Your Guide to Slip and Fall Claims

Close up yellow warning sign with message Cleaning in progress with cleaning trolley. Concept of slip and fall claims.

You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries if you or a loved one has suffered a slip and fall accident. After a slip and fall accident, you should seek prompt medical treatment, document the accident, gather evidence, file an official incident report, and contact a slip and fall attorney to assess your case and help you develop a winning claim. Not knowing what to do after being injured due to a slip and fall can affect your health and ability to file a claim for compensation. Protect your rights by learning more about slip and fall claims in Las Vegas below.

What Are Slip and Fall Injuries?

Slip and fall injuries occur when something, such as an object or environmental condition, causes people to lose their balance unexpectedly and suffer a fall. They often result from property owners or caretakers failing to maintain the premises properly. Slip and fall accidents can occur indoors or outdoors, on private or public property.

Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries 

Las Vegas, nicknamed the Entertainment and Gambling Capital of the World, is one of the most visited tourist destinations. Unsurprisingly, the risk of experiencing slip-and-fall accidents in the city is significantly high, especially in hotels, casinos, shopping malls, apartment complexes, grocery stores, and parking lots. Slips and falls can also occur in many other places, including stadiums, public streets, sidewalks, and even at a loved one’s home.

Unaddressed dangerous flooring conditions are one of the most common causes of slip and falls. Such conditions include unmarked wet or slippery floors, uncleaned spills or slippery substances on the floor or ground, loose cords, trash and other debris on walkways, uneven flooring surfaces, tattered rugs or carpets, and damaged floorboards. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that floors and flooring materials cause over 2 million fall injuries every year.

Other common causes of slip-and-fall accidents and injuries include damaged or missing handrails, broken stairs, poor lighting, and holes in the ground.

Most Common Slip and Fall Injuries in Nevada

Slip and fall injuries account for over 1 million emergency room visits annually. Slip and fall injuries range from minor to severe and even life-threatening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of five fall accidents leads to serious injury. The most common injuries sustained in Nevada slip and fall accidents include:

  • Head injuries
  • Scratches, cuts, scars, and contusions
  • Broken or dislocated bones
  • Neck, back, or spinal cord injuries
  • Sprains, strains, or torn ligaments
  • Shoulder, wrist, or elbow injuries

Elderly people have more brittle bones, making them more vulnerable to fall injuries like fractures and dislocations. Senior citizens who sustain slip and fall injuries often require surgical procedures like hip replacements. These procedures can make their health deteriorate rapidly.

In some cases, slip and fall injuries can be fatal.

Filing Slip and Fall Claims

A slip and fall injury claim falls under the principle of premises liability. Under premises liability, property owners and occupants or tenants have a duty to maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition. They can be held liable for damages if they don’t take reasonable steps to prevent hazardous conditions on their premises.

When you suffer fall injuries on another person’s property because of someone else’s negligence, you may have a claim against the owner, occupant, or tenant. Slip and fall cases typically involve injury victims filing a claim with the at-fault party’s liability insurance provider.

As the injured person, you have the burden of proof. To bring a successful slip and fall claim, you’ll need to prove that the property owner or business was negligent and that the negligence was the cause of your fall and injuries. You can prove negligence by providing evidence of a dangerous or defective condition existing on the property, the owner being aware of the condition (or that he or she should’ve been aware of it), the owner doing nothing to fix it, and the dangerous condition causing your injuries.

You can file a slip-and-fall claim on behalf of a loved one. If someone dies from his or her slip and fall injuries, the family can file a wrongful death claim.

In most slip-and-fall cases, the insurance companies settle the claims outside of court without a trial. As long as you can prove the at-fault party’s negligence, the insurance company will attempt to negotiate a settlement outside of court.

Comparative Negligence

Nevada laws contain a comparative negligence rule, which means that slip and fall injury victims can recover compensation that’s proportional to the liable party’s percentage of fault for the accident. You could receive compensation even if you were partly at fault for your slip and fall accident.

You can be proportionally compensated for your losses as long as you weren’t more than 50% responsible for your accident. For example, if a court found that you were 20% responsible for the accident, you would receive 80% of the potential compensation.

What Damages Can You Get in a Slip and Fall Claim?

The damages you can seek depend on the facts of your slip and fall accident. In standard claims, you can seek damages to cover:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Future lost earnings
  • Pain and suffering

If your case reaches trial, you could also be awarded punitive damages to punish the at-fault party.

Steps After Getting Injured in a Slip and Fall

The actions you take soon after your slip and fall accident can increase your chances of winning, or may jeopardize your claim. If you plan to file a slip and fall claim, here’s what you should do following the accident.

Don’t Admit or Imply That You’re at Fault

Statements that admit fault can hurt slip and fall claims, as property owners and witnesses can relay them in reports. Don’t say anything that could be considered an admission of fault, even if you were partially to blame.

Similarly, avoid providing recorded statements or signing anything without consulting a Las Vegas slip and fall attorney. The business or insurance company representatives could lead you into saying something that could be easily manipulated or taken out of context and used to disprove your claim.

Seek Prompt Medical Attention

You should seek medical treatment as soon as possible after suffering a slip and fall injury. Failure to get prompt, professional medical care could lead to the worsening of your injury, loss of evidence, lower settlement, or denial of your claim.

