Personal injuries suffered on another’s property, whether on a sidewalk or in a home, apartment complex, hotel, park, store, nightclub, bar, healthcare facility, entertainment facility, or commercial property are often the result of negligent maintenance or the complete disregard for the safety of others. Two common categories of injury claims are slip & fall and trip & fall.
The general rule of law is that the owner or operator of the premises has a duty to inspect and keep the premises in reasonably safe condition. The property owner or possessor also has a duty to warn of concealed perils that he or she knows about or should know about, through the exercise of reasonable care. The “owner” may be an individual, corporation, or government (city, state, county, etc.).
There is no precise way to determine when an owner or occupier of property is legally responsible for something on which you slip or trip. Each case turns on whether the owner acted carefully so that slipping or tripping was not likely to happen – and whether the person who fell was careless in not seeing or avoiding the thing he or she fell on.
Ideally, a slip and fall accident report should be completed at the time of the incident noting what happened, who witnessed both the accident and the conditions that caused the fall along with any other relevant information such as lighting.
If a slip and fall case report is not completed at the business location or occurred at private location or was not observed by others, compile a record of what happened yourself. Include information such as:
- A description of the circumstances
- Who was present at the place of the accident
- The comments made by those who saw or helped after the fall
- If possible, take photos of the area. If you were physically hurt, have your slip and fall injury checked out immediately to
- help substantiate your slip and fall claim.
If you suffered any kind of head injury as a result of the fall, check your medical records for any notation of the injury: concussion, a period of unconsciousness – however brief – dizziness, disorientation, and nausea. Make specific mention of it in your claim even if other injuries seem more serious. And if you have any long-term effects such as continuing headaches or dizziness, report them to your doctor and emphasize in your claim that you are still suffering from the effects of your head injury.