When the area where you slipped or tripped and fell is part of the property owner/possessor's premises, and he or she failed to take appropriate precautions or correct a problem that led to the accident, the owner/possessor will usually be legally responsible for your injuries. What follows are some examples of common conditions that lead to slip and fall accidents indoors, and the rules regarding a property owner's duties with respect to those conditions.
It is expected that property owners will mop, wax, or polish their floors. Nonetheless, if a slip and fall accident occurs as the result of a wet floor, the property owner may be liable. Examples of conduct for which a property owner may be held responsible if a slip and fall accident results are:
A property owner's neglect in properly maintaining carpeted floors, rugs, and mats can also create liability if a slip and fall accident occurs. Examples of such conditions that often lead to slip and fall accidents are:
Stairs are often made of materials that become worn with continued use. Stair edges can become rounded and may cause people to slip when they step on them. A property owner will be liable for a slip and fall accident occurring on stairs when the property owner knew of the dangerous condition, or the condition existed for sufficient time that the owner should have known about it. If the owner knew or should have known about a stairway condition, liability may arise when:
Escalators and Elevators
Common mechanisms for getting from one floor to another in a building are escalators and elevators. Because escalators and elevators are designed to carry passengers, in some instances, property owners have a higher legal duty than in other premises liability situations. When vehicles such as trains and buses are used for public transit, the owners of those vehicles are often held to a high standard of conduct. Some courts impose the same high standard of safety on owners and operators of escalators and elevators.
Slip and fall accidents can occur on escalators and elevators when there are unexpected, sudden movements or "jerks" in the machinery, or when articles of clothing, footwear, fingers, hands, or feet are caught in various parts of an escalator or elevator. Property owners are responsible for maintaining their escalators and elevators so that they operate safely.
Getting Legal Help
A lawsuit can allow victims of a slip and fall accident to receive compensation for any medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering they endured. However, slip and fall lawsuits are often complicated affairs, involving expert witnesses and medical evidence. Before moving forward with a claim, it's typically a good idea to contact an experienced attorney for a free initial case evaluation. That way you'll know the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to make sure your rights are protected.