What Are the Most Common Causes of Slip and Falls?

Manhattan common Causes of Slip and Falls

Slip and fall accidents can lead to serious injuries, such as broken bones, soft tissue damage, or brain trauma. While almost anything can contribute to a slip and fall, being aware of the most common causes can help you identify risks.

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

As its name implies, this type of accident occurs when someone loses their footing or trips and then falls. Slip and fall accidents can happen virtually anywhere, and they are often the result of negligence. Sadly, falls like this often result in injuries, some of which are serious.

Like other types of accidents, slipping and falling can happen for many reasons. However, some conditions contribute to falls more than others.

Broken or Uneven Pavement

Pavement in poor condition is a leading cause of slip-and-fall accidents. This might be in parking lots, paved walking trails, sidewalks, or roadways. Broken concrete, cracked asphalt, and crumbling curbs are typical of this type of hazard. Because of the uneven surface, pedestrians are more likely to trip or catch a shoe and fall.

Unsecured Objects 

Unsecured objects are behind many falls in various settings. Some items that present tripping hazards include:

  • Electrical cords stretched across foot traffic paths 
  • Area rugs that are not firmly attached to the subfloor
  • Clutter, such as boxes, trash, or other items that block walkways

Unsafe Flooring

This is a common hazard, especially for workplace falls. Wet, slippery, and dirty floors pose serious risks for people walking on them. Studies show that floor roughness is directly related to the likelihood of a fall when the surface is wet or soapy.

Stairs are a particularly dangerous area where unsafe flooring can cause serious injuries. Slippery substances or liquids on a staircase, a broken railing, or an uneven step are all major fall hazards. For that reason, building codes specify step height and depth and railing requirements designed to provide the safest environment possible.


Inclement weather creates extra hazards and contributes to a large percentage of slip-and-fall injuries. Ice and snow are obvious weather-related risks. However, rain and flooding are also very dangerous. Even extremely hot weather that causes you to rush across pavement can contribute to a fall.

The New York City Administrative Code requires owners to clear snow and ice from sidewalks in front of commercial and residential properties. It also specifies how long owners have to complete the task. City personnel clear streets and other public spaces.

Human Factors

While area conditions and the surroundings are often the main contributors to a slip-and-fall accident, human factors can also play a role.

  • Complacency: Familiarity with your surroundings can cause you to let your guard down, which may result in you overlooking a hazard.
  • Distraction: Trying to do something while you are walking, such as sending a text message, can cause you to fall.
  • Fatigue: When you are tired, you may miss a hazard on your path or be unusually clumsy, resulting in a fall. 
  • Rushing: Being in a hurry can be dangerous because you are more likely to overlook obvious signs of a potential slipping hazard.
  • Poor shoe choice: Wearing inappropriate shoes for the conditions is a choice that can leave you seriously injured. 

You may notice that while these are all human factors, they also include environmental hazards. For example, being distracted could cause you to overlook a patch of ice on the sidewalk or a wet floor sign. If those risks were not present, simply being distracted might not the sufficient to cause a fall.

If you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident that had some underlying human cause, you may still be entitled to compensation. During a case review, one of our attorneys will evaluate your case to determine the best steps for you to take.

Where Slip and Fall Accidents Happen

There are three main domains of slip and fall accidents: home, work, and public spaces. Each one has its own set of most likely contributing factors.

Falling within your own home is often the result of loose rugs, extension cords, or clutter. However, poor maintenance and improper construction can also increase the likelihood of a fall. The responsibility for this likely falls on the property owner, so if you rent your home, the landlord could be liable for any fall-related injuries.

People injured in a fall on someone else’s property must have legal authority to be there. This usually means they were invited in some capacity, such as through a direct invitation or a store inviting the public inside. In general, you will not receive compensation for injuries incurred while trespassing or otherwise unlawfully on a property.

Public falls can be in stores, entertainment venues, or on the street. Responsibility for this may fall on the property owner or the local municipality, depending on the exact situation. You must be able to show the owner’s negligence directly caused your fall.

Workplace falls are usually covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, if your employer fails to provide proper safety equipment or training, he may be accountable for your injuries. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slips and falls are the leading injury cause of missed work. They account for over 1 million hospital visits a year, with fractures listed as the most common injury from them.

Common Slip and Fall Injuries

Fractures are among the most common slip and fall injuries. Approximately 5% of all people who fall experience a bone fracture. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 95% of all hip fractures result from a fall.

Other injuries that frequently occur include:

Compensation for Injuries

When you have a slip and fall accident because of someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys will review the details of your case to determine if it has merit to proceed. New York laws limit accident victims to seeking compensation for serious injuries. Many of the most common slip and fall injuries fit the parameters of a serious injury under NY laws, which defines them as those that cause:

  • Bone fractures
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent limitation or loss of an organ, body part, or bodily system/function
  • The inability to perform normal daily activities for at least 90 days in a 180-day period

To prove your case and secure compensation, you will need to show that someone else was responsible for causing your injuries. For example, a property owner failing to clear ice from a sidewalk could be considered negligence. This involves proving that:

  • The property owner had a duty of care to you
  • They failed to meet that duty
  • Their action directly caused your fall
  • You sustained injuries resulting from the fall

The Help You Need 

Slips and falls are very common and can cause significant injuries. New York laws allow injured parties to sue for compensation in cases where negligence caused the fall. Our experienced attorneys at Cellino Law specialize in New York personal injury cases. If you have sustained injuries from a slip and fall, contact our office to schedule a free case review at our Manhattan office or one of our other locations throughout NYC.



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