Slip-and-Fall Lawsuits: 5 Quick Facts - The New York Personal Injury Law Blog

The New York Personal Injury Blog

Slip-and-Fall Lawsuits: 5 Quick Facts

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Most slip-and-fall cases don't go to trial. More often than not, slip and fall cases get settled out of court.

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