What Is a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?

A slip and fall lawsuit is a legal action against another party for causing a fall and injury. If a person experiences an injury on someone else’s property — whether a private home, a store, or a public place — they may bring a premises liability lawsuit, also known as a slip and fall lawsuit.

The impact of a slip and fall accident

Slipping and falling can cause significant harm and financial losses. While some falls result in relatively minor injuries, others can create long-lasting health complications or even death. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in adults over 65. In 2020 alone, over 36,000 older adults died from falls.

If a person experiences a significant injury after falling, this can affect other areas of their life. For example, they may no longer be able to work, resulting in lost wages, or may need to hire help around the home since they are in so much pain. To receive financial compensation for their losses, pain, and suffering, many victims file a slip and fall lawsuit.

Essential documentation for a slip and fall case

Documentation can help win a slip and fall lawsuit. There are several forms of documentation to collect, and the more there is, the better it will be for the case. As soon as possible after the accident, the injured party should take the following steps:

  • Take pictures. Capture photos of the area surrounding the accident. Today, most people have cameras on their phones, making it easier to quickly document where the accident took place. They should take pictures of whatever caused the accident, along with the general surroundings. If they cannot take pictures due to their injury, they should ask someone to do it for them.
  • Create a written record. Write down everything about the accident. A written record should be created before other people can relay their version of events, as these may cloud a person’s memory. Writing down their memories will create a clear record of the incident from their perspective before the memories fade.
  • Record injuries. In addition to writing about the incident, accident victims should record their injuries and how they affect their life. For example, if they have to miss work because of pain, they should make a written note of this. There are several ways to keep a written record, whether in a journal, calendar, or even a note-taking app on a phone.
  • Talk to witnesses. If there were any witnesses to the incident, collect their contact information. Their testimony may be needed in the future, and it will be easier to contact them if their information is written down.
  • Gather medical records. If an injured person received medical treatment, they should get copies of medical records from their doctor and receipts for any purchases related to the injury. For example, if prescription pain medication is required, reimbursement for this payment may be possible through the lawsuit, so having an expense record is helpful.

Steps to take following a slip and fall

When someone experiences a slip and fall, there are several steps they can take to get the best possible chance of a good outcome. First, they should seek immediate medical assistance if they experienced serious injuries.

Once they are able, they should start collecting documentation regarding the incident. The types of documentation to get following a slip and fall accident are listed above. They should try to collect as many as possible in a timely manner, as the more evidence they have, the better.

Next, they should consult a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases. A lawyer can help investigate and build a case with the goal of receiving fair financial compensation. To build a case, the lawyer will help determine financial losses, including medical bills and lost wages. In addition, they may be eligible for noneconomic damages, which is financial compensation for the physical and emotional toll from the accident.

From there, the lawyer will either negotiate a settlement with the defendant or take the case to trial. Negotiating is often quicker, but the defendant may not want to settle. Going to trial may take several months or years, but during this time, the lawyer may continue to negotiate a settlement.

Decisions regarding liability

Who is liable for an accident depends on where it occurs. If a person falls on someone else’s property, the property owner may be liable. For example, if someone slips inside a retail store, the store owner is likely liable. However, it could also be the lessor or lessee of the store, depending on the situation. If a person was injured while at work, such as after using dangerous chemicals, then the employer may be liable.

If someone is injured on public property, the municipality in charge of the property is likely liable. Public properties can include sidewalks, government buildings, or public parks. The liability may shift depending on the local laws, such as if the municipality requires residents to clean public walkways in front of their property.

Finally, if a person was injured in someone’s home, then the owner of that home is likely liable. However, in most cases, they will settle with the owner’s homeowners insurance. To learn more about who may be liable for a slip and fall accident, it is best to consult a lawyer.

Frequently asked questions about a slip and fall accident

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions related to slip and fall lawsuits:

What is negligence?

Negligence is when a person fails to take actions that could prevent harm to another. For example, if a store owner does not clean up a spill and someone slips and falls, they could be found negligent, as they failed to prevent the injury.

Four elements make up negligence. First, the defendant has a duty of care to the injured party. Second, that duty of care is breached when the defendant’s actions or inactions cause an injury. Third, the injury is direct or proximate cause of the defendant. Finally, the injury created a harm to the injured person either monetary, physical pain, or suffering. If an incident meets these four elements, it likely constitutes negligence.

What is premises liability law?

Premises liability law relates to whether the property owner is liable for an injury caused on the premises. For the premises liability law to apply to an accident, it must meet two criteria. First, the accident must have been foreseeable, meaning the average person could have assumed that an accident would occur based on the conditions. Second, the property owner must not have made a reasonable effort to keep the property safe. What constitutes “foreseeable” and “reasonable” often depends on the specifics of the individual case.

What if an accident happens on a rental property?

In most cases, if an accident occurs on a rental property, then the property owner is the one who is responsible. However, if the renter does something to cause a dangerous situation or if they do not notify the landlord of the danger, then the liability may shift. When dealing with an injury that occurred on someone else’s property, it is often best to consult a lawyer, as premises liability cases can be complex.

What if an accident happens on public property?

If someone experiences an injury on public property, they may be able to sue for their injuries. Public properties are those owned by a government agency, such as a local, city, or state municipality. Common public properties include parks, pools, and government buildings.

However, personal injury lawsuits involving public property can sometimes differ from those involving private parties. For one, the local government may have deadlines for filing lawsuits or extra steps for filing legal action. In addition, some states have sovereign immunity, which protects certain government agencies and employees from being sued. It is best to contact a lawyer to learn the public property laws in the area, as they can help determine eligibility.

Who is eligible for workers’ compensation?

When someone experiences an injury at work, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation claims can help a person receive financial aid while they are out of work. Employees can typically file a workers’ compensation claim if they were hurt either at work or while performing work-related duties. There are exceptions, however, such as if they were working at a location not owned or managed by their employer. In this case, they would sue the property owner and file a third-party claim instead.


Learn more about slip and fall lawsuits, including how to determine liability, what documentation is needed, and how to start filing a slip and fall lawsuit.


Bieber, C. (2022, September 29). Slip and Fall Lawsuit Guide 2023. Retrieved from www.forbes.com/advisor/legal/personal-injury/slip-and-fall-lawsuit/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, April 12). Older Adult Falls. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/falls/index.html