Slip and Fall Cases

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What is a Slip and Fall Case?

A slip, fall, or trip can happen anywhere at any time. Sometimes, they are caused by a wet, slick floor or a crack in the sidewalk or, other times, there will be little to no discernible cause. Not every slip and fall case will lead to legal liability proceedings, but, if a valid claim is made, filed, and settled against your business or establishment, it can be tricky terrain to navigate.

Slips and falls account for a staggering number of injuries each year — to both customers and employees — yet they are arguably the most preventable accidents. The impact of a slip, fall or trip can often be minor, but they have the potential to be catastrophic and can lead to crippling costs and lengthy legal proceedings.

Read on to learn more about Slip and Fall Cases.

Types of Slip and Falls

Slips and falls can happen in a number of different locations and instances. Often, these types of accidents can be categorized based on how, and in what context, they came to happen.

Examples include:

Clutter - Often in indoor shopping environments, merchandise, equipment, stock, and other materials can accumulate in aisles or other parts of the store. When these items are left out, they can present a tripping hazard for customers.

Wet and Slippery Floors - Possibly the most common cause of Slip and Fall Cases is from slipping on a wet floor. If something is spilt or ice and snow are tracked inside and left to melt without being properly cleaned — and marked while drying — there is a risk of people slipping.

Ditches and Potholes - This type of fall often occurs outside in parking lots or on the grounds of an establishment where holes and other ground openings have not been adequately filled, covered, or flagged with warning signs or other markings.

Bad Lighting - If an establishment has improper lighting that makes it difficult to see stairways or other obstacles, it can be difficult for people to navigate. Inadequate vision can often result in a fall or other type of injury.

Slick or Icy Ground - During the winter months, snow and ice can often accumulate making it difficult for people to maintain their footing on stairways, sidewalks and other walkways. An establishment's icy parking lot can create a huge hazard for passersby.

How does someone prove fault in a Slip and Fall Case?

It can often be difficult to prove who is at fault for a slip and fall. Proving that the property owner is responsible can be difficult.

Slip and Fall Cases fall into a larger category of Premises Liability. Premises Liability is a legal concept that is typically related to a personal injury case where the damage or injury was caused by unsafe or defective property.

To win a case for a slip and fall injury, the injured party must be able to prove:

  • That it is reasonable to assume the property owner or company employee should have known about of the dangerous condition(s) and fixed it
  • That the property owner or employee knew about the dangerous condition and didn't fix it
  • That the property owner or employee caused the dangerous condition — by spilling a liquid or causing a break in flooring

The first situation is the most likely to be litigated in a Slip and Fall Case, however after evidence is presented to a judge or jury, it will be up to them to decide whether the owner should have known about the conditions that caused the incident.

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What Industries are the Most at Risk for a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?

The truth is, all industries are at a risk for a Slip and Fall Lawsuit. Thousands of people are injured in these types of cases every year, and the conditions as mentioned earlier — such as wet slippery floors, snowy and icy ground, or bad lighting — can occur in any environment. This includes grocery stores, shopping malls, restaurants, movie theaters, public parks, and playgrounds. They can also occur in private homes, workplaces, and retirement homes. No location is immune from a slip or a fall, and this is why home and business owners must be insured to cover these kinds of accidents.