You are currently viewing Are slip and fall cases hard to win?

We do not suffer by accident.

Jane Austen

It depends on what you mean by “win.” Let’s define some words first.

Slip and fall cases are a type of premises liability.

Premises liability cases involve 1) premises, such as a shopping stores, parking lots, or grocery stores; and 2) liability, or responsibility, for injuries on the premises. The liability generally belongs to the person, or entity, who has control of the premises, not ownership. What “control” means is a whole other topic.

Slip and fall cases are cases where a person is injured because he or she slipped and fell on a premises. A common slip and fall case is where a person falls in a grocery store because there’s water on the floor. A related case is a trip and fall case, which is what it sounds like. Instead of a slip, there’s a trip.

Now that we know what a slip and fall case is, let’s talk about what you generally have to prove in order to “win” your case. Of course you need to prove you were on the premises and that you slipped due to something on the floor, like water or a banana peel. You need to prove causation between the slip and your injuries. But here’s the most difficult part of slip and fall cases: you have to prove notice.

Notice comes in two flavors: actual or constructive. Actual notice is when you prove that the responsible person or entity actually knew there was water or whatever substance on the floor. That’s rarely provable. Constructive notice is when you prove that the responsible person or entity should have known there was water or whatever substance on the floor. Once that’s proven, you have to prove that the water or whatever substance on the floor was there long enough that the responsible person or entity could have done something about it.

Proving all that is what makes these cases hard to “win,” if by “win” you mean prevailing at trial. That’s one of the reasons most all slip and fall cases settle. Although the injuries can be severe, most defendants and insurance companies fight hard over notice. They constantly want to “discount” valid slip and fall cases because they know how hard it is to prove notice.

Bottom line–slip and fall cases are hard to “win.”

And here’s where we talk about why businesses need general liability insurance.

Questions? Contact Me for a free consultation.

Evan Walker

Evan W. Walker is a La Jolla attorney who has practiced law since 2008. He has practiced law throughout California, Connecticut, and Louisiana.

Evan worked for and defended insurance companies during the first 7 years of his practice. Since 2015, he has represented people with personal injury and property damage claims and insurance disputes.

Evan’s practice is devoted to serious personal injury claims and catastrophic property damage claims. Areas of focus include security claims against bars and other businesses, government tort claims, fire and flood claims, and inverse condemnation. On behalf of clients, Evan has fought insurance firms, international companies, cities, bars, and casinos.

Evan regularly shares his expertise with other attorneys by teaching courses on insurance and inverse condemnation. He has taught several continuing legal education courses to Attorney Credits, a nationwide CLE company, and ProLawCLE, another nationwide CLE company. He also contributes to various podcasts and publications.


  • Member, State Bar of California
  • Member, San Diego Bar Association
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of California
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego
  • Member, La Jolla Bar Association
  • Member, La Jolla Village Merchants Association
  • Member, San Diego Chamber of Commerce