Generally, slip and fall injuries are broken down into two separate categories. The first category is where an individual slips and falls as result of the existence of ice or snow which should have been removed or melted by the land owner. The second category is where individual slips and falls as result of the existence of a substance on the floor. Under either category of a slip and fall, a person is entitled to be fully and fairly compensated for their pain and suffering, disability and impairment and loss of enjoyment of life if it can be shown that the existence of the ice or snow or the existence of the foreign substance on the floor was caused by the unreasonable conduct of a land owner.
With respect to the existence of ice and snow, the reasonableness or unreasonableness of the land owner will be determined, in part, by the length of time that the ice and snow existed prior to the fall, the location of the ice and snow, whether any actions had been previously taken by the land owner to remove the ice and snow and whether other conditions of the land contributed to the existence of the ice or snow.
With respect to the existence of a foreign substance on a floor which causes a person to slip and fall, once again, the reasonableness or unreasonableness of the land owner will be determined by the facts surrounding the existence of the foreign substance. For instance, the longer a foreign substance exists on a floor prior to the slip and fall incident is greater evidence of the unreasonable conduct of the land owner. Another factor which will be taken into account is where the foreign substance came from. If the foreign substance is utilized in the landowner’s business (such as oil on the floor in an automobile repair shop or jelly on the floor in a supermarket), it is an indication that the unreasonable procedures of the landowner caused the condition to exist.
In these types of cases, it is important to preserve the evidence with respect to the dangerous condition of the property. This may be done in many ways including, but not limited to, taking photographs, advising the manager of the store or facility of the fall and the condition, preserving the closing and/or shoes of the injured party to show the existence of the foreign substance or through the statement of an independent witness. Because the existence of ice and snow and existence of a foreign substance on a floor can be easily cleaned up, it is imperative that the evidence be preserved as soon as possible.
After an individual sustains an injury as a result of a slip and fall, the primary concern is obtaining medical treatment minimize the pain-and-suffering and future disability and impairment. Often times, individuals who sustain these types of injuries do not have health insurance. It is important to note that many policies of insurance that cover commercial establishments as well as private homes often carry a “medical pay” provision which will provide the injured party with limited coverage for medical bills related to the injury sustained in the fall. Generally, untrained individuals are not aware of the existence of these “medical pay” provisions and, unless the appropriate questions are asked of the land owner’s insurance company, an injured individual may never know of the existence of this available insurance coverage.
If you or a family member have been injured as result of a slip and fall, it is imperative that you seek legal advice prior to discussing this matter with the insurance company for the landowner or their investigators. Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights with respect to any type of slip and fall accident or injury.