A “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” is the generic term for an injury which occurs when someone slips, trips or falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property. It includes falls as a result of water, ice or snow, as well as abrupt changes in flooring, poor lighting, or a hidden hazard, such as a gap or hard to see hole in the ground. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control estimates that in 2004, more than 8 million people were injured in falls.

The following outcomes are linked to falls:

  • 20-30% of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as bruises, hip, or head traumas. These injuries can make it hard to get around and limit independent living. They also can increase the risk of early death.
  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries, or TBI. In 2000, TBI accounted for 46% of fatal falls among older adults.
  • Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls.
  • The most common fractures are of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand.
  • Many people, who fall, even those who are not injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear may cause them to limit their activities, leading to reduced mobility and physical fitness, and increasing their actual risk of falling.
  • In 2000, direct medical costs totaled $0.2 billion ($179 million) for fatal falls and $19 billion for nonfatal fall injuries (Stevens et al. 2006).

Fall related injuries are of large concern, mostly to older individuals. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2005, 15,800 people age 65 and older died from fall-related injuries, 1.8 million people age 65 and older were treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries, and over 433,000 of these people were hospitalized.

If you are on someone else’s property and injure yourself as a result of a dangerous condition on the property, the landowner or business proprietor may be liable for your injuries. If you are a property owner and someone injures himself on your land, you may find yourself legally responsible for his or her injuries. Either way, you should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Being able to prove the liability of the property owner in a slip-and-fall incident is integral to your chances of success in a personal injury lawsuit and attaining the compensation you deserve. But it is easier said than done. The onus is on a competent personal injury lawyer to gather the requisite evidence and string the different pieces together to create a case for his or her client.

Make a Strong Case

An attorney must, however, first gather the facts that conclusively prove a client’s carelessness did not cause the accident, thereby practicing due diligence.
Negligence  

Then begins the most daunting task. The attorney will collect evidence that definitively points to the property owner’s fault for not maintaining his premises in a way that could have prevented the said slip-and-fall accident.

Mitigating Doubt

In case of slip-and-fall incidents, a premise owner is held responsible and ordered to pay compensation for personal injuries if it is proven in court that he had not carried out his responsibility of regularly maintaining his premises, like having in place a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule by qualified personnel. When evidence is inconclusive or scanty, an attorney has to present a case based on strong common sense that lays to rest all doubts.

Integrity and Trust

The complexity of a personal injury lawsuit is thus evident and it goes without saying that if you are contemplating filing one, you should seek the advice of an experienced and committed personal injury attorney.


Integrity and Trust

The complexity of a personal injury lawsuit is thus evident and it goes without saying that if you are contemplating filing one, you should seek the advice of an experienced and committed personal injury attorney.

Very often success or failure in a slip and fall lawsuit depends on the testimony of an expert witness. An inexperienced injury attorney representing a client in a slip and fall accident might not be aware of when an expert’s opinion could tip the scales in his client’s favor. Very often the necessity for an expert opinion is overlooked, or if an expert is called it may be too late. Take a hypothetical case.

Owner’s Neglect

When coming down the stairs in an old and badly maintained apartment complex, Mr. Melfi trips and tumbles in the course of which he breaks his hip. He had taken due care when climbing down to hold the railing, but the rail suddenly detached itself, causing the fall. There were two similar falls in the past. In one case a female tenant tripped and fell on a loose stair and in the other, a male tenant tripped because the staircase was not lit at night. The tenants had complained often about the necessity to replace the bulb and on other issues, none of which were addressed by the owner.

Mr. Melfi’s son hired an injury attorney, with little experience, who happened to call in an expert, but not in a timely fashion. During the period before hiring an expert witness, the landlord, knowing how vulnerable he was, had the staircase repaired, leaving no evidence of why it failed.

The attorney counted on the fact that there had been precedent accidents for which a number of tenants were prepared to offer testimony. However at trial the judge refused to allow this evidence because it had no bearing on the present case. The expert did give testimony, but which was torn to shreds by the defense attorney since the expert had not seen the damage when it happened, thereby making his testimony circumstantial. The jury found in favor of the landlord.

If you are victim of a slip and fall accident, be sure to engage an experienced injury attorney with knowledge of slip and fall cases.

Lawsuit Filed after Slip and Fall Accident at Restaurant

A woman slipped and fell in a restaurant because the floor was wet. She suffered a compound fracture of the hip which incapacitated her for weeks during which she had to remain in bed at home. During this period she suffered significant inconvenience apart from significant pain and loss of pay from her job as a floor supervisor at a shopping mall. When she resumed work she found she could not stand for long periods, something necessary in her line of work.

Financial Charges

The woman has filed a slip and fall lawsuit against the restaurant. In her suit she stated that the restaurant floor was wet where water had spilled on it, but at the time she had her accident, no wet floor signs had been posted to caution wary walkers. The victim seeks compensation on multiple counts including medical expenses, physical pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, impairment, lost wages, and court costs. In addition to naming the company which owns the restaurant she has included the manager for negligence in failing to avert the accident.

Post a Sign

Slip and fall accidents can cause considerable harm because the victim lands on a hard, unyielding floor like a cement, tile, or hardwood floor. Frequently slip and fall accidents result in broken arms, hips and ankles, slipped, or herniated discs, to name but a few of the more common injuries. All managers and property owners have a legal obligation to prevent slip and fall accidents by ensuring safe walking conditions. Pursuant to this, if a floor is wet they are obliged to post warning signs alerting visitors to these dangerous conditions.

Call an Attorney

Victims of a slip and fall accident should seek medical attention immediately following the accident, and then he or she should consult a premises liability attorney.

In order to win a slip and fall case, there are certain things that must be proven. Many people are under the wrong impression that if they slip and fall on another person’s property they can make a successful claim. To make a successful claim, you will have to prove the following aspects:

Defendant’s Responsibility

The owner of any property has certain responsibilities to maintain the property and address issues on the property that can cause harm to others. However, this point can be argued if the owner did not have control of the property when the accident occurred. If the owner has a manager looking after the property, determining the responsible party can be difficult. Therefore, owed responsibility or duty of the defendant has to be proved.

Deviating from Standard Procedures

It has to be proven that the defendant deviated from standard procedures in maintaining and following procedures for hazard prevention. Usually in each industry, there is standard practice and norms for safety. Most people claim that they did not know about the hazard, to avoid paying damages. Therefore, it has to be proved that the hazard resulted due to deviation from standard safety procedures and practices.

Knowledge of Dangerous Condition

You have to prove that the defendant had knowledge of dangerous conditions existing on the property. The dangerous condition cannot be due to minor defects or the normal wear and tear of materials. It has to be something quite different, which created the hazard and resultant injury.

Connection between Dangerous Condition/s and Injury

Sufficient proof and expert testimony should be provided to establish a connection between the dangerous condition and the injuries you have sustained. In other words, the way you fell and the injuries you sustained are directly the result of the dangerous condition.

In a slip and fall trial, the judge, or jury will consider whether the owner or person responsible for the property was taking reasonable steps to keep it safe. However, the question always remains as to what should be considered reasonable. In determining reasonableness, the law will focus on the regularity and amount of effort put in, to keep the property safe. In order to determine whether the steps taken were reasonable, the following inquiries can be made:

  • Did the dangerous hazard or spot exist long enough for the owner to have known about its existence? For instance, how long was the owner aware about the bulging, torn, or broken area in the carpet or floor, or the existence of any slippery substance on the floor before the accident?
  • Can the owner prove that the property was maintained on a regular basis? For example, does the owner have a regular system for checking, repairing, and cleaning the property?
  • Was there a legitimate reason for an object to be there, on which the person tripped and fell? Was it the proper place to store the object, or was the object placed in the right location during some operation?
  • Could the storage of the object been in a better place that could avoid a person tripping over it? Could the object been placed in a manner that was much safer?
  • Could the owner have created a barrier at the place of hazard, to prevent people from coming into contact with the place? Did the owner put up a warning sign that could have prevented people from slipping in that area?
  • Was the lighting sufficient in the area to see properly? Were the lighting fixtures in the area broken and not fixed?


All these questions can be revealed to the judge, whether the owner took “reasonable” care to make the property safe.

This is also why many cases settle out of court; because hoping for a judge’s decision to go your way is not something many people or businesses want to do. Their lawyers will inform them that often times settling is the safer route. This goes for both parties. There could be something unforeseen and this type of unknown is why normally both parties agree to settle.

Claiming compensation for a slip and fall injury through negotiations is extremely tough and the case invariably goes to trial.

Bolstering Your Case

Therefore, it is important to make your case strong and all points should be presented and argued within the purview of the law. Even if your case seems to lag behind in certain aspects, you can always pursue it. Here are certain aspects worth considering for making your slip and fall case strong.

Compiling the Evidence

Take outstanding photographs of the site where the incident occurred. The photos should be able to convey, how negligently the area was maintained, or portray the dangerous situation in a clear manner. The judge or jury who will be seeing these photos should realize that the dangerous situation was obvious and the owner of the property should have taken steps to correct the situation.

The Right Moves

It is also important to document the accident with an incident report, and seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Even if you feel there were minor injuries, get yourself examined by a doctor, since certain injuries can take time to manifest. If there were witnesses, present at the time of the accident, take their statement, and contact details, since their testimony can be helpful and even crucial to your case. If the establishment was under video surveillance, try to retrieve a copy of the video tape, if it is helpful to your case. It is important to prove that you were not intoxicated or acting negligently when the accident happened.

Solidifying You Case

Finally, keep a detailed record of all the treatment procedures you had to undergo and all medical bills. If you have missed work due to the injury, then obtain documentary proof of the same, since this will help you at the trial to prove the extent of your injuries.