Slip and fall accidents can cause severe injuries that may not appear serious at first, such as minor fractures and internal bleeding. These injuries may only manifest later. Therefore, it’s essential to seek medical attention even when you don’t feel pain after the accident and tell the doctor about all your symptoms, no matter how minor they may appear. The doctor’s initial scans could reveal serious problems and establish the potential for you to develop future complications.

Medical records from your treatment will help show the connection between the fall and your injuries, and serve as invaluable evidence when making a claim. The type of treatment you’ll receive, and your medical expenses, are crucial determinants of your slip and fall injury worth.

Each day that lapses without you getting treatment potentially reduces the value of your claim. The insurance company could argue that you didn’t see a doctor immediately because your injuries weren’t as serious as you claim. The insurer could use that excuse to dispute or deny your claim.

Document What Happened

After a fall, write down everything you can remember about the incident, including the minor details. Memories often fade quickly and may even become distorted. Make sure you record:

  • The location and time of the incident
  • Conditions surrounding your slip and fall
  • Who witnessed your fall
  • The shoes and clothing you were wearing

Gather Evidence

The evidence collected about the accident helps prove your claim and maximize your compensation payout. Therefore, begin collecting evidence as soon as possible to build the best possible case.

Talk to witnesses to find out their point of view of the accident. Ask them about the defect and how long it has existed, and make sure you take notes. Get the names and contact details of all the witnesses to your fall.

Take some close-up pictures of the defect or safety hazard that caused your accident. Also, take photos and videos of the place where you fell and its surroundings, as well as your injuries. You can later request a copy of the footage from nearby surveillance cameras that captured your accident. A slip and attorney is better placed to make such a request, as businesses may not take you seriously or share information with you until an attorney is involved.

Your injuries can prevent you from gathering evidence immediately after the incident. In that case, you can ask a friend or family member to get to the location of your fall right away to collect and preserve the evidence on your behalf, or you could come back to the scene as soon as your condition allows.

Fill Out an Incident Report

Different businesses will have different processes on how to report a slip and fall. Nevertheless, you should inform the property owner or employee in charge about your slip and fall accident and injuries. If your injuries prevent you from reporting the incident immediately, notify the business or property owner of your fall as soon as practically possible.

Businesses typically provide an incident report where you can document your slip and fall. The incident report is crucial to your claim, as it acknowledges that the incident occurred and documents its events. It protects injury victims. If you don’t have an adequately filed incident report, the insurance company could dispute that the accident happened on the insured party’s property and decline to pay your claim.

Ask for a copy of the incident report before leaving if the property owner or manager doesn’t willingly give you one.

Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney

You should contact a personal injury attorney with experience handling slip and fall cases before dealing directly with the property owner’s insurance company. When speaking to the attorney, ensure you have all the notes and information you’ve gathered. The attorney will ask you questions and assess your case to determine if you have a legitimate claim worth pursuing.

Your lawyer will conduct thorough investigations to determine the cause of your slip and fall accident and the party that should be held liable. A slip-and-fall lawyer will get evidence that you couldn’t get on your own by filing subpoenas.

The burden of proof is on your shoulders, so you’ll need to work with an attorney who knows the evidence to gather and how to build a slip-and-fall case. An experienced attorney will also know how to counter the strategies that insurance companies use to minimize payments and avoid liability, such as accusing you of being at fault for your accident.

After gathering all the necessary documents and evidence, your slip and fall lawyer will help you file an insurance claim for compensation and handle all communication with the company. Your lawyer will negotiate the claim on your behalf to recover compensation that adequately covers all your lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and any other damages you suffered. If the insurance company doesn’t provide a fair offer, your lawyer will file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Timing Is Everything When Filing Slip and Fall Claims

In Nevada, you have two years from the date of your accident to resolve your slip and fall claim or file a lawsuit. After that, the statute of limitations expires, so you’ll have lost the right to claim compensation. It’s risky to wait until you’re close to the statute of limitations’ expiration date to take legal action or talk to a slip-and-fall lawyer.

Gathering critical evidence and building a winning slip-and-fall claim takes time. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to collect evidence. Surveillance cameras will have probably already recorded over earlier footage and overwritten footage of your slip and fall. The business may also have already repaired the defect that caused your accident. The sooner you contact a slip-and-fall attorney, the easier it will be to build a strong claim.

author-bio-image author-bio-image
Joseph J. Wirth

Joseph J. Wirth is the founding senior partner of Mainor Wirth Injury Lawyers in Las Vegas, Nevada. Representing injured victims throughout the state, Joe has recovered millions on behalf of his clients and has earned his reputation as a highly-respected member of the legal community.

Years of Experience: More than 15 years
Nevada Registration Status Active

Bar Admissions: State Bar of Nevada Lawyer Advertising Advisory Committee, Member 2008-Present Nevada Justice Association, Associate Member 2007-Present Nevada State Bar, Associate Member 2006-Present American Association for Justice, Associate Member 2006-Present

author-bio-image author-bio-image
Joseph J. Wirth

Joseph J. Wirth is the founding senior partner of Mainor Wirth Injury Lawyers in Las Vegas, Nevada. Representing injured victims throughout the state, Joe has recovered millions on behalf of his clients and has earned his reputation as a highly-respected member of the legal community.

Years of Experience: More than 15 years
Nevada Registration Status Active

Bar Admissions: State Bar of Nevada Lawyer Advertising Advisory Committee, Member 2008-Present Nevada Justice Association, Associate Member 2007-Present Nevada State Bar, Associate Member 2006-Present American Association for Justice, Associate Member 2006-Present