Slip and Fall Law

What is Slip and Fall Law?

Slip and fall law refers to the liability rules governing cases in which an individual falls to the ground and suffers harm due to a dangerous condition on someone else's property. As a subset of personal injury law, these cases are controlled by the basic rules of negligence. Unless an accident occurs on federal government property, state law will control. Violations of local building code ordinances can also be relevant.

Despite the reference to a "slip," this area of the law covers any accident that results from the victim encountering an unsafe condition underfoot, whether it produces a stumble, overextension, twist, or other movement. Direct causes can include spilled liquids or food, cracked sidewalks, objects on the stairs, ice and snow, broken floor tiles, uneven steps, and potholes. Indirect causes, such as dim lighting or missing handrails, can also contribute.

At the outset of a slip and fall lawsuit, the responsible parties must be identified. While fault can usually be traced to an individual employee or tenant who caused the hazard, there will be additional parties who exercised control or ownership of the accident site. These may include the property manager, business owner, landlord, or the owner of the property. In most cases, one or more of these parties will have liability insurance covering the property.

If the identity of a responsible party cannot be immediately determined, or if there is uncertainty as to the precise name of one of the defendants, most jurisdictions allow the lawsuit to name a "John Doe" defendant. Once the responsible party has been identified, the court documents can be amended to substitute the correct name in place of John Doe. This allows a plaintiff who is still researching the case to file the claim on time.

Special considerations arise when a slip and fall accident takes place on public property. Foremost is the issue of sovereign immunity. Historically, individuals were completely barred from suing the government for negligence. In modern times this rule has been amended by statute, and the government now allows itself to be sued in limited circumstances. If an injury does qualify, victims must also comply with strict notice requirements and time limits.

Proving the Defendant is Liable

Unless it is a rare case involving intentional conduct by the defendant, a slip and fall case will require the plaintiff to prove negligence. Negligence means that the defendant failed to act in a reasonable manner under the circumstances. For example, it is reasonable to expect a store clerk will place warning signs in recently mopped areas. If this is not done, and a customer slips on the wet floor and gets hurt, the store may be liable for negligence.

Whether someone acted negligently will depend on what they knew. This is especially true in slip and fall cases, as the defendant's knowledge of the dangerous condition will usually be determinative. The plaintiff is entitled to find out what the defendant knew through a procedure called discovery. During discovery, the defendant can be forced to turn over maintenance records, repair logs, surveillance video, and other such items.

A slip and fall victim is also permitted to gather sworn testimony regarding what happened. The plaintiff does not need to wait until trial to learn what the witnesses will say. This is accomplished by conducting depositions (recorded interviews). Subpoenas can be issued to the defendant and other parties to show up to be deposed at the office of the plaintiff's attorney, and to answer questions about the accident on the record.

Deposition testimony is crucial in a negligence case. By securing this evidence early in the litigation, both the plaintiff and the defendant gain an understanding of the circumstances that led to the accident and the degree of fault that can be attributed the defendant. Taking into account the severity of the injury, both sides can then determine what they believe the case is worth, and settlement negotiations will ensue.

Cases that initially appear favorable to the plaintiff are often derailed once the plaintiff's own conduct is analyzed. Defendants in slip and fall cases are sure to raise the issue of comparative fault. Also called contributory negligence, the basic idea is that the victim was careless in not avoiding the danger, and shares some or all of the blame. To avoid such a defense, slip and fall victims should retain an attorney before speaking with anyone about the incident.


Slip and Fall - Know Your Rights!

  • A Handbook to Slip and Fall Laws

    Although many people slip and fall while on property owned by someone else, a simple slip and fall does not always give rise to a valid legal claim. Knowing whether a particular set of circumstances gives rise to a slip and fall claim requires the analysis of an experienced personal injury lawyer who is familiar with laws concerning premises liability. This handbook provides you with general information about slip and fall claims. However, to get the most accurate information, check with a personal injury attorney familiar with the particular laws in your jurisdiction.

  • Determining Liability in a Roof Fall Accident

    Accidents involving roof disasters are among some of the most injurious to the victims. They may experience intense pain, broken bones, harm to various body parts, internal bleeding and even death. Even when the injuries are minor, the damage may be extensive on the inside. Back pain could lead to the loss of functionality of limbs.

  • Falling in a Store - Proving Liability

    Falls, slips and other accidents that lead to injury inside a store may result in a valid legal claim when confronting the business. This often depends on the reasonable accommodations taken in preventing accidents and ensuring the safety of those of the public that enter and exit the store.

  • Necessary Elements to Prove in a Slip and Fall Case

    Slips and fall accidents occur with great frequency at home and in certain industries where the risks of danger are greater than in others. These incidents may be harmful in minor to major degrees of injury, but when the elderly experience these situations, they may become deadly.

  • What Are Slip and Fall Injuries and When Can I Recover?

    Accidental incidents occur with frequency, and these situations arise in older individuals. When a person slips or falls, he or she is usually harmed as a result. However, these instances of injury could be extensive enough to require medical assistance.

  • What to do if Injured on Someone Else's Property

    Have you, or someone you know, been injured while visiting someone else's home or place of business? Such injuries can occur as a result of wet floors, uneven steps, falling objects, defective elevators, defective parking lots and sidewalks, poorly lit staircases, inadequate security, dog bites, or some other dangerous conditions on the premises. If this sounds like you, you may have a basis for a lawsuit against the property owners.

