“Slip and fall injury” or “trip and fall injury” generally means an injury that occurs when someone slips, trips or falls because of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone's property. Slip and fall injuries can result from the presence of water, rain, ice, snow, grease or other slippery substance on a walking surface, or from sudden changes in flooring, poor lighting, or a hidden hazard. This includes gaps 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, or groceries scattered on the floor during re-stocking in a store.
- 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 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 could have to compensate you for your injuries.
If your injury occurred in a store or business, an accident report should be made at the time of the accident stating what happened, who the witnesses are for both the accident and the conditions that caused the fall along with any other important information such as lighting, weather (if accident occurred outdoors) or hidden hazards. The requirement for a report is generally a store or business policy. It is not necessarily required by the law. However, the timely reporting of the accident is most beneficial for all involved parties.
If a report is not done 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 can. Information you gather immediately or soon after the accident occurs is much more accurate than any gathered later on. Sometimes things like the weather, or light, or some other fact might change if you wait too long. 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.
If you've been hurt by slipping and falling on someone else's property, contact my office at (559) 825-8888 for help now!