Slip And Fall Lawsuit Guide 2023 (2023)

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Christy Bieber, J.D.


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Adam Ramirez, J.D.


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Updated: Sep 29, 2022, 7:03am

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

Slip And Fall Lawsuit Guide 2023 (3) Getty

Table of Contents

  • Slip and Fall Lawsuit
  • Negligence and Slip and Fall
  • Examples of Conditions Leading to Slip and Fall
  • Your Own Responsibility for the Accident
  • Location of Slip and Fall Accident
  • Statute of Limitations
  • Filing a Slip and Fall Lawsuit
  • Compensation for Slip and Fall Accidents
  • Do You Need an Attorney for a Slip and Fall Case?
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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(Video) What Wins Slip, Trip and Fall Cases?

If you fall on someone’s property, you may be able to recover compensation by filing a slip and fall lawsuit. These types of claims arise under premises liability laws and you will need to prove a property owner was to blame.

This guide will help you understand your rights in a slip and fall case, as well as provide insight into the types of losses you can recover compensation for.


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Slip and Fall Lawsuit

Some eight million people visit hospital emergency rooms each year after a fall, per the National Flooring Safety Institute. Slip and falls make up 12% of total falls and independently account for a million ER visits.

Not every tumble can result in a slip and fall lawsuit, though. In order to successfully pursue a claim, you must demonstrate that the property owner or occupier should be held accountable for what happened to you. Generally, this means proving negligence.

Negligence and Slip and Fall

In order to win a slip and fall lawsuit, you will need to demonstrate that the property owner or occupier failed to fulfill their duty of care. Their irresponsible behavior must have created conditions that directly led to your fall and resulting injuries.

Owner vs. Occupier Negligence

Slip and fall cases can be complicated because sometimes the person who occupies the property is not the person who owns it. Therefore, you will need to understand which party had a responsibility to upkeep the space and what types of failures are considered negligent.

All property owners have a duty to maintain their premise. If they know of a hazard, or should be aware of one, and they do not fix it and/or provide appropriate warning, the property owner can be held responsible for resulting falls.

Occupiers also have an obligation to keep their premises reasonably safe. If they know, or should be aware of, a hazard in the space they are renting, they too must correct the problem and/or provide warning of the risk. If an occupier cannot fix the hazard themselves, they must promptly notify the property owner.

So, what if you are injured in a rented space? You generally would file a slip and fall lawsuit against the occupier if they failed to address the hazard. However, you may also have a claim against the property owner if:

  • The property owner had maintained control (such as of a common area in an apartment)
  • The property owner rented the property with hazards they failed to disclose
  • The lease agreement specifies that the owner is responsible for certain repair and maintenance tasks which the owner failed to fulfill.

An experienced attorney can help you to determine who the best person is to pursue a case against when you are injured in a slip and fall.

Components of Negligence

Whether you are pursuing a claim against a property owner or occupier, you still must prove negligence in order to get compensation in a slip and fall lawsuit. And there are a few specific components of negligence you must demonstrate including:

(Video) How Long Do Slip & Fall Cases Take to Settle? | Does Slip and Fall Cases Hard To Win - Ethen Ostroff

  • The property owner or occupier either caused the hazardous condition, had knowledge of it, or should have known of it if they exercised the level of care a reasonable person would have exhibited
  • The property owner/occupier failed to correct the condition if there was a reasonable opportunity to do so and/or failed to warn of the hazard
  • The owner/occupier’s failure was the direct cause of injury
  • The injury caused harm

Photographs from the accident scene, expert testimony, and medical records can all help you to prove negligence in a slip and fall lawsuit.

Examples of Conditions Leading to Slip and Fall

Many types of hazardous conditions can result in a slip and fall including the following:

  • Wet floors
  • Uneven flooring
  • Loose flooring material
  • Bulging carpeting
  • Unsalted icy areas
  • Potholes
  • Spill that aren’t cleaned up
  • Debris or trash on the floor
  • Cords in walkways
  • Poor lighting

Property owners or occupiers should correct or warn of the dangers when these conditions develop. For example, if an employee of a store washes a floor, they should put up a “Wet Floor” sign to warn patrons.