Slip and fall accidents are quite common, and many people think that injuries from such accidents are only minor. However, many people suffer moderate to severe injuries, and for many people, such injuries can prove devastating. In order to avoid causing suffering to other people and paying for costly civil litigations, property owners should know what types of hazards commonly cause slip and fall injuries.

Some of the Main Hazards that can Cause Slip and Fall Injuries

1) Contaminants on the Floor

The most common hazard that can cause slip and fall injuries is contaminants such as food, oil, grease, soap solution, or water on the floor. Food and oil are common contaminants in hotels, restaurants or in places where food is stored. Grease is mainly found on floors of garages, factory premises, and workshops. Water and soapy solution can be found in any place, where the floor is being cleaned.

2) Irregularities on Surfaces

Tripping is another major cause for falling and sustaining injuries. Tripping is mainly caused by irregularities on walking surfaces. These irregularities could be dents on tiles, sloped pavements, or buckled carpets. Tripping can be prevented largely by eliminating these irregularities with proper maintenance and some attention to detail. These property improvements do cost money but they will return that money to you because of customer satisfaction and because your business will maintain that professional appearance.  

3) Poor Drainage

Wet surfaces are always a major hazard, and one of the main reasons for such condition is poor drainage. Broken pipes and clogged drains cause water to leak on to walking surfaces. Areas having floor drains and bathroom floors are common locations for slip and fall accidents.

4) Poor Lighting

Many slip and fall accidents can be avoided by providing proper lighting. In many accidents, victims are not able to see the dangerous condition they are walking into.

5) Clutter

Walking paths should be clear of all obstructions and clutter. Common clutter found in many walking areas is hoses, loose wires, bricks, and loose cords.

Where do slip and fall accidents commonly occur?

Places of slip and fall accidents can be broadly classified into public places and privately owned premises. Common accidents in public places include trips on sidewalks, falls in parking lots and playgrounds, and trips in schools and hospitals. However, many such accidents are also reported in restaurants, theaters, supermarkets, offices, and in shopping malls, that are privately owned.

What types of defects or situations lead to slip and fall accidents?

Slip and fall accidents can occur due to:

     Inadequate lighting
     Defects in the pavement or sidewalk surface
     Slips caused due to drink or food on the floor
     Trips on raised, worn or torn carpeting
     Slips caused by accumulation of water or snow
     Trips on wires and electrical cords

What should a person do immediately after suffering a slip and fall accident?

The first thing to do is assess your injuries and seek medical help. If it is possible, take photos of the hazard or dangerous situation that caused the accident. Report the accident to the property owner or manager of the premises.

It may be hard to take a picture of a slippery floor but somehow you must convey how slippery the floor is. If the establishment is using the wrong mop or the wrong soap this could be dangerous of customers and employees alike.

Does a victim of slip and fall accident need a lawyer?

Yes, in most slip and fall accidents the victim will need a personal injury lawyer to claim compensation for the injuries suffered. Sometimes the property owner or manager is ready to make a settlement, but you will not know how much to settle for, unless you know the full extent of your injuries. Secondly, in most cases the party responsible for providing compensation will be an insurance company.

Individuals will find it difficult to deal with insurance companies, whereas a lawyer will know all the legal angles to hold the insurance company liable. Hence, hiring a lawyer is very important when you are trying to claim damages and compensation for your injuries from a slip and fall accident.  

Determining liability in slip and fall cases is usually quite difficult, and the victim may have a hard time proving if the property owner can be held accountable for the injury due to slipping or tripping. Usually the property owner is supposed to be held liable if:

     Property owner or an employee has caused the hazardous or dangerous situation
     The property owner or employee knew about the dangerous situation and did nothing
     The property owner or employee should have known about the existence of the dangerous situation

Thinking About Others

However, the court also takes into account the reasonableness of the property owner in keeping the premises safe and clean. The liability is usually determined after considering this aspect of reasonable behavior on the part of the property owner.

To assess whether the property owner was reasonable in keeping the area clean and safe, the following inquiries can be made:

  • Did the victim trip over a bulging or torn carpet, or slip on a wet floor? Was the hazardous spot there long enough for the owner to have known about its existence?
  • Does the owner of the property have a system in place for checking, repairing, and cleaning the premises? What is the proof of having such regular maintenance?
  • If the victim tripped over an object, was there a legitimate reason for the object to be in that spot? Was the object left there by the owner or employee of the premises?
  • Was it possible to store the object in a safer place instead of being placed at the spot where the accident occurred?
  • Was it possible to create a barrier or place a warning sign at the spot of the accident?
  • Was there proper lighting illumining the area where the slip and fall occurred?

How does someone justify slipping legitimately when no one else was slipping or had already slipped? If the hazard was not that extraordinary, where are the other victims? Well, perhaps the owner, manager, or employee put up the sign after you had already slipped. This is damaging evidence that your attorney will certainly use because this says the owner did not have the sign up before and that the owner was worried this could happen again. The threat still existed.

You Need Professional Legal Assistance

But do not worry if you get up off the floor and notice you overlooked the sign. Was the sign in the right area? What happens if another customer moved the sign without the owner’s or business’s acknowledgment? This can complicate things but it does not rule out the fact that you need a dedicated and resolute personal injury attorney by your side. 


If you sustain injuries after slipping and falling on another person’s property or on public property, you are entitled to claim compensation under certain circumstances. Here are the basic elements that make up a slip and fall lawsuit.

Proving Fault in Slip and Fault Accident

Simply slipping and falling does not entitle you to compensation. You, however, need to prove the fault of the property owner for the presence of dangerous situation or hazard on the property. The property owner has certain duties in keeping the property safe, and breach of such duty amounts to negligence and fault.

The property owner is at fault when the accident is caused by a dangerous situation that was known, or should have been known, or was not fixed within a reasonable amount of time. Proving fault in slip and fall cases is not easy, and you need to gather all the evidence related to the accident, and hire a competent lawyer.   

Gathering Evidence and Seeking Medical Treatment

You should try to gather evidence immediately after the accident, as things would be fresh and nobody would have tampered with the arrangement of things. The best thing to do would be to take photos of the place where the accident occurred and the main thing that caused you to slip and fall. If people were present, take down their contact details and ask them if they will be able to give testimony to what had occurred. Also, seek medical treatment for your injuries, since your medical records can provide the required proof that you were indeed injured.

Valuing the Compensation Amount

Precisely identifying and calculating the damages in a slip and fall case is usually difficult. All expenses and losses the victim has incurred due to the injuries will have to be reviewed. This will include medical costs, lost income, and any additional expenses for therapy and so on.

If you have sustained injuries on somebody’s property or on public property due to the negligence of the property owner, you can claim compensation for your damages. However, many slip and fall cases are considered frivolous and compensation may be hard to come by. If the evidence is strong that there is gross negligence on the part of the property owner, the court can, however, award a substantial amount.

Many factors will influence the compensation amount:

The Type of Injury

The first important factor is the seriousness of the injury. If the injury is minor and there is no permanent damage, then the compensation awarded will be subsequently less. If the injury is serious, the victim will have to prove convincingly that the dangerous situation was the direct cause of the injury and the injury was not pre-existing before the accident. Proper medical documentation can prove this effectively, and in such a case, positively impact compensation.

A Professional Setback

The court will also factor in the decrease in earning power or the loss of income of the victim due to the injury. This means, the earning capacity, or income of the person at the time of the accident plays a major role.

All Things Considered

The court can also consider if the victim has already received any compensation from the insurance company or any other source. The court might limit the compensation amount to the extent the person has already received funds. Additionally, the court might also consider if the victim has delayed filing a claim with an insurance company, since this will have a negative impact on the case.

 

A “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” refers to an injury caused by slipping, tripping, or falling as the result of dangerous or hazardous conditions on someone else’s property. Slip and falls are often caused by water, ice, or snow on the ground, as well as abrupt changes in flooring (like a sharp step down), poor lighting, or hidden hazards. If you are one of the 8 million Americans who were injured in falls last year and you believe that the conditions of the property were to blame, the landowner or business proprietor may be responsible for your injuries. The attorneys at Taylor King & Associates will represent you in seeking compensation.

Slip and falls can be serious. They are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. Older people are more likely to sustain fractures and serious injuries after falling, with over 400,000 adults age 65 or older hospitalized after slip and falls each year.

If you or your loved one have experienced a slip and fall and find the medical bills piling up, reach out to one of our experienced attorneys for a free consultation about your case. We’ll be by your side throughout the entire process.


Making the adjuster agree to a reasonable amount of settlement is the most difficult part of negotiations. The claim adjuster will try various strategies to bring down the settlement amount, but when you employ effective negotiating tactics there are outstanding chances of acquiring a reasonable settlement. Here are few of these important tactics.

Do Not Make Final Demand

Giving an ultimatum to the adjuster is never an endearing negotiating tactic. Making anything sound like it is your final demand will only end the process of negotiations, and you will have to pursue your claim with a court trial. When an adjuster hears a final demand, he is confronted with two choices; either to pay what is demanded, or to send the file to the legal department of the insurance company. In almost all instances, the adjuster tends to send the file to the legal department when faced with an ultimatum.

Get the Incident Report

An incident report is the summary of the slip and fall accident that is usually made by the management or security personnel of the store. This report will usually include the date and time of the fall, and description of the events. Unless the person writing the report is trying to be dishonest, the reason for the fall will be mentioned in the report.

Usually, the store will be unwilling to give you a copy of this report, but eventually during negotiations, the adjuster will send you a copy of this report along with witness statement. In case you are injured in a smaller store that does not carry any liability insurance, you can directly ask the store management for compensation, and if they refuse, you can sue them in small claims or higher court, depending on the severity of your injuries.

