Here’s the scene, you’re filling up your cup with a fizzy combination of sugar, syrup, and carbonated water, you turn around, and before you realize it, you’re on the ground covered in soda. That’s not just your pride that is hurt—you’ve slipped a disc and sprained your ankle. This illustrates one of the most common sets of facts in the area of the law known as “Slip and Fall” cases. Slip and Falls are part of a larger category of tort cases known as “premises liability” cases which seek to place liability on a property owner’s failure to exercise the proper degree of care toward people on their property.
The Elements of a Slip and Fall Claim in Mississippi
A viable slip and fall claim under Mississippi law will have the following:
- Dangerous Condition: There was a dangerous condition on the premises (discussed below);
- Knowledge: The owner or occupier of the premises knew or reasonably should have known of the dangerous condition which caused the fall;
- Failure to Protect or Warn: The responsible party over the premises failed to warn or protect the general public from the dangerous condition (no warning signs or repairs were made).
There are generally two types of dangerous conditions that cause slip and falls. First, there are static conditions, which are conditions that exist on the premises all the time. These will include things like cracked pavements, potholes, broken floorboards, and dimly lit stairways. The other type of dangerous conditions is foreign substance. Examples of foreign substances include things like debris, liquids, ice, and cleaning supplies like wax or oils.
What to do after a slip and fall
A majority of the slip and falls we see are due to foreign or temporary dangerous conditions like wet floors. Due to their temporary nature, it is important for a victim to take a few pictures of what caused the fall, the surrounding area, and the injuries. If at all possible, try to capture the dangerous condition from several angles. Sometimes there are surveillance cameras at the location that captured a video of the fall, but because most business only keep footage for a set amount of time, it is crucial to contact the manager of the property to preserve any footage which might show what happened before that footage is overwritten. If at all possible it, a victim of a slip and fall needs to fill out an incident report with the business where the fall occurred. If a report was not taken immediately following the fall because of the need to go to a medical provider or because the business was not open, then it is important to return to the premises as soon as possible to get a report filed.