Common Places for Slip and Fall Accidents

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Slip and fall accidents occur in a variety of places from large privately owned business to single family homes to apartment complexes, and where the incident occurs will dictate liability rules, what damages are available, what parties to sue, and what steps you need to take to pursue a slip and fall accident claim.  Although the challenges of pursuing a slip and fall claim vary depending on where the accident occurs, you can consult with an attorney for assistance regardless of how large or small the location is.

Common Slip and Fall Accident Locations

A slip and fall accident can occur anywhere, and each individual store or home will present unique circumstances that can influence the outcome of an insurance claim or lawsuit.  While it is impossible to cover every slip and fall accident in general terms, the following types of location have common issues to be aware of:

  • Big Box or Grocery Stores:  Slip and fall accidents at big box stores such as Home Depot or a supermarket are likely to be very complex in terms of proving responsibility and working with the stores insurance companies or attorneys.  Many of these stores will also require some sort of official notice of the accident such as filling out a slip and fall incident report or calling a hotline to file the report.  Due to the nature of slip and fall injury claims, working with an attorney is wise when pursuing big box stores.
  • Hotels or Resorts:  Slip and fall accidents at a resort or a hotel will have many of the same concerns as ones at large businesses, so be wary of the necessary procedures for giving notice of the incident and contact an attorney for assistance.
  • Small Businesses:  A slip and fall at a small business may not require a formal process for notifying the business, but do not allow a less rigorous process to destract you from taking the necessary steps to pursue a slip and fall claim.
  • Private Homes:  Slip and fall accidents at an private home can result in prickly lawsuits, particularly if you are a friend of the homeowner.  As with any slip and fall claim, most of the money comes from insurance companies, so you will need to be prepared to deal with a an insurer before taking action.
  • Rented Homes or Apartments:  A slip and fall accident in an apartment can be the fault of the landlord, the tenant, or both.  It is important to note the circumstances of the accident in order to establish which party was responsible for the hazardous condition.
  • Public Spaces:  A slip and fall at a public park, a public building, or even a street or sidewalk could be the fault of a government entity that failed to provide a safe environment.  Any claim or lawsuit against a public entity is a serious procedural challenge, and should not be handled without assistance from an attorney.
  • Work:  Workplace slip and fall accidents can be covered by workers compensation, or, in some cases, require legal action against an employer.  Workplace slip and fall injury claims should be handled by an attorney.

Slip and fall accident attorneys should be prepared to handle a claim or lawsuit for damages regardless of where it occurs, but finding one with particular experience against a specific type of store or business can help you if you pursue large companies.

Why Location of a Slip and Fall Accident Matters

A slip and fall lawsuit or insurance claim looks to identify the parties legally responsible for creating, or failing to cure, hazardous conditions that they knew about, or should have known about, prior to the injury and hold those parties liable to the victim.  While figuring out who is responsible for a slip and fall accident may sound simple, legal rules define terms such as responsible or hazardous to ensure that possible defendants are not unfairly held to impossible strandars of safety.  Where a slip and fall occurs will impact the way a court identifies responsible parties as follows:

  • Maintenance Expectations:  Part of finding legal responsibility for a slip and fall accident is identifying whether or not the defendant should have taken preventative measures to prevent the slip and fall from occuring.  The location of the slip and fall will alter what the law expects from defendants – large box stores such as Wal-Mart or grocery stores will be expected to react quickly to unsafe conditions while single family home owners may have less pressure to identify and react to dangers on their property.
  • Control over Conditions:  Another factor in identifying whether or not a party is responsible for a slip and fall accident is deciding if the party had control over the conditions.  Large stores or resorts have several employees who can cause dangerous conditions that employers are generally liable for, but landlords or tenants may be in a situation where the condition is caused by a guest or other individual they have no control over. 
  • Individuals Involved:  The individuals who either contribute to a slip and fall accident or who respond afterwards will vary depending on where it occurs.  In large stores, employees may arrive at the scene of a slip and fall accident and inject themselves into the situation depending on what position they hold in the company.  After a slip and fall accident occurs, employee behavior can impact liability for the accident or for injuries sustained, and their involvment should be noted.
  • Who to Sue:  Some places will have various owners or parties responsible, and you should be aware of each available party after a slip and fall accident. If the slip and fall accident occurs in a rented home or apartment, you may be able to sue either the tenant or the landlord.  If the slip and fall accident occurs in a chain or franchise restaurant or store, then the individual store owner and the company may be liable.  

Regardless of where a slip and fall accident occurs, an experienced personal injury attorneycan make a significant difference in the success or failure of your claim.  Most slip and fall accident attorneys offer free consultations, and speaking with a lawyer does not carry any obligation.  Taking the time to talk to an attorney prior to pursuing insurance or legal action after a slip and fall accident will give you a better chance of getting the compensation you deserve.

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