Slip and fall accidents are a significant problem all over the world. They were among the major causes of more than 75% of nonfatal injuries and illnesses resulting in lost workdays in 2020. Accounting for 15% of all accidental deaths, slips and falls are also the leading cause of job fatalities, second to car accidents.
This type of accident frequently occurs in the workplace. But slips and falls also constitute a substantial share of injuries at home and any place with a dangerous condition. It can be a loose floorboard, defective staircase, or slippery floor on your property or someone else’s.
The consequences of slip and fall accidents can be devastating. It may severely compromise your health and leave you with hefty medical bills. Due to tremendous physical, emotional, and financial burdens, slip-and-fall victims may find it hard to return to normal life.
But you don’t have to go through it alone. You could get fair compensation if you or a loved one sustained an injury after slipping and falling on other people’s property. While that may sound easy to achieve, it’s worth noting that fault for slip and fall cases isn’t usually apparent.
Most property owners and insurance companies are not keen to accept legal responsibility unless there’s sufficient evidence. This means fighting for the compensation you deserve after a slip and fall incident can be an uphill battle.
That’s why self-representation is inadvisable for most slip-and-fall accidents. A personal injury lawyer’s assistance is always crucial in these cases. However, given the stressful situation you’re already in, you may need help finding a reliable slip-and-fall injury lawyer.
The Personal Injury Center has a valuable resource for injured slip-and-fall victims like you. It only takes a free case evaluation to connect you with the best personal injury attorneys specializing in your case.
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What are the leading causes of slip and fall accidents?
Slips and falls can lead to minor and serious injuries. While some walk away with scrapes and bruises, others are not so lucky. Many slip-and-fall victims sustain the following severe injuries:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Property owners can prevent these injuries by taking appropriate precautions. But not all slips and falls are caused by their negligent acts. On some occasions, the accident occurred because of the victim’s carelessness or unsuitable footwear.
The specific cause of your slip and fall accident is vital in determining whether you have a valid claim. Suppose no unsafe conditions existed on the property at the time of your fall. In that case, you don’t have grounds for a valid slip and fall case.
Knowing the leading causes of slips and falls can help determine when a property owner fails to keep their premises safe. On top of that, it can help identify potential dangers and prevent accidents in the first place.
Several hazards can be present on a piece of property, whether you’re in someone else’s home, the workplace, or a grocery store. Just walking is likely to result in a slip-and-fall accident under the following circumstances:
- Wet floors
There are several ways a floor in a property can get wet and slippery. Cleaning activities and spillages are among the most common culprits. Since wet floor surfaces have less friction, it’s easier to slip and fall while walking on them.
- Uneven surfaces
Uneven surfaces can take various forms, including large cracks in the pavement, potholes in parking lots, and floors with loose boards. The unexpected dips and bumps of such surfaces can catch you off-guard, causing you to lose your footing.
- Cluttered walkways
Any unexpected object on the floor and walkways can increase the risk of slip and fall accidents. Cluttered walkways with low obstacles are particularly dangerous because they’re not easily visible. You may be unaware of the slipping hazard and walk into the danger zone.
No one can control the weather. Unfortunately, it creates conditions that increase the risk of slip and fall, particularly outside homes and establishments. For instance, heavy rains and snow can result in slippery floors and icy walkways.
The reduced traction between your footwear and the walking surface makes it easier for anyone to slip and fall. In these cases, the property owner has the duty to at least warn others about the hazard.
Building structure or conditions
The design and conditions of a building can also present unsafe conditions that lead to slip and fall accidents. Poorly-lit rooms will make it impossible for victims to see hazards and avoid slipping and falling.
Broken handrails and stairs can also cause slip and fall injuries. People usually rely on these structures for support and balance. They will likely get injured when they place their body weight against faulty or damaged objects.
Training is crucial in high-risk industries like construction. Workers who don’t get enough safety training are likely to slip and fall from ladders, scaffolding, and metal surfaces. They may also fail to address dangerous conditions that put themselves and others at risk for slip and fall accidents.
How does premises liability work in slip-and-fall cases?
