Slip and fall accidents are unfortunately all too common. Whether slipping on a wet grocery store floor or falling on an icy driveway, the injuries that are caused by these accidents can be quite serious. These types of accidents come under an area of the law known as premises liability. Under the law, owners and residents are generally liable for injuries that occur on their property.
There is an endless list of potential hazards that can cause a slip and fall accident, such as a loose tile, a narrow stairway, or uneven sidewalk.
There is no quick and easy answer, however, to determine if you have a legal claim. It will be necessary for the injured party to prove that the dangerous condition caused their injuries and that the owner of the property was aware of the dangerous condition but failed to fix it.
This dangerous condition should have caused an unreasonable risk to a person on the property, and it must be a danger that the injured party would not have otherwise expected.
In order to have a successful slip and fall claim, the injured party must prove:
- The owner created the dangerous condition; or
- The owner knew of the dangerous condition and failed to fix it; or
- The condition had been there long enough that it should have been discovered.
What to do if You Have Been Injured
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, the more you can document the incident the better off you will be should you decide to pursue a claim. The following steps are recommended:
- Identify the hazard that caused the accident (wet floor, loose carpeting, etc.);
- If possible, take photos of the area (cell phones work great for this);
- If you are in a public setting, speak with a manager immediately;
- If a report is taken, be sure to take a copy for your own records;
- Don’t immediately accept an offer by the owner or manager to pay for your medical costs (their offer may be insufficient);
- Obtain the names and addresses of any witnesses to your accident; and
- Consult with a lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected.
Suffering injuries from a slip and fall accident can be frustrating. Depending on the severity of your injuries you could be unable to work, while the medical bills continue to rise. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be able to collect compensation for your medical expenses, missed time from work, and pain and suffering.