I Slipped and Fell at the Entrance to a Store. Do I Have a Claim?

Photo: Craig Sunter

Photo: Craig Sunter

Have you been hurt from falling in a store or other public place? It can happen to anyone. If you were injured from your fall, you may be dealing with pain, medical expenses, and even time away from your job or other responsibilities.

What can you do about it?

Today, I’ll explain your rights in the State of Oregon, what you can do, and whether filing a claim is a possible option for you.

Slip and Fall Claims in Oregon

Slip and fall claims are some of the hardest to prove in court, though it’s not impossible.

If you were injured after falling at a construction site or the entrance to a store, for example, you’ll likely have a stronger case than if you had fallen, say, walking up your neighbor’s front steps. That’s because Premises Liability laws in Oregon hold some property owners, landlords, and lessees to a higher standard of safety than others.

They are responsible for taking reasonable measures to ensure safe conditions on their property.

If their failure to do so results in someone getting injured, the property owner may be liable. That’s why it’s much harder to file a successful claim against your neighbor than against a grocery store chain.

The Status of the Injured Person

The property owner’s liability depends on the status of the person who was injured on their property. In other words: Why was the injured person there?

Any time you go onto someone else’s property, the law classifies you as either a licensee or an invitee.

You’re a licensee if you come on the property for your own purposes. The most common example is visiting a friend’s or relative’s home.

You’re an invitee if you were either expressly or impliedly “invited” to enter or remain on the property for a purpose related to the business or the financial gain of the property owner.

If your accident happened in one of these places, or somewhere similar, chances are you were an invitee:

Photo: Stuart Chalmers
  • Stores, retail establishments, businesses, and office buildings

  • Restaurants

  • Schools

  • Construction sites

  • Sidewalks right outside stores or commercial buildings

  • Public parking lots

For example, if you slipped on your way into a store, you (as a shopper) were on the property for the store’s financial benefit, so you would be considered an invitee.

Proving Liability

In order for your claim to be successful, you’ll need to prove that the property owner was negligent -- that s/he had a responsibility to protect you from the hazard and failed to do so.

That’s why it’s so difficult to file a successful claim as a licensee. Your neighbor is only responsible for protecting you from hazards she knows or has reason to know about.

If you’re an invitee, that means the property owner is responsible for protecting you from hazards he knew or should have known about.

In order to prove a premises liability claim as an invitee, we would need to show that:

1. You were an invitee.

We’d need to show that the property owner was responsible for protecting you from the hazard that caused your injury.

2. The property owner was negligent.

If you were an invitee, we’d need to provide evidence that the property owner failed to take reasonable measures to ensure safe conditions on their property.

3. That failure resulted in your injury.

In order to receive compensation for your injury, you’ll also need to show that you’re truly injured, and that your injury was a direct consequence of the property owner’s negligence.

Do I Have a Case?

The strength of your case will depend on your ability to prove those three points. You’ll need to consider:

  • The location where the injury took place

  • Your reason for being on the property

  • Whether the property owner knew or should have known about the hazard

  • And to what extent could you be held responsible for not seeing and avoiding the hazard.

In order to prove that the property owner was negligent, you’ll need to show that the accident was not obviously preventable on your part.

Photo: SmartSign

Photo: SmartSign

For example, if an area of a store is sectioned off on all sides with yellow caution tape, a reasonable person would be expected to see and avoid the hazard. In that case, the store would likely not be considered negligent.

On the other hand, if slippery floors in a store are not marked with caution signs, no one would expect a reasonable person to see and avoid walking on them. The injured person in that scenario would likely have a much stronger claim.

What Are Your Rights?

If you have a legitimate premises liability claim, you’re entitled to fair compensation for your suffering and expenses. Never feel guilty about asking for fair compensation. It’s your right as an Oregon resident.

If you decide to meet with an attorney and file a claim, what can you expect? How can you get started?

Before you do anything else, get treatment for any serious medical issues you’re experiencing as a result of your accident.

Once you know you’re safe, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Getting started quickly can improve your chances of a successful claim.

A great personal injury attorney can work with you through every step of the complex legal process, deal with insurance companies, and fight for the best possible outcome for you.

If you’ve been injured and want to explore your options, I can help.

Call my office today at (503) 498-6985 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.