Five myths about “slip and fall” injury cases

Serious injuries can occur from even a simple fall. The effects of serious injury from the result of a fall can be devastating. If the fall occurs on someone else’s property, you may wonder whether the property owner should be responsible for your bills and other losses. The answer is not as simple as you may think it is.

“Slip and fall” injuries occur for many different reasons, such as when floors are wet or slippery due to spills, rain, snow and ice, or cleaning. They can occur when floors or steps are defective, or when items are misplaced and tripped over.

At its heart, a slip-and-fall claim involves an investigation to determine who is liable for physical injuries that happen on someone else’s property. Many people believe that simply because they were injured in a fall accident on another’s property, the property owner is responsible. This is a common misconception, and there are many common myths about these kinds of cases.

Do I have a “slip and fall” injury case?

Determining if a property owner is liable for a slip and fall accident can be complicated. Fall accidents happen in a variety of settings, from residential properties to commercial establishments. While some falls may be attributed to an individual’s inattention or clumsiness, many slip-and-fall incidents occur due to hazardous conditions on the property.

When determining if someone can bring a slip and fall case to seek compensation for their injuries, lawyers encounter several myths and misconceptions about these kinds of claims. Let’s take a look at 5 of the most common myths about slip and fall injury cases.

  1. Myth: “I was injured in a huge retail chain store so they have to pay my medical bills.” Truth:  No matter how large the retailer, they are not responsible for your injuries and bills, unless you can prove they were negligent in causing your fall.
  2. Myth: “A store employee made an incident report so they are planning to pay my medical bills.” Truth: Employees almost always try to take down an incident report to document what happened. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to be responsible for your injuries or bills.
  3. Myth: “That water/ice/spill I slipped on shouldn’t have been in the middle of the floor so they are responsible for causing my fall.” Truth: The store is only responsible if you can prove how the substance got on the floor and that it had been there long enough that they should have known it was there and had an opportunity to clean it up.
  4. Myth: “I saw the spill on the floor, so they should have seen it and cleaned it up.” Truth: If you can see a spill or other dangerous condition on the floor, it is your responsibility to avoid it. In other words, you have to watch where you are walking and avoid dangerous conditions that are “open and obvious” hazards.
  5. Myth: “I was injured in the home/apartment I am renting, so the building owner should pay my medical bills.” Truth: If you were injured inside your rented home or apartment, you are responsible for injuries to yourself and others which occur in that part of the home or apartment to which only you have access. In other words, the owner will only be responsible if the injury occurred in an area you share with other renters such as common hallways, sidewalks and stairs.

When may a property owner be liable in a slip and fall lawsuit?

Understanding the common factors that contribute to a slip and fall accident can help accident victims identify when they may have a valid claim. A seasoned personal injury lawyer knows what you need to prove in these cases. Factors that contribute to slip and fall accidents that could indicate liability on the part of property owners may include:

Poor lighting

Inadequate lighting can make it difficult for people to navigate a space safely. When areas such as stairwells, hallways, or parking lots are poorly lit, individuals may fail to notice obstacles, changes in flooring, or other hazards. Property owners should ensure that all areas accessible to visitors are well-lit to minimize the risk of accidents.

Uneven or damaged flooring

Uneven surfaces, such as cracked sidewalks, loose floorboards, or torn carpeting, can cause individuals to trip and fall. Property owners are responsible for maintaining safe flooring conditions and promptly addressing any damage or irregularities.

Lack of handrails or guardrails

Stairways and elevated platforms should be equipped with sturdy handrails or guardrails to prevent falls. When these safety features are missing, inadequate, or poorly maintained, individuals are at a higher risk of losing their balance and suffering severe injuries. Property owners must ensure that handrails and guardrails are installed correctly and maintained in good condition.

Clutter and obstacles in walkways

Cluttered or obstructed walkways can create tripping hazards. Property owners should keep walkways clear of debris, cords, boxes, or other items that may cause visitors to stumble. In retail settings, merchandise should be properly displayed and stored to prevent it from becoming an obstacle. Failure to maintain clear and safe walkways can result in preventable accidents.

Failure to properly maintain the property

Property owners have a duty to maintain their premises in a safe condition. This includes regularly inspecting the property for potential hazards, performing necessary repairs, and ensuring that all safety features are in good working order. Neglecting to address maintenance issues, such as leaky roofs, broken pavement, or malfunctioning elevators, can contribute to slip-and-fall accidents.

When a slip and fall accident occurs due to one or more of these factors, the property owner may be held liable for the resulting injuries and damages. Victims of slip and fall accidents should consult with an experienced attorney to evaluate their case and determine the best course of action for seeking compensation.

Contact Allen & Allen to help you recover compensation for slip and fall injuries

If you are injured as the result of a slip or fall on someone else’s property, you may have a case against them. If you want to pursue a claim, building a case depends on many factors, such as where the fall occurred and how the dangerous condition that caused the fall came to exist. It also depends on whether you and the owner of the property knew the dangerous conditions were there.

These personal injury cases fall under an area of the law known as premises liability. The attorneys at Allen, Allen, Allen, & Allen can help you determine whether your case is valid. For over a century, we have acknowledged and embraced our duty to serve our clients, our team, and our community with unwavering dedication. The foundations of our relationships are firmly rooted in honesty, respect, empathy, and trust—the very same principles that have been our guiding light since our establishment in 1910.

Call us for a free consultation at 1-866-388-1307 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation.

About The Author: Bridget Long is an experienced trial attorney focusing her practice on personal injury law at Allen & Allen in Petersburg, Virginia. She has handled cases involving car accidents, catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, and has litigated cases throughout Virginia on behalf of clients injured due to the negligence of others. She is an active member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and has been named a “Super Lawyer” in Virginia Super Lawyers Magazine for the past seven years. Bridget is passionate about defending the rights of the injured.