 


Adjusters can be difficult and negotiations have to be handled skillfully to attain a higher settlement amount. Continuing with effective negotiating tactics, here are some more.

Acquire all Medical Records Pertaining to Your Slip and Fall Injuries

During negotiations, it is important to have all your medical records ready, which will show the costs you have incurred, and the type and extent of your injuries. Make copies of all your medical bills including pharmacy, hospital, ambulance, and therapy bills.

You will have to provide your medical provider with an Authorization for Release of Information for acquiring the copies of your confidential reports. However, make sure you do not give this authorization to the insurance company, since they can dig up information about your past injuries and medical conditions that can be used against you. This information can be used to destroy your case. They only need this information to shed doubt on why your injuries are so severe or perhaps are not going away as quickly as you would like. They will use this information to cloud the court’s mind and to damage your testimony.  

It is important to obtain copies of all medical records, including hospital charts that provide the full information about the treatment you would have received at the hospital. During negotiations, you can refer to doctor entries in the charts for explaining additional tests or related costs that the adjuster is unwilling to consider.

Provide Verification of Lost Income

When you have suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, you might not be able to attend your regular work, which means you will be claiming loss of income. During negotiations, the adjuster will want to verify your claim of lost income and you need to produce some document that proves your claim. The best form of evidence would be a written statement from your employer.

This is vital because if your employer is supporting you then this means you are needed and expected somewhere and are not able to deliver. This not only hurts your employer but it is setting you back some regardless of what type of field you work in. Your attorney will be able to convey this information smoothly and effectively.

 


Negotiating for a personal injury settlement requires special skills and it is best done with the help of an experienced lawyer. The process of negotiating for a slip and fall settlement is usually divided into two phases, and sometimes these phases might overlap. In the initial negotiations phase the objective will be to recover actual costs that you have incurred directly or indirectly because of the slip and fall accident and the injuries you have sustained. The second phase of negotiations will be for claiming compensation for pain and suffering.

Common Medical Costs

While calculating actual costs there are no fixed expenses, and you need to consider everything that you have spent, which ordinarily you would not have spent, but for the slip and fall injuries. Usually these costs will include your medical bills, cost of medicine, cost of therapy, ambulance charges, emergency room fees, and cost of fuel or transportation for commuting to keep doctors or therapist appointments, and even loss of income.

Other Costs

You should and need to be reimbursed for all of this. You are not even getting into what you should be paid for when it comes to emotional trauma. This does not even come close to covering the loss you are facing in terms of missing work. On top of this, the damage to your bike or car if you happen to be on or in one of them, respectively, when this accident occurred.  

You are responsible for providing the adjuster or the party at fault, with all the bills and supporting documents related to these expenses. Make sure all bills and documents are properly dated, which will show that you incurred these expenses after the date of accident.

Pain & Suffering

The next phase of negotiating for compensation for pain and suffering (already briefly mentioned) will be a little tricky, since there is no fixed way of putting a dollar amount for the pain you might have suffered. Usually a multiple of the actual costs that you have incurred is taken, but this will vary between cases and between insurance companies. The main thing to consider is whether the amount you are claiming for pain and suffering would seem reasonable to a jury if your case went to trial. An experienced lawyer will be able to guide you and help you figure out, how much your case is actually worth.


Property owners are legally obligated to maintain their premises hazard free and safe. Property would include the interiors, driveways, walkways, and parking lots. The property owner’s duty of care extends to invitees and licensees. Invitees are all people who provide the owner with some material benefit, which could include shoppers, hotel guests, mail carriers, and so on. Licensees are people who are socially visiting the premises, such as neighbors, friends, and guests and so on.

Mother Nature’s Product; Man’s Neglect

One of the most common reasons for dangerous conditions to exist on a property is accumulated snow and ice in the winter months. However, it can be very difficult to determine how much snow or ice would make the situation dangerous. When instances of slip and fall on snow or ice go to trial, the court will be considering the circumstances of each individual case. Hence, there are no set rules for determining how much snow would amount to negligence of the property owner. The same is applicable to how much time a property owner has, to remove the snow or ice before incurring liability.

An Interesting Question

In slip and fall cases on snow or ice, there are many variables, unlike obvious dangers like defective stairway, building code violations, or large potholes. For instance, consider a situation where it has snowed during the night and snow has accumulated on the sidewalk by the morning. If a pedestrian slips and falls on the accumulated snow early in the morning, then is the property owner liable?

Time is Imminent

If the sidewalk belongs to a homeowner, then removing the snow is not as pressing as it would be if the sidewalk belonged to a storeowner or restaurant owner. A storeowner needs to make the property safe before the start of business, and if the snow is not cleared by the time the store is opened then the storeowner is liable.

 

A Slip and fall injury claim or lawsuit is considered something of a peculiarity in personal injury cases. Many people perceive this to be a case where a plaintiff tries to sue a defendant for injuries sustained because of the plaintiff’s own carelessness or awkwardness.

Common Sense Response

Property owners who are normally the defendants in slip and fall actions, have a number of cogent precedent defenses to rely upon. For instance they might contend that a situation was “open and obvious” implying that had the plaintiff exercised a reasonable degree of care he/she would have observed the hazard that caused the slip and fall, and avoided it.

Legitimate Ignorance

Another defense argument could be “lack of notice” suggesting that the premises owner is not liable because he/she had no prior knowledge of the hazard till the plaintiff was injured. Furthermore, even though it proved to be a hazard on the premises, it gave no indication of being one or else the plaintiff would, in all conscientiousness, have taken steps to remove or remedy the hazard.

Mother Nature is the Culprit

While the onus is on a premises owner to clear public sidewalks in front of his/her premises and to maintain the sidewalk in a manner which poses no danger to members of the public who use it, many courts permit a defense against injuries resulting from claimed defects of snow or ice. The contention in this case is that the hazard was “open and obvious” in the first instance, and that it was the result of natural runoff and accumulation rather than neglect or something created by the premises owner.

Premises liability situations which weigh heavily against the premises owner involve hazards created by him/her. For example, the owner might have removed fence posts leaving deep holes that have become obscured by an overgrowth of grass. The owner fails to warn visitors that the premises have deep and dangerous holes that might not be visible. This is a clear case for an injury claim. Liability is unclear in cases of similar holes being made by burrowing animals.

Someone to Notify

If you are the victim of a slip and fall injury, a personal injury lawyer will assess your case toward raising a claim for compensation.

Did you know that you are entitled to monetary compensation if you have slipped or tripped and sustained an injury because your walking path contained physical hazards that the authorities, owners, and/or administrators of the property you were in or walking through, failed to notice or remove? Most states make it mandatory that business and property owners maintain their premises to make it safe for movement for people who have been invited to that place or property. Otherwise, the owner of the premises can be sued and damages claimed for pain and suffering, treatment and rehabilitation costs, and lost wages. Slip and trip accidents are categorized under personal injuries and if you or a loved one had been unfortunately involved in one, you will need to consult a personal injury accident lawyer to claim the appropriate and necessary damages.

Gathering Evidence & Information

Not known to many, there are several categories of fall accidents that merit personal injury suits. Apart from the self-explanatory trip-and-fall and the slip-and-fall accidents, personal injuries can also result from a step-and-fall accident caused by an unexpected hole or failure in the walking surface, or a stump-and-fall accident caused by an impediment in the walking surface. While filing personal injury lawsuits, the nature of the accident should be mentioned in details. The information should also include the names and testimonials of all those who had witnessed both the accident and the conditions that led to it, along with other relevant information pertaining to the lighting and weather (in case of accidents that have taken place outside) conditions.

An Open Door

Many personal injury accident victims are not sure about who can be held responsible for their plight. In some cases, where a business owner has rented space from a property holder, both of them are accountable for a fall accident. Again, in states where there is not any law that prohibits the collection of damages from government bodies, an individual can also sue the municipal body of a city for fall accidents that have occurred due to improperly maintained sidewalks, benches, rails, stairs, and so forth.

Extraordinary Representation

These nitty-gritties of a case may be hard to fathom; therefore, when involved in a fall accident that has taken place due to the negligence of another party, it is a wise policy to hire the services of a competent lawyer. At Taylor King Law we know how to handle your case, and are prepared to be on your side, and by your side.

If you are a property owner, you can be held liable if a person is injured on your property due to a hazardous or dangerous condition. When you have coverage, the insurance company will settle the matter and provide the injured party with some settlement amount. However, in many instances, slip and fall cases are frivolous and the insurance company will not pay anything, and the case will go to trial. Liability is difficult to prove, since there are many strong defenses in slip and fall cases, where it can be alleged that the victim was:

  • Not exercising normal attention
  • Walking very fast
  • Did not read the warning sign
  • Was wearing the wrong type of footwear
  • Rushed into a sharp turn
  • The slippery floor was obvious and the victim failed to notice it
  • The accident occurred immediately after the hazardous situation came into being and the property owner did not have time to clear it up
  • The victim was wearing sunglasses and hence his vision was impaired to notice things clearly


Right Afterwards

In most instances, the property owner can claim that the hazardous condition had been there for a short time, and the victim had the accident before it could be rectified. For instance, if the victim slipped on a water spill, the property owner can claim there was no way of avoiding the spill and the victim slipped before the water could be cleared.

This is where the video tape of the store owner can exonerate them. This is also where witnesses may become of some help either for the property owner or the person that slipped and was injured as a result.  

Another strong defense is the state of mind of the victim. A property owner can claim the dangerous situation was obvious, and it could have been avoided if the victim had been attentive or careful. Using such defenses, the property owner can have the case dismissed or will at least be able to prove that the victim was partially responsible for the fall and therefore the liability should be significantly reduced.

