A slip and fall can happen anywhere, from stadiums to job sites and private residences, with potentially catastrophic consequences that could change your life in an instant.
That may sound dramatic, but a fall is no joke. According to the CDC:
In one reported year, the total cost of providing medical care for patients suffering from fall injuries came out to more than $50 billion. That doesn’t even begin to cover additional patient losses like lost income from becoming unable to work after an injury.
Some falls are unavoidable accidents. But other falls could have been prevented if only the people responsible had taken certain safety precautions.
For example, construction sites have standards of safety to protect both construction site workers and pedestrians who may be passing nearby. Businesses that serve customers in person must take certain safety precautions or put up warnings to protect visitors from unreasonable risks or dangers on the property. Failing to deliver the proper standard of care could be negligence under the law.
If you suffer injuries in a fall caused by someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t be the one to bear that cost. The law helps you hold the person responsible for your injuries accountable for the consequences. A proper settlement should cover all your damages by compensating you for any expenses and other losses you may have experienced.
The following circumstances are common scenarios where a slip-and-fall lawsuit may be appropriate. But every incident is unique – and a fall could happen anywhere. The best way to know whether you have a case is to talk to a personal injury lawyer.
You have the right to feel safe from known dangers even if you’re an invited guest on someone else’s personal property. You may be a friend or acquaintance over for a dinner party, a contractor hired to work on a home project, or a neighbor stopping by. In some cases, even trespassers get certain rights – such as the right to be warned of dangers on the property.
Property owners must make a reasonable effort to protect against injuries on their property – by either fixing known issues or posting warnings. Uneven surfaces, treacherous landscaping, broken stairs, missing railings, loose floorboards, ripped carpeting, defective sidewalks, poor lighting, and even cluttered floors could lead to legal liability if they cause an injury.
In many cases, a homeowner’s insurance would cover any damages from a slip and fall on someone else’s private property. But not all slips and falls are the legal responsibility of the property owner. Some injuries may be too unexpected to protect against, even with reasonable precautions. You are also responsible for choices you make that put your safety in jeopardy.
For example, if you knowingly drank so much alcohol that you got drunk and tripped on a well-lit staircase, a court is more likely to find you responsible for your behavior unless there was something wrong with the stairs. The same might apply if you saw clear warning signs blocking off access to a certain area but you entered regardless.
Restaurants often have unique risks associated with them – floors are more likely to be wet from spilled food or drink, interiors may be dimly lit, and employees are often rushing back and forth. When it comes to slip and fall cases (otherwise known as premises liability cases), restaurants have the same legal responsibilities to their customers as any other private property owner.
Because restaurants are commercial operations where customers are invited onto the property, they are held to an even higher standard than private homeowners. While a private homeowner must protect you from known dangers, restaurants – and other businesses and commercial properties – have a duty to proactively inspect their property for dangers. Then they must warn customers about those dangers and quickly take steps to fix the issues.
If you slip and fall in a restaurant, it’s not enough for the property owner or manager to say they didn’t know about the danger. If taking the proper precautions would have alerted the property operator to the danger, that makes them responsible for the consequences.
Depending on the circumstances of your fall, either the property owner or the restaurant operator could be responsible for your injuries. If you fall because of the actions of an employee, in California their employer can be held responsible for the consequences.
In addition to the dangers mentioned above, sporting and entertainment events must also deal with security and crowd control. Failing to manage crowds and rowdy fans could lead to serious slips and falls at stadiums, arenas, and other entertainment venues.
Fans can get hurt when crowds surge or shove – one Superbowl LVI fan got pushed and injured while sitting down. All at once, a day of fun could turn into a nightmare. Fortunately, the law gives you the chance to recover compensation for your losses such as medical bills.
Small businesses are subject to the same premises liability standards as restaurants and other commercial operations. In certain industries, businesses and property owners may be expected to operate at an even higher standard of care, with industry or site-specific rules and regulations around safety – for example, construction sites.
Construction sites are dangerous not just for the employees and contractors who work there, but for neighbors, bystanders, and passersby as well.
If you get injured on a business property and it turns out that the business was not following industry-standard safety procedures, that could be evidence of negligence.
If you slip and fall because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated for the losses that they’ve caused you. An experienced team of personal injury lawyers can help you file a claim for damages. Contact us now for your free case consultation.