Slip and fall cases are the most frequent type of personal injury claim in the United States and account for more than 100,000 claims yearly, according to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI).
Accidents do happen, but in some cases, they may be preventable. Property owners, business establishments, and other entities are responsible for taking reasonable care to ensure the safety of those on their property. You may be entitled to compensation if you or someone you know has been injured because of someone else’s negligent action or inaction.
What Is a Slip and Fall Case?
Slip and fall cases fall under the “premises liability” umbrella, a subset of personal injury law. Premises liability refers to accidents that happen because of a failure to maintain safe conditions on a property owned or managed by someone other than the injured party. These cases often start as an insurance claim against the negligent party’s insurance. However, they may become lawsuits if there is a disagreement over liability, a question of fact, or an inability to reach a settlement agreement. Your personal injury attorney can help you determine the best legal strategy for your case.
Some slip and fall injuries can be minor, but others can be severe or even life-changing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five falls causes a significant injury, such as a broken bone or a head injury. These types of injuries can have lasting consequences, such as impaired mobility, inability to function without assistance, and forced lifestyle changes.
7 Slip and Fall Case Examples
There are plenty of ways that slip and fall accidents can occur. This list includes some of the most common, but you may still have a claim even if your specific instance does not mirror any of these examples.
- Liquid or Food on the Grocery Store Floor
Spilled food or liquid is a common cause of slip and fall cases. Any messes can pose a hazard and should be addressed immediately. At the bare minimum, the store should put up caution signs when a spill causes a hazard for patrons.
- Snow Accumulation
It is no one’s fault that snow falls, but in cases where snow is piled up in inappropriate places or not removed when a party is obligated to remove it, there may be a case for premises liability. For example, if snow accumulates on a sidewalk, it forces pedestrians to go through it to get where they are going. Sometimes dangerous objects can be underneath the snow, or hardened snow can cause injuries if landed upon.
- Dangerous Stairs
Even well-maintained stairs can be dangerous. Missing handrails or cracks in steps can lead to painful slips and falls. These often involve broken bones and head trauma depending on many factors, such as the material the stairs are made of (cement, wood, carpeted, brick, etc.), how high up the person was, and whether they fell head or feet first.
- Ladder Safety
If you are at home working on your own property, you must know if your ladder is appropriate for the purpose you are using it for. If you are working for someone else, such as a construction company, they are obligated to ensure that you have a reasonably safe working environment. This means providing the proper equipment and staffing to ensure that you do not fall off a ladder.
- Sufficient Guardrails
Any building with a balcony should have guardrails to prevent accidents. Insufficient guardrails, whether too low, unstable, or non-existent, can result in serious falls. Depending on how high up they are, those falls may be fatal.
- Manhole Covers
Whenever a manhole cover is open, the area around it should be blocked off to prevent accidents. An open manhole can cause accidents for vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. And though a car will not fall through the manhole, a pedestrian certainly can.
- Icy Surfaces
Commercial establishments are obligated to ensure that their facilities are accessible without posing a danger to customers. Even in the cold, owners should keep parking lots and entryways free of ice through salting or defrosting.
Common Defenses For Slip and Fall Cases
Most premises liability issues start as a claim against the negligent party’s insurance. In some cases, it may be fitting to file a lawsuit. If the defendant chooses to argue whether they were liable for your injury, these are some defenses you can expect to hear.
- You were trespassing when you fell;
- You ignored posted and verbal warnings about the dangerous condition of the property;
- You were in a restricted or prohibited area;
- You were distracted and did not see the obvious danger;
- Your injuries are not as bad as you are making them seem; and
- Your injuries were pre-existing.
An attorney experienced with slip and fall cases will be able to help you navigate the best way to prove what occurred, establish liability, and receive the compensation you deserve.
At Peerali Law, our attorneys have secured millions of dollars for accident victims in and around Los Angeles, and we are here to help. We provide a free case consultation to better understand your case and how we can ensure you receive maximum compensation for your injuries. Contact us to schedule an appointment.