Slip & Fall Injury in Missouri


Have you been injured in a slip and fall accident? Do you need help filing a claim and pursuing damages? Call or text Sotiriou Wilmowski at 314-925-1000 or reach out through our online contact form. We’ll fight for you and your right to fair compensation.

Slip and fall accidents are among the most common accidents on a day to day basis. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, over one million slip and fall accidents result in an emergency room visit every year. However, while they may be incredibly common, it doesn’t make them harmless. In fact, the CDC reported in 2005 that over 15,000 senior citizens died due to slip and fall accidents–a statistic that nearly doubled from the previous year.

You don’t have to be over the age of 65 to fall victim to a deadly slip and fall accident either. Many factors can increase the seriousness of your fall including wet surfaces, poor lighting, a lack of handrails, and unkempt walkways, resulting in serious injuries including broken bones, neurological issues, and even a coma. Some injuries might not seem serious at the time, but later on, they become life-changing and debilitating conditions.

If you’ve experienced a slip and fall accident, don’t wait until it’s too late. There is a limited window available to seek damages in most accident cases including slip and fall cases. If you’re unsure of how to get started, take a look at the sections below or call our firm directly. We offer a free case evaluation for slip, trip, and fall cases

Call or text Sotiriou Wilmowski at 314-925-1000 or reach out through our online contact form and we’ll have a slip and fall accident lawyer call you.

What is a slip and fall accident?

A slip and fall accident is exactly what it sounds like–an accident in which someone slips, falls, and injures themselves in the process. When you hear “slip and fall accident,” you make think of the yellow caution signs that employees set out after mopping a floor. Though slipping on a wet floor is a common type of slip and fall accident, it’s far from being the only type of slip and fall accident that happens on a day to day basis.

A slip and fall accident can include falls on:

  • Icy walkways
  • Slick pavement
  • Greasy surfaces
  • Puddles
  • Wet floors

A slip and fall accident can happen anywhere–at someone’s home, on a sidewalk, in a park, in a store, or even at work. In most situations, the owner of the property is responsible for maintaining safety and alerting visitors or patrons of any potential safety risk.

Common Slip And Fall Injuries

Slip and fall accidents can drastically range in seriousness. Some slip and fall accidents result in minor bruising or no injuries at all, while others can result in:

  • Broken or sprained bones
  • Neck or back injuries
  • Hip displacement
  • Brain injuries
  • Coma
  • Death

At first glance, it may be possible for individuals who experience a slip and fall accident to seemingly have very minor injuries or no injuries at all. However, regardless of how minor or insignificant their injuries may seem, it’s imperative that they still get an evaluation by a medical professional. A person who slips and lands on their hip might not even bruise afterward or experience any difficulty walking.

But as days and weeks go on, they may find that they cannot even walk from the bedroom to the bathroom without help as their injuries develop.

Common Injuries In Slip, Trip, And Fall Accidents

While our firm is focusing primarily on slip and fall accidents for the purpose of this article, it’s important to note that there’s a minor distinction between slip and fall accidents and trip and fall accidents. The distinction is fairly self-explanatory but is still worth addressing. A slip and fall accident happens when someone steps on something slippery and falls backward. However, this exact same accident becomes a trip and fall accident when the victim falls forward regardless of if they actually trip on a particular object such as a crack in the sidewalk or threshold, or even if they step on something slippery.

When referring to a slip or a trip in non-legal contexts, these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but during mediation, it’s important to understand the legal definition of these two terms. Like a slip and fall, a trip and fall will often result in a wide variety of injuries ranging from not serious to deadly, however, because a trip and fall action moves forward, the injuries will be more centered around the front of the body including:

  • Head or brain injuries
  • Broken teeth
  • Broken or sprained bones
  • Kneecap injuries

Like slip and fall accidents, trip and fall accident victims must also be incredibly diligent in seeking medical attention, regardless of whether they’re in any actual pain. This is especially true if you’ve hit your head, or if you had a hard fall with no noticeable symptoms.

Who is liable in a slip and fall accident?

Unfortunately, the question of who’s liable when someone slips and falls is a question with many answers. Determining who is liable in your specific slip and fall incident will be determined by a variety of factors including:

  • Where the incident occurred
  • If the property where the incident occurred was public or private property
  • Whether or not you had a right to be in the area where the incident occurred
  • If you were on the property as a contract worker or employee
  • If you were an invited guest to the property
  • Who was responsible for maintaining the area where the incident occurred

Above all other factors, the litigation will focus primarily on premises liability law, which determines how the accident specifically applies to your injury and where liability can be placed.

If you’re confused about who is liable in your particular case, we’d be more than happy to take a look at your specific circumstances. Call or text Sotiriou Wilmowski at 314-925-1000 or reach out through our online contact form and we’ll have a personal injury attorney get in touch with you immediately.

What is premises liability?

In Missouri, liability in a slip and fall accident typically depends on the specific circumstances of the case and whether negligence can be proven. Some cases will rely on premises liability, which generally states that property owners or occupiers have a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for visitors and customers.

If a slip and fall accident occurs due to a hazardous condition on the property, such as a wet floor, uneven surface, or insufficient lighting, the property owner or occupier may be held liable if it can be demonstrated that:

  • They knew or should have known about the dangerous condition.
  • They failed to take reasonable steps to remedy the condition or provide adequate warnings to visitors.
  • The dangerous condition directly caused the slip and fall accident and resulting injuries.

Remember, it typically doesn’t matter if the slip and fall accident happened at a store, a restaurant, a park, or a neighbor’s house–when it comes to determining liability, it matters who caused the accident and if they attempted to prevent the accident from happening.

When is the property owner liable?

