Millions of Americans suffer trips, slips, and falls each year, resulting in over 800,000 hospitalizations for fall-related injuries.
While falls may commonly occur in a person’s own home, many accidents can also occur outside of the home on the premises of another’s commercial, public, or private property.
In most states, all land and property owners have a responsibility to maintain property conditions that protect visitors—or customers—from unreasonable harm. Store owners, for instance, have a responsibility to maintain stable flooring, adequate lighting, and provide easy-to-read signs to notify customers of any existing hazards within the store.
Property owners who fail to maintain safe premises for visitors may be held liable for injuries that occur on their property on the basis of negligence and premises liability.
If you’ve suffered a slip-and-fall accident on another’s property and sustained an injury, you may be entitled to compensation.
At Florin|Roebig, we have an excellent team of knowledgeable slip-and-fall attorneys who can help you file a personal injury accident claim and negotiate a fair settlement to compensate for your losses.
How Do Slip-And-Fall Accidents Occur?
Accidents can occur anywhere—in the home, at the office, in a store, and anywhere else in-between. How they occur can vary based on the conditions and layout of a property, as well as any prior notice (or lack of notice) concerning potential safety hazards.
Slipping, tripping, or falling on another’s property can raise the important question of who can be held liable for the conditions that led to the accident and any resulting injuries.
Common reasons for slip-and-fall accidents include:
- insufficient lighting in walkways or stairways
- icy, snowy, oily, or wet surfaces
- objects left on the ground level
- hidden extension cords
- poorly designed stair-steps
- defective or unsafe structures (e.g. balcony, terrace)
- poorly maintained sidewalks
- sudden dips or rises in floor levels
- raised or defective carpeting
- rotting or broken floors
Any of these unsafe conditions can become the site of a fall serious enough to cause injury. The types of injuries sustained can also vary, from scrapes and bruises to broken bones, hip fractures, and death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five falls result in serious injuries such as broken bones and head injury. Falls are also the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in the United States.
In addition, even beyond injuries sustained from a slip-and-fall accident are the consequences that a fall-related injury can pose to other areas of a person’s life. Individuals who sustain fall-related injuries may, for instance, find themselves unable to work. This can lead to lost wages as well as job loss for people who are unable to recover from their injury in an amount of time judged suitable by their employer.
Serious fall injuries may also lead to permanent conditions such as paralysis, disability, and other consequences capable of severely disrupting a person’s way of life.
Slip-And-Fall Accident Laws
Property owners, including commercial establishments, can be held liable for slip-and-fall accidents that happen on their premises if:
- the plaintiff (fall victim) was injured due to the defendant’s failure to provide a safe environment
- the plaintiff was injured due to the defendant’s failure to properly warn visitors of potential safety hazards on their property
Trips, slips, and falls are generally pursued as premises liability cases. These are built on the premise that the victim’s accident was caused by the land or property owner’s negligence in proper maintenance and upkeep of their property.
Laws that dictate the responsibility of land and property owners to appropriately maintain their premises vary by state. In many states, property owners are required to maintain their property such that there is no unreasonable risk of harm.
Depending on your state’s laws, this may include business owners, homeowners, merchants, and other public or private property owners.
Liability In Slip-And-Fall Accident Cases
There are a few factors that can be important in determining liability for slip-and-fall accidents that occur on another’s property.
Considerations for determining who may be held liable for your accident include:
- if you were distracted when you fell (e.g. using a phone)
- if an aspect of the property design caused or contributed to your fall (e.g. stair-steps of varying heights)
- if the dangerous condition of the property was not something a reasonable person could have anticipated
- if you suffered an injury while trespassing on property
In premises liability cases, the duty of care property owners owe their visitors typically extends to individuals who are either invited to the property or are known to the defendant. Individuals who trespass on someone’s property and suffer an injury are generally not protected by this duty of care.
Exceptions to this include:
- Known trespassers: If a trespasser is known to the defendant, and the defendant reluctantly accepts their trespassing without protest, the defendant may be held liable for injuries suffered as a result of unsafe property conditions.
- Children: If a child is drawn to a feature on the defendant’s property (e.g. pool) and is injured as a result of some unsafe condition (e.g. slippery pool deck), the defendant may be held liable for the child’s injuries, even if the child is an unknown trespasser.
What To Do If You’ve Been In A Slip-And-Fall Accident: A Step-By-Step Guide
If you’ve slipped and fallen on another’s property and sustained an injury, there are several steps you can take to begin gathering evidence for an accident claim and strengthen your case.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Not every injury is apparent directly after a fall. Some victims of slip-and-fall accidents may not notice symptoms of an injury for days or even weeks after a fall, and others still may worsen without prompt medical treatment.
If you’ve been seriously injured after a fall and require immediate medical attention, call 9-1-1. Head and hip injuries are very common with falls, especially in older adults and may require prompt treatment to prevent serious consequences.
2. Get Photos And Take Notes Detailing The Accident
After you’ve sought necessary medical attention, begin collecting evidence of how the accident occurred and the resulting injury.
If you have a phone with a camera feature on hand, take photos of the scene of the accident, the unsafe condition(s) that caused the accident, and resulting injuries.
Also take note of the time, date, and location of the accident for your records. Any other details, such as the type of property (e.g. business establishment), the names of the property owners and managers, and whether the property owner provided any sort of warning regarding the property’s unsafe conditions should also be noted.
3. Identify Witnesses
Witness testimony can serve as useful support in pursuing legal recourse for a slip-and-fall accident. Should the defendant attempt to counter your story or deny their role in the accident, statements from any witnesses can serve to confirm your version of events.
