An Oregonian’s Guide to Slip & Fall Injuries

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Are you missing work, in pain, or have had to pay medical expenses due to a slip and fall injury on someone else’s property in Portland? The fact of the matter is, if you’ve suffered a slip and fall injury you are a victim with rights in Oregon. 

In this month’s post, we’ll go over just what slip and fall injuries are and what your rights are in Oregon if you’ve suffered this type of injury. Then, we’ll go over what you should do if a slip and fall injury ever happens to you.

What is a slip and fall injury?

Slip and fall injuries are injuries caused by tripping or falling on another person’s property, leaving them liable for damages incurred. 

Common types of slip and fall injury include: 

  • Wet and slippery floors and pathways, whether due to spilled liquids, tracked-in rain, or the use of slippery flooring material
  • Ice and snow on outdoor walkways
  • Cluttered store aisles, whether due to fallen merchandise or other debris
  • Improperly maintained or functioning stairways or escalators
  • Hazards in the physical landscape, such as ditches, loose sand, damaged sidewalks, or fallen debris 
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Injuries caused by slip and fall injuries

Slip and fall injuries cause over 9 million emergency room visits a year, leading to prescriptions, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs. 

Injuries caused by slip and fall injuries include: 

  • Head injuries, such as a concussions
  • Fractured hips
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Sprains and fractures in the lower body

Licensee and invitee distinction

Slip and fall cases are decided in Oregon based on two distinctions:

  • Licensee: You are a licensee if you come onto the property for your own reasons, such as visiting a friend or your family
  • Invitee: You were invited, either expressly or impliedly, to enter or remain on a property for business reasons  

Identifying which one of these two you are will determine the next steps of your case.


Have you suffered a slip & fall injury in Oregon? Learn more about what an experienced Oregon personal injury lawyer can do for you. 


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Invitee classification

If you’re classified as an invitee, the law states that the property owner is responsible for protecting you from hazards they know of, or should have known about.

You are likely an invitee if the incident happened at a:

  • Retail environment and the sidewalks outside of them
  • Restaurant
  • Office or professional building
  • Gym
  • Entertainment venue
  • Construction site 

Since all of these places are for the purpose of conducting business, you’ve been “invited” to be there. Because of this, the property owner is required to warn and protect the invitee of dangers the owner knows or should have known.

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Licensee classification  

If you’re classified as a licensee, you are at the premises for your own benefit, even if you were “invited” there. Some examples of a licensee classification include:

  • You are a guest at a dinner party or barbecue
  • You are visiting family or a friend’s home
  • You are knocking on a neighbors door as part of a canvassing effort 

In general, these cases are more difficult to win since you were at the location for your own benefit, but it’s still possible for these cases to be proved if the owner:

  • Knows or should have known of the condition causing the accident
  • Expects the invitee will not see the danger
  • Didn’t do anything to stop the injury from happening 

The city of Portland is attempting to make sure city residents fix their sidewalks by issuing notices and fines for sidewalks needing repairs. Those who don’t fix the issues can be sued if the sidewalk caused an injury to a pedestrian. 

Strict liability

Another possibility with slip and fall injuries is when the property owner has strict liability, or liability per se, for the accident. This happens when there is a law or an ordinance specifically prohibiting the cause of the hazard that cause the injury.

Some examples of this are:

  • Laws in certain cities that require snow or ice be removed from sidewalks
  • Building code requirements that stair risers be no higher than certain inches
  • Safety code violations

It can also be due to established and clear homeowners liability, such as how a homeowner is responsible for decorative trees in the parkway in front of their house. In this instance, if the roots are lifting the sidewalk panels the homeowner is responsible for the victim’s trip and fall.
 

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What should I do when I suffer a slip and fall injury

Get medical attention

If you’ve suffered a slip and fall injury and are seriously hurt, the first thing you should always do is seek medical attention. As stated, with slip and fall injuries major damage can be inflicted on yourself. 

You also want to make sure any injuries are properly documented and recorded with a written professional diagnosis by a doctor or other medical professional. While some issues, such as bruising and some head injuries, not may be immediately noticeable, other will need to be documented immediately to get the proper diagnosis. 

Make sure the doctor notes that the injuries were a result of the slip or fall. 

Report the incident to management

No matter where you are, you should report the incident to the property owner or the manager of the facility. If applicable, get a copy of the incident report for your records. Attempt to determine exactly what made you fall, and make sure that this is noted in the incident report. This could be anything from:

  • Water on the ground
  • Fallen produce
  • Broken flooring tile
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Document what happened

In addition to making sure any sort of incident report is properly documented and filed, make sure that you take notes and document your version of events. RIght after the event is when your memory will be best, so write down:

  • What caused the fall
  • Where you are experiencing pain
  • The location and nature of your injuries
  • How the property owner or store employee responded. Did they say anything unusual, like “this has happened before”?

It is also extremely important to take pictures documenting the scene of the incident, including the exact area in which you fell and any aftermath of it. You should also take pictures of any injuries you have. 

If possible, get the names and contact information of any witnesses that were either at the property or witnessed your fall. 

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Call a lawyer

It’s your right as an Oregon resident to get fair compensation for your injury.

Once you’ve been treated for your injuries and properly documented what happened, your next action should always be to call a lawyer. Calling one early in the process after your initial medical evaluation will help them understand your case and give advice so you can proceed correctly. 

Since slip & fall injuries are one of the hardest injuries to prove in court, it’s impossible to know how good your chances are without speaking to a qualified Portland personal injury attorney. They will know what questions to ask and figure out where the liabilities lies. 


Work with Adam Greenman

Give me a call today at (503) 227-3800 for a free, confidential consultation on your slip and fall personal injury case.