Generally speaking, the property owner of a commercial space such as a store or restaurant isn’t liable for a slip and fall accident that occurs on their property unless they had an active role in managing the space where the accident took place. To some degree, all property owners must make necessary maintenance repairs and general upkeep of their properties, however, this responsibility may not extend to spills, snow and ice maintenance, or other dangerous surface conditions if the property owner simply owns the property and not the business itself.

Let’s say that a restaurant owner has had an issue with a light fixture in the entryway of their business. When customers enter the business, they’re briefly unable to see where they’re going due to low visibility. The restaurant owner has repeatedly reached out to the property owner for over a month and still nothing has been done to remedy the issue. Eventually, someone loses their balance in the dark entryway and falls backward sustaining serious injuries. In this situation, the liable party is likely the negligent property owner because they knew about the issue, failed to fix the issue, and as a result, a customer hurt themselves.

When is the manager or leasee liable?

On the other hand, a manager or owner of a business may be liable in a slip and fall case if they failed to remedy a slippery or unsafe browsing area and doing so resulted in a person’s injury.

Let’s say that a minor pipe burst occurred in a grocery store causing a puddle to form on the sales floor. Management fails to set up wet floor signs and doesn’t notify the property owner of the issue until after someone slips in the puddle and hits their head. Though it’s a property owner’s responsibility to repair burst pipes when they happen, the property owner isn’t responsible for the day to day upkeep of the property and wasn’t even aware of the issue. It’s the manager’s responsibility to inform the property owner (and the customers) when there’s a safety issue on the property.

Let us help you

As former insurance defense lawyers, personal injury attorneys Deme Sotiriou and Tom Wilmowski of Sotiriou Wilmowski pride themselves on using their inside knowledge of the insurance industry to obtain maximum value — and often more — for their clients.

What if I was trespassing?

A trespasser breaks into a home and falls down the homeowner’s stairs sustaining injuries. The trespasser sues the property owner for damages and is successful. Outrage ensues.

Could this happen in Missouri? Possibly. While Missouri has amended its version of premises liability law to not include homeowner or renter liability in trespassing cases, there are several exceptions. If the homeowner in this scenario had experienced several break-ins prior to the incident and decided to boobytrap his staircase by pouring canola oil on it, then, yes, the property owner may be liable. Homeowners in Missouri aren’t allowed to knowingly set traps in their homes, even for unwanted guests.

While all laws may have potential shortcomings, premises liability law is in place to protect all citizens from injury and to provide slip and fall victims with compensation when they need it. Some may think that trespassers don’t deserve the same protection as those who are invited to a property, but the same premises liability amendments made by the Missouri state government to protect burglars from boobytraps, also protect trespassers under the age of 18.

Trespassing isn’t always a malicious act; if a child loses a baseball in the yard of a neighbor, the parents of the child shouldn’t have to worry about him or her being mauled by a dog, or slipping on the homeowner’s walkway, which is why these premises liability exceptions exist in Missouri.

What types of damages can I seek in a slip and fall lawsuit?

In a slip and fall lawsuit, you can seek various types of damages to compensate you for the injuries and losses you suffered due to the accident. These damages may include:

  • Medical Expenses: You can seek compensation for all medical expenses incurred as a result of the slip and fall accident. This includes hospital bills, doctor’s fees, medication costs, rehabilitation expenses, and any other necessary medical treatment related to your injuries.
  • Lost Wages: If your injuries caused you to miss work or resulted in a temporary or permanent disability that affects your earning capacity, you can seek compensation for lost wages and income. This may also include compensation for any future loss of earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from returning to work or pursuing your previous occupation.
  • Pain and Suffering: Slip and fall accidents can cause physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish. You may be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced as a result of your injuries. This compensation is subjective and depends on the severity and duration of your pain and suffering.
  • Emotional Distress: In addition to physical injuries, slip and fall accidents can also result in emotional trauma, anxiety, depression, and other psychological issues. You may be able to seek compensation for emotional distress caused by the accident and its aftermath.

Determining exactly how much you might be awarded in your specific circumstance will rely entirely on the specific details in your case including the cost of your medical expenses, the level of evidence that supports your claims, and the seriousness of your injuries. It’s also important to remember, that the clock starts ticking from the date of your injury. Plaintiffs will generally have a maximum of five years to file a slip and fall case, although it is generally best to not wait that long to file a case.

How To File A Slip And Fall Claim

The first and most important step in every personal injury suit is making sure you find immediate and adequate medical assistance. If you were injured at work, immediately notify your employer and seek a medical professional. In all slip and fall cases, the doctor will begin documenting the seriousness of your injuries and begin treatment. This not only provides ample evidence when it comes time to seek damages, but it also protects your claim so that the defendant in your case can’t claim that you didn’t do everything you could to minimize your injuries.

Once you’ve been seen by a medical professional the next step will be to contact any witnesses that were present when your accident occurred. From this task forward, it’s imperative that you consult a slip and fall attorney. Failing to do so may result in loss of evidence and countersuits being filed against you.

When To Hire A Slip And Fall Lawyer

At this point, you may be wondering if it’s necessary to contact a lawyer in your specific slip and fall accident case. Every personal injury case is different. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced attorney evaluate whether you have a case.

Fortunately for Missouri and Illinois communities, experienced and dedicated help is available for slip and fall injury cases. The attorneys at Sotiriou Wilmowski have more than 35 years of combined experience and can help you understand the filing process throughout the process. He can also file the appropriate paperwork, collect evidence, and communicate with witnesses and the liable parties on your behalf. Don’t risk the outcome of your case. Call or text Sotiriou Wilmowski at 314-925-1000 or reach out through our online contact form to get started today.

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