Slip and Fall Injuries

Slip and Fall Injuries

 Slip and fall injury” or “trip and fall injury” is the generic term for an injury that occurs when someone slips, trips or falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property. Slip and fall injuries can result from such problems as the presence of water, rain, ice, snow, grease or other slippery substance on a walking surface, as well as abrupt changes in flooring, poor lighting, or a hidden hazard, such as a gap in a walkway or a hard-to-see hole in the ground. Even algae on a sidewalk, kept wet by a broken sprinkler system, can create a slip and fall hazard.  Slip and fall accidents are considered a personal injury.


There are four generalized categories under which fall down accidents are grouped:


  • Trip-and-fall accidents, where there is a foreign object in the walking path – like a stack of books in a walkway that is normally clear


  • Stump-and-fall accidents, where there is an impediment in the walking surface – like a power cord that runs between two cubicles that wasn’t there previously


  • Step-and-fall accidents, where there is an unexpected failure or hole in the walking surface, such as a missing manhole cover or utility cover in the sidewalk, or, in some cases, a pothole in the street, and


  • Slip-and-fall accidents, in which the interface of the shoe and the floorfails – you slip and fall on someone’s wet or greasy floor and there are no warning signs posted anywhere.

     If you are on someone else’s property and you are injured as a result of a dangerous condition on the property, the land owner or business proprietor may be liable for your injuries.


     If your injury occurred in a store or business, an accident report should be completed at the time of the incident noting what happened, who witnessed both the accident and the conditions that caused the fall along with any other relevant information such as lighting, weather (if accident occurred outdoors) or hidden hazards. The requirement for a report is generally a store or business policy, rather than mandated by law. However, the timely reporting of the accident is most beneficial for all involved parties.


     If a report is not completed at the store or business location, or the accident occurred on a public street or sidewalk, occurred at a private location or was not observed by others, take the time to write down your recollection of what happened as soon as you possibly can. Information you gather immediately or soon after the accident occurs is much more accurate than any gathered later on. The timely recording of your recollection will help make your claim stronger. Include information such as:


  • Date and time the accident occurred

  • A description of the circumstances surrounding the accident, such as grease or water being on the floor and there not being any signs nearby warning you that the floor may be slippery

  • Who was present at the time the accident occurred and a written record of the comments made by those who saw or helped after the fall

  • If possible, take photos of the area as soon after the accident occurred as possible, and

  • If you were physically hurt, have your injury treated immediately to help substantiate your slip and fall / trip and fall personal injurylawsuit. If treatment is delayed, the property owner may argue that it was not his or her negligence that caused your injury, but rather something that occurred between the time of the fall down accident and your visit to the doctor.


What to Do if An Injury Has Occurred


     Both the property owner and the injured person may be held to varying degrees of responsibility for an injury. The property owner has a responsibility to keep property safe. Each person has a duty to watch where they are going, as well as realize that there are things that fall or spill onto walking surfaces. However, there is no way a person can anticipate all hazards. But, there are many cases where the residential or commercial property owner, or local, city, state or federal government entity is 100% at fault. It is also important to remember that even if the injured person is partially at fault for his or her injury, that injured person may still recover damages for those injuries.