Premises liability refers to a legal responsibility imposed on the proper owner to prevent injuries caused by dangerous conditions on their property. It encompasses a variety of incidents, such as slips and falls, animal attacks, escalator accidents, negligent security, lead poisoning, and fire accidents.
Suppose you or a loved one slip and fall while entering someone else’s property, and you sustain serious injuries. In that case, you may be eligible to pursue damages through a premises liability claim. However, the owner of the premises doesn’t bear unlimited liability.
Just because you get injured in a place of business or another property doesn’t mean the owner is automatically liable. There are limitations on recovering damages for premises liability in slip and fall cases. Although each state may have different premises liability laws, they generally share the same elements.
4 Elements of negligence in premises liability
Proving negligence is essential to make property owners legally liable for slips and falls on their property. You need to prove several elements to establish negligence in premises liability. With the following, you may succeed in receiving compensation.
1. Duty of care
This refers to whether the property owner has a legal obligation to take reasonable care in the ownership and maintenance of the premises. Generally, managers, landlords, businesses, and those with control over the property have a duty of care to keep visitors safe.
That means property owners must ensure that there are no dangerous conditions on the premises. However, this only applies to those who visit the property legally. The owner may only have legal responsibility if you’re authorized to be on the premises.
2. Breach of duty
It is also essential to prove that the property owner failed to uphold their legal obligation to keep the premises safe. After establishing that the owner or occupier owed you a duty of care, you must demonstrate that they breached that duty. To do this, you’ll need to provide proof that:
- An unsafe condition existed on the premises
- The owner of the premises knew or should have known of the existing danger
- The property owner failed to warn you and fix the hazard in a reasonable amount of time
An insurance company may argue that the injuries you sustained were not related to the danger present on the property. This is why causation is an essential element in a premises liability. Establishing the property owner’s duty of care and carelessness is not enough. You must also show that the breach of duty is a direct cause of your accident and the resulting injuries.
There must be proof of damages to have a valid premises liability claim. You must demonstrate that you suffered actual harm directly from the accident. Seeking medical treatment right after the incident is an excellent step to make that possible.
The legal status of the visitor
The legal status of the person visiting the premises also plays a critical role in determining whether liability is appropriate. It can significantly impact the degree of responsibility the property owner owes to you. In a premises liability claim, visitors fall under the following categories:
This type of visitor has a direct or implied invitation to be on the premises. Primarily, they visit the property for business purposes and transactions. Invitees can be customers, job applicants, or delivery workers.
A property owner owes these visitors the highest duty of care. Owners must remedy known hazards when invitees are on the premises. They’re also responsible for examining and correcting unknown dangers.
These guests also have express or implied permission to visit the property. But unlike invitees, they’re on the premises for social purposes or their benefit. Licensees can be private visitors to a residential property.
The premises owner owes a lower level of care to these visitors. Property owners must still warn you of potential hazards if you’re on the property as a licensee. However, it’s not their duty to inspect the premises before allowing you to enter.
Unlike invitees and licensees, these individuals don’t have a lawful right to be on the property. Because they are trespassing, property owners don’t owe them the duty of reasonable care. But there might be some exceptions.
Suppose the premises have attractive nuisances like pools or gravel piles. In that case, the owner must still be responsible for the safety of trespassers. They should place warning signs to prevent harm to trespassers, particularly children.
Potentially liable parties
Under premises liability, the property owner is primarily responsible for your injuries. But multiple parties may share responsibility, depending on how and where the slip and fall incident occurs. Below are potentially liable parties for slip-and-fall accidents and the resulting harm.
- Residential property owners
The homeowner may be held accountable for your injuries if you get injured while visiting a residential property. But it’s not enough that you slip or fall while on their premises. An unsafe and known danger must have caused the accident to make them legally liable.
- Business owners
Slips and falls frequently occur on business premises. Slippery floors and other hazards can put visitors and employees at risk for accidents. Suppose the business owner willfully ignores such dangers and fails to take appropriate preventive action. In that case, they can be legally accountable for injuries.
