangerous circumstances. Sometimes, even if the dangerous condition was still present, the property owner may have taken enough precautions that they will be legally covered. If the property owner did not take any precautions, the final consideration is to determine whether it was feasible that they could have addressed it. Depending on the nature of the dangerous condition and the length of time that it was present, it may be determined that the property owner was not responsible for preventing this particular injury.
Questions to consider:
- Was the property owner aware of the dangerous condition on their property?
- Could the property owner have prevented the occurrence of this injury?
- Did the injured person practice general caution?
Potential Compensation for a Slip and Fall Claim
If it is concluded that the property owner was negligent to the safety concerns on their premises, the plaintiff will be entitled to financial compensation. This may include payment of medical bills, work time missed due to the injury, and possibly compensation for pain and suffering.
What to Do When a Slip and Fall Injury Occurs
There are three key steps to take immediately following a slip and fall injury.
- Seek Medical Attention
Health is always the number one priority, so please seek medical attention first when suffering a slip and fall injury. A doctor’s records about your injury can later become an important factor in your personal injury case.
- Report, Document, and Take Inventory of Witnesses
Report your injury to the property owner as soon as possible, regardless of whether it is an employer, a stranger, or a friend. Provide all of the details of the incident, and request a copy of the report from the manager or landlord on site. Be sure to take plenty of photographs of the exact location where the injury took place. If anyone was around to witness your injury, take their statements as they could be an important asset to your case. Collect their names and contact information so that you can get in touch with them in the event that you pursue a legal claim.
- Call an Attorney
An attorney can advise on the complicated liability terms involved with slip and fall claims, and manage all of the subsequent paperwork and deadlines for you. Before making any statements, or assuming any fault, get in touch with an experienced attorney.