Slip and Falls

Any time you enter someone else’s property or premises, whether a personal residence or a business such as a store, you become dependent on the owner to ensure the property is safe and free of hazards. Slips and falls describe when a person is injured from falling on someone else’s property due to a hazardous condition. Under some circumstances, the property owner may be held legally accountable for injuries sustained to patrons and guests.

For the property owner to be held liable, the owner or the owner’s employee must have either caused the hazardous condition, be it a spill, slippery or dangerous surface or item underfoot, known of the dangerous issue but failed to correct it, or known of the hazardous condition because a “reasonable” person would have discovered the problem and fixed it.

Slips – occur when there is too little friction or traction between a person’s shoes and the walking surface. Common causes are wet or oily floors, occasional spills, weather hazards, loose and unanchored rugs or mats and flooring materials that do not have the same degree of traction in all areas.

Trips – occur when a person’s foot comes in contact with an object, resulting in a loss of balance which causes a fall. Common causes are obstructed views, poor lighting, clutter, wrinkled carpeting, uncovered cables, open drawers and uneven walking surfaces.

Prevention – Slips/trips and falls can be prevented by good housekeeping, quality walking surfaces, the selection of proper footwear and by watching for hazards, if possible.


There are some simple “housekeeping” steps property owners can and should take to prevent a condition from causing someone to slip or trip and fall, including:

  • Cleaning all spills immediately
  • Marking spills and west areas with signs
  • Mopping/sweeping debris from the floor
  • Removing obstacles from walkways
  • Securing mats, rugs and carpets to do not lay flat or that migrate
  • Covering cables that cross walkways
  • Keeping work areas and walkways well lit
  • Replacing used light bulbs and faulty switches

Fall Statistics

  • Falls account for over 8 million emergency room visits annually
  • Falls are a primary cause for time missed from work
  • Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and are a leading cause of occupational injury for employees aged 55 and older
  • Floor and flooring materials are directly related to over 2 million fall injuries a year
  • Half of all accidental deaths at home are caused by a fall
  • Most injuries in the home occur at ground level
  • Hip fractures represent the most severe injury from a fall, resulting in the highest amount health problems and numbers of deaths
  • In the U.S., people over the age of 65 will experience at least one fall per year and half of these are experienced by repeat fallers
  • Incidence of falls goes up with each decade of life
  • 60% of all fall fatalities occur in individuals over the age of 75
  • Falls contribute to 87% of all fractures among people over the age of 65 and are the second leading cause of spinal cord and brain injuries
  • 85% of workers compensation claims are attributed to slick floors

In the Event of a Fall

  • Report your fall to someone in charge
  • Call an ambulance, or have someone call one for you if necessary
  • Complete an incident report
  • Do not make any statements
  • Take photos of what caused your injury
  • Seek immediate medical attention
  • Obtain a copy of your incident or police report
  • Contact an attorney
Posted in