As much as we prefer giving straight answers – unfortunately, the answer to this question is: it depends. A slip and fall accident can certainly qualify as a personal injury, but there are certain qualifications the accident must meet.
According to slip and fall accident statistics from the National Floor Safety Institute, slips and falls account for over one million emergency room visits every year. In many cases, victims of these injuries may be eligible for compensation.
These accidents can be attributed to many different causes. From a broad standpoint, if a slip and fall injury was caused by the negligence of another person, company, or organization, the victim may be able to file a personal injury claim.
Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of personal injury cases. Many factors play into a victim’s ability to earn compensation. In this post, we want to go over everything you need to know about slip and fall personal injury cases.
A. The Most Common Cause of Slips, Trips, and Falls
“Slip and fall” is a term used in personal injury law to describe a situation in which a person sustains an injury – due to a slip or trip on someone else’s property. These injuries are usually physical – but in some cases, there can also be emotional damage.
The variation in slip and fall accidents is practically endless. The most common slip and fall case examples include (but are not limited to):
- Icy sidewalks, driveways, parking lots
- Slippery floors
- Poorly maintained staircases
- Uneven/slippery walkways
- Bad lighting
- Uneven sidewalks
- Cluttered common areas
For a personal injury claim, the accident must have occurred on someone else’s property. Most importantly, the slip and fall injury must have been a result of the owner’s negligence or inability to maintain proper safety standards.
B. What is a Typical Slip and Fall Injury?
Bodily injury due to slips and falls can take many different forms – and nearly every instance is different. In personal injury cases, the most common injuries we see from slip and fall accidents include (but are not limited to):
- Arm injuries from falling
- Sprained ankles/wrists
- Soft tissue injuries
- Knee cartilage damage
- Neck/back injuries
- Broken bones
- Slipped disc
The severity of a slip and fall injury can vary greatly. In more extreme cases, injuries may include (but are not limited to):
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Internal injuries from a fall
- Nerve damage
- Death associated with falls
- Fractured or broken bones
- Cartilage or ligament tears
Regardless of what injury you sustain from a slip and fall accident, it’s imperative to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
C. How Does Personal Injury Law Factor into Slips and Falls?
Establishing a personal injury claim depends on the ability to attribute slip and fall liability. You and your personal injury attorney will need to convince the at-fault party’s insurance company – or a judge and jury – that the slip and fall accident was a direct result of negligence.
The process of attributing liability generally comes down to five key questions:
- Were you on someone else’s property legally?
- Was the owner aware you were on the property?
- Were you invited to the property by the owner?
- Was the property a business establishment that expects patrons?
- Were there hazardous conditions that led to the accident?
- Were there any warning signs about the danger?
- Would a reasonable person slip and fall in this situation?
Answering these questions will be the first order of business when you work with a slip and fall injury attorney. Do your best to document these questions/answers before you leave the scene of the accident.
D. The Legal Criteria of Slip and Fall Personal Injury Cases
How do you prove negligence in a slip and fall accident?
The answers to the questions in the previous section are simply a start to a personal injury claim.
All slip and fall cases must meet certain legal criteria for the victim to be eligible to receive compensation for their injury(s). This criteria includes:
1. Duty of Care
Property owners have a duty to ensure their premises are free from any hazardous conditions. This applies whether it is a business expecting customers or a homeowner expecting guests. Now, it’s important to note that property owners typically have NO duty of care to a trespasser. In these situations, they may not be liable for any injuries sustained on their property.
2. Breach of Duty
Establishing breach of duty involves demonstrating that the property owner failed to keep the premise safe from hazardous conditions. Additionally, they did not warn guests of the hazardous conditions. In a business, this would typically mean putting up signs warning patrons of the danger.
You’ve probably noticed those yellow folding signs in business establishments that read “CAUTION: SLIPPERY FLOOR” after an employee mops the area. Those signs are meant to warn patrons of the hazard – and avoid a potential slip and fall lawsuit.
Causation involves proving the slip and fall accident was directly related to the hazard or dangerous condition and resulting injuries.
To earn compensation for a slip and fall accident, the victim must have suffered real physical, emotional, or financial damages from the injury.
E. How to Establish a Slip and Fall Claim
Establishing a claim after a slip and fall injury must be done carefully. Your goal is to earn compensation for every damage you sustained from the fall, including (but not limited to):
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future medical treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Lost earning potential
- Punitive damages
- Reduced quality of life
Your ability to earn compensation boils down to two factors: the evidence you have and the personal injury attorney you hire.
To reiterate, you’ll need to document as much of the accident as possible. What were the circumstances that led to your fall? Taking pictures of the area and collecting contact information of witnesses will help greatly in establishing your claim.
The next step is hiring a personal injury lawyer who specializes in slip and fall accidents. Now, many victims of slips and falls avoid hiring quality legal assistance because they believe they cannot afford it.
The truth is ANYONE can afford to hire a good personal injury lawyer.
Here’s why: these attorneys work on a contingency fee agreement. This means they will not ask for any out-of-pocket fees upfront. They collect a percentage of slip and fall settlements AFTER they win the case. Moreover, they will not take a case unless they think they can win.
Your attorney will request documentation to begin the claim. This generally includes:
- Description of the slip and fall accident/pictures
- Witness contact information for statements
- Any medical bills and records for treatment following the accident
Keep in mind, the more information you can provide your attorney, the stronger your case will be.
What’s the Next Step?
Slip and fall accidents can be very costly – both physically and financially. If you’ve been injured on due to a property owner’s negligence, you have options. The key is following the right steps to attribute liability – as well as providing proper evidence and documentation to support the claim.
If you have any questions about slip and fall injuries or personal injury law, Midwest Injury Lawyers is here for you. We understand you’re probably facing this situation for the first time – and talking to lawyers can feel intimidating. Our firm specializes in slip and fall injuries. We’re more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
Call our office at 312-786-5881, email us at email@example.com, or send us a message online. Even if your slip and fall accident doesn’t qualify under personal injury law, we’ll make sure to point you in the right direction.