Slip & Fall Accident

It happens to everyone at one time or another: There’s a slippery or uneven surface, perhaps some loose gravel or a wet floor, and before you know it, you find yourself flat on the ground, wondering what happened. Most of the time, the only damage from an unexpected fall is a sore ego, but sometimes, a bad fall can cause fractural bones and lasting medical problems, pain, and suffering that may plague the victim for quite some time, or even for the rest of their life.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, the property owner’s carelessness may have caused the fall if they failed to provide safe footing in a place where you had a right to expect it. Under the law of premises liability, the owner may owe you compensation for your injury.

A property owner has a duty to exercise reasonable care for your safety, and if the owner’s failure to do so caused you to suffer a bad fall resulting in injury, then that person or business may be held liable for the damages that result from your injury, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages, if you missed work because of the injury
  • Compensation for pain and suffering you endured from the injury
  • Other incidental or consequential damages that were legally caused by the injury

A retail store, like a grocery or department store, is a common example of a person or entity that is required to take reasonable care for your walking safety. Retail store owners invite you to come onto their property, not for your benefit, but rather for their own financial gain. In fairness, the law requires them to exercise a high degree of care in maintaining their floors, entrances, and even sidewalks that they control to ensure that these areas are free of walking hazards that might injure their customers.

However, businesses are not the only property owners that have to take care of your safety.  Any property owner may be liable for your injuries if you slip and fall on their property — even owners of residential property or other kinds of property. All are required to exercise reasonable care for the safety of their visitors. The amount of care that is considered reasonable varies with each situation.

Am I Entitled to Compensation if I’m Hurt in a Fall on Someone Else’s Property?

You are not automatically entitled to compensation,just because you fell and were injured. Instead, you have to prove that the person or entity that owns or controls the property failed to exercise reasonable care for your safety. In practice, this means proving:

  • The owner knew about the dangerous condition that caused your fall, either because the owner caused it or the owner had seen It there; OR
  • The owner should have known about it, because a person exercising ordinary care would have found it before your fall; AND
  • The owner did nothing about it — carelessly breaching the duty of reasonable care by leaving it there — when the owner should have removed or repaired the dangerous condition.

October 13, 2015