Slip-and-fall accidents can lead to serious injury. In some cases, the property owner may be liable.

The term "slip-and-fall" likely conjures images of people slipping and sliding before ultimately loosing balance and falling to the ground. A recent story out of Virginia along this same line of thought has gained an enormous social media following with millions of views. The video, taken by the man's wife, shows a man dressed and ready for work. He steps out in his business coat, holding a briefcase, only to begin sliding down the driveway. The slide appears to last for a couple of yards before the man makes contact with this lawn and promptly face plants into the snowy grass.

The man in this story is fine. He has been interviewed and has taken his sudden fame for an epic fall in stride, laughing and stating that this was not "his first spill."

Unfortunately, not every slip-and-fall story ends with laughter. The National Floor Safety Institute estimates that slip-and-fall accidents account for over one million hospital visits every year. These falls can result in fractures and other serious injuries.

Slip-and-fall: what is the legal definition?

The legal term "slip-and-fall" involves the slip or trip of an individual on another's property where the accident results in injury. In some cases, the owner of the property where the accident occurred may be liable for the injury. Examples include accidents caused by torn carpeting, poorly maintained stairs, bad lighting, a wet floor or other hazards.

Liability can also apply if the accident is the result of a slip on ice, snow or a slick puddle.

Liability: when is another party responsible for the accident?

The answer to this will depend on each individual case. However, if one of the following three examples is present, the owner will likely be liable:

  • Creation. If the owner created the hazard.
  • Failure to fix. If the owner was aware of the hazard and failed to take steps to fix the issue.
  • Reasonable. The hazard was present for so long that any reasonable owner would be aware of it and have had sufficient time to make needed corrections.

You may be able to hold the owner legally liable for your injuries if you or a loved one was injured in a slip-and-fall accident. An attorney can review your accident and help you decide whether or not to pursue damages against the property owner. A successful claim can result in a monetary award to cover the cost of medical bills and lost wages as well as pain and suffering.