  • Who is Responsible When I Trip on the Sidewalk

    Have you ever been walking along a sidewalk or walkway and taken a fall? Maybe a step was uneven or there was ice on the ground, or a root had broken through the concrete. Whatever the case, it is possible to seriously injure yourself, even through no fault of your own, just walking down the sidewalk. But, who should be responsible for those injuries?

Articles About Slip and Fall Law

  • Maritime Slip and Fall Accidents
    Thousands of employees are injured every year aboard boats, barges, and other vessels at sea. The men and women who are injured while working on vessels anchored or navigating in the waters adjacent to the United States must understand that their injuries fall under a unique set of laws. Maritime law, not workers’ compensation law, guides courts as they analyze cases related to workplace injuries to seamen. A federal law known as the Jones Act provides the right to injured workers to seek compensation after slip and fall accidents on maritime vessels. Maritime admiralty law in the United States is governed by federal statute, and State laws do not preempt the Jones Act.
  • Know Your Rights After Amazon Delivery Driver Slip and Fall Accidents
    When Amazon delivery drivers step out of their vehicles to deliver packages, they rely on property owners to maintain safe premises. Unfortunately, some property owners neglect this responsibility, leading to slip, trip, or fall injuries for delivery drivers. If you have experienced such an incident while working as an Amazon delivery driver in New Jersey, you may be eligible for compensation. Console & Associates, a trusted team of slip and fall attorneys, specializes in helping individuals in these cases. Below we will give you all information that you might need for a New Jersey Amazon delivery driver slip and fall claim.
  • North Carolina Personal Injury and Contributory Negligence
    North Carolina is one of the last contributory negligence states, which can create harsh outcomes for injured victims.
  • If You’ve Been Injured by a Water Meter Lid in California, Here’s What You Need to Know.
    There are approximately 3,000 dangerous water meter box lids in California that can cause injuries to innocent pedestrians. Located in an underground box and covered with a lid, the water meters are owned and maintained by different entities, such as municipalities and cities, who may be liable for injuries to the pedestrians. Other responsible parties could include property owners, maintenance and utility companies, and others involved in the sales, installation, inspection, and maintenance of these devices.
  • What Should I Do If I Get Hurt on a Retail Property in Pennsylvania?
    Thousands of shoppers experience injuries at retail stores across the country every year. There are many ways injuries can happen on a retail property, including heavy items falling, improperly installed shelves, spills or clutter in aisles, and inadequate lighting. Sometimes, crimes occur on a retail property that lead to severe physical and emotional injuries. Improperly maintained elevators and escalators can have catastrophic consequences on innocent families. Injured store patrons should consult with an experienced attorney who will evaluate their case, investigate the incident, and obtain the evidence needed to prove premises liability.
  • Did Poor Lighting Cause Your Indiana Slip and Fall Accident?
    Most people are aware of the dangers of motor vehicle accidents, malignant cancer, or purposeful violence. But according to the NSC (National Safety Council), slips and falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths in the United States. Not only are falls one of the top three causes of preventable death, but they are also the top cause of injuries treated in emergency rooms. In 2020, falls were the cause of 33% of all non-fatal emergency room visits.
  • Common Injuries While Shopping at Big Box Stores in Indiana
    Big box stores are convenient, selling multiple items in one place for a “one-stop” experience; they are also, well – big, with over 50,000 square feet of space each. Indiana is home to many examples of big box stores, such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Meijer, Kroger Marketplace, Target – and even Ikea. Like all retail establishments, these stores require safety training for their employees; everyone who works there knows of slip and fall risks and presumably attempts to avoid them for their customers. However, sometimes people – especially overworked employees – make mistakes, and innocent shoppers are injured.
  • Indiana Slip and Fall Accidents Due to Parking Lot Hazards
    Parking lot hazards present a risk of slip-and-fall injuries. In Indiana, property owners have a responsibility to provide safe parking lots. You can seek compensation for a slip-and-fall injury with the help of an experienced Indiana personal injury lawyer.
  • What's a "Day in the Life Video" and Can It Help My Accident Case?
    Insurance companies are notorious for looking for ways to offer reduced settlements to get out of paying victims what they deserve after a car accident. Some insurers may even deny a claim altogether if they feel there is insufficient evidence. Thus, it is crucial to provide as much evidence as possible. This includes evidence that not only shows what happened at the scene of the accident but evidence that shows how the accident has continued to affect your life moving forward. When you are injured in an Indiana car accident, you have the right to file a claim to recover compensation for all that you have suffered. This includes your injuries and how they are affecting your ability to live your life. And one of the best ways to provide clear and convincing evidence of your injuries is to create a day in the life video.
  • Negligent Security vs Premises Liability
    Each day in Baltimore City, you can read or see news stories about how someone sustained injuries or was killed while at a commercial establishment. Gas stations, bars or clubs, business parking lots, and convenience stores are all common spaces for criminal activity, and your chances of being the victim of a crime at one of these locations are high. Victims rely on the criminal justice system to hold the perpetrators accountable, but what about the business? Is it possible to hold them responsible for your injuries or the death of a loved one in an encounter on the property? Knowing whether your case falls under negligent security vs premise liability will help you understand if you’re entitled to compensation. In this article, we explain the differences and what they mean for you below.
  • All Slip and Fall Law Articles

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