Premise Liability: Slip & Fall
While there are many different types of premises liability cases, slip and fall and trip and fall are the most common. In general terms, “slip and fall” accidents refer to situations where a person is injured by slipping, or tripping, and falling due to a dangerous condition on the premises. In a slip and fall scenario, the victim may slip on a wet area on the floor causing injury. In a trip and fall, the victim may trip over stairs, debris, or uneven pavement causing injury. Such falls can happen inside or outside a building, and be caused by such conditions as bad flooring, wet floors, poorly lit steps, or, in the case of outdoor accidents, weather-related or hidden hazards.
“Duty of Care”
All slip and fall accidents are covered by negligence law and deal with the concept of premises liability. Property owners have a “duty of care” to see that their property is safe. This means that property owners have a legal responsibility to maintain safe and secure property conditions at all times. This includes insuring that the building has no structural defects that could cause an accident, both inside and out. Visitors, guests, and patrons should not have to fear for their safety every time they go to a restaurant, building, parking lot, shopping mall, apartment complex, grocery store, etc.
There are a number of circumstances that could lead to a premises liability accident, such as:
- Poor lighting
- Wet or slippery floors
- Broken or weak stairs or handrails
- Torn or ratted carpets
- Falling objects
- Objects blocking walkways
- Exposed holes or ditches
- Uneven or cracked pavement
- Faulty, loose, or expose wiring or electrical equipment
- Broken equipment (escalators, elevators, doors, security gates, cameras, etc.)
- Exposed toxic materials or substances
- Failure to post warning signs
- Failure to fix, repair, or maintain property conditions or broken equipment
What to Do After the Fall
When an individual is injured or killed as the result of unsafe, hazardous, or poorly maintained property conditions, the property owner may be held liable for damages under your state’s premise liability laws. If you have been injured in a premises liability accident, you are legally entitled to seek compensation for your pain, suffering, medical costs, rehabilitation, psychological distress, financial hardship, lost wages, and any other expenses that arise after the accident. However, in order to win a premises liability lawsuit, the victim must prove that the property owner acted negligently and is at fault for the accident
If you experience a slip and fall accident, you should try to determine what made you fall and if it could have been anticipated and prevented. If anyone saw you fall, be sure you get the names and addresses of all witnesses. Try to note the conditions in the area: was the lighting poor, was there some substance that made you slip. If you did slip because of something on the floor, try to obtain a sample. Also, try to get pictures of the area. Report any such accident to the manager or owner and insist that they make a record of it.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a premises liability accident, seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure your legal rights are protected.