Slip and fall & 
Premises Liability

“Slip and fall” claims are a catch-all, and generally refer to cases in which a person is injured because of some condition on a property or inside a building.  It is also commonly referred to as “premises liability”.  The condition and injury can occur outside or inside, and it can be man-made or naturally occurring. It can be the result of a condition a land owner created, such as a dangerous staircase or a faulty street curb or pot hole.  It can also be the result of a naturally occurring condition that the land owner did not adequately address or warn you about, such as sidewalk or parking lot ice, or a spill in a grocery isle or garage. 

There are many ways in which an injury can occur.   The condition(s) could result from construction, a failure to inspect, a failure to supervise an employee, intoxication, or any other negligent act, or negligent failure to act, that is undertaken by someone with legal control of the premises upon which the injury occurred.   The responsible party may have a duty to warn, or a duty to take other affirmative measures to make safe the condition which causes an injury.  It does not matter whether the injured party is legally upon the subject premises or not.  If the responsible party is negligent, the injured party may have a right to recovery. 

 

Slip and fall claims can result in serious, life changing injuries.  They could involve broken bones and fractures, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and can even result in the death of the injured party.  Common causes of injuries include slippery or wet surfaces, unplowed or unsalted exterior walkways or parking lots, uneven surfaces such as a broken tile or decaying curb, improperly installed carpet or flooring, inadequate lighting, faulty construction, staircases or handrails in disrepair, or any other negligent act or failure to act

 

What should you do if you’re injured in a slip and fall accident?

 

If you are able to, you should immediately document the time, location and condition that caused the injury.  This might mean taking a picture of ice which caused you to fall but was hidden under snow, a loose tile or floor panel, a dangerous sidewalk or parking lot condition, an unpredictably deep puddle, or any other condition which caused the injury.  You should do so in a way that communicates the entire context of the scene.  If a simple image cannot capture the dangerous or deceptive nature of the condition, you may need to take a video.  Try to include any signs, or any conspicuous lack of signs, warning you of the condition that caused your injury.  If you are wearing a watch you may want to take a picture of the time which also includes a picture of the condition.  You may also want to text or email the picture to yourself.  If you commence an action seeking to recover for damages for your injuries, insurance companies and defendants may seek to discredit your account by questioning the timing, nature of the condition, or other aspects of your story.

 

If you are injured, consider calling 911 or emergency medical services.  On many occasions, the injuries are not immediately apparent, and you may not feel any pain in the immediate aftermath of an injury.  It is important to document any injuries you have immediately, and have them diagnosed by a licensed medical professional.

Contact an attorney immediately.  Your claim may be subject to notice and limitations periods, and an attorney can help you to take the steps necessary to preserve any claims you might have.  Insurance companies, potential defendants and even attorneys may attempt to contact you with an interest in minimizing your injuries and potential damages.  Contacting an attorney immediately can help avoid the pitfalls of communicating with other third parties about the accident. 

Typically, hiring an attorney early will have no affect on legal fees or costs associated with your claim.  The primary effect will be that you have an advocate who can help you preserve and marshal evidence, which may serve to shorten litigation time and get you the results you deserve more swiftly.  

If you've been in a motor vehicle accident, call our office today for a free initial consult.  We understand the difficulties that your circumstances pose, and we will work aggressively and tenaciously to achieve the results you deserve.  We are waiting for your call.  

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