 

If you have fallen down on somebody’s property and sustained injuries, it does not necessarily make the property owner automatically liable. However, there are instances when the property owner can be held liable for your injuries. When there are unsafe or hazardous conditions on the property and the property owner has not taken any steps to rectify them, then he is liable for your injuries. Such hazardous conditions could include:

  • Slippery or wet floors
  • Potholes
  • Damaged sidewalk
  • Debris
  • Accumulation of ice and snow


Mother Nature’s Fault

However, the property owner is not required by law to make the property absolutely safe, but reasonably safe. For instance, after a snowfall, the property owner must take measures to clear the ice and snow from walking surfaces that people generally use. However, it is not required to make the surface completely clear and dry. Hence, a slip and fall injury resulting from some snow left over on the sidewalk may not give rise to a valid claim.

No Time

Secondly, a property owner is given reasonable time to discover the hazardous situation and rectify it. For instance, if a person slips and falls in the snow, immediately after a snowstorm, then a claim for compensation will not be valid, as the property owner did not have enough time to notice and rectify the hazardous situation.

Find Another Route

Even if the property owner is not able to rectify the hazardous situation within a reasonable time, he can post a warning. For instance, the sidewalk may not be cleared of snow due to unavailability of workers, and a caution notice has been posted. In such a case, the person is supposed to heed the notice and avoid walking on the surface.


Most civil lawsuits that are filed do not go to trial, since the claim is settled amicably. Most slip and fall cases are settled through negotiations, since a court case can be quite unpredictable for both parties. The settlement amount will depend on many factors, but if you are looking for a fair amount, you need to strengthen your case. Here are some suggestions that can put you in a better position during negotiations.

Proving Cause

Proving your injuries is not difficult, since your medical records will show the extent and nature of your injuries. However, it will be difficult to link the fall to your injuries. You will need to show that the fall was direct cause for you sustaining the injuries. For establishing cause, you could ask your doctor to provide a letter that explained the injuries that could be attributed to the fall.

This is the case because believe it or not the other side is going to dig up your past. They are going to check out your medical history as if they were getting paid for it. They are going to investigate your medical history. The other side is going to do its dandiest to convince you, the judge, or the jury that your medical condition and pain and suffering is not attributed to the slip and fall but because of some underlyng condition or because of some past injury which has not fully healed yet.

This is why you do not want to volunteer to give the other side access to your medical records because your past could be your worst enemy. Even if you have not had any past injury that would invoke this type of current painful medical situation, the opposing insurance company will try to find any smidgen of information from your medical past in an attempt to smear your case even in the slightest.

Proving existence of the hazardous condition is relatively easy, but proving that the property owner had reasonable time to discover such a condition could be difficult. There are three ways of obtaining such proof.

  • Video surveillance Footage: Most places now have surveillance videos that have the time stamp. The footage from such videos will show since when the dangerous condition existed, and when you had your fall.
  • Someone’s Sworn Testimony: Since your testimony will be regarded as self-serving, you could entice another person to testify about the hazardous condition that has been existing for a long time.
  • Incident Report: Businesses often prepare internal reports that record instances of falls and other incidents. Such a report will describe how the accident happened, when it happened, who were the witnesses, and so on. From such reports, the time line can be gathered to prove the hazardous condition existed for an unreasonably long time.

 

During the discovery phase, both parties will try to find out through various procedural tools the subject matter of the slip and fall case in detail. The discovery phase can extend to a couple of months to even many years, depending on the complexity of the lawsuit and the number of pending cases with the court. Here are some things you can expect during the discovery phase.

Interrogatories

This will be written questions that the defendant and you will have to answer under oath. Your lawyer will be submitting a list of questions to the party at fault to learn information about the fall and to find out whether the property owner had knowledge about the dangerous condition. The defense lawyer will also be asking you questions to find out if you were careful, and whether you were in good physical condition before the fall.

Requests for Production

These are written requests for acquiring documents and other related things of the lawsuit. For example, your lawyer might request incident report, copy of the surveillance video that has captured your fall, documents related to maintenance procedures carried out on the property, and so on. The defense lawyer on the other hand will request your medical record that has documented your injuries caused by the fall. The attorney might also ask for your medical history, if there is any suspicion of previous injury or a tangible or germane health condition.

Depositions

In a deposition the lawyers can ask questions to witnesses, who have to answer them under oath. A court reporter will be transcribing everything that is said, and in certain cases, the whole thing will be recorded on video.

Independent Medical Exam

If the defense lawyer suspects foul play, he can request you to be examined by a doctor selected by the property owner or the insurance company. The purpose is to provide an impartial evaluation of your injuries.
 
 
It's important that during each phase of the discovery process, you have a trusted attorney that's on your side.

Just like any other civil lawsuit, the time it takes to resolve a slip and fall case is difficult to predict. There are certain distinct stages in a slip and fall case and a typical timeline would be as follows.

The Summons or Complaint

First, your lawyer will be preparing a document called the Complaint that explains why you are making the claim. The contents of this document will differ depending on the legal requirements of the state. Some states only require relevant information that gives notice to the defendant about the plaintiff’s claim, while other states need the Complaint to have a detailed summary of the event. Usually the Complaint will have:

     Names and contact information of both parties
     The party who is allegedly responsible
     Description of the fall
     The claim amount

The Answer of the Defendant

The defendant will reply to the Complaint, and this letter will usually deny or admit the allegation. The answer can also have affirmative defenses, which reduce or absolve the liability of the defendant. The defendant should provide an Answer within 20 days after being served the Complaint, but an additional 20 days can also be secured if certain legal defenses are waived.

Discovery Phase

During the Discovery phase, each party is involved in learning details about the case. This phase will involve interrogatories, requests of production, and request of documents.

During every step of this process you need to be listening to your attorney and doing what they say. This is foreign to you but this is rather routine to them. They have been around the block before in this arena. This is not the time for you to step out of bounds after you have worked hard to put this case together alongside your attorney.

Your attorney is taking this as seriously as you are. They know that they will not receive any payback for their time and effort if you do not win.

Pre-Trial Motions

For resolving the issue, both parties can file certain motions before the trial takes place. This could be to dismiss the case, come to a summary judgment, or to compel the other party to produce certain documents.

Settlement Conference

Both parties often do not want a court trial and like to resolve the issue through negotiations. Such a conference is governed by a private mediator or a judge.

Your attorney will know this process goes either way. Do not defy them; just listen and allow them do their job.  

Trial

When the settlement conference or negotiations fail, the case will go to trail, and a judge will rule after hearing both sides.
 

Even though the property owner has the legal responsibility of keeping the premises safe for invitees entering the premises, the invitees too have a legal duty to mitigate injuries. Mitigation means doing something to make things less severe. This means invitees have to take reasonable precautions and steps in order to avoid injuries. If invitees fail to do so, it can remove or limit the premises liability of the property owner.

The Victim’s Responsibility

For instance, a shopper slips and falls in a store due to some liquid spilled on the floor. The fall causes a cut on the shopper’s leg. However, since the shopper is in a rush, he does not seek medical attention, and he does not even put a bandage on when he reaches home. If the wound is not worth a band aid, how severe can this wound be? If the victim does not have time to spend 2 minutes putting a band aid on their cut, how seriously was this wound to the victim?

Falling Short

If the cut becomes infected after a few days and has developed into a serious illness, this is the victim’s fault. The shopper or the victim then sues the store making a slip and fall claim. In this case, the shopper should have mitigated the injury by seeking medical attention or attending to the wound immediately. Failure to do so will result in losing the claim or having the reward knocked down severely.

Too Mighty to be Hurt: Vanity

Another example of mitigation would be ignoring a known risk. For instance, in an apartment complex, the walkway is being repaired, and the property owner has posted signs warning people of the dangerous situation, which tells people to take an alternate route. The tenant ignores these warnings and still uses the same walkway that is being fixed and worked on.  

While walking he slips on the damaged surface and breaks his leg. Suing will not be of much help, since the case will be ruled in favor of the property owner, who had posted the warning signs. The tenant had failed to heed the warning notices and ignored a known risk, which absolves the property owner of premises liability. 

Slip and fall cases are generally difficult to win in court and negotiations can be tricky.

An Attorney who Garners Results

There are many quality defenses available to property owners and many courts consider most slip and fall lawsuits to be frivolous. Therefore, you need a prudent, and experienced attorney who can negotiate your claim skillfully and fight your case effectively in court.

Secondly, when you are suing a business entity or a wealthy property owner, they will make sure to have excellent legal representation and you do not stand a chance of negotiating a reasonable settlement or winning a lawsuit against such professionals. You will have to prove the existence of a dangerous situation, the situation occurred on the said property, and the owner should have known about it and is responsible for the accident. A strategic and focused lawyer will help your case by:

  • Collecting the required evidence
  • Locating and talking to witnesses
  • Calculate the value of your case
  • Hire expert witnesses who can provide testimony that can prove the negligence of the property owner
  • Research various legal arguments to strengthen you case
  • Skillfully negotiate a settlement
  • Work with the opposing attorney or insurance adjuster to arrive at a fair settlement


Starting Out Right

It is also important to involve a lawyer as early as possible in the case, since you are likely to make mistakes that cost you a lot in the end. 

Call the attorneys at Taylor King Law for a free consultation. You can trust that our attorney's drive to see a positive outcome is just as strong as yours!

A property or business owner has a legal duty to keep the property safe, and when this duty is breached, the injured person can sue the owner for damages. However, most business owners will resort to the defense that the dangerous situation was open and obvious and therefore no duty was owed. Since the dangerous situation was obvious, it is reasonable to assume that a person would avoid it. This is a common defense of property owners when someone has slipped and fallen on ice on their property.

