What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
A “slip and fall” accident describes the type of accident when someone slips on something resulting in an injury.
A “slip and fall” accident occurs when someone slips on something that was slippery. It could have been spilled on the floor, such as water on the floor, or something that formed on the ground, such as ice, it could be a slippery surface, or a similar accident.
When your fall is at least partially because of the negligence of someone or a company, or negligent design, we can represent you so you can be compensated for your personal injury, medical expenses, and lost wages,
What Kind of Lawyer Do You Need for a Slip and Fall Accident?
When you are injured in a slip and fall accident, you need a personal injury lawyer who is also a slip and fall lawyer.
Personal injury is a broad area of negligence law. While a slip-and-fall lawyer is a personal injury lawyer, not all personal injury lawyers are slip and fall lawyers. For example, some personal injury lawyers do only car accidents or medical malpractice.
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Are Slip and Fall Accidents and Trip and Fall Accidents Handled by the Same Lawyer?
Yes. Slip and fall accidents and trip and fall accidents are premises cases that are both handled by personal injury lawyers. The personal injury attorneys at 1-800-HURT-911® represent clients injured in all types of premises cases, including both slip and fall and trip and fall accidents.
If your accident was a trip and fall accident, see our page for information about trip and fall accidents.
Who Pays For Medical Bills in a Slip and Fall Accident?
The defendant is liable to pay your medical bills. Sometimes, the defendant’s insurance policy will have medical payments coverage to pay your medical bills as they are incurred. If the defendant’s insurance policy has medical payments coverage, you can submit medical bills and be reimbursed.
What happens if the defendant’s insurance policy does not have medical payments coverage to pay my medical bills?
The defendant is still responsible for paying your medical treatment, and that amount will be added to your settlement. However, you will have to use some other way to pay for your medical treatment, which can be health insurance, a doctor’s lien on your case, or a lawsuit settlement cash advance which can be used to buy health insurance, Medicaid, and/or Medicare.
What’s The Difference Between a Slip and Fall Accident and a Trip and Fall Accident?
As the name implies, the difference is a slip and fall accident is caused when someone slips on a slippery surface or on a substance that is slippery.
A trip and fall accident is caused when someone trips on an uneven surface, a defect on the surface, an object, or falls in a hole.
See some examples below of slip and fall accidents below.
How Much Is a Slip and Fall Accident Worth to Settle?
An injury from a slip and fall accident is generally worth a lot more money than an injury from a car accident. Slip and fall accidents are often worth 6-7 figures.
Why slip and fall accidents are worth a lot more money than car accidents:
- The injury is often worse.
- There is usually a lot more insurance available to pay your settlement.
- The insurance company will usually settle quicker and pay more money because premises policies are more profitable than auto insurance policies.
Examples of Slip and Fall Accidents We Settled
- Slipped on a ramp leading to the back of a restaurant that was greasy and injured his shoulder – settled for $250,000.
- Slipped on dirty water in a store – settled for $275,000.
- Slipped on a greasy area behind a restaurant where they threw dirty mop water, causing a broken ankle – settled for $250,000.
- Slipped on ice in front of the back door of a bank and broke her ankle. Although there was a snowstorm in progress, we found that a leader from a roof gutter was leaking water on the ground, which caused the ice that our client slipped on – settled for $250,000. See the photo below.
Slip and Fall on Water
We have had many clients who slipped on water that puddled on the floor from all kinds of sources and leaks. When water is puddled near an entrance because of rain, we need to prove it was there too long. Read the next paragraph to see how we do that.
Slip and Fall Accident on Water in a Store When Raining
Water may be brought into the entrance/exit of a store by customers walking in when it is raining. We have had many clients who slipped in a puddle of dirty water near a store entrance, even when the store placed mats by the entrance.
When you slip on a puddle of water caused by rain, it is important that you saw that the water was dirty. This proves that the water was there for a long and unreasonable period of time.
If the water was dirty, it is sufficient that you say you slipped on dirty water, but if you can get a photo showing the water was dirty, that’s even better. When you’re asked what happened by a doctor at the hospital, make sure you say you slipped on dirty water.
If the water came from another source that proves it was occurring for a long time, such as a leaking pipe, it is not necessary for the water to have been dirty.
Slip and Fall on Snow or Ice
The landowner may be liable for negligence when you slip on snow on someone else’s property.
