Property owners owe a duty of care to anyone who lawfully enters their property. However, due to negligent actions and/or conditions, you may suffer injuries after you slip and fall.
Slip (or trip) and fall accidents can occur anywhere, at any time. Many slip and fall accidents occur:
- At the grocery store
- At the mall
- At your job
- In a government building
- In a parking lot or garage
- In a residential property
- In a restaurant
- In an elevator
- On stairs
- On the sidewalk
Common Causes of Slip & Fall Accidents
Slip and fall claims can be caused by a variety of hazardous conditions on someone’s property, including but not limited to:
- Cracks or potholes
- Slippery floors or stairs
- Missing or loose handrails or flooring
- Defective stairs
- Spilled food or liquid
- Pools of water
- Accumulated ice or snow
- Poor lighting
Common Injuries Sustained in Slip & Fall Accidents
According to an article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of five falls results in a serious injury. Common injuries people suffer after a slip and fall accident are:
- Broken bones or fractures, commonly in the hip, wrist, arm, and/or ankle
- Soft tissue injuries, specifically sprained ligaments or tendons
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), such as concussions, skull fractures, and hematomas
- Cuts and abrasions, typically on the hands, arms, and/or legs
- Knee injuries, caused by twisting or bruising the knee during the fall
- Shoulder or neck injuries, such as spinal injuries or sprains
How Do You Prove Liability in a Slip & Fall?
To file a premises liability claim after a slip and fall accident, you will need to prove that:
- The accident was caused by negligent conditions on the property.
- The property owner knew or should have reasonably known about the hazardous conditions.
- The property owner, with knowledge of the conditions, failed to address or warn others about the dangerous conditions.
To establish liability and prove negligence, you can submit evidence, such as:
- Accident records
- Photographs or videos of the scene and dangerous conditions
- Witness statements
- Security camera footage
Comparative Negligence in Utah
Utah is a modified comparative negligence state. Under Utah Code § 78B-5-818, you can still seek compensation if you are partially at fault for the accident; however, your percentage of fault cannot exceed that of the defendant(s). If you are deemed to have been partially at fault for the accident, any damages you are awarded will be reduced by the percentage of fault you are assigned.
Consider this: It is raining, but you have to stop for gas. The gas station’s awning has several tears and holes, which cause water to pool at the entrance. When you go to pay the attendant with cash, you slip and fall because of the water puddles and the slippery entrance. You hit your head and lose consciousness, and you later learn you will suffer from seizures and post-concussion syndrome.
If you were texting instead of paying attention or wearing improper footwear for the weather conditions (like stilettos), a jury may assign you a percentage of the blame. For this example, let’s say you are 20% at fault. If you are awarded 5 million dollars, those damages would be reduced by 20%, and you would only receive 4 million dollars.
Damages Available in a Slip & Fall Claim
You can be compensated for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries, such as medical or rehabilitation expenses, prescription costs, lost wages, etc. Noneconomic damages aim to compensate you for your pain and suffering (with consideration to disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, the injury’s impact on your daily life, etc.).
Calculating the damages you are owed is extremely complicated, especially as it relates to your non-economic damages. To ensure you receive fair compensation, you should consult with an attorney before accepting a settlement offer. Insurance companies often try to lowball slip and fall accident victims as they do not have your best interest in mind.
What to Do After You Slip & Fall
Wondering what the best thing to do after a slip and fall accident? Here are 5 steps you can take after a slip and fall accident.
- Report the accident. You should immediately tell the property owner or an employee that you have slipped and fallen. In some cases, you may be asked to fill out an incident report. However, it is important that you ensure you report that you have fallen and point out the negligent conditions that caused the accident.
- Take photos and notes. You should document the scene of the accident, your injuries, and the conditions that caused the accident. If there are witnesses, you should also get their names and contact details.
- Seek medical treatment. Even if you feel fine after an accident, you should see a doctor and be checked out. You should also ask for copies of any test results or paperwork for future use.
- File an insurance claim. You should contact the property owner’s insurer to report the accident.
- Contact our premises liability attorneys. At Nelson, Taylor & Associates, our attorneys can work to maximize your compensation and minimize your liability. If you have been injured after a slip and fall due to hazardous conditions, we can help you pursue compensation and navigate the case legalities. While you typically have 4 years (from the date of your accident) to bring a claim forward, the sooner you contact our team the better. For claims against a county, city, or town, you only have 1 year to file a suit.
To schedule your free case consultation, call (801) 901-7046 or reach out to us online.