Little to No Excuse

However, even if snow and ice is open and obvious, the property owner has a legal duty to clear it from the walkways within a reasonable time, since people have to walk and there is no other clear pathway available. If the property owner has taken reasonable steps to make the walkways safe by salting them then it can be difficult to prove negligence.

Black Ice

Nevertheless, when analyzing the open and obvious defense, the key question is whether the risk was obvious or not. Open and obvious defense would apply to snow and ice, and many slip and fall cases have been dismissed even before going to trial. However, what happens when the dangerous situation is not visible, such as black ice. It is not reasonable to categorize black ice as being open and obvious as it cannot be seen. Secondly, assumption of risk defense may be applicable, but the plaintiff may argue that how can a risk be assumed when it is not visible.

Pure Indifference

Each slip and fall case will be different and there will be many points to consider. Even when the dangerous situation is open and obvious, the main point the court is going to consider is whether the defendant had taken sufficient measure to avert the risk, which is salting the sidewalks.

At some point during the process of filing a slip and fall injury claim, you may be offered a settlement from the insurance company. While it might be tempting to accept the initial offer, there are several things to consider before making a decision. Once you have accepted a settlement and signed the document, you cannot further pursue the case, even if further medical bills arise.

Insurance companies are often quick to make an offer in the hopes of a short settlement process. The initial offer might be significantly lower than your overall damages. There is no need to make a hasty decision before consulting an attorney. In fact, if you've retained the services of a personal injury attorney, the settlement offers will come first to your attorney, who will then discuss the matter with you. He or she will help you consider these questions:

  • Are you aware of all the different types of damages that are available to a victim of slip and fall accident?
  • Are all your injuries accounted for?
  • Did you consult the right medical experts who specialize in treating your type of injuries?
  • Are you aware of any possible long-term effects that can be caused by your injuries?
  • Did you have your slip and fall case valued by an experienced attorney?
  • Do you have a strong case against the party at fault for your accident?
  • What are the possible defenses that can be used against your lawsuit?

Because slip and fall cases are often difficult to prove in court, it may in your best interest to settle out of court. But don't be afraid to ask questions before making a final decision. Settlements are quite common in personal injury cases; however, slip and fall cases are usually difficult to prove in court, and hence a settlement offer is usually a fantastic sign. However, make sure you have hired an experienced attorney to handle the negotiations and for valuing your case. If your attorney advises you to settle, ask him or her to explain why it would be prudent to accept the particular settlement amount.

 

For establishing an insurance claim or slip and fall lawsuit, you first need to identify the party or parties that can be held accountable or liable for the incident. Figuring out the party responsible for a slip and fall accident might seem easy but there are many legal factors to consider such as hazardous conditions, legal duties of the defendant, level of responsibility for averting dangerous situation, and so on. A court will usually consider the following aspects for identifying the party responsible for the slip and fall accident.

 

Control over Circumstances or Conditions
One of the aspects considered for identifying the party responsible for slip and fall accident is whether the party had control over the condition. For instance, large hotels and supermarkets will have several staff members who can cause dangerous situations, where the employer can be held liable. On the other hand, in certain cases, the dangerous condition could be caused by a buyer or guest whom the employer has no control over. 

 

Expectation of Maintenance
One of the major aspects considered in a slip and fall case is whether the defendant was responsible for taking preventative measures to prevent the accident, and whether the defendant acted within a reasonable time to take the preventative measures. For instance in a commercial store, the storeowner is responsible for proper maintenance of the premises. However, there will be a difference in response time between a supermarket and local grocery store. In a supermarket, since there are many employees, the owner is expected to take precautionary action much faster than a local store owner who is managing the store on his own.


Responsible Party
When the slip and fall accident occurs in a home or commercial place, the parties responsible can be quite clear. However, when the accident occurs in a public place or in a franchise store, it can be difficult to identify the actual party responsible for the accident.

 

Supermarkets are Prone to Slip and Fall Injuries

Slip and fall injuries are those caused on some other person or entity’s property because of a hazardous or dangerous condition prevailing there. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2010, there were 303,800 instances of fall injuries at or in the workplace. Fifteen percent of all workplace injury deaths were the result of trips, slips, and falls. Such incidents happen everywhere and occur at or on business premises and in residences.

Did the Owner Know?

The main reasons for slip and fall injuries are insufficient lighting in places especially parking lots, supermarket floors becoming slippery because of spilled liquids, loose stair railings or snow, and the list continues. Other situations are holes in the ground which are hidden or covered in grass. In such instances the property owner may be at fault if they had known or should have known about this potential hazard.

No Mystery Here

Supermarkets are well known for slip and fall injuries. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) in Southlake, Texas, grocery stores and supermarkets pay out as much as $450 million by way of settlements and legal expenses each year on account of slip and fall injuries. In supermarkets, both employees and customers are at risk so it’s hardly surprising that slip and fall accidents account for the highest number of supermarket injuries.

No Ambiguity

Grocery stores and supermarkets are obliged to provide safe flooring for customers to walk on and so avoid slip and fall injuries as far as is practically possible. If any areas are considered unsafe, these should be closed off or designated unsafe and slippery and there should be a visible sign indicating such.

Items to Gain

If a supermarket has failed in its obligation and you have experienced a slip and fall injury, then contact a slip and fall attorney because you might be eligible for compensation. A personal injury lawyer could also help you recover damages for your injury. This could include medical bills, attorney’s fees, lost wages, and possibly other benefits.

It is often difficult to calculate the value of a slip and fall case, since there are many factors involved. Certain damages are easier to track such as medical expenses incurred for the injuries; however, there are certain damages like pain and suffering, where it is difficult to put a dollar amount.

Unpredictable Aspects

The value of a slip and fall case will also depend on the circumstances surrounding the case, the insurance coverage of the party at fault, the severity and level of injuries, the available proof of negligence, and the wealth and assets of the defendant. Secondly, there are many subjective factors involved such as level of juror’s sympathy, the appearance of the victim, the perception of the jurors, and so on.

An Understanding

Since there are no rules for calculating damages, it is often a daunting task for courts to put a correct dollar amount for the damages suffered by the victim, even in the case of medical expenses. For instance, a person who has incurred $2,000 medical expense for a broken leg will have a better chance of recovering the amount, compared to a person who has spent the same amount for soft tissue therapies, where there is no dislocation or broken bones.

This depends though. Anyone who is hurt because of someone else should have everything paid for. This does not even include some sort of punitive damages that should be imposed. A lesson should be sent. So if someone is down $2,000 because of someone else, they should be compensated. This does not even cover the time that someone has lost due this accident that should not have occurred.

How about someone’s life being affected? They were probably not impacted severely and their productivity was perhaps not diminished too much but there was some objectives and projects they may have had to put on hold because of the incident. This should all factor in when it comes to punitive damages being considered.

Secondly, laws regarding slip and fall cases differ between states. In certain states, you cannot seek compensation for general damages such as pain and suffering, loss of income, inability to do housework, or loss of ability of enjoying hobbies. In addition, in many states there is a cap on the amount that can be awarded as damages in a slip and fall case. There is nothing wrong with a cap but not being able to be compensated for an adverse quality of life is another thing.

The Formula

Usually, your lawyer while calculating the value of your slip and fall case will include actual medical expenses, the projected amount of losses and/or expenses you are likely to incur because of your injuries, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium, which is the impact your injuries is going to have in your future life.

Slip and fall accidents can occur almost anywhere, from a private home to a commercial store. The location presents certain unique circumstances that are likely to influence the insurance settlement or outcome of the lawsuit. Here are certain common locations where slip and fall accidents can occur and the issues involved with these locations.

Commercial Stores

Slip and fall accidents occurring at supermarkets, malls, and grocery stores are usually quite complex, since it is difficult to prove negligence of the storeowner or management. These stores will also require filing of incident report that will cover where, when, and how the accident occurred.

Resorts and Hotels

Hotels will also have their own policies in dealing with slip and fall cases, and therefore the victim should be aware of the required procedures for giving notice of the accident, asking for medical assistance and so on.

Private Homes

At a private home, a slip and fall accident can be quite tricky, as you will be suing someone you know. The homeowner will most probably have insurance coverage, and therefore the victim will have to deal with the insurance company first, before going to trial.

Not only this, but this person may also know where you live. This brings up an entirely new set of thoughts. This person may also know some people you know. So if there is any embarrassing or private moments revealed in this case then some of your most tightly guarded secrets could leak around the community or somehow end up on Facebook one day.

You may win the case but perhaps this person is quite popular in vital social circles throughout the county, go after this person could have unintended professional consequences for you down the road. But if you are professional about it and this locally well know person is straight up, they will know they made a mistake and should have to pay something.

Public Areas

A government entity is usually liable when slip and fall accident occurs in public place. One has to first know the entity responsible and then file the claim according to the established procedure. 

Rented Premises

Slip and fall accident on rented premises could be fault of the property owner, tenant, or both. The circumstances of the accident will often establish the party responsible for the dangerous condition.

Workplace

Slip and fall accident occurring at workplaces are covered by workers compensation insurance, and in some circumstances the case might have to be filed against the employer.

Each of these locations can present a unique challenge for claiming compensation and therefore it is wise to hire an accident attorney who specializes in slip and fall cases. 

If you have not sustained any injuries in a slip and fall accident, or your injuries are not severe enough to seek medical treatment, then there is no point in filing a slip and fall lawsuit. Secondly, if your insurance is going to cover all your treatment expenses, and the insurance company has agreed to provide a reasonable compensation, you do not need a personal injury lawyer.

Understand You need Help

However, if your injuries are reasonably severe and you do not know what your medical bills are going to be, or your insurance provider is refusing to cover your medical costs, then you definitely need to consult a personal injury attorney.

