What is a slip and fall accident?

A slip and fall accident happens when someone slips or trips and falls on someone else’s property. More than one million people go to the emergency room every year for a slip and fall accident. That is more than two thousand people each day in the United States alone.

Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, at an airport, train station, bus station, grocery store, restaurant, on wet stairs, on wet floors, in apartment buildings, at work, in a parking lot, on a ramp, on the street, in a hospital corridor and more.

The causes of slip and fall accidents are as varied. Among the most common causes of slip and fall accidents are:

  • Broken tiles
  • Broken cement
  • Wet floors
  • Torn carpets
  • Poor lighting
  • Narrow stairs
  • Cracked sidewalks
  • Uneven cement 
  • Unmarked wet floors
  • Construction debris
  • Ice
  • Snow

Slip and fall accidents cause a variety of injuries, including:

  • Spine and nerve damage
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Knee damage
  • Shoulder dislocations or muscle strains
  • Sprained ankles or wrists
  • Cuts and bruises

In the personal injury niche, these types of accidents fall under premises liability claims. Accidents like this typically happen on property maintained and/or owned by someone else. This means the property owner may be held liable for any injuries you may sustain in a fall. The average hospital cost of a slip and fall is more than $30,000.

Every slip and fall case is predicated on the assumption that the owner of the property in question acted responsibly and repaired any possible hazard on site. A successful case rests on whether or not you contributed to the accident by being oblivious of the situation or not avoiding something that resulted in you falling. 

If you have fallen on someone’s property and are injured, you must prove a dangerous condition caused the accident, and the owner/manager of the property knew about the condition. That condition must be an unreasonable risk to people on the property, and it must be something the plaintiff could not have anticipated. 

There are four things a slip and fall accident survivor must prove:

  • The property manager/owner created the condition;
  • The owner/manager knew about the condition but did nothing about it;
  • The dangerous condition existed for a long enough time that the owner/manager should have known about it and fixed it; and,
  • It must have been foreseeable that neglecting to fix a known condition would create a dangerous condition.

The same four conditions are required if a slip, trip and fall accident happens on a commercial property, although there may be more entities or people held liable for your injuries.

Residential properties are slightly different if a tenant slips, trips and falls. Landlords can be held responsible to third parties and/or tenants for slip and fall injuries on a property. To prove liability, the tenant needs to show that:

  • The landlord did have control over the condition in question;
  • Repairing it would not have been difficult or costly;
  • A serious injury was likely if the condition was not corrected; and,
  • The failure to take care of the situation caused the tenant’s or third party’s fall and injuries.

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