Falls causing injury are dangerous. They caused approximately 32,000 deaths in homes and public places during 2014, the last year for which statistics are available. In workplaces, falls caused nearly 600 additional deaths and 47,000 injuries.
Accidents in which people slip and fall as a result are called “slip and fall” accidents. If they happen in a public place, what should you do? If your slip and fall was caused by the negligence of another person or entity, such as a corporation, it is possible to bring a suit for damages. The suits can cover medical costs, lost wages and other financial and emotional costs.
Negligence in a slip and fall
Proving negligence, however, is not necessarily easy or straightforward. The law states that, for another person or entity to be responsible for someone’s slip and fall, the other person or entity had to have caused the slip and fall and be responsible for the safe maintenance of the area.
So if, for example, a carton of eggs fell on a grocery floor due to a careless stockperson and was not cleaned up, a slippage on the broken eggs could be the store’s responsibility. If another customer drops a carton of eggs, though, he or she would not be legally responsible, as the maintenance of the store is not the customer’s responsibility.
The other person or entity also needed to know that a condition that could cause someone to slip and fall existed, and to have had reasonable time to fix the situation. If a store’s walkways become covered with snow, it is the store’s responsibility to clear and salt the area. But they must have had reasonable time to do so. Slipping and falling during a snowstorm or immediately after one has stopped may cause a jury to rule that a storeowner did not have sufficient time to make the area safe.
A court case must also prove that a reasonable person would have known about the situation and would have perceived a duty to fix it. If a sidewalk in an apartment complex is in poor repair and difficult to walk on, the jury would presumably find that a hypothetical reasonable person would find the sidewalk dangerous.
In the event of a slip and fall
If you have a slip and fall accident, there are three things you should do.
1. Document Any Injuries
It is important to have a record of any injuries, including bruises. If you have a smartphone, take pictures immediately. Bruises can fade and cuts can heal. A court needs to have evidence that personal damage was caused.
Document where, when, and why the slip and fall occurred. Write it down immediately while your memory is still fresh.
If you do not have a smartphone or other camera, write down what your injuries were.
2. Report It to the Responsible Party
Report any injury to the responsible party. If it occurs in a store, report it to the store’s manager before you leave. If your landlord, report it to the landlord’s representative as soon as possible.
First, you want the situation rectified if the responsible party doesn’t know about it. Second, you want a record of what occurred. A jury could question why any incident wasn’t reported.
3. Seek Medical Attention
It’s wise to seek medical attention for any fall. A physician should look at any injury, bruise, or other damage. First, you may need medical attention, even if you feel okay. Second, again, the record is important.
Speak with a Long Island slip and fall attorney
Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are seasoned personal injury attorneys who will fight for justice if you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall.
Our initial consultation is free. We will advise you on your case and potential next steps. Call 1-800-469-7429 for a free consultation with an experienced New York City and Long Island slip and fall lawyer today.
Additional slip and fall injury resources:
- National Safety Council. Slips, Trips and Falls. https://www.nsc.org/safety-training/workplace/slips-trips-and-falls
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls Are Leading Cause of Injury and Death in Older Americans. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0922-older-adult-falls.html