What To Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

By Julie H. Heiden

Falls are some of the most common reasons for U.S. hospital emergency room visits. Even seemingly small incidents can cause serious injuries that have long-lasting effects.

In some circumstances, you can seek compensation for injuries you sustain. If you fall somewhere other than in your own home, you should know what to do after a slip and fall accident.

What Is a Slip and Fall Accident?

what to do after a slip and fall accident

A slip and fall occurs when someone slips, falls, and sustains an injury because the party responsible for the property is negligent. These incidents usually happen in public spaces, but they can also occur on private property owned by others. A slip and fall can take place inside or outside.

Common causes of slip and fall accidents include:

  • Uneven, cracked, or loose flooring, mats, or pavement
  • Slick surfaces caused by spills or inclement weather
  • Broken or missing handrails on stairs
  • Objects left loose in walkways
  • Poor lighting

Not every fall on someone else’s property qualifies as a slip and fall accident, which is a type of premises liability case. To file a claim for compensation, you need to meet certain requirements.

What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?

If your injuries allow, you should do several things while at the accident scene after a slip and fall to protect your health and your chances of obtaining compensation for your injuries.

Notify the appropriate authorities. This might be a law enforcement agency, business manager, or property owner. The unique circumstances surrounding your accident determine who you should notify.

Gather evidence. Use your phone to take photos and videos at the accident scene. Record all relevant details, including what caused you to slip and fall, your injuries, the lighting and weather conditions (if applicable), witnesses present, and anything else you think might serve to support your claim for compensation. Use multiple points of view to get a full picture from various angles.

Avoid admitting fault. Do not make any statements that could imply you are at fault for causing or contributing to your slip and fall accident.

Accept or seek medical attention. Your medical condition takes top priority. An assessment performed by a medical professional immediately after a slip and fall can diagnose your injuries. The provider will document their findings, and your attorney can use that official record as evidence in your slip and fall claim.

Contact us at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP. If your slip and fall accident happens in D.C., Virginia, or Maryland, request a free case evaluation. We will discuss your accident, assess the facts, and tell you whether you may have a valid claim for compensation.

We may give you other case-specific advice and instructions when you contact us.

What Are the File a Slip and Fall Accident Claim Requirements?

Several factors play into slip and fall claims.

Several criteria determine whether your fall qualifies you to file a claim for compensation under premises liability rules:

  • The accident must not have taken place on your own property.
  • You must sustain injuries and other damages as a direct result of your accident.
  • The party responsible for the property where your accident occurred must have known — or should have known — about the hazardous condition that caused your slip and fall, yet failed to address it promptly due to negligence.

Exceptions may apply, so ask your attorney if you qualify.

Establishing Negligence

We must establish negligence to support a claim for compensation. Property owners or managers, businesses, and government agencies have a duty of care to maintain their premises and promptly address all safety hazards. To prove negligence, we must show that:

  • Someone owed you a duty of care.
  • That party breached their duty of care
  • The breach injured you.
  • You suffered damages as a direct result of the breach.

Even if all these statements are true, you may have a hard time obtaining compensation if you try to handle your claim without an experienced attorney on your side.

Why Are Slip and Fall Accident Claims Challenging?

Slip and fall claims can have several potential complications, which is why contacting a competent lawyer is one of the first things you should do after a slip and fall accident.

Contributory Negligence Law

Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., follow strict contributory negligence laws. You cannot receive compensation if you are even slightly responsible for causing your accident. Insurance companies may assign blame unfairly to get out of paying your damages if you don’t have an attorney fighting for your rights.


Accident sites can change rapidly. For example, spills on a store floor may cause you to slip and fall, but employees will mop them up quickly afterward. In other cases, liable parties might attempt to avoid paying insurance claims by making repairs or disposing of video surveillance footage.

Disappearing evidence is a reality, regardless of why it happens. Two of the things you should do after a slip and fall accident — taking accident scene photos and contacting an attorney as soon as possible — give us a better opportunity to find the evidence we need to support your claim.

Government Agency Involvement

You may be able to file a claim for slip and fall accidents that happen on government property or property that a government agency is responsible for maintaining. However, claims involving a government entity are typically subject to shorter timeframes and stricter protocols.


A woman shops in a grocery store.

If someone beside you in a grocery store spills a drink and you slip on the slick floor, you can sustain injuries. However, you may not have a valid slip and fall claim because the store management had no opportunity to clean the spill.

We must prove that the responsible party knew about a hazard or should have known about it yet failed to address it. Acceptable actions include repairing or removing the hazard, blocking the area from public access, or posting warning signs.

Contact Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, After a Slip and Fall Accident

At Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, we have 40 years of experience handling personal injury claims successfully, recovering over $1 billion for our clients. You won’t pay us any fees unless we win compensation for you, so contact us today if you need help after a slip and fall accident.

About the Author
Ms. Heiden is a Virginia injury attorney who represents injured individuals in personal injury, product liability, social security, and workers compensation cases. In 2009, she was recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership, and excellence in legal services.