However, if you slip on snow while the snowstorm is still in progress, there is generally no liability. Even if the snowstorm was still happening when you slipped, always call a slip and fall lawyer at the 1-800-HURT-911® Personal Injury Dream Team™ for a free consultation with no obligation at 1-800-HURT-911 >> 1-800-487-8911
This photo shows a store’s rear entrance door in a parking lot in Queens, NY. Our client was approaching the door when she slipped on ice while the snowstorm was still happening (we took the photo later). Although it was still snowing, we found that the leader (seen in the photo) from a roof gutter was leaking water on the ground, which caused the ice that our client slipped on. We settled her case for $250,000.
A storm in progress is considered to be an absolute defense (See this New York State Bar Association article, “Storm in Progress: The Best Defense You Never Heard Of”). However, an exception, not mentioned in the NYSBA article is when you slip on ice during a snowstorm, but the ice was either caused by a previous storm or by an external cause such as a leaking gutter or pipe.
How Long After a Snowstorm Does Snow Have to be Cleared in New York?
In New York City, N.Y.C. Administrative Code § 16-123(a) states that a property owner must clear “snow or ice, dirt, or other material” from abutting sidewalks and gutters within four hours “after the snow ceases to fall,” but the Code exempts property owners from clearing the snow and ice between 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
What’s not always so clear is when the snowstorm stopped. But that’s a topic for a lengthy discussion and analysis of several case decisions in different areas of New York.
At the start of a slip and fall case where someone slipped on the snow, it is important to look at the weather data for the week leading up to the slip and fall accident to prove that the snow that fell during the accident was relatively insignificant such as a trace amount of snow.
Slip and Fall Accident on Grease at a Restaurant
This photo shows a rubber mat on a cement ramp at the back of a famous New York restaurant that leads outside. The cement ramp would easily become greasy, so the rubber mat was placed on the ramp for workers to walk in and out of the restaurant. However, the rubber mat also became slippery from grease. Our client had a rotator cuff tear from a slip and fall accident when he slipped on the mat. He had both a Worker’s Compensation case and a Personal Injury case against the landlord.
How Do I Know if the Slippery Surface Is Slippery Enough to File a Lawsuit?
When someone slips on a slippery surface, the coefficient of friction “slipperiness” is important and can be measured by an instrument called a Tribometer. A Slip resistance value of 0.5 or greater is considered to be a safe value.
In Ceron v. Yeshiva University, the plaintiff demanded $1.2 million at mediation and refused to lower his demand. He slipped and fell on a metal ramp while attempting to pull a hand truck up a ramp to make a delivery in New York City. It had stopped raining 10 minutes earlier. The defense measured the coefficient of friction on the ramp while both dry and wet and found that it was 0.81 when dry and 0.69 when wet. Since the slip resistance value was greater than 0.5 when wet, the Supreme Court of the State of New York ruled that the ramp was not dangerous and dismissed the injured person’s case, so he got nothing!
Does a Warning Sign Mean That I Can’t File a Lawsuit?
No. A warning sign may reduce the liability of the defendant, but it does not mean that the defendant has no responsibility for causing your injury. You can receive money to compensate you for your personal injury, medical expenses, and lost wages even if the defendant has less responsibility or you were partially at fault.
Things You Should Do After Your Fall
- Take pictures or have someone take pictures of the accident scene. Get photos of the floor that was slippery, the condition, or any water or puddle that caused you to slip. If you can see where the water came from, try to get a photo of the source.
- Get the name and phone number of anyone who may have witnessed your fall.
- Immediately report your accident to the property owner or property security company. Be sure to get a copy of the accident report. If you are taken to the hospital by ambulance, do not worry about that.
- Keep the shoes you were wearing at the time of the accident – do not wear them again.
- Place the clothing you were wearing at the time of the accident in a plastic bag. Do not wash them.
- If you have suffered any visible injury, take photographs, or we can do that for you.
- Go to the hospital emergency room immediately. Tell the doctor about every area of your body in which you are experiencing pain. It is very important to make a record of your injury.
- DO NOT speak about your case or give any statements to any employees or insurance representatives. Do not speak with anyone other than your trip and fall accident lawyer.
We have represented clients in both Slip & Fall and Trip & Fall accidents against supermarkets, municipalities, stores, schools, office buildings, restaurants, and shopping centers.
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Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.
Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Rob began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.