Your Own Responsibility for the Accident

In some cases, you may share some responsibility for the fall. For example, if you walked around a wet floor sign, you made a decision that increased your chances of a fall occurring.

Whether your role affects your ability to file a slip and fall lawsuit or not depends on the specific circumstances, as well as the rules where you live.

Contributory Negligence

In a small minority of states, contributory negligence rules apply. This means that if you play even a tiny part in causing your own injuries, you will not be able to recover compensation for your slip and fall.

Comparative Negligence

In most parts of the United States, contributory negligence rules have been replaced by comparative negligence rules. If you live in a state with comparative negligence rules, you can potentially still pursue a claim even if you are partly to blame for your fall. However, you will receive less compensation.

In a pure comparative negligence state, you can successfully obtain compensation for a slip and fall no matter how much of the blame you share. Your compensation is simply reduced based on your percentage of fault. If you were 90% responsible for falling and suffered $10,000 in damage, the other party could be responsible for the remaining 10% of your damages and could be required to provide $1,000 in compensation.

In modified comparative negligence states, you are allowed to obtain compensation only if the other party is 50% or 51% responsible for your losses. Again, your compensation would still be reduced based on your percentage of fault.


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Location of Slip and Fall Accident

The location of a slip and fall accident can also affect your ability to file a slip and fall lawsuit. That’s because special rules apply to certain types of properties.

Slip and Fall on Government Property

If you slip and fall on a government property, you can pursue a case if you prove the government entity or employee was negligent in a way that led to your fall. However, there are different procedural requirements for pursuing a case. You must provide a formal notice of injury and there is a short deadline for doing so. You may also face a statutory limit on the amount of compensation you can receive.

Slip and Fall in Stores or Companies

Stores and companies invite people onto their property in order to do business with them. As a result, in some states they have a duty to make the premises safe for their customers. They must take steps to identify and fix hazards or they can be found negligent for failure to do so. This can mean a victim is able to successfully file a slip and fall lawsuit based on the store owner’s or store employee’s negligence.

Landlord Slip and Fall

If you are in a rented property and you slip and fall, there are times you could pursue a case against the landlord. However, you would need to prove the landlord was aware of and had a responsibility to correct the hazardous condition but negligently failed to do so.

If you slipped in a common area due to uneven tiles, or fell in your apartment because the floor was made slippery by a roof leak your landlord was supposed to correct but didn’t, then you may be able to successfully obtain compensation.

Statute of Limitations

If you wish to pursue a slip and fall lawsuit, you must do so in a timely manner. The statute of limitations prevents you from making a claim after too long a time has passed. The allowable time varies by state, but in general is between two and four years from the time of the fall-related injuries.

(Video) The Ultimate Guide to Personal Injury | 2020 Edition

Filing a Slip and Fall Lawsuit

You can file a slip and fall lawsuit in court in the area where the fall took place. You also have the option to settle, which would involve negotiating with the party responsible for the fall (or, more likely, with their insurance company).

If you settle, you receive an agreed-upon payment without having to go to court. You must give up any future claims arising from the fall.

Compensation for Slip and Fall Accidents

Each slip and fall case has unique circumstances, so it is difficult to determine an average settlement. However, many cases settle for between $10,000 and $50,000. Claims involving fatal accidents result in much higher compensation, with surviving loved ones often receiving hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in compensation.

Economic and Non-Economic Losses

When you pursue a slip and fall case, you should be compensated for both economic and non-economic losses. Damages can include payment for:

  • Medical bills
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

How Much Your Slip and Fall Case is Worth

Many factors affect the amount your case is worth including:

  • Whether you share responsibility for the fall, in which case compensation is reduced
  • The severity of your injuries and whether they are permanent
  • The cost of your medical bills
  • Whether your injury prevents you from working
  • How the insurer calculates pain and suffering

Some insurers estimate pain and suffering by taking a multiplier of actual economic damages. For example, you may be offered between 1.5 and 5 times the amount of your medical bills and lost wages. Others use a per diem approach, paying you a set amount (often a day’s wages) for the number of days your pain persists.