If you are not sure whether you should be hiring a lawyer, here is a list of questions that you can ask yourself, which will help you take the right decision.

  • Do I need to seek medical treatment for my injuries?
  • Is my injury going to affect my earning capacity, and for how long?
  • Am I to blame for my injuries, or was I partly at fault for the accident?
  • Will the insurance company compensate me for medical costs, lost earnings, and other related expenses?

Perhaps No Charge Until the End

Once you have reached a decision that you do need a lawyer for your slip and fall case, then you need to figure out how much it is going to cost you. Fortunately, personal injury attorneys work on contingency fees, which means they are paid a percentage of the compensation you receive. Check out this percentage, and inquire how much the other expense like court fees and so on, are going to work out. There is no charge for first consultation with a personal injury lawyer, and in fact, the lawyer will advise you whether it is worth hiring him for the case you have.  

If someone has made a mistake that is one thing but if someone was completely derelict and you are hurt because of it, you need to take this matter to court or to mediation. Perhaps this person, organization, or business has an attorney waiting for you to make contact with them with a lawyer of your own. Your legal professional may be able to work out a settlement so this dereliction can be righted. 

When you slip, fall, and sustain injuries on someone else's property because of a dangerous condition existing on that property, you can sue for damages. The property owner can be held liable for the dangerous condition that caused the accident. Even though older people are more likely to have such accidents, a slip and fall can happen to anybody, especially when there is a dangerous condition.

The most common dangerous conditions that result in slip and fall accidents include:

  • Accumulation of snow, ice, or water on the property
  • Wet floors as a result of mopping or spilling of liquids
  • Irregular level of the floor
  • Bunched or torn carpets, or holes in the floor
  • Faulty stairway or weak hand rails
  • Objects on the floor that are not supposed to be there
  • Poor visibility due to inadequate lighting

When you are trying to decide whether you should file a slip and fall lawsuit, the most important thing to consider is whether the property owner can be held liable for the dangerous condition that has caused you to slip and fall. A dangerous condition could be permanent like a faulty stairway, or temporary condition like spilt water on the floor.

Owner’s Responsibility

The property owner is responsible for permanent dangerous conditions, since they should have had knowledge of such conditions and done something to correct it. However, the property owner is also liable for temporary dangerous conditions as well, when enough time has passed from the time the dangerous condition occurred and the time you experienced this slip and fall accident.

Ignorance is not a Defense

The other factor to consider is comparative negligence. This means, how much were you to blame for the accident. Were you careless or preoccupied while walking, or did you ignore warning signs put up by the property owner pertinent to the dangerous condition. If you chose to ignore these signs and chose to confront this peril on your own which ended up defeating you, you may not have too much of a case. Your ignorance of the threat cannot be verified since you chose to disregard the warning signs.

Some people should not be owners though. They invested in businesses and thought it was going to be simple but they just cannot keep up with the energy that is needed to run a business. Then they start to be careless and show apathy towards their responsibilities. They need to post warning signs if there is a spill, if a step is broken, or when they are mopping. If they believe that they can cut corners like this then perhaps they should not manage an operation and your lawsuit is another indication of this being the truth.  

Usually slip and fall cases are hard to win, unless there is very strong evidence proving liability of the other party. When you have suffered injuries due to slip and fall accident, the legal system allows you collect compensation for your injuries. Once the case is filed, most victims tend to agree to a settlement quickly, while others want to fight the case in court, and let jury award compensation. There are certain pros and cons for each option.

When you have hired a fantastic and committed slip and fall lawyer, then he will be able to negotiate a reasonable settlement. If the other party makes an offer, your lawyer will be able to advise you, whether the settlement is reasonable or you should go to trial.

Pros and Cons of Accepting a Slip and Fall Settlement

Pros

  • Your slip and fall case is resolved quickly compared to a trial.
  • You can receive money quickly, which you can use for paying off your medical bills.
  • You get closure to the incident, and you can move on with your life, compared to a trial, which can be emotionally and physically quite taxing.
  • Your costs will be lower.
  • You are certain how much money you will be receiving.
  • Even though the case is quickly resolved, you may be accepting a compensation amount than what you would have received if you went to trial

 

Pros and Cons of Trial

Pros

  • Chances are genuine of receiving compensation that is higher than the alternative, and there is the emotional satisfaction of winning the case in front of a judge and jury.

Cons

  • You are not sure whether the jury will award compensation that is respectable.
  • The costs of fighting it out in court can build up considerably, and even if you are awarded compensation that will titillate your dreams, it might work out the same, when you consider the expenses. Your attorney will take a certain percentage. In addition, this court case may and will almost certainly consume much more of your time.

There is another factor to consider: your attorney. You need to listen to their advice. You did not hire them to run roughshod over them and to dictate to them your terms. They know this arena most likely much better than you. Their opinion should almost always carry more weight than yours.

Receiving personal injury compensation is never easy, and you need to hire a lawyer. Choosing a lawyer is not a daunting task, once you know what questions you should be asking at your first meeting. For slip and fall injuries, you would obviously want to find a lawyer who has experience in such cases and somebody whom you can trust.

It is odd that you ever meet an attorney that charges for the initial consultation, and you should make use of this opportunity to ask a list of questions, which can help you make the right choice. Apart from fees, here are certain areas that you must cover, and the questions you should be asking.

Experience

  • How long have you been a lawyer?

How many slip and fall cases you have managed in the last year, and how many had a successful outcome?

Style of Fighting a Slip and Fall Case

  • What is your approach to a slip and fall case?
  • Do you provide your clients with options and expect them to make decisions, or do you suggest the best course of action?

Assessment of Your Slip and Fall Case

  • What is my slip and fall case worth, or is it worth going to trial?
  • What amount of settlement is reasonable to accept?
  • What are the chances of my case going to trial, compared to an early settlement?
  • How long will the case take?
  • Are there options for arbitration or mediation?

Management of Your Case

  • Will you be personally managing my case or is there another attorney involved?
  • Will you provide progress reports and how often can I expect them?
  • Who will be handling the settlement negotiations?
  • What is the best way of contacting you, and how long do you usually take to respond?

Pain and suffering is quite different from hard costs that are quantifiable such as medical expenses, doctor's bills, and so on. However, you can claim pain and suffering, for a slip and fall accident, if the injuries you have suffered due to the fall are directly causing you mental anguish and pain. Nevertheless, these claims are particularly difficult to negotiate and there are no definite laws that can compel an insurance adjuster or the owner of the property to pay for pain and suffering.

A Strong Fight

Usually, in auto accidents where the injuries could be severe, the unofficial norm for calculating pain and suffering damages is five or three times the hard cost. However, the damages you will receive will largely depend on the strength of your case and negotiating tactics used by your accident lawyer.

In most slip and fall cases the adjuster will mainly consider the likelihood of you pushing for a trial and how much a jury is likely to award for pain and suffering. The adjuster will weigh the increased expenditure of going to trial and might make an offer for settling a pain and suffering claim.

No Certain Amount

Since, pain and suffering is not exactly quantifiable, it can be difficult to negotiate an amount. There are also no reference guides to help estimate an amount for pain and suffering, and it will mainly depend on the negotiating tactics of the accident lawyer.

It will also depend on how much the adjuster is amenable to a reasonable settlement. The insurance adjuster will usually have the upper hand, and will try to pay as little as possible or not at all. Therefore, it will mainly depend on the negotiating strategies of your accident lawyer to convince the adjuster into settling for an amount for pain and suffering.

A Suitable Ending

This adjuster will certainly be challenged by your attorney. The adjuster would rather just work with you because they know that you do not have the stamina to fight this game like they do. They have been around the block before and they will use vernacular you are not familiar with. They will stress you out because they know you have other things to worry about such as work and family. You also have your health to consider. They will use these distractions against you. This is why you have hired an attorney to carry this burden for you and to work out a deal for you that will help you out.

Generally, receiving pain and suffering damages for any accident is usually difficult, and it is more so for slip and fall accidents. However, with the right negotiating tactics, your chances of receiving a marvelous settlement can increase dramatically. Here are certain tips that will help you claim the pain and suffering compensation that you rightfully deserve.

Get Your Medical Records in Order

Take copies of all your medical bills that are related to your slip and fall injuries. These bills will include pharmacy bills, therapy charges, hospital bills, ambulance charges, doctor's bills, and so on. Your medical records are confidential according to HIPAA laws, and you will have to authorize Release of Information to get these copies. It is best to acquire copies of your full hospital chart, since that will show entries made by nurses and doctors during your treatment. These entries can be crucial evidence for establishing costs of hospital stay, additional tests, therapy charges, and so on that were required for treating your injuries.

Certifying Medical Records

Certified copies may be essential in certain instances when you are going to trial. However, for negotiating, certifying your records is not necessary and is a waste of your money.

Avoid Giving the Adjuster an Ultimatum

It is best to avoid wording letters in a way that can be construed as an ultimatum or your final demand. In such instance, your negotiation with the adjuster will end, since you have communicated that you are not willing to accept anything other than your stated amount. On receiving an ultimatum, the adjuster only has two choices, which is paying your demands, or sending your claim to the legal department. In most cases, it will be the latter. Hence, unless you are sure of ending the negotiations and going to trial, it is not shrewd or judicious to issue an ultimatum.  

Incident Report

In most major retail stores, the management or security department will be making a summary of events taking place in the store, which is called an incident report. If you have slipped and fallen in a store during business hours, then check to see if the incident report has been recorded. The summary should describe the events that took place along with the time. Your accident will be noted in such a report, unless the person writing the report is dishonest.

