People slip and fall in public places for many different reasons. Sometimes, the reason for a fall involves horseplay, distraction or inappropriate footwear. Other times, someone might encounter a spill when shopping or trip over a power cord left exposed inside a business.
Despite how dismissive people can be about slip-and-fall incidents, they can potentially lead to very serious injuries. A slip-and-fall at a store, restaurant or office could leave the person who falls with broken bones or possibly even a traumatic brain injury. An accident victim may incur thousands of dollars in medical bills and even more in lost wages.
Someone who has been hurt through no fault of their own should not have to absorb massive financial losses. They can potentially take legal action against another party responsible for their injury. Is the business where a fall occurs liable if someone gets hurt?
The reason for the fall influences liability
Responsibility for a fall often lies with a property owner or business tenant. Poor property maintenance can very easily lead to someone falling and getting hurt. So could other business decisions, like the choice to keep the fewest number of workers on the schedule as possible.
Typically, someone hurt in a slip-and-fall incident would need grounds to accuse the business of negligence to hold a company accountable for their slip-and-fall injuries. Negligence involves failing to do what a reasonable person recognizes is necessary for safety or engaging in behavior that reasonable people understand would increase the risk of others getting hurt. Failing to clean up spills or address a leaking refrigeration unit are examples of potentially actionable business negligence. So long as there is reason to claim negligence on the part of the company, the person who falls can potentially file a premises liability lawsuit.
A successful premises liability lawsuit could compensate an individual for medical expenses, property damage losses, lost wages and lost earning potential if their injuries will impact their functional abilities in the future. The business will usually have insurance that can help compensate the person who fell if they prevail in a personal injury lawsuit.