Slip and Fall Accidents

It happens to everyone at one time or another:  A slippery or uneven surface, perhaps some loose gravel, or even wet floor, and before you know it, you find yourself flat on the ground, wondering what happened.  Most of the time, the only damage from an unexpected fall is a sore ego, but sometimes, a bad fall can cause fracturedl bones and lasting medical problems, pain, and suffering that may plague the victim temporarily or even permanently for the rest of his life.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, your fall may have been caused by the property owner’s carelessness in failing to provide safe footing in a place where you had a right to expect it.  Under the law of premises liability, the owner may owe you compensation for your injury.

A property owner has a duty to exercise reasonable care for your safety, and if the owner’s failure to do so caused you to suffer a bad fall and resulting injury, then that person or business may be held liable for the damages that result to you from your injury, including:

  • Medical expenses.
  • Lost wages if you missed work because of the injury.
  • Compensation for pain and suffering you endured from the injury.
  • Other incidental or consequential damages that were legally caused by the injury.

A common example of a person or entity that is required to take reasonable care for your walking safety is a retail store, like a grocery or department store.  Retail store owners invite you to come onto their property, not for your benefit, but for their own financial gain.  In fairness, the law requires them to exercise a high degree of care in maintaining their floors, entrances, and even sidewalks that they control, to ensure that these areas are free of walking hazards that might injure their customers.

However, businesses are not the only property owners that have to take care for your safety.  Any property owner may be liable for your injuries if you slip and fall on their property – even owners of residential property or other kinds of property.  All are required to exercise reasonable care for the safety of their visitors.  The amount of care that is considered reasonable varies with the situation.

Am I Entitled to Compensation if I’m Hurt in a Fall on Someone Else’s Property?

You are not automatically entitled to compensation, just because you fell and were injured.  Instead, you have to prove that the person or entity that owns or controls the property failed to exercise reasonable care for your safety.  In practice, this means proving:

  • The owner knew about the dangerous condition that caused your fall, either because the owner caused it or the owner was aware of its presence; OR
  • The owner should have known about it, because a person exercising ordinary care would have found it before your fall; AND
  • That the owner did nothing about it, carelessly breaching the duty of reasonable careby leaving it there, when the owner should have removed or repaired the dangerous condition.

What Should I Do if I’ve Been Injured in a Fall on Someone Else’s Property?

If you’ve been injured in a fall on someone else’s property, don’t make any statements to anyone at the scene and never say something like, “It was probably my own fault,” or “I’m not hurt that badly.”  Seek medical attention if you need to, and have a friend help you gather as much evidence as you can about the condition that caused your fall, as soon as possible.  After your fall, the owner is very likely to fix or repair the dangerous condition quickly, leaving you only with your testimony for evidence.

If possible, use a cell phone or camera to take pictures of the condition that caused your fall.  If there were witnesses to the fall, including employees or workers for the property owner, ask for their contact information.  Ask a person in charge for the name of the owner’s property insurance carrier.  If you are contacted by an insurance company, do not give any statement about the situation until you have spoken with an experienced premises liability attorneywho handles slip and fall cases.

slip and fall attorney can help you evaluate the cause of the accident, explain your rights and responsibilities, and assist you in dealing with aggressive insurance adjustors and insurance company attorneys.  Your attorney will know what to do at each stage of this situation, he will work to protect only your interests in the matter, and he will help you obtain the best possible result and the compensation that you deserve.

If you would like to learn more about slip and fall accidents or have any questions regarding your legal rights, please contact the attorneys at Kurniadi & Kurniadi by calling (858) 755-0455 for a free consultation.