You may have a vague notion of slip and fall lawsuits after seeing commercials on TV showing a sad person with a broken hip exclaim, "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!"
Slip and fall is a term used for a personal injury case in which a person slips or trips and falls, and is injured on someone else's property. Slip-and-fall cases are grouped under the general umbrella of premises liability.
Here are five quick basic facts about slip-and-fall cases that you should know:
- A legally recognized slip-and-fall can happen in a private home. When you usually think of a slip-and-fall case, you think of a grape in a grocery store or a staircase in a mall. Actually, if you go to a private house and the owner created unsafe conditions that caused you to fall and get injured, the homeowner can be sued for damages.
- Slip-and-fall cases involving Big Brother are special. When a slip and fall injury happens on government property -- local, state, or federal -- special rules apply. These cases have strict notice requirements and sometimes shield government entities from slip-and-fall liability.
- It's the victim's job to prove negligence. If you slip and fall, it's your burden to prove that the other party breached a legal duty owed to you and that their negligence caused your injury. You have to prove this by a preponderance of the evidence, which basically means the other party was "more likely than not" negligent in creating the situation that caused your injury.
- Your award might be reduced if you contributed to the injury. New York has a comparative negligence standard, which means that if you also negligently contributed to the injury, your award amount will be reduced, proportionate to how much you contributed to the injury.
- Most slip-and-fall cases don't go to trial. More often than not, slip and fall cases get settled out of court.