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Slip & Fall Lawyer

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents are extremely common and can happen in a variety of locations, including grocery stores, restaurants, office buildings and shopping malls or outdoors in parking lots or on sidewalks. While slipping and falling in a public place can be embarrassing, it can also be quite painful, resulting in serious injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney.

Slip and fall accident cases generally proceed under the theory that the defendant (the landowner or occupier) was negligent. To establish negligence, an injured plaintiff must establish the existence of a duty by the defendant to conform to a specific standard of conduct; breach of that duty by the defendant; that this breach was the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury; and that the plaintiff was injured. As discussed previously, the duty that a landowner owes to a particular person depends on that person's legal status as an entrant on the land. This article will discuss some common causes of slip and fall accidents, which amount to a breach of the property owner's duty.

Indoor Conditions

A property owner or occupier (for example, a store tenant in a shopping mall) can be liable for injuries resulting from falls on slippery floors if the owner or occupier was negligent. However, simply because the floor material itself is slippery by nature (such as marble or tile), is not enough to establish negligence. Examples of conduct for which a property owner or occupier may be held responsible for a slip and fall accident are:

  • Failing to provide adequate warnings, such as signs, that the floor is being cleaned, waxed, or polished, and is still wet or damp; failing to properly close off an area that is wet
  • Cleaning the floor in a negligent manner, such as mopping at a busy time, using excessive amounts of soap or polish and allowing the floor to remain wet for an unreasonable period after cleaning is finished
  • Failing to clean up spilled food, liquid or other foreign substances, or to post a warning within a reasonable amount of time after being notified of the spill by a customer or employee
  • Failing to keep floor surfaces or carpets in a reasonably safe condition, such as loose floor tiles, torn carpet or splinters sticking up
  • Failing to correct conditions on stairways, such as broken handrails, worn steps or spills, that could cause injury if the property owner knew or should have known about them

A property owner is not liable for a slip and fall accident if the property owner was not aware of the condition; the condition was obvious; or the property owner acted with due care to correct the slippery or potentially dangerous condition.

Outdoor Conditions

Slip and fall accidents often happen outdoors on outside steps, sidewalks and in parking lots. A first question to ask if you are injured in a parking lot or other outdoor space is who is responsible for that space? If you are injured in a parking lot of a shopping center, an individual storeowner (probably a tenant in the shopping center) is not liable for injuries if the storeowner is not in possession of the parking lot and does not maintain control over it. Rather, the owner of the shopping center or a management company that runs it are more likely to have control over and responsibility for the parking lot. An owner of a parking lot or other outdoor space must exercise reasonable care to keep the area in a reasonably safe condition for pedestrians and cars. For invitees, the property owner has a duty to exercise ordinary care to keep the space reasonably safe and warn of known dangers, which invitees would not discover.

Common causes of outdoor trip and fall accidents include tripping over parking blocks or cracks in a sidewalk. Inadequate lighting may also lead to accidents involving falls in parking lots, trips over curbs, falls on steps and trips and falls due to uneven surfaces or holes. If a condition, such as a pothole or crack, is open and obvious, the owner or possessor of the property cannot be held liable.


Injuries from slip and fall accidents or trip and fall accidents are extremely common, and can be quite serious. If you were injured after falling in a public place such as a store, restaurant or parking lot at a mall, or if you tripped and fell on private property, it is important to seek appropriate medical attention. It is also important to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your situation and determine whether you have a viable claim for damages.

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