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Proving Liability in Slip and Fall Accidents: Legal Considerations in Connecticut

July 28, 2023Articles

Everyone experiences a fall at some point, whether due to an icy walkway, a loose carpet, or a toy left on the floor. Most slip-and-fall accidents are minor and cause little more than embarrassment and a couple of bruises. But some falls can be serious, with either temporary or permanent life-altering consequences for the fall victim. When a fall was preventable and only occurred because of a commercial or private property owner’s negligence, it’s even more traumatic. Whether the property is a grocery store, a hotel, a restaurant, a public pool, or private property, anywhere people are legally allowed to be, requires property owners to take reasonable measures to prevent injuries—including recognizing and promptly addressing fall hazards.

In Connecticut, the courts offer redress to slip-and-fall victims through personal injury claims to recover damages, including economic damages such as medical bills and lost wages, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

Common Injuries From Slip-and-Fall Accidents

Elderly individuals are at the greatest risk of severe injuries after a slip-and-fall accident, but people of any age can sustain serious injuries in a fall. Fractures are the most common fall injuries, including fractured hips in elderly fall victims. Other common fall injuries include:

  • Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries such as strains, sprains, and torn ligaments
  • Lacerations and bruises
  • Broken teeth

The severity of a fall injury depends on the height of the fall, whether or not there were obstructions in the way, the ability of the victim to break their fall, and the overall health of the fall victim.

Any of the above serious, fall-related injuries can quickly become expensive as well as painful. Some may have life-altering consequences. If the fall occurred because of a property owner’s negligence, the victim is entitled to compensation for their damages.

Property Owners in Connecticut Must Keep Safety in Mind

Over 8 million emergency room visits per year are related to injuries suffered in slip-and-fall accidents, making it the leading cause of trips to the ER. Floor conditions and flooring materials directly cause around 2 million fall injuries each year. In Connecticut, property owners have a duty to take reasonable measures to prevent injuries to others on their property. These duties may include:


  • Routinely inspecting for dangers
  • Promptly repairing, removing, or correcting a fall hazard or other danger
  • Placing warning signs during temporary fall hazards, such as a wet floor or icy walkway

Commercial property owners such as store, hotel, and restaurant owners must take reasonable precautions to prevent injury to consumers on their premises. If they fail in this duty, it’s an act of negligence that leaves them liable for damages.

Personal property owners must also keep safety in mind, not only for their invited guests to the property, but also for anyone approaching the front door of the property, such as mail personnel, delivery workers, neighbors, children, or religious solicitors. People in these areas are not considered trespassers in Connecticut unless the property has fences and clearly visible “No trespassing signs.”

All property owners in Connecticut have the duty to maintain a safe environment on their property for the following:

  • A Licensee: a person granted privileges by invitation or permission to enter or dwell on a property by the property owner
  • An Invitee: a person on a property for business purposes, either as a customer, worker or any other person connected to the business

Only in the case of a trespasser knowingly on a property without permission does the property owner not have a duty to prevent injuries. However, they may not set traps or cause intentional harm to a trespasser. Also, children are not considered trespassers. If a property owner has reason to expect that a child could enter their property they must take reasonable measures to prevent injury.

What is Premises Liability in Connecticut Slip-and-Fall Cases?

Owners of commercial and private property in Connecticut are required to carry liability insurance on their property. This provides coverages for damages should a person suffer a slip-and-fall or other accident on their property. Proving liability in a Connecticut slip and fall case requires demonstrating the following points through the evidence in the case:

  • That the property owner had a duty of care to take reasonable measures to prevent injuries on their property
  • That they breached this duty through negligence
  • That their negligent breach of duty directly caused the slip-and-fall injury
  • That the injury victim suffered significant damages due to the injury

Damages in a slip-and-fall accident include both economic and non-economic damages.

What are Economic and Non-Economic Damages in a Slip-And-Fall Case?

Once a diligent attorney investigates all aspects of a slip-and-fall case to identify the liable property owner and proves negligence caused the accident, a successful personal injury claim could help the victim recover compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and any anticipated future lost wages related to the injury
  • Lowered earning capacity if the victim has suffered a disabling accident
  • Pain and suffering
  • In some cases, other non-economic damages may apply, such as disfigurement, PTSD, or lowered life quality

About 95% of slip and fall cases settle out of court through negotiations with the property owner’s insurance company. Only in cases of insurance providers who deny or seriously undervalue a valid claim does the case proceed to a lawsuit in court if the victim wishes to pursue litigation.

Can I Still Recover Compensation If I Was Partly At Fault for the Fall?

Connecticut operates under a modified comparative fault law that allows personal injury victims to recover compensation for damages as long as they are found to be less than 51% at fault for the fall. This law allows fall victims to recover a portion of their damages minus their percentage of fault as long as they were less at fault than the property owner. For example, a woman who was running in high heels inside a store could be found to be 25% at fault for a fall even if the floor was wet from a spill that the store owner didn’t promptly address. In this case, if her award for damages was $100,000 she could still recover $75,000.

A New Haven slip and fall attorney is a valuable ally and resource for fall victims who’ve suffered significant losses from their injury.