Why are premises liability cases often called slip & fall cases? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Most people call premises liability cases “slips and falls” because the classic example of a premises liability claim involves a plaintiff who fell on a wet floor in a store or slipped on an icy sidewalk in front of a business. The category actually covers any type of injury that can be caused by a property owner or occupant’s negligence. A short list of premises liability cases includes


  • Dog bites and animal attacks
  • Falls down stairs and from balconies
  • Assaults by staff, customers or other visitors
  • Injuries from falling objects
  • Electric shocks and electrocutions
  • Drownings
  • Recreational vehicle crashes (e.g., ATVs)
  • Injuries on rides and attractions


The liability for compensating the injured person arises from the property owner or occupant’s legal duties to protect customers and visitors from injuries by keeping premises and equipment in proper repair, controlling the behavior of other people on the premises to the extent that is reasonable and complying with all applicable safety laws and regulations. 

A final consideration is that Virginia bars premises liability claims from individuals who materially contribute in any way to causing the harm they suffered. Virginia and its neighbor North Carolina are among the only four states that still enforce this strict interpretation of contributory negligence.