The Complete Guide to Slip and Fall Claims: How to Get Compensation for Your Injuries

People are injured daily by slip and fall accidents on someone else’s property. Here’s how to win a premises liability claim and get fair compensation.

Premises liability is the body of law that makes a property owner responsible for slip and fall injuries suffered on their property.

The property may be owned or under the control of a homeowner, business, government agency, or an agent representing the owner, such as a property management company.

Property owners or management won’t always be on the hook when someone gets hurt. You will need to prove they were negligent and therefore responsible for your injuries.

To win a slip and fall claim, you must show:

  1. The property owner knew or should have known of the danger
  2. The owner did not take reasonable actions to remove the danger or protect you from harm
  3. Due to the owner’s negligence, you suffered real injuries

Knowing what to do – and the mistakes to avoid – after a slip and fall can dramatically affect the success of a personal injury claim. Our claim guide covers every aspect of a typical slip and fall claim, so you can be prepared and get fair compensation for your injuries.

For a Quick Start, check out our Slip and Fall FAQ Page

What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

Immediately report the incident to the property owner or staff. Don’t make excuses for your fall, or dust yourself off and limp away. What you say at the scene can be used against you, so don’t joke that “Only my pride was hurt!

Get immediate medical attention after a fall. If an ambulance isn’t called to the scene, go to an urgent care clinic or see your family doctor that same day. Tell your medical provider exactly when, where, and how you were injured. It’s important to establish a link between your injuries and the slip and fall.

If you’re able, start collecting evidence. Use your phone’s camera or ask a companion to take pictures of the hazard that caused your fall. Ask to complete an incident report if you fell at a business, and ask any witnesses for their contact information.

More about what to do after a slip and fall:

Do You Need a Slip and Fall Attorney?

When you’ve suffered severe injuries from a fall, liability is disputed, or your case is complicated, you’ll need an attorney to get anywhere near the full value of your claim. If you’ve fully recovered from only minor injuries, you might be able to handle a slip and fall claim on your own.

Either way, you have nothing to lose by consulting with a slip and fall attorney. Most personal injury attorneys don’t charge for your first meeting and work on a contingency fee basis.

An attorney can get evidence you can’t get on your own, like using subpoenas to force a business to hand over surveillance film or copies of incident reports. An experienced injury lawyer will protect your rights and won’t let the other side bully or trick you.

More about slip and fall attorneys:

How Much is Your Slip and Fall Claim Worth?

Estimate the value of your claim by adding up “hard costs” like medical bills and lost wages, then multiply that amount by 1-5x to account for your pain and suffering. Whether you should multiply by one, five, or another number depends on the severity of your injuries and the strength of your claim.

Claim the full cost of your medical treatment, even if most of the cost was paid by health insurance. Be sure to include your out-of-pocket costs for medicines, bandages, crutches, or other medical equipment.

Include transportation costs to medical appointments, along with replacement services, like lawn care, that you had to hire out while you were laid up. Of course, you can claim your lost wages. Don’t forget to claim lost overtime or the value of used-up sick leave.

You won’t have a receipt to show a dollar amount for your pain and suffering, so keep an injury diary with notes about your pain levels, your inability to hold your toddler or walk your dog, and the embarrassment of needing help to bathe or dress.

More about personal injury compensation:

Who’s Liable for Your Slip and Fall Injury?

In most cases, you’ll have to prove the property owner caused a slip and fall hazard, or knew about a hazard and didn’t take action, like not mopping up a spill. Insurance companies look for ways to blame the victim after a slip and fall so they can deny or minimize your claim. Beat them to the punch by showing up front that you did nothing to cause your injuries.

Your “visitor” status, such as a customer, delivery person, or guest, can establish your right to compensation and help sort out the property owner’s duties from the visitor’s responsibilities.

More about liability for slip and fall injuries:

Business Premises Liability for Injuries

Premises liability means the business owner might be responsible for all kinds of injuries that occur on their property, inside or outside the building. You have the right to compensation for a variety of premises liability claims not associated with a slip, trip or fall. Learn more here:

People are hurt every day by infections, burns, food poisoning, and a host of other injuries caused by the negligence of a business owner. Common locations for these types of claims include beauty salons, tattoo parlors, amusement parks, and haunted houses.

If you own a business, here’s how you can prevent accidents and reduce your liability for injuries.

How to Get Your Slip and Fall Settlement Money

Compensation for most slip and fall injury claims is paid by the property owner’s insurance company. Business properties are covered by liability insurance, while accidents at someone’s home are covered by homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

The insurance company won’t just hand over a check. You (or your attorney) will have to negotiate a fair settlement. Negotiating an insurance settlement takes time and know-how.

Most injury claims are settled out of court. However, if settlement negotiations break down, you have options, including filing a lawsuit against the property owner.

More about how to get your slip and fall money:

Where and Why Slip and Falls Happen

In a slip and fall injury claim, you’ll need to show someone’s negligence caused the hazard, meaning the property owner or manager did something wrong, or failed to do what was needed to protect visitors. It’s also up to you to prove that you did nothing to contribute to your fall, especially if alcohol was involved.

Slip and Fall Injury Causes

Understanding Common Causes of Slip and Falls

Slip and fall accidents are most commonly caused by spilled substances on the floors of businesses. Other common causes of slip, trip and falls can include damaged flooring, bunched-up rugs, icy walkways, uneven sidewalks, and other hazards.

Slip and Falls at Businesses

Many slip and falls and other accidents happen at restaurants, retail stores, and other commercial businesses. These injuries must first be reported to store management and a claim filed with the business owner’s liability insurance company.

Slip and Falls at Homes and Apartments

If you fell at someone’s home, their homeowner’s insurance policy should cover your damages. Other residential claims might be against an apartment complex or condo association, especially for falls that occur in common areas like stairwells and playgrounds.

Injuries on Public and Government Property

If you fell at a public school, post office, jail, or any other state or federal building, you’ll need to follow special claim filing rules and meet short deadlines to get compensation for your injuries.

Common Types of Slip and Fall Injuries

Just about any injury can occur from a slip and fall accident, with short and long-term consequences.

Here are the most Common Types of Slip and Fall Injuries.

Neck and head injuries from a fall can range from mild whiplash to traumatic brain damage. Falls are a common cause of back and hip injuries, which might include herniated disks or fractures that never heal quite right. Shoulder, arm, and wrist injuries commonly occur when people reach to try and stop their fall.

Pregnant slip and fall victims deserve special consideration. Both mother and baby may be entitled to injury compensation, and there’s no question that a woman who fears for her child is suffering from emotional distress.

Depending on the circumstances, your injuries might heal up with a few days of rest, or leave you permanently disabled. It’s important to learn as much as you can about your injury type, and what kind of insurance settlement you can expect.

How Much is Your Injury Claim Worth?

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Slip and Fall Claim Questions & Answers

Charles R. Gueli, Esq. is a personal injury attorney with over 20 years of legal experience. He’s admitted to the NY State Bar, and been named a Super Lawyer for the NY Metro area, an exclusive honor awarded to the top five percent of attorneys. Charles has worked extensively in the areas of auto accidents,... Read More >>