Slip or Trip & Fall Hazards

Property owners owe visitors a duty of care that includes protecting them from slip and trip hazards. Before a visitor arrives on a piece of property, the owner, manager, or proprietor should inspect the area for anything that might cause someone to slip or trip. Failing to take this basic precaution could make the property owner fully liable if a visitor slips and suffers an injury.

Commonplace hazards that can cause a serious slip and fall accident include:

  • Wet floors: Few things are worse slip hazards than wet tile floors, like a freshly mopped floor in a grocery store. Property owners and shift managers must make sure that any wet floors are marked with clear warning signs, so guests, customers, and visitors do not inadvertently wander onto the wet tile.
  • Loose cables: In office buildings, loose cables and wiring can create unexpectedly dangerous trip hazards. Office managers and employers should keep all cords and cables bundled safely and out of any walking path.
  • Uplifted carpeting: A lifted corner of carpeting or a clumped-up rug can catch a person’s foot and trip them. Noticing uplifted carpeting is difficult, too, because it tends to blend in perfectly with adjacent carpets. For this reason, even people who are paying full attention to their surroundings can accidentally trip on damaged carpeting.
  • Damaged sidewalks: A cracked sidewalk is a dangerous hazard for pedestrians. When damaged sidewalk pieces cause someone to trip, the liable party could be a local government entity in charge of sidewalk maintenance, which makes for a complicated case. Hiring an attorney is highly advised.
  • Dim lighting: The risk of tripping, slipping, or stumbling increases when walking through dimly lit areas. For this reason, property owners need to keep all areas open to the public or visitors well lit.
  • Uneven steps: The risers and treads of a set of stairs need to be even and well maintained. If steps are uneven or damaged, then a visitor could trip, fall, and suffer serious injuries due to the property owner’s negligence.

Serious Injuries Caused by Slip & Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accident claims are sometimes dismissed by insurance companies as “not that serious.” The companies mistakenly believe or state that people can’t get badly injured if they just fall over. Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth.

Some of the most common serious injuries are caused by slip and fall accidents. If someone lands awkwardly when they fall, then they could suffer a life-changing injury. In fact, one of the leading causes of preventable deaths among elders is falling down, especially when unsupervised in a nursing home setting.

Serious injuries caused by slip or trip and fall accidents include:

If you lost a loved one to a slip and fall accident, then we are here to support you. Talk to our team about a wrongful death claim filed in their name, which can help you find closure, justice, and financial stability. By leaving the case up to our team, you and your family can focus on grieving.

Filling Out an Accident Report

After a slip and fall accident, it is important for you to notify the property owner as soon as possible. If you slipped in a commercial location like a retail store, then you should also consider filling out an official accident report. The accident report will let you mark down important details right away, so you do not risk forgetting anything. The report also makes it a challenge for the property owner to deny that the accident happened.

However, do not rush into filling out an accident report if you are not comfortable with the prompts or fields. You should also never sign an accident report or statement right away. If you have any doubts or questions about an accident report, you should speak with our slip and fall lawyers first.

What is a “Reasonable” Time to Fix a Hazard?

At the root of many slip and fall accident claims is the question of whether the property owner “should have known” about the hazard. Premises liability law requires property owners to address hazards within a “reasonable” amount of time, which will vary depending on the situation. In some cases, it is reasonable to expect the property owner to know about the hazard the moment it occurs, so it must be addressed right away. But in other scenarios, it might be reasonable for the property owner to not realize a hazard was there for hours, days, or longer.

Consider these similar yet importantly different examples about falling in a grocery store:

  • Situation 1: A grocery store employee knocks over a carton of orange juice and walks away because they must tend the register. A minute later, a customer slips on the juice and gets hurt. The grocery store would likely be fully liable for the accident because an employee knew about the hazard immediately but did nothing to address it.
  • Situation 2: A shopper in a grocery store drops a carton of juice down a different aisle but doesn’t tell a worker about it. A minute later, a customer slips on the juice. The spill was only there for a moment and was not made by a worker, so the grocery store might not have reasonably known about the hazard before the accident happened.

However, it is important to know that strict liability rules sometimes apply to slip and fall accident cases in commercial or retail settings. Under this legality, the property owner can be found liable for an accident on the property, no matter how long the hazard was there or who caused it. We can investigate your case to see what party is liable and how to best file a case against them.

Call Our Firm Now for Legal Help

Christie Farrell Lee & Bell and our Indianapolis slip and fall accident attorneys are here to help you with your case from start to finish. We know that this time might be confusing and difficult, especially when insurance companies complicate things. Let our dedicated team step in, take over, and make sense of everything for you. Whether your case is worth $30,000 or $3 million, we will take it to heart and do all we can to land the best possible outcome.

Contact us online now to arrange a free consultation.

Slip & Fall Accident FAQ

  • What should I do after a slip and fall accident?
    After you have been in a slip or trip and fall accident, the first thing you should do is seek urgent medical care if you are badly injured. Prioritize your health and safety. Next, you will need to report the incident to the property owner, whether it is a store manager or a homeowner. Then, you will have to gather evidence that shows the hazard that caused you to slip and why it was not your fault. Ideally, you will be able to notify the owner and start taking pictures of the scene as evidence before you leave it.
  • Can I file a claim if I slipped at a neighbor’s house after I was invited?
    Although many slip and fall accident claims are filed after accidents in workplaces like offices and retail stores, some involve accidents on residential properties. If you slipped at a neighbor’s house, you can still file a claim. In such a case, you would file against a renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy, unless the liable party had neither.
  • Who is liable for an unsafe piece of city sidewalk?
    A slip and fall accident case involving a piece of damaged sidewalk will create a complicated liability scenario. The city might be responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk where you tripped, which would put your case against a municipal agency. Such claims usually have very brief statutes of limitations, so you should talk to our team soon. However, in some cases, the sidewalk’s condition is the responsibility of the nearest property owner. We can help you figure out what party should answer your injury claim.
  • Who is responsible for ice and snow removal?
    Usually, a property owner must remove ice and snow from adjacent sidewalks and entryways in a timely manner to help prevent visitors from slipping and falling. The property owner can wait until when it is no longer snowing or hailing to clear the walkway. However, if a hazard on the property has made the snow or ice accumulation “unnatural,” then that can increase the property owner’s liability. For example, if an awning was damaged or missing and caused snow to pile up at the storefront entrance, then the property owner should act immediately to correct the situation.
  • I didn’t tell the grocery store about the spill before I slipped – does that matter?
    A grocery store must clean up product spills as quickly as is reasonable, which could be only a few minutes. But if a spill happened only moments or minutes before, and no one told a worker about it, then the store could try to use that as a defense later if someone slips and files a claim.
  • Do building code violations matter for a slip and fall claim?
    Your slip and fall accident claim could be improved if we can show that a building code violation caused your accident. Missing handrails near steps is a common building code violation, for example.