Putting Together Your Case

In smaller retail outlets that do not maintain or construct incident reports, you will have to contact the owner of the shop and ask for the contact details of their insurance provider. If your injuries are serious and you are rushed to the hospital, you may not have a chance to collect these details. In such a case, ask someone to get this information for you from the storeowner. If not, you may have to return to the store in the next couple of days, if you are able to, and take care of this yourself.

A Scenario You could Encounter

Small retail outlets will be unwilling to report injuries to their insurance provider, since there are chances of their policy being cancelled or an increase in the rate of premium. If the storeowner refuses to part with the contact information of the insurance company, then you can send an official letter by certified mail, demanding this information. In the letter, clearly ask for the information or claim your damages that the storeowner is prepared to settle out of his pocket.

If the storeowner is not carrying liability insurance, and is refusing to provide compensation for your injuries, then you can sue him in court having the appropriate jurisdiction, depending on the amount you are claiming. Usually for small claims court the limit is $5,000, and if you are claiming a higher amount, you will need an experienced lawyer to file a lawsuit in higher court. 

If the business owner is holding out that should just raise even more suspicion. Terrible and unscrupulous businesses should suffer and perhaps new ownership needs to be brought in. You could spearhead this change and do the community some good in the process. They may not be as bad as the IRS which effects everyone but they are nothing to write home about either. Perhaps this business owner is just tired of endless EPA regulations that are keeping it from expanding or hiring other people but that is not any reason to ignore your professional duties.

Enlisting a Friend/Family Member and Initiating Your Legal Case

If you cannot or do not want to return to this place of business, perhaps you can send a friend or a family member to ask for this information. You may also have to get your new attorney involved in this to make this sound more official if the business owner does not respect your needs or your necessary and kind request.

Review Witness Statements

Usually private companies will not voluntarily part with any documents, and the only way you can get hold of witness statements is through the discovery process, once you have filed the lawsuit. If the retail store is refusing to provide you with the copy of the incident report and witness statements, then you may get them through the adjuster, once the negotiations are in progress.

The witnesses whose testimonies carry a lot of weight are those who make "statements against interests". Since the individual is making a statement against himself, it is considered more honest. For instance, an employee of the retail store accepting the circumstances that resulted in your fall, which will actually go on to prove negligence on the part of the retail store.

Talk to Witnesses

Once you have acquired and reviewed the witness statements, you could get in touch with certain witnesses and ask them what they remember. For instance, you could inquire about the substance or object that caused your fall, such as spilt water or looped wire. You could further inquire, if the dangerous situation was reported to the store management and when. Ask if the management took any steps to rectify the situation. Try obtaining as much information as possible, and see if the witnesses permit you to record their statements, since that would be better.

Provide Verification of Lost Income

If your injuries have prevented you from doing your regular job, then you will be claiming lost wages, which the adjuster will want to verify. In such instance, you can hasten the process of verification by asking your employer to provide an official letter of your leave of absence, and income you have lost due to this absence. Make sure the letter is typed or written on company letterhead or any official document such as a company invoice for example. 

Most personal injury cases especially slip and fall injuries are settled out of court. This is because trials are expensive and a jury verdict can be unpredictable. Secondly, many courts consider slip and fall cases to be frivolous, and unless the case is strong, the victim is not likely to obtain any compensation. If you have sustained a slip and fall injury, here are some tips for strengthening your case.

Call in the Experts

You will need the help of an experienced lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases. Such a lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and give you an idea about how much compensation you can expect. Secondly, you will also need to call in your doctor for establishing that the fall has caused your injuries.

Proving the Accused was Aware of the Dangerous Condition

The existence of the dangerous condition on a property can be easily proved with photos of the hazard. However, it is much more difficult to prove that such a condition was known by the owner of the property. Here are certain ways of proving the accused knew about the dangerous condition:

  • Acquire a sworn testimony from another person present at the scene, which states that the dangerous condition existed.
  • Footage of the surveillance video will have a time stamp and hence it will reveal the duration of the existence of the dangerous condition. If you have slipped and fallen in a place where there is a surveillance camera then ask for the copy of the tape immediately, since certain stores have cameras that record in a loop and erase the earlier content after a certain amount of time has elapsed.
  • Request for and take a copy of the incident report. Many sizeable and respectable establishments will take incident reports, which will mention what occurred, how it occurred, and who the witness(es) to the incident were.

Personal injury resulting from a slip and fall accident is very common. However, there are certain unique facts about this type of injury that you should know.

You can file a Civil Case

If you are injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else's property you can file a civil case to claim compensation for your injuries. The case could be filed against the owner of the property or the person in charge of the property.

You do not have to accuse anyone of a crime. You do not have to act hysterical and make a scene. You do not have to verbally chastise or harangue the manager or the owner at all either. You do not have to sardonically mock or attack any of the employees that try to help you out after the incident or are in shouting distance of you. This will only damage your case and perhaps turn some of the tide against you.

This is not a crime in most cases. This is not personal; no one did this on purpose. The business or government branch made a mistake and you turning this into a sight to see is not in good taste. This is strictly a civil manner.

The Property Where the Accident Occurs could be Residence, Business Premises, or a Public Place

Slip and fall accident can occur at a residence of the person whom you are visiting, in a store or restaurant, or in public place. The main thing to consider is whether there were unsafe conditions that caused your injuries. If there is a dangerous condition, then the owner or individual in charge of the property can be held liable for your injuries.

Standards Vary

Public or commercial places owe you a higher duty of care, as they have the duty to keep their premises safe. Even though the homeowner also has the same duty, he may not be expected to keep to the same level of care, as a public or commercial establishment. Hence, it will be harder to prove liability when you slip and fall in someone's home.

You have to Prove Negligence

When you are injured, it is your burden to prove negligence of the other party. This has to be proved by preponderance of evidence, which shows that it was more likely than not that the negligence of the other party caused the slip and fall accident.

You have to Prove Damages

Apart from the negligence of the other party, you also have to prove that the slip and fall accident has caused you some injury or damage that can be compensated monetarily.

The defendant in a slip and fall case can use an affirmative defense where the plaintiff has assumed the risk. In "assumption of risk" defense, the defendant will have to prove:

  • The plaintiff knew about the dangerous condition
  • The plaintiff had full understanding of this risk
  • The plaintiff faced the risk of his or her own free will

Taking an actual case will put things in perspective. A woman sued the management company of her apartment when she slipped and fell on black ice on a stairway that led to the parking lot. However, another exit was available that led to the same area. The stairway on which she fell remained in the shadows and the ice melted very slowly there. When the woman left her apartment, she saw the patches of ice and snow on the stairway, and when she arrived home the surface was wet. At night, the woman fell on black ice that was there on the stairs, and sustained a complex fracture.

Should have been Aware of the Threat

The defendant used the defense of assumption of risk, saying that the woman should have known about the existence of black ice on the stairs, and still she took the risk of climbing down those stairs. The ruling was in favor of the defense, and the woman appealed to the judgment saying that nobody would be able to file a lawsuit when falling on black ice in the common area.

She should have been aware of the threat and used the railings. If she held onto the railings while she negotiated up or down the stairs she would have been OK. To not use the railings when she should have known the threat existed was not the owner’s fault. She did not do enough to protect herself or her body.

Extreme Sympathy

The appeals court explained that the defense of assumption of risk could only apply if the plaintiff actually knew about the presence of the risk and not that it could have been present. Since there was no evidence, which showed the woman knew about the black ice, the appeal court reversed the earlier judgment. In this case, the woman could not have assumed a risk, which she did not know about.

This is a generous court considering anyone who lives in freezing temperatures should hold onto the rails when descending or ascending a staircase. The management will now have to put up signs all over the stairs letting people know about the slippery black ice during the winter.

Once you have filed a claim for your slip and fall injuries, the concerned party, or the insurance company might make you an offer to settle the case without going to trial. However, you should note that once you accept the settlement, you no longer have the right to pursue the claim further, or file another lawsuit concerning this incident later. Therefore, it is important to consult an experienced slip and fall attorney before signing any settlement offer.

Here is a checklist for making sure you are receiving a reasonable and fair settlement offer.

  • Are all your injuries accounted for
  • Are you aware of any long term effects of your injuries
  • Have you received sufficient medical care and treatment for your injuries
  • Have you lost income due to not attending work because of the injuries
  • Were you partially at fault for slipping and falling or was the property owner solely responsible for your accident
  • Were you aware of the possibility of the hazard or dangerous condition before you fell

Injuries could Increase in Severity

Do not be in a hurry to accept the settlement, especially the first offer, which is usually made to make you accept a much smaller amount than what you deserve. Secondly, your injuries are likely to worsen, and might need further treatment or surgery, which can be quite expensive.

A quick settlement is usually favorable to the property owner or insurance company and not to you. Even after successful treatment, you can end up with disfigurement, scars, or chronic pain. Make sure you give enough time after the treatment is over, to know any residual effects on your health that the injuries might cause.

Not Reason to Wait that Long

You should note that we are talking about accepting or not accepting a settlement offer, and not about filing the slip and fall lawsuit. You need to file the lawsuit within the statute of limitations, which is usually one to two years from the time of the accident.

For any personal injury claim there is a certain time limit within which you need to file the lawsuit. This is called statute of limitations, which varies between states. In most states, the statute of limitation for filing a slip and fall claim is one to two years. Hence, if you delay suing the concerned party within the statute of limitations, you may lose the right of filing a lawsuit even when you have a valid case.

Reasonable Questions to Ask 

There is not any reason in waiting. The longer you wait the least chances you have in claiming or receiving any compensation. The opposition or the business is going to say why did you wait so long? The department or the organization that you later decide to go after is going to say this is old, when did this happen, are you sure it even happened here? If you are in so much pain, how come you took so long to file the necessary paper work? How come we cannot just work this out without getting attorneys involved?

