Slip & Fall Injury FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions About Slip and Fall Cases
- I tripped and fell on an uneven sidewalk. Can I make a claim?
- It depends on the precise defect in the sidewalk. It is common knowledge that sidewalks will not always be perfectly smooth. A pedestrian has a duty to pay attention. On the other hand, a property owner has a duty to keep sidewalks reasonably safe. So where does one draw the line? A general rule of that if the change in elevation in a sidewalk (between sections, for example) is greater than three inches, the pedestrian may have a claim. But these matters can be complex, and it is always best to consult a lawyer to analyze your particular situation.
- I fell on a slippery floor in a grocery store. Can I make a claim?
- It depends on a number of factors. If you slip on liquid that has been spilled on the floor, you may have a claim. It depends on how long the substance has been on the floor and whether the store had “notice” of the spill (or should have had notice of the spill) and failed to clean it up. On the other hand, if it is raining or snowing, and you slip on water that has been tracked into the store, you will have no claim.
- I was in a big department store and tripped over some merchandise that had fallen off a shelf. Can I make a claim?
- It depends on whether the store had notice of the condition. Store owners have a duty to keep their premises safe and their aisles clear, because they expect (and want) people to be looking at the merchandise on their shelves and not at their feet. However, no store owner can patrol every aisle of the store every minute or the day. So, the passage of time is important. Should the store owner have been aware of the problem? Frankly, this is often difficult to prove. On the other hand, was there a defect in the shelving that failed to secure the merchandise properly? If so, this might create a claim. In these matters, it is generally best to consult a lawyer.
- I was visiting my doctor, whose office is in a commercial office building. It had recently snowed. I slipped and fell on the sidewalk leading to the entrance of the building. Do I have a claim?
- It depends on certain factors. Generally speaking, a property owner has no duty to shovel, plow or remove “natural accumulations” of ice or snow. The theory is that these are obvious dangers, and pedestrians using common sense should proceed with extra caution. However, if the property owner attempts to shovel a walkway but does a careless or incomplete job, you may have a claim. There are many variations of this scenario, and it is best to consult a lawyer to determine if you have a claim.
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