To be very precise a “slip & fall” accident occurs when a person falls due to a slipperiness of the surface of the floor. The phrase has sometimes been used more generically, however, to include just about any fall that occurs on someone else’s premises. In this broader context, it would include a “trip & fall” or a misstep and fall caused by a change in surface elevation. A more accurate term to describe all of the accidents that result from falls on premises would probably be “fall down” accidents.
The scientific cause of a true “slip & fall” would be the lack of sufficient friction between the shoe or foot of the victim and the floor. When the coefficient of friction is too low a slippery condition exists and a fall is likely. This can occur when an improper floor surface has been installed, such as a slick marble floor in a home for the elderly. It can also occur when an improper wax or sealer has been applied to the floor surface. Or, it can occur when a liquid or other material is on the floor surface. Another possible cause is the smoothness of the sole of a shoe. Still another possibility is a small mat or rug that easily slides on the floor surface when walked upon.
For all of these reasons, probably the most logical step to take if a fall has produced an injury significant to you would be to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. He or she will be able to commence an investigation that has a reasonable chance of developing the supporting evidence and testimony that would be necessary to process a claim on your behalf.
Do not grant interviews or give statements about the accident or your injuries without consulting with an attorney. Insurance representatives of the potential defendant owner are trained to be extremely pleasant, but their mission is to gather information to defeat or minimize your potential claim. They know that a statement taken from an unrepresented person who has experienced a fall is likely to provide some benefit to them. They are extremely well versed in the legal principles involved and the defenses at their disposal.
Do not endorse any check or sign any release without consulting an attorney. Doing so may seriously impair your legal rights. On the other hand, there are types of insurance coverage that may provide some early payment toward your medical expenses (medical payments coverage, for example) that may require your endorsement of a check. After an experienced personal injury attorney has reviewed the check and related matters it may be safe for you to accept the reimbursement without compromising your later claim against the premises owner. Attorneys traditionally do not charge any fee or percentage based upon the processing of a medical payments coverage matter.