Approach any available witnesses (e.g. other customers in a store) and politely ask if they can provide a brief explanation of what they saw, as well as their names and contact information for follow-up purposes.
4. Notify The Appropriate Authority
After suffering an accident on someone else’s property, it’s important to notify whoever owns or manages the property that an accident has occurred.
If you’ve been injured on the premises of a business establishment, the owner or manager in charge may ask you to make an accident report, which will require a statement containing all relevant details of the incident.
Do not provide a statement declaring any degree of fault for the accident before you have spoken to an attorney. Filing an accident report can serve as proof later on in the claims process that you took the accident seriously and took the necessary steps to document the incident after it occurred.
5. Contact A Slip-And-Fall Attorney
Defendants in premises liability cases will often take any action they can to avoid having to compensate individuals who have suffered accidents on their property.
Although it’s not required to hire an attorney to file a slip-and-fall accident claim, due to the unwillingness commonly demonstrated by defendants to accept liability, it’s in your best interest to secure legal representation as soon as possible.
How Can Hiring A Slip-And-Fall Attorney Help?
Self-representation is generally not recommended for slip-and-fall accident cases for several reasons. First, if the fault of a slip-and-fall accident is not evidently clear, this lack of clarity may be used as leverage by a defendant to deny their liability for the incident.
Proving the nature of the incident and the extent of your injuries can also be difficult, and defendants in slip-and-fall accident cases may often attempt to downplay or deny the extent of a plaintiff’s damages.
An attorney who has experience handling slip-and-fall accident claims can use their expertise and investigative skill-set to help you gather the necessary evidence to support your claim.
A slip-and-fall attorney can also help your claims process by:
- interviewing witnesses, if applicable
- consulting experts who have exclusive insight into premises liability
- investigating the scene of the accident
- gathering police reports and photographic evidence of the accident
- organizing your medical records and bills (to prove the extent of your damages)
- communicating with the defendant and their insurance company on your behalf to negotiate a fair settlement amount
Having seasoned legal representation on your side can provide reassurance that your personal injury accident claim won’t simply be ignored by the defendant or their insurance.
Common Damages Awarded In Slip-And-Fall Accident Claims
If you’ve suffered an injury due to a slip or fall on another’s property, you may be entitled to receive awarded damages to compensate for your losses.
In personal injury law, damages is a term that refers to economic and noneconomic losses suffered as a result of a personal injury, as well as punitive damages (under applicable circumstances).
The types of damages you’re able to recover through the accident claims process will depend on the extent of your injuries, any degree of fault for the accident, the type of property (e.g. business, private), and other factors.
Common damages awarded in slip-and-fall accident claims include:
- current and future medical expenses
- lost wages
- loss of earning capacity
- mental anguish
- pain and suffering costs
- wrongful death compensation (if you are a surviving spouse or family member of a victim who suffered a fatal slip-and-fall accident)
- incidental expenses
Statute Of Limitations For Slip-And-Fall Accidents
When it comes to taking legal action against a defendant in a slip-and-fall accident case, time is of the essence. In personal injury law, victims of accidents who wish to seek compensation from a defendant must do so within the timeframe outlined by their state’s statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for slip-and-fall accidents is defined as the amount of time injured parties have to file a claim or lawsuit following an accident. The deadline for filing a slip-and-fall accident claim varies by state.
The best way to get an accurate answer on how much time you have to file a claim is to consult with a slip-and-fall accident attorney, who can provide a comprehensive overview of your state’s laws.
Slip-And-Fall Attorneys Serving The U.S.
In any legal situation, it’s important for you to feel confident that your legal representation has the knowledge, skills, and resources to effectively represent your interests.
At Florin|Roebig, our slip-and-fall accident attorneys have extensive experience securing fair settlements for individuals who have sustained injuries from accidents on commercial, public, and private properties.
Our award-winning attorneys are capable of managing slip-and-fall accident claims out of our offices in Florida, Texas, Minnesota, and Colorado.
Our team of highly accomplished slip-and-fall accident attorneys includes:
- Wil H. Florin, B.C.S.
- Tommy D. Roebig, B.C.S.
- Chase P. Florin, B.C.S.
- Neil P. O’Brien, M.B.A.
- Shaun M. Cummings
- Luca G. Esposito
- Chad K. Florin, M.B.A., LL.M.
- Nicholas S. Costantino
- Jordan A. Kolinski
- Parker Y. Florin, LL.M.
- Taylor D. Roebig
- Kavon P. Smith
- Matthew L. McMullen
- Michael A. Ossi, O.C.
- Lawrence J. Najem, O.C.
- Andrew M. Leone, O.C.
- Nollys R. Solarte, O.C.
- Brian R. Dettman, O.C.
Find A Slip-And-Fall Accident Attorney Near You
Unintentional falls can cause serious consequences, including severe or permanent injuries, disability, high medical costs, and death.
If you or someone you know has slipped and fallen on another’s property due to the negligence of the property owner to maintain safe property conditions, the attorneys of Florin|Roebig can help.
Our slip-and-fall accident attorneys can help you begin the process of filing a claim, gather evidence to support your case, and negotiate a fair settlement amount to compensate for your losses.
By contacting our office, we can schedule a free case evaluation with one of our top-rated attorneys to discuss the details of your accident and provide an estimated range for how much your case is worth.
Contact Florin|Roebig today to schedule a free case evaluation with our slip-and-fall accident attorneys and learn how we may be able to help you receive compensation.