Slip and Fall Injuries

Slip and Fall Injuries

People frequently suffer serious injuries when they trip and fall due to dangerous conditions. If you slip and fall or trip and fall on someone else’s property and sustain an injury, you may be able to receive financial compensation.

A broken stairway in a restaurant, a patch of ice on the sidewalk, a broken curb outside a store or a puddle of liquid inside a supermarket can cause a serious slip and fall injury.

Under certain circumstances, a property owner can be held liable and forced to pay you for injuries you suffered due to a trip- or slip-and-fall on a dangerous condition.  We have successfully represented clients in trip- and slip-and-fall cases and we would be honored if you considered Matsikoudis & Fanciullo to represent you on your case.

Our initial consultation is free and we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay any fee unless and until we are successful in getting money for you. 

Contact us for more information.

What You Need to Know

If you can prove that a potentially liable party (typically a property owner or manager) acted negligently, on their own accord or through an employee, and caused your slip- or trip-and-fall, you may be entitled to financial compensation.  Negligence is closely tied to the idea of “reasonable behavior.”  If the potentially liable party failed to behave reasonably, they may be found negligent. 

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Case Types

There are two main types of cases in which a party may have failed to live up to “reasonable behavior”: where they failed to notice or fix a dangerous condition, and where they actually caused a dangerous condition.  

Here are some factors to consider when trying to determine whether a party was negligent:

  • Did the dangerous condition exist long enough that a reasonable person could have taken action to make it safer? For instance, a spill on a grocery store floor that happened seconds before the accident versus a spill that was left uncleaned for an hour.

  • Was there a good reason for the existence of the danger? For instance, floor/sidewalk panels removed temporarily for repair reasons and properly demarcated with warnings versus damaged or uneven walking spaces.

  • Did the property owner have a policy of routinely checking for hazards on their property and if so, is there a record that such a procedure was followed? In New Jersey, a business owner has a duty to conduct proactive inspections to protect patrons from dangerous conditions.

  • Was the property properly lit? Lighting is especially important in staircases or other areas where a person could catch their foot on an edge.

  • Could the dangerous condition have been made less dangerous by warning signs, preventing access, or other means?

Proving Negligence

If you can prove that the defending party was negligent and that their negligence caused your fall, you can be entitled to recover.  Another common defense property owners and managers may attempt is to say that you, the plaintiff, are partially or fully responsible for causing the accident by failing to live up to reasonable behavior on your part.  Some of the following factors might affect whether this defense can apply:

  • Were you distracted from noticing a danger that otherwise you could have avoided? For instance, texting while walking and failing to see a warning sign.
  • Did you have lawful access or a legitimate reason to be in the dangerous area? For instance, falling in an “employees only” warehouse versus inside a restaurant during open hours.
  • Did you ignore warning signs or rope/tape markers?

If the plaintiff behaved unreasonably, it is much less likely to recover or to recover as much.  Ultimately, you are most likely to be entitled to financial compensation if you fell through no fault of your own due to the negligent behavior of a property owner or manager or their employees. 

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