Recognizing the Danger of Trip and Fall Accidents

August 12th, 2015

Second only to motor vehicle accidents, slip or trip and falls are the most common accidents leading to personal injury. Slip and falls can happen to anyone anywhere, which is what makes them so frustrating.  

To clarify, a slip occurs when there is too little traction or friction between the shoe and walking surface. A trip occurs when a person’s foot comes into contact with an object in their way or drops to a lower level unexpectedly, causing them to be thrown off balance. 

A property owner or occupier can be liable for a person’s injuries resulting from falls if the owner or occupier was negligent. Examples of negligent conduct might include: 

  • Failing to provide adequate warnings, such as signs, that the floor is being cleaned, waxed, or polished, and is still wet; failing to close off an area that is wet; 
  • Cleaning the floor in a negligent manner, such as mopping at a busy time, using excessive amounts of soap and allowing the floor to remain wet for an unreasonable period of time after cleaning is finished; 
  • Failing to clean up spilled food, liquid or other foreign substances,  
  • Failing to post a warning within a reasonable amount of time after being notified of a spill or hazard on the ground by a customer or employee; 
  • Failing to keep floor surfaces in a reasonably safe condition, such as loose floor tiles, torn carpet or splinters sticking up 
  • Failing to correct conditions on stairways, such as broken handrails, worn steps, or inadequate lighting, that could cause injury if the property owner knew or should have known about them; or  
  • Failing to correct defectively designed parking lots, speedbumps, or parking space stoppers 

Generally, to prove liability and hold someone legally responsible for your injuries, you must prove that either: 

  • The owner of the premises or an employee caused or created the slippery or dangerous condition; 
  • The owner of the premises or employee knew of the danger condition, but did nothing about it to correct or repair it or warn persons of it; or 
  • The owner of the premises or an employee should have known of the dangerous condition because a “reasonable” person taking care of the property would have corrected or repaired it or warn persons of it. 

In terms of liability, the third situation is the most common, but also the most difficult, because of the phrase “should have known.” Liability in these cases is determined on a case by case basis where a jury will determine whether the owner of the property was careful by deciding if the steps they took to keep the property safe were reasonable. 

If you or a loved one is injured in a trip and fall, it is extremely important to contact an experienced attorney to obtain compensation on your behalf. Should another party be found liable for your injuries, you may be entitled to payment for your past and future medical expenses, emotional and psychological suffering, as well as loss of income and earning capacity. Kramer Trial Lawyers has a track record of success on these premises liability cases, including a 2016 Top 50 Verdict in California for a slip and fall incident at an airport restroom, a 2018 Top 50 Verdict in the United States for a trip and fall into a trench at a construction site, and a 2019 Top 100 Verdict in California for a slip and fall in a restaurant hallway.  Contact the KTL team today to discuss your slip or trip and fall matter.