Slip and Fall Lawsuit: Do Shoes Matter?

slip and fall by young woman on icy walkway

Slip and fall accidents are among the most common personal and work injury claims. While many factors contribute to these incidents, one often overlooked aspect is the role of clothing and footwear. It may seem surprising, but what a claimant was wearing at the time of an accident can influence the outcome of a slip and fall lawsuit. After all, proper footwear is just as important as a well-maintained surface in avoiding slips. Read our article to learn more. 

Shoes and Your Slip and Fall Lawsuit

When a slip and fall accident occurs, the immediate assumption might be to attribute the blame entirely to the property owner for not maintaining safe conditions. However, the defense will often scrutinize the claimant’s actions, including their choice of clothing and footwear, to mitigate their liability. The reason is straightforward: certain types of clothing and shoes can increase the risk of falling, and demonstrating this can significantly affect the outcome of a case.

Footwear Considerations in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit

Footwear is a critical factor in many slip and fall cases. Shoes with poor traction, high heels, or those not suited for the conditions (such as wearing flip-flops in icy weather) can make a person more prone to falling. Courts often consider whether the footwear was appropriate for the circumstances when determining liability. If it is found that the footwear contributed to the accident, it could reduce the compensation the claimant receives. 

Footwear Factors Considered in Slip and Fall Accidents

Traction and Slip Resistance: shoes with good grip can prevent slips, especially on wet, icy, or oily surfaces. If the footwear lacks these qualities, it could be argued that the claimant bears some responsibility for the fall.

Condition and Wear: old or worn-out shoes that no longer provide adequate support or traction might also shift some blame onto the claimant, reducing settlements in a slip and fall lawsuit.

Appropriateness for the Environment: wearing footwear unsuitable for specific conditions can contribute to a fall. This includes non-seasonal shoes or those without adequate tread and protection in work zones. 

What About Clothing in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?

While not as directly impactful as footwear, the clothing you were wearing at the time of the fall may also be considered in your slip and fall claim. If someone was wearing an item of clothing that limited their visibility or their ability to move freely may have been at least partly to blame.  Scarves, belts, or other accessories that can easily get caught or snag on objects may also be considered contributing factors. 

Strategies for Navigating a Slip and Fall Claim

Given the potential impact of clothing and footwear on a slip and fall settlement, claimants should consider the following strategies:

Document Everything: take photos of your clothing and footwear immediately after the accident, if possible. Be sure to capture multiple angles to help establish the appropriateness of your footwear for the environment, including heel height and tread. This evidence can support your claim that your attire was not a contributing factor. Be sure, also, to document the area of the fall from multiple points of view. 

Be Honest: when describing the accident, be truthful about what you were wearing and how it may have contributed to the fall. Honesty can lend credibility to your claim. Furthermore, comparative negligence laws in Colorado may still allow you to seek a reasonable settlement, even if your footwear was particularly to blame.

Seek Legal Advice: an experienced personal injury attorney can provide guidance on how to navigate the complexities of your case, including any issues related to your attire. 

Slip and Fall Attorney Colorado

Slip and fall lawsuits can be complicated, especially if there are compounding factors, such as allegedly inappropriate footwear. An experienced personal injury attorney will negotiate on your behalf to avoid having your settlement unfairly reduced. Property owners still have a duty to maintain a safe environment, and you deserve compensation for your injuries. If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident in Colorado, contact the personal injury attorneys at The Roth Group. You can schedule a free evaluation online today, or give our office a call. 

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Heather Kleinman