3 Types of Slip and Fall Cases

When a person slips, falls, or otherwise injures themselves on someone else’s property, that person may have the grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages. This type of case will be built on what is known as “premises liability.” Premises liability refers to the legal duty a property owner has towards anyone who comes onto his or her property.

There are two primary elements used to determine fault in a premises liability claim:

  • Whether the property owner acted in a reasonable manner to prevent or address a dangerous condition
  • Whether the injured party was careless

In other words, for the injured party to have a strong claim, the property owner must have known about the dangerous condition and been careless in remedying or addressing it. Premise liability cases can be divided into three general categories by the location of the injury.

  1. Business liability for injuries

If you have suffered an injury on the premises of a business property due to property owner or employee negligence, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. Business property owners have a legal duty to do everything that’s reasonably within their ability to make their property safe. Property owners are responsible for putting in place adequate safeguards (again, within reason) to protect visitors from harm.

  1. Residential injuries that take place in a home or apartment

These types of claims will usually involve homeowners insurance. If you are injured at home, be sure to carefully go over your homeowner insurance policy to assess your coverage. Every year insurance companies reject numerous claims for injury claims that are not covered.

  1. Injuries that take place in other locations

These types of cases can be tricky as it can be hard to know how to proceed or who to make a personal injury claim against. Some premises that may fall under this category include:

  • Parking lots or garages
  • Sidewalks and walkways
  • Public or government property


What Are the Most Common Slip and Fall Accidents?

Slip and fall accidents result in thousands of traumatic injuries every year. Here are some of the most common types of slip and falls, and somethings you can watch out for.

  1. Wet and Uneven Surface

This type of accident accounts for 55% of slip and falls every year. When you’re walking anywhere watch out for the following (particularly if you’re in unfamiliar surroundings):

  • Loose floorboards
  • Defective sidewalks
  • Parking lot potholes
  • Cluttered floors
  • Torn carpeting
  • Recently mopped or waxed areas
  • Loose mats
  • Any place where water or other liquid has accumulated
  • Rundown or poorly constructed stairways
  1. Adverse Weather Conditions

Bad weather causes a significant number of slip and fall accidents every year. While winter weather isn’t the only culprit, it does present the most common hazards. Watch for patches of ice, sidewalks and staircases that haven’t been shoveled or salted, and black ice on the pavement.

  1. Improper training in the workplace

Slip and falls are common in the workplace, particularly the construction industry; and they frequently result in litigation. When employees in high risk industries are not given proper safety training or procedures, the risk of slip and falls and other injuries goes up exponentially. Employees should make sure that they receive proper training on all equipment and tools they are expected to use.

  1. Nursing Home Neglect

Sadly, slip and fall accidents are common in nursing homes. The elderly often have an impaired sense of balance which leaves them especially vulnerable to slipping and falling. This risk is compounded by the fact that the chances of a slip and fall injury being life-threatening are also increased in the case of elderly adults. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, make sure the administrators and aides are properly assisting and monitoring their residents.

  1. Footwear

The National Floor Safety Institute has found that 24% of all slip and falls are caused by the wearing of improper footwear. The major risk factor here is when shoes or boots do not offer the right kind of traction for the conditions at hand.

How Can I Prove a Slip and Fall Accident?

Thousands of people are injured in slip and fall accidents every year. These include slipping on a slick surface, falling down stairs, tripping over an object, or stepping in a hole. Proving fault in a slip and fall accident is often difficult, but if you are injured you should know how to go about making a case.

There are four basic elements that must be proven to win a slip and fall claim. Simply because you had an accident on someone else’s property is not necessarily enough to mount a strong case. It must be shown that the property owner had a responsibility to maintain the premises and address any harmful conditions (within reason). In other words, could have the property owner have prevented the accident? While property owners will not necessarily be held liable for something a reasonable person would have avoided, they are expected to take reasonable steps to keep their property free of potentially harmful or unsafe conditions. Courts will often balance the property owner’s duty to keep the premises safe against the care that the accident victim should have used.

To prevail in a slip and fall claim, you will likely have to show one of the following:

  • The property owner should have known that the dangerous condition existed, i.e. because a reasonable person in the property owner/employer’s position would have known about such a condition and addressed it.
  • The property owner did in fact know that the dangerous condition existed, but made no attempts to address it.
  • The property owner caused the dangerous condition.

The first element (whether a reasonable person would have known about the condition) is the one most often litigated, and the most difficult to prove. Here are some questions to ask when trying to assess the reasonable person question:

  • Did the dangerous condition exist long enough that a reasonable property owner could have/would have taken action to address it?
  • Did the property owner have a policy or procedures in place to routinely check for potential hazards or safety issues?
  • Was there a reasonable justification for the existence of the dangerous condition?
  • Could the dangerous condition be mitigated through preventative measures?
  • Was poor lighting or visibility a factor in the accident?

Slip and Fall Cases and Homeowners Insurance

If you slip and fall on residential property and are considering filing a personal injury claim, you will probably be dealing with the property owner’s homeowners insurance. It’s important to keep in mind that being injured on someone else’s residential property doesn’t automatically entitle you to have the claim covered by the homeowners insurance.

The homeowner will only be liable for your injury if they were negligent, and that negligence was what led to the accident. Negligence related to the accident will have to be shown; again, just because you have an accident in someone’s home does not necessarily mean they were negligent.

These types of accidents often involve slip and falls on stairs. Sometimes this can be the result of negligence, but it could also have been accidental. The distinction is crucial in terms of whether or not the homeowner is liable. While a simple accident is not the homeowner’s fault, the following factors could potentially be the result of negligence: foreign substance on stairs; lack of handrails; poorly built step; and poorly placed carpets or rugs.

Slipping on snow or ice at a residential property is another common cause of accidents. However, liability can be difficult to show here. While in most states homeowners have a duty to make reasonable efforts to remove ice and snow and make sidewalks and walking paths reasonably safe, juries are often reluctant to find liability in these kinds of circumstances. This being the case, claims adjusters are more likely to be stubborn about these claims. If you do have an accident on residential property, make sure you immediately take pictures of the accident scene, your clothes, and any bruises or other signs of injury. Then seek the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney to help you determine the best path forward.