- Commercial tenants
Businesses may be liable not only in situations where they own the property but also when they’re in control of its maintenance. Many establishments, like grocery stores, don’t own their location. Liability often rests with the owner of the property. However, commercial tenants may be held responsible if an accident happens in their stores or offices due to a lack of ordinary care.
Slip and fall accidents may also occur on government property. It’s possible to hold the government entities liable for the resulting harm. But with immunity provisions protecting the government from premises liability, the process and requirements can be much more complicated. Slip and fall victims will need to handle their claims with greater care.
Compensation for premise liability claims
Once you prove that the property owner was negligent and caused your accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Below are different damages commonly awarded in premises liability cases like slips and falls.
- Economic damages
These damages intend to compensate slip and fall victims for actual financial losses after injury. Because they have specific monetary value, you can easily quantify and prove them with receipts and paperwork. Economic damages may include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Loss of earning capacity
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
- Non-economic damages
These damages seek to compensate you for the diminished quality of life and suffering you endure due to the injury. But because these losses are subjective, they’re hard to calculate. Non-economic damages may cover the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Inconvenience and embarrassment
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages
These damages are also available in some premise liability cases. Unlike the other two, the goal of punitive damages is not to compensate for the victim’s injuries and losses. Instead, they punish the liable party for reckless conduct and deter the same behavior in the future.
Why should you hire a slip-and-fall lawyer?
Not every slip, trip, or fall requires an attorney’s guidance. But there are several benefits of getting legal advice from slip and fall accident lawyers. If you’re uncertain about hiring one, look at how they can specifically help with your personal injury claim.
Establish fault for your slip and fall
Proving the property owner’s fault and negligent act is one of the most difficult elements of a slip and fall claim. A knowledgeable lawyer will thoroughly investigate your accident and how it occurred. They will help gather sufficient evidence to establish how the liable party failed to keep their premises safe.
Determine the value of your claim
Calculating the damages can be difficult. But a slip-and-fall injury lawyer can help you establish the severity of your injuries and the compensation you deserve. They can assess how much your claim is worth based on your past, present, and expected future losses.
Negotiate with the insurance adjuster
Insurance companies operate as a business, so they will likely offer the lowest settlement possible. An experienced slip-and-fall lawyer can handle negotiations on your behalf. They will review the offer and ensure you get fair compensation for your accident-related injuries and losses.
Represent you in court if necessary
While most slip-and-fall claims settle out of court, some cases may not reach a fair settlement. In such situations, a slip-and-fall injury lawyer can handle all the technicalities of filing a slip-and-fall lawsuit in court. They can ensure that you meet all deadlines and that all your documents and necessary evidence are in order.
Get Legal Help From The Personal Injury Center
Getting injured in a slip-and-fall accident can be stressful. Besides sustaining an injury, you may worry about your medical bills and other accident-related costs. But you don’t have to carry the financial burdens alone.
With the help of a slip-and-fall accident attorney, you can seek monetary compensation from the liable party. Finding a lawyer you can trust can be challenging. Don’t worry because we’re here to assist you in acquiring the best legal help you need.
Contact The Personal Injury Center today for a free consultation on your case. We’ll connect you with the proper personal injury attorneys based on your circumstances.
FAQs on Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer
How much is the average settlement for slip and fall cases?
The circumstances of every slip and fall claim are different, so that settlement amounts can vary significantly. But many slip-and-fall cases settle between $10,000 and $50,000. Settlements for fatal slips and falls can go over $200,000.
How long after the accident can you make a slip and fall claim?
Each state has a different deadline for slip and fall claims. In some states, the time limit can be as little as one year. In others, victims could have up to four to six years to make a personal injury claim for slip and fall accidents. Note that filing a claim with the government typically has a different statute of limitations.
What are the qualities you should look for when hiring a slip-and-fall lawyer?
You want to be confident that the lawyer you're working with can help you achieve a favorable outcome for your case. Here are some qualities worth considering when hiring your slip-and-fall lawyer:
- Experience handling personal injury cases, specifically slip and fall accidents
- Has records of successfully settling cases
- Convenient means of communication
- Best support staff members available
- Has a good reputation among their clients