Slip and Fall and Homeowner’s Insurance

Homeowners insurance should provide coverage for slip and fall claims that occur on the insured owner’s property. Liability coverage pays for legal bills for homeowners as well as damages for victims. Insurance will pay only up to the policy limits, though. So if a homeowner has $50,000 in liability coverage, this is the maximum amount the insurer would pay. Fall victims could try to pursue a claim against the homeowner directly if they suffer greater losses.

Slip and Fall and Worker’s Compensation Insurance

If a slip and fall happens at work, employees cannot pursue a slip and fall lawsuit. Instead, they must make a worker’s compensation claim. State worker’s compensation rules determine the types of damages an injured worker can recover payment for. There is typically no need to prove negligence in worker’s comp cases as employers are almost always liable for covering losses from work-related injuries regardless of fault.

Find out more about other types of lawsuits with our defamation lawsuit guide.

Do You Need an Attorney for a Slip and Fall Case?

You should have an attorney for a slip and fall case. These types of cases can result in a substantial amount of compensation for injured victims and you want to get the full amount of money you deserve. Your slip and fall accident lawyer can help you negotiate a settlement or pursue a lawsuit within the statute of limitations.


Looking To Speak With an Accident Lawyer? Find One Near You

Get Your Free Consultation From a Lawyer Near You.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why are slip and fall cases hard to win?

Slip and fall lawsuits can sometimes be difficult to win because you must prove the property owner was negligent. This means showing they were aware of, or should have been aware of, the hazard that caused your fall and that their failure to fix the issue and/or warn you about it was the direct cause of your harm. An experienced attorney can help you meet this burden of proof and recover compensation.

How do you find a good slip and fall lawyer?

To find a good slip and fall lawyer, you can ask for referrals or visit your state’s Bar Association which should maintain a directory of attorneys practicing in this area. You should look for an attorney who has a long track record of successfully getting compensation for clients in slip and fall cases.

What is premises liability?

Premises liability is a body of law that governs injury claims that occur on someone else’s property. If you are hurt at a public or private building or on anyone else’s land, you can pursue a personal injury case governed by premises liability laws.

What if someone falls on my property?

If someone falls on your property, you could be liable for their injuries if the fall occurred as a direct result of your failure to identify and correct and/or warn about hazards. Your liability insurance should cover your legal costs and the damages you owe to the injured victim.

(Video) 12 Factors That Impact Your Personal Injury Settlement in 2023 (Part 1)

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(Video) Who To Talk To After A Slip And Fall


What is the highest settlement for a slip and fall? ›

The average slip and fall claim can usually settle anywhere between $10,000 and $50,000. Some things to consider when valuing a slip and fall case are damages the victim sustained, which can include both economic damages and non-economic damages. Then, you must look at the extent of the damages.

Why slip and fall cases are difficult to win? ›

With slip and fall claims, there may be no such evidence. This means that this type of case must rely on the victim's first-hand account and testimony from witnesses, if any were present. As a result, you may experience a few challenges when attempting to recover damages for your injuries.

How much compensation do you get for a trip or fall? ›

The average slip-and-fall settlement is between $10,000 and $50,000. If you've been in a slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation. The settlement can help cover medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related damages. The settlement amounts in slip-and-fall cases can vary.

How much money does target settle for slip and fall accidents? ›

“Obviously, the jury saw otherwise and was disappointed that Target had not accepted responsibility for what happened.” The slip and fall $2.1 million award is comprised of two parts – $1.4 million for the past noneconomic damages and $700,000 for any future noneconomic damages.

What is the most money awarded in a lawsuit? ›

These are ten of the biggest personal injury settlements ever.
  • $2.2 Billion Pharmacist Medical Malpractice in Kansas. ...
  • $2 Billion Monsanto Roundup Case in California. ...
  • $1.1 Billion Drunk Driving Accident Case in North Dakota. ...
  • $60 Million Train Derailment Case. ...
  • $38 Million Hyundai Motors Co.
Jul 23, 2022

What is the usual result of a settlement? ›

Generally, when a settlement agreement is reached, the responsible party pays an amount to compensate for the “damages,” or losses, their negligence caused the victim.

