If a slip and fall accident has caused you serious injuries, you are not alone. Each year 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries and over 800,000 patients are hospitalized each year due to fall injuries, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture. If you have experienced a slip and fall accident, you may be wondering if you have a good claim for compensation. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Whether the property owner (or possessor) will be liable for your slip and fall injuries depends on whether you were a lawful visitor or a trespasser on the premises. An owner has a duty to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition for lawful visitors who use the premises in a reasonable and ordinary manner. An owner must also warn visitors of any hidden dangers and unsafe conditions of which he or she is aware or should be aware. On the other hand, a property owner does not owe these same duties to a trespasser.
A lawful visitor has an express or implied invitation to visit the premises and visits for the mutual benefit of herself and the property owner or visits for her own interest, convenience, or gratification with the owner’s consent. For example, you are a lawful visitor when you are eating in a restaurant, shopping in a grocery store, or staying with a friend at his or her invitation. In contrast, a trespasser enters the premises without the owner’s consent and has no right to be there.
A successful claimant can prove: (1) the slip and fall accident occurred while lawfully visiting the premises; (2) the owner violated the duty to keep the premises reasonably safe for visitors or warn visitors of unsafe conditions; and (3) the owner’s negligence proximately caused the slip and fall injuries. See our blog posts on Personal Injury FAQs and Contributory Negligence for more information on how negligence claims work in North Carolina.
A strong slip and fall case has strong evidence, such as pictures taken of the scene and/or surveillance video of the accident. If you are considering pursuing a slip and fall claim, you should contact an attorney immediately so he or she can obtain these items and ensure the owner preserves any other relevant evidence. Your medical records will also be important to show the extent of your injuries. Be sure to check out our blog post on how social media can affect your personal injury claim.
Our experienced attorneys at Grimes Yeoman can evaluate your case to see if you have a strong slip and fall claim and guide you through the process of seeking compensation. You can reach us by phone at (704) 321-4878 or contact us online for more information.
 NC Gen. Prac. Guide to Litigation § II.III.B.4 (2013).