Do not be mistaken though, if you wait 8 months for example, and you are in pain or are suffering from that fall, the door is still open for you to make your case.

Even one year is quite a long time for filing a slip and file lawsuit, but do not be complacent about it. You also need to take a proactive approach after making the claim. It is highly unlikely for the party or the insurance company to come to you with a generous settlement. Hence, you need to gather all the relevant information and keep it ready to strengthen your case.

Building Your Case

You will need photographic proof of the hazard or dangerous condition on the property that caused you to slip and fall. Secondly, you will also need to justify the seriousness of your injuries by providing records of the medical care and treatment you have received.

Time is of the essence in slip and fall lawsuits, especially when you have been injured in public place, government building, school premises, or at a large business building. Deadlines to file notice of the incident in these places are very short, and you need to know the correct place to file the notice. Secondly, different rules apply when you are filing a slip and fall claim against a government entity.

The Process

Most government institutions need you to first file a statement of intent to file a lawsuit, before you file the actual case. The period for doing this is much shorter than the usual statute of limitations. In most instances, you have about 60 days to file the notice of intent.  

According to premises liability laws, a property owner is supposed to maintain the property reasonably well, so that persons entering the property remain safe. In certain states, the duties of the property owner will be limited depending on the visitor's status. The type of visitor is divided into three categories.

Invitees

The invitee is a visitor who has the implied or express permission of the property owner for entering the property. Such visitors would include neighbors, relatives, friends, and so on. The property owner has an official duty of reasonably maintaining the property to make it safe for all invitees.

Licensee

The licensee visitor has the implied or express permission of the property owner, but comes to the property to fulfill his or her own purpose. Such visitors would include sales representatives, technicians, plumbers, cable repairman, electricians, and so on. The property owner usually has the duty of warning the licensee of any dangerous condition(s) on the property that might pose a risk to them or their equipment. This is certainly the case when the property owner knows about such risks and the licensee is not likely to discover the risk without someone pointing it out.

Even if the risk is obvious to discern the property owner and/or the property management should let anyone know about what they are going to or might encounter. It is just professional and considerate to do so. If there is a risk there or if the risk is evident the property owner may even want to record the conversation or make an official entry somewhere that this licensee was properly warned about the issue.  

Trespasser

The trespasser does not have implied or express permission of the property owner to enter the property. Unless the trespasser is a child, the property owner does not owe any duty, and does not have to warn the person of any risks. In the case of a child trespasser, the property owner has the duty to exercise reasonable care for avoiding reasonably foreseeable risks that might harm the child.

Usually most premises liability cases pertain to slip and fall injuries. Some of the common dangerous situations that lead to slip and fall are wet floors, defective staircases, torn or unsecured carpets, accumulation of snow or ice, wires across walkways or paths, loose tiles, and broken floors, and liquid spills on the floor area.

When you want to begin the process of settlement for your slip and fall injury, you need to notify the store, government department, mall, or restaurant where you were injured. Simply notifying by email will not be enough, since it needs to be official. You will have to send a certified letter with Return Receipt Requested.

Here are some tips for writing this notification letter using the right phrases and words:

1) Do not use the word "accident" in the letter, as it would imply that it was not anybody's fault. Instead, use the word "incident." For instance, if you slip and fell because the store had allowed water to accumulate on the floor, then it is not an accident. Hence, you need to use the word incident to document the occurrence.

2) Rather than using phrases such as "you are at fault" or "the owner is guilty of allowing the water to accumulate," use phrases like "you are culpable for allowing water to accumulate" or "the owner's culpability is clearly seen by the occurrence".

3) Additionally, there is a difference between "negligent" and "culpable." Refer to the owner's "negligence" as the direct cause of your injuries. It is not your fault this happened. Even if you had the best boots or all terrain shoes that are available that floor was still a hazard. And you should not have to wear the best shoes with the best traction that sells on the market while walking through that lobby or aisle.

4) Instead of using the phrase "Because of what occurred..." make a statement "As a direct result..." For instance, you could write, "As a direct result of the owner's negligence in allowing the water to accumulate, I slipped and fell, and suffered these injuries."

5) You may be entitled to compensation for effects such as pain, anxiety, or depression that you might have suffered due to your injuries. Emotional suffering and depression are real damages, and you should refer to them as "pain and suffering" or "mental anguish" in your letter. Similarly, if your injury has left you incapable of having intimacy with your partner or spouse, you could refer to it as "loss of consortium."

Accidents are inevitable. In many cases they are avoidable but in general are unpredictable. Avoidable accidents are the kind that happen because of a set of circumstances arising from someone’s negligence or carelessness, including that of the victim. Slipping and falling is a very common type of accident which happens to a number of people. In fact, there is not one person on this planet who has not ever slipped and fallen. Now it may have been your fault for the most part but what happens when it is someone else’s fault and what happens if it is someone else’s fault and you are hurt because of it?

Being hurt is one thing but missing work because of it is something that must be addressed.

Potential Health Complications

A slip and fall accident could be minor but could also cause serious injury resulting in financial loss and emotional trauma. While you might recover from some injuries, others could have long-term consequences as in a head injury for example.

Not Your Fault

A slip and fall accident is cause for an injury lawsuit. Everyone who has been injured because of a slip and fall accident occasioned by someone’s negligence is entitled to damages and compensation. An experienced and knowledgeable slip and fall attorney should be consulted if you have sustained injury from an accident which you believe was avoidable and was caused because a third party was careless. In many cases the person or entity at fault opts for an out of court settlement to avoid the cost of a jury trial consequent on an injury lawsuit.

Not Her Fault

One high profile case was that of Valerie Dantzler who filed suit in 2010 against Wal-Mart for negligence and damages resulting from a fall she had in their Northside Jacksonville store in 2005. In this particular case Dantzler slipped on a wet patch on the floor which caused irreversible nerve damage to her shoulder which had already been injured earlier, and from which she was recovering. Wal-Mart decided to contest but in a landmark judgment the jury found in her favor for which she was awarded $1 million, a record in slip and fall lawsuits. 

Whether your slip and fall injury occurred in a grocery store aisle or on someone's personal property, you're probably wondering one thing: How much would a settlement or awarded damages be in my case? It's not secret that filing claims or lawsuits are time-consuming, and while your medical bills pile up and physical pain lingers, you might ask yourself if it's really worth it. The truth is, there is no definitive answer to that question. The amount of money awarded in slip and fall cases varies greatly, depending on several variables.

Factors in a Slip and Fall Settlement

  • The state and city where the accident occurred. Some locations typically award high settlements than others
  • The type and amount of insurance coverage the defendant carries
  • The defendant's net worth
  • Severity of injuries
  • Whether the defendant took steps to mitigate risks, inform people of danger and block off the area
  • Lost wages if you missed days of work
  • The victim's inability to perform daily tasks like driving a car or doing dishes
  • The victim's loss of consortium
  • The victim's pain and suffering
  • Hiring the Right Attorney

Your legal representation can also make a difference in the outcome of your case. Before hiring an attorney, ask plenty of questions and make sure that he or she has experience with slip and fall lawsuits.

General Damages

Some states do not consider general damages while others put a limit on it.

What is Included

When your injury lawyer works out your claim for damages, included will be actual losses as well as future losses and an intangible amount for things like inability to enjoy conjugal rights or a lifestyle the plaintiff is accustomed to.

If permanent damage is involved the attorney will include the cost of converting your home to make it wheelchair accessible. The same can be said to the vehicle, which will most likely not be the one you were driving.

The law on premises liability was designed to ensure that owner of property and their employees carry the duty of keeping their property in safe condition and are responsible for any accidents on it.

Walking Hazards

It is mandatory for an owner to keep his premises free of hazards that are probable to cause accidents. If a liquid or anything else spills on a grocery store floor for example, it is mandatory that the owner sees to it that it’s cleaned up as soon as he becomes aware of the impediment or slippery hazard. They should have a sign as well that warns people that the floor is wet until the floor is dry and completely safe to walk around on. This sign(s) should be ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice.

The same applies in gas stations and restaurants where it is the responsibility of the person in charge to mop up all spills and anything else which could lead to a fall. This could mean shoveling ice and snow off the sidewalk or in the parking lot of the restaurant or gas station.

Possibilities

If the property owner is negligent in fulfilling these safety requirements he might have failed in his duty and obligation to provide a safe environment to his customers. If a customer experiences an accident because of the hazardous nature of the premises he or she might be entitled to claim compensation if injured.

If you or a loved one sustains injury because of an accident caused by hazardous conditions at a location you should consult a premises liability attorney to know whether you can claim compensation for damages. A premises liability attorney is a lawyer who has specialized in cases of negligence by property owners.

Every Situation is Different

There is no set formula in premises liability lawsuits because each case depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident. The attorney will try to determine the facts of the case, how the property owner fulfilled his obligation, and whether the injured person contributed to the accident.

If the property owner is to be held responsible it has to be proved that they:

  • Allowed the premises to remain in a dangerous condition.
  • He was aware of this dangerous condition but neglected to warn customers about the hazards.
  • He should have been aware of the condition and had enough time to repair or remove the hazard as any responsible person would.

Ignorance is not a Reasonable Claim

In premises liability case the length of time that the premises were left in a hazardous condition is particularly significant. It determines if the owner was aware, or should have been aware, of the danger before the customer was injured.

Particular examples of dangerous conditions at a premise are a greasy floor in a restaurant kitchen, slippery floor because of spilled ice at a fast food restaurant, an injury prone area in a supermarket because of a wet floor, or a dangerous section because of oil spills at a gas station for instance.