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Who is Liable when You Slip and Fall?


Unexpected falls can cause serious injuries. When the fall occurs in a public area, who is liable for medical bills and associated costs? An experienced local personal injury attorney can help with that question.

How common are these Incidents?

 Not surprisingly, falling accidents are quite common. In fact over one million people who slip and fall wind up in emergency rooms across the country every year, and another eight million ER visits are related to falls from tripping, ladders, and other circumstances. The facts indicate it’s a serious health—and financial– concern:

  • Five percent of falls result in some type of fracture;
  • One-third of falls involve seniors over age 65;
  • Four in ten people admitted to nursing homes do so following a fall;
  • As many as 85 percent of all workers’ compensation claims are the result of falls;
  • Falls are the number one reported cause of time lost on the job;
  • Seven in ten falls occur on flat surfaces;
  • Falls cost an average of nearly $23,000 per incident;
  • It is estimated that $100 million per day is spent on falls in this country;
  • Over $11 billion is spent handling slip and fall accidents in the United States every year.

 What Causes these Falls?

 These types of accidents occur with some regularity, in part because so many factors can impact the safety of individuals as they navigate the world. A few of the most common issues related to slips or falls include:

  • Loose carpeting;
  • Lifting tiles;
  • Spills;
  • Insecure railings;
  • Untreated surfaces that are slick;
  • Cluttered walkways.

Incidents in the News

Florida is no stranger to slip and fall accidents that wind up in court, often with high payouts:

  • One man experienced a nasty fall while browsing the indoor garden section of a Florida Walmart store in 2012. Following the fall, he experienced problems with herniated discs and with one of his knees. After going to trial, a jury awarded Thornton nearly a million dollars for his trouble.
  • One woman slipped in a puddle of water while making a hospital visit, incurring spinal injuries in 2013. The plaintiff and the hospital agreed to a settlement of $1.6 million.

Florida Law

 How does one establish that a public establishment holds some liability following a fall? In Florida, it must be proven that the hazard was known and ignored. This may occur by proving that either:

  • The conditions had been present for long enough it should have been noticed in the normal course of business;
  • The circumstances related to the fall were regularly occurring.

If one or both of these prove to be true, and there was no effort to rectify the situation, chances are premises liability will factor in.

After a Fall

 If you or a loved one has suffered serious health impacts following a fall, the knowledgeable team at the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton can help. Contact us in Daytona & Ormond Beach for a confidential consultation today.