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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Slip and Fall: What constitutes it and the conditions under which a case may be initiated

Slip and falls are one of the most common and in the case of the premises owner, avoidable occurrences in the winter, especially in Buffalo. They are also hazardous, with many resulting in scrapes, minor and major injuries, and very occasionally, death. However, the law has  a strict definition of a slip and fall and carefully sets out those conditions under which you may sue for damages.

There are four general categories of slip and fall accidents:

  • Stump-and-fall accidents: due to an impediment in the walking surface, such as a cracked sidewalk that wasn't there previously.
  • Step-and-fall accidents: due to an unexpected failure or hole in the walking surface, such as a missing manhole cover or torn carpeting.
  • Trip-and-fall accidents: where there is a foreign object in the walking path, like a bucket of water in a stairwell that is normally clear.
  • Slip-and-fall accidents: due to an interface of the shoe and the floor failing, which means that you slip and fall on someone's wet or greasy floor and there are no warning signs posted anywhere.

The key liability issues in a slip and fall case are 1) who are the potentially liable parties, and 2) Were those parties actually negligent. Another critical element is anticipating and defending against a claim that the injured person’s own carelessness somehow caused or contributed to the accident.

If you intend to hold another party responsible for your injuries, you must typically prove that: a) a property owner (or their employee) should have recognized a dangerous condition and removed or repaired the potential danger but did not, or b) a property owner (or their employee) actually caused the dangerous condition leading to the slip and fall accident – and it was reasonably foreseeable that someone would trip and fall due to the condition.

Our firm, Wellborn Paluch, has extensive experience in representing individuals who have been victims of slip and fall accidents in the Buffalo area and throughout Western New York. If you have been involved in an accident please call us and we will discuss and draw up a course of action with you (716) 254-2554. 


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