You can sue your neighbor if you slip and fall on their property if it happened because of their negligence or carelessness. Property owners have a responsibility to keep the spaces that they invite people to free and clear of hazards. If they violate this responsibility, you are legally entitled to seek compensation for your suffering.
Slip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes of accidental injuries. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), slip and falls account for over one million emergency room visits per year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one out of five falls causes a serious injury, such as a broken bone or head injury.
Property Owner Liability for Slip and Fall Accidents
When you suffer an injury because of another person’s negligence, you have the legal right to pursue compensation for the damages caused by their negligence. Damages can include your medical expenses, the cost of property damage, and your pain and suffering. If you slip and fall on your neighbor’s property, you can sue them for damages if the accident was a result of their negligence.
The Legal Information Institute (LII) defines negligence as “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” In other words, if your neighbor failed to exercise a reasonable level of care in preventing you from falling on their property, they may be liable for your injuries.
Some instances where your neighbor may be liable for your injury include if your fall was caused by:
- Uneven walking surfaces
- Wet floors due to recent mopping or an accidental spill
- Recently waxed floors
- Leaking ceilings
- Improperly constructed staircases
- Loose floorboards
- Torn, frayed, or bunched carpeting
- Defective or dangerous sidewalks
- Potholes in pavement
- Cluttered floors or other tripping hazards
- Improper lighting
- Poor housekeeping
The specifics of homeowner liability for falls on their property will vary depending on your state’s laws. To learn more about whether your neighbor is liable for your slip and fall injury on their property, you can reach out to a personal injury lawyer.
Things to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
If you slip and fall on your neighbor’s or someone else’s property, there are several things you can do to help protect your rights and create a record that may help you to get compensation for your injury:
- Seek medical attention. Always visit your doctor after any kind of accident. Not only is this the right thing to do for your health and safety, but seeking medical attention will create medical records of your injury that you can use to prove the accident happened and that you suffered because of it when you pursue compensation.
- Document the tripping hazard. If you are well enough, take pictures of the scene of your slip and fall immediately after it happens. Capture images of what you fell on, where you fell, and the general area. This is important evidence that the property owner could remove later.
- Document your injury. In addition to going to the doctor, you should take pictures of your injuries and other associated losses. Keep a record of your medical treatments and the costs of any property damage or repair expenses.
- Inform the property owner. As soon as possible, report your injury to your neighbor or the property owner. Avoid saying too much or discussing your own fault for the fall. Speaking to a lawyer before you give any official statements can help protect your interests.
- Speak to witnesses. If anyone else was present or nearby when you fell, try to get their name and phone number. If someone saw you fall or saw the tripping hazard, they could give important testimony.
Ways to Recover Compensation for a Slip and Fall Accident
If your neighbor is responsible for your fall injury, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses in a couple of ways. The first is by making a claim on their homeowner or property owner’s insurance. Most homeowners have this insurance, but some may not have a policy that covers accident liability. You will have to speak to the homeowner to find out if they have insurance and who their provider is, but a lawyer can also help you with this and negotiate with the insurance company for you.
Another way to pursue compensation for a slip and fall injury on your neighbor’s property is to sue them through a personal injury lawsuit. Most personal injury cases do not end up going to court, so filing a lawsuit does not necessarily mean that your case will go to trial. In order to win in court or negotiate a successful settlement for your injury, you will need to prove that the property owner was negligent and that their negligence caused you harm.
Recoverable Damages for a Slip and Fall Accident
Possible damages that you may be able to recover through a personal injury lawsuit for a slip and fall accident on your neighbor’s property include:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage costs
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental or emotional distress
The Statute of Limitations Can Affect Your Lawsuit
Civil lawsuits are subject to a time limit, also called a statute of limitations. You can only pursue compensation for your injuries within this state-mandated deadline. This time limit varies by state, but most often, it is two or three years. In some states, the statute of limitations can be as little as one or as many as six years. You should consult a lawyer to see what the statute of limitations is for your state.
Get Help from Ben Crump Law, PLLC
When you suffer an injury, the team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, is here to help you. We offer a free consultation at no obligation to discuss your legal options, and we work on contingency, so you will only owe us a fee if we can earn a settlement for you. Call us at (800) 647-3113 to learn more and see if we can help you recover compensation for your slip and fall injury.