When Can You Sue for a Slip and Fall Accident?

sign on wet surfacePeople are often injured on someone else’s property by hazardous conditions, such as uneven walkways, broken handrails, obstacles that obstruct aisles, wet floors or inadequate lighting.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The Knoxville personal injury attorneys at Greg Coleman Law have developed the following guide to help you understand the basics of a slip and fall case. Do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a free, confidential consultation to find out if you have case.

Elements of a Slip and Fall Case

In order to have a valid slip and fall case, you must establish that the hazardous condition was caused by the property owner’s negligence.

Establishing negligence will require you to prove that four elements were present during your slip and fall accident. This includes:

Duty of Care

Property owners have a legal duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition to prevent unsuspecting visitors from suffering an injury. In Tennessee, this legal duty depends on the status of the person who was injured, which could include:


This includes people who are on the property to conduct business or provide a service to the property’s owner. Property owners owe these individuals the highest degree of care, including keeping their property free from dangers and regularly inspecting the property for hazards. If there are known hazardous conditions, they must remove the hazard or inform invitees of the hazard’s presence.


Licensees are individuals who have the legal right to be on the property at the owner’s invitation, such as social guests. Property owners owe a slightly lower degree of care to these individuals, but are still required to warn licensees of any hazards on their property.


A trespasser is someone who has entered a private property illegally and without the consent of the property’s owner. A property owner is not required to warn a trespasser of any hazards on the property and must only refrain from causing intentional harm to a trespasser.

Breach of Duty

Once a duty of care has been established, you must show how the property owner breached his or her duty. This will require you to prove the property owner failed to act in a way that a reasonable person would have under similar circumstances.

Many slip and fall cases are based on the notion that a property owner should have discovered a dangerous condition, but failed to. In this type of case, you would have to show that a reasonably prudent person would have discovered the hazard and had adequate time to fix the condition before the accident occurred.

Breach of duty is often the most difficult element to prove in slip and fall cases. It often requires a personal injury attorney to thoroughly investigate the accident and the causes that may have contributed to it.


Next, you must establish that the slip and fall accident was the direct cause of your injury. Filing an accident report with the business or property where you were injured and seeking medical attention after the accident may help prove the link between the slip and fall and your injuries.

Our attorneys will use your medical records and accident report to show that your injury occurred during the slip and fall accident, and is not a pre-existing condition.


The final step to prove negligence in a slip and fall claim is to establish that you sustained monetary damages as a result of your injury, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Loss of earning capacity

Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit

In Tennessee, victims of slip and fall accidents have one year to file a personal injury claim against a negligent property owner, according to Tenn. Code § 28-3-104(a)(1).

The one-year deadline starts on the date of the accident. It is important that you understand where your claim stands in the statute of limitations. Once the time limit expires, you can no longer pursue compensation from the at-fault party.

If you try to bring your slip and fall claim after the statute of limitations has passed, your case will likely be dismissed.

Contact Our Slip and Fall Lawyers in Knoxville

If you were injured in a slip and fall, it is important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Our experienced personal injury attorneys in Knoxville will review your claim during a free case consultation. If we determine that you have a strong case, we will investigate the accident to determine if you have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the property owner.

All of our services are provided on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge upfront legal fees. We only require payment if we recover compensation for you.

Call (865) 247-0080 for qualified legal help with your claim.