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Slip and Fall & Premises Liability in Rhode Island

Slip and Fall & Premises Liability in Rhode IslandMany small business merchants and other large retail store managers either lack the awareness or training concerning state safety laws. In some cases, despite safety training, managers, employees and staff improperly implement safety protocol, placing customers at risk from unsafe conditions. In other instances, employees are not properly trained in implementing safety measures and protocols. There are many instances of lazy or negligent employees cutting corners and showing no concern for the safety of guests, invitees and consumers.

Slip and fall in Rhode Island

A slip and fall in Rhode Island could be caused by water, mud, liquids, food, oil, gas, juice, salad bar food or any other types of liquids or substances.

Insurance liability companies are reactionary by their very nature and spend little to no time training their insured’s to protect consumers from dangerous and unsafe conditions on their premises. Insurance companies are far more interested in documenting the accident or slip and fall, after the fact, in an attempt to discredit the liability claims then they are in preventing the mishap.

Proper education and training certainly will not eradicate falls

Proper education and training certainly will not eradicate falls on commercial premises but would decrease the instances of accidents and falls at malls, big box stores, restaurants, stores and retail establishments.

Insurance companies and large corporate entities in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations do little to protect consumers from injury but usually have established protocols to investigate any liability claims. From the first moment after the accident, the business and insurance company goes into litigation mode attempting to discredit the negligence and damages allegations. Most companies will have extensive investigation protocol in place to immediately begin deny, defend and delay litigation games.

RI slip and fall or premises liability victim

The company will train their managers to lookout for the type of footwear worn by the victim. They will also document the lighting conditions, weather conditions if applicable and the condition of the floor. The employees will seek to get an immediate statement from RI slip and fall or premises liability victim. They will also seek to obtain recorded witness and victim statements before the slip and fall victim can obtain legal representation. The business will safeguard and catalog important evidence.

Victim receiving medical treatment

Employees are carefully instructed not to admit fault, show remorse or take responsibility for the stores negligent conduct. A perfunctory request to call an ambulance by one or more employees or a cashier is usually made so that the store feels better about themselves as good corporate citizens. The management is not interested in the victim receiving medical treatment but hopes that he or she will deny treatment so they can later claim that the victim was not really injured as a result of the accident.

A reasonable merchant should train his staff, employees and agents to inspect its premises in a reasonable manner and remedy any dangerous or defective conditions on the premises. Employees should inspect for spills, leaks and other liquid or food substance on the floor to prevent serious injury or death on the premises.

Safety measures to protect customers from injury or death

The managers and owners cannot depend on the insurance company to educate its employees and to implement safety protocol. Employers need to train their staff to recognize safety hazards and implement safety measures to protect customers from injury or death.  Protocol could include securing the area, putting up appropriate warning signs or signage or fixing / remedying the defective condition

“According to a 2011 National Safety Council report, slips, trips and falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.9 million visits to the emergency department.” Premises Security Litigation by Thomas P. Anzelmo, Sr. Lorman reference manual (2011 NSC Injury Facts).

“Falls are the second-leading cause of unintentional death in homes and communities, resulting in more than 25,000 fatalities in 2009. The risk of falling, and fall-related problems, rises with age and is a serious issue in homes and communities” NFSI   “Falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Slips and falls account for over 1 million visits, or 12% of total falls.” Id. “Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5% of all people who fall.” Id. Slips and falls do not constitute a primary cause of fatal occupational injuries, but represent the primary cause of lost days from work. Id.

The Rhode Island Supreme Courtsitting in Providence, in HABERSHAW v. MICHAELS STORES, INC42 A.3d 1273 (2012),  stated that “It also is well settled in our jurisprudence that there is an affirmative duty on owners and possessors of property: “to exercise reasonable care for the safety of persons reasonably expected to be on the premises * * * includ[ing] an obligation to protect against the risks of a dangerous condition existing on the premises, provided the landowner knows of, or by the exercise of reasonable care would have discovered, the dangerous condition.” Kurczy v. St. Joseph Veterans Association, Inc., 820 A.2d 929, 935 (R.I.2003) (quoting Tancrelle v. Friendly Ice Cream Corp., 756 A.2d 744, 752 (R.I. 2000)); accord Mead v. Papa Razzi Restaurant, 840 A.2d 1103, 1107 (R.I.2004).”

When colder weather arrives, it brings ice and snow with it. This will result in an increased risk of a person having an accident that involves falling. The winter season provides an increased chance of experiencing a fall on the ice or snow. It is important a person know their legal rights to compensation with these types of injuries.

Reasonable Care

It is common for winter accidents involving falling to take place in the parking lots of shopping malls, sidewalks outside of a business and other places. The property owners in these places have a duty to perform reasonable care with removing the snow. Some property owners will contract with snow removal companies to remove the snow and ice from their property. The question after an accident involving falling on ice or snow is what if anything did the Rhode Island business owner do to make their property safe under the weather circumstances.


If a person is injured after slipping and falling on snow or ice in Rhode Island, they are responsible for proving the property owner was negligent. This can be done by obtaining different types of evidence. A person can take cell phone pictures and video of the area where they just fell. Taking pictures immediately is important as ice and snow can be quickly removed. Showing the level of ice and snow is essential. Getting witness statements is also important. Being able to provide medical records describing the injury resulting from slipping or falling is also essential.


A person with a successful Rhode Island slip and fall lawsuit based on falling on the ice and snow may get the cost of their medical bills paid by the property owner or the contractor hired to remove the ice and snow. In some cases, people recover lost wages if their injury caused them to miss work. Some individuals have also been given a financial award for pain and suffering. If you were injured in a RI slip and fall accident then contact a Rhode Island premises liability lawyer or a Rhode island personal injury attorney who is also a RI slip and fall lawyer.

Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility. In order to obtain top compensation as a result of a slip and fall accident in RI, the injured victim should either retain a RI slip and fall lawyer or a Rhode Island personal injury attorney.

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