What questions to ask for a slip and fall case? ›

Questions to Ask in a Slip and Fall Case
  • Where Do Slip And Falls Happen? ...
  • What Conditions Caused or Contributed to the Cause of Your Fall? ...
  • How Long Was the Dangerous Condition There? ...
  • Who Owns, Manages, or Oversees the Property? ...
  • Was The Property Owner or Manager Aware of the Hazardous Condition, or Should They Have Been?
Mar 3, 2022

What injuries are hard to prove? ›

Some injuries can change a person's life, but are incredibly difficult to diagnose and treat. This is often the case when it comes to injuries such as whiplash, nerve damage, sprains, strains, mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and concussions.

How do I prepare for a slip and fall case? ›

Getting a Fair Slip and Fall Settlement
  1. Take pictures of the scene to document the hazards that contributed to your injury(s).
  2. Save all your medical bills, pay stubs, and other proof of the losses you've suffered due to the slip and fall.
  3. Avoid discussing the incident or your recovery on social media.
Sep 17, 2021

How do you calculate injury compensation? ›

How do you calculate injury compensation?

How much is the Walmart settlement payout? ›

How much is the Walmart settlement payout?

How much should I settle for a broken ankle? ›

How much should I settle for a broken ankle?

How much are most personal injury settlements? ›

How much are most personal injury settlements?

What is the largest personal injury settlement ever? ›

What is the largest personal injury settlement ever?

Does Walmart usually settle out of court? ›

Does Walmart usually settle out of court?

What is the most expensive part of a lawsuit? ›

What is the most expensive part of a lawsuit?

How likely are you to win a lawsuit? ›

How likely are you to win a lawsuit?

What is the biggest lawyer payouts? ›

What is the biggest lawyer payouts?

Do you pay taxes on lawsuit settlements? ›

If the settlement includes something other than special or general damages, then you might have to pay taxes on it. For example, if it includes terms like a guaranteed severance payment or other compensation that could be considered employment income, then that part of the settlement might be taxable.

How long after settlement do I get the money? ›

At settlement, your lender will disburse funds for your home loan and you'll receive the keys to your home. Generally, settlement takes place around 6 weeks after contracts are exchanged.

What to do with a $100,000 settlement? ›

8 Smart Things to Do With Your Settlement Money
  • Understand the Tax Implications. ...
  • Get a Good Financial Advisor. ...
  • Pay Off Debt and Save. ...
  • Invest in Education. ...
  • Invest in Your Home. ...
  • Donate to Charity. ...
  • Invest in Business, Friends, or Family. ...
  • Enjoy Yourself!

Who is at fault for slip and fall? ›

How a slip-and-fall case is resolved depends on a number of factors that may be unique to each case. If a victim was invited onto a premises and was injured because a property owner was negligent, the property owner is at fault. If the victim was a trespasser, he or she is usually at fault.

How do you investigate a slip and fall accident? ›

If possible, immediately inspect the area with the affected person to determine the location and identify possible causes. Create a written account of facts, take photos and, if available, find video surveillance footage. Document the type and condition of footwear worn by the affected person.

What is the hardest injury to heal? ›

What is the hardest injury to heal?

What are 3 types of major injuries? ›

What are 3 types of major injuries?

What is the most painful injury to the body? ›

What is the most painful injury to the body?

How do you know if your deposition went well? ›

You know your deposition is going well if you are answering questions to the best of your ability according to the advice of counsel. Your lawyers are there to protect your interests and object to questions you should not answer. Allow them the space to do that by following their cues.

How do I write a demand letter for slip and fall? ›

Your demand letter should include:
  1. Statement of Facts: Describing the circumstances just before, during and after you were injured.
  2. Liability: Explain why the evidence shows the insured is directly responsible for your injuries.
  3. Injuries: Describe your injuries, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.

Can I claim compensation for a fall? ›

Can I claim compensation for a fall? If it was someone else's fault and you sustained an injury as a result, then you can usually make a claim for compensation.

How much do you get for a slip and fall in California? ›

How much do you get for a slip and fall in California?


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