Everything you need to know about a slip and fall accident
Suffering a slip and fall accident can lead to serious costs to you financial security and health. If you suffer an injury because of a slip and fall accident on someone else’s business, public, or even private property, you can be entitled to compensation. There are many slip and fall lawyers out there who can assist you to file a claim for personal injury, gather evidence that can prove the property owner is liable, and recover financial and personal losses.
Unfortunately, millions of people suffer slip and fall injuries each year, leading to many hospitalizations. While slip and falls can happen in your home, most of the accidents may occur outside of your home. This article explains everything you need to know about a slip and fall accident.
How slip and fall accidents happen
In most states, all property and land owners need to maintain good property conditions to protect customers and visitors from unreasonable harm. For example, store owners need to maintain enough lighting, stable flooring, and provide signs that are easy to read so that customers can know of any existing dangers in the store.
Therefore, property owners who may not maintain safe premises for the customers can be held liable for any injuries that happen on the property based on negligence. This is the reason why you can be entitled for compensation for the injuries you sustain in a slip and fall accident.
Remember that accidents can happen anywhere, at the office, home, or anywhere. But the way they happen usually depend on the layout and conditions of a property. This is why property owners need to put up signs to warn you of any potential safety hazards.
Tripping, slipping, or falling on someone else’s property usually raise some important questions of who can be held liable for the state of the property that led to the slip and fall accident and the resulting injuries. It’s worth noting that there are many types of slip and fall accidents.
Some types of slip and fall accidents can include inadequate lighting in stairways or walkways, snowy or wet floors, items left on the ground, hidden extension cords, raised carpeting, broken floors, poorly maintained parking lots, and many more.
Any of these dangerous conditions may become the site of a slip and fall accident that can lead to injuries. The types of injuries you sustain can also vary, from bruises and scrapes to broken bones, and even death.
The center for Disease Control and Prevention states that one in five slip and fall accidents lead to serious injuries like head injury and broken bones. Slip and fall accidents are also the major contributor of traumatic brain injuries in the United States.
Besides this, injuries that you sustain in a slip and fall accident can also affect other areas of your life. For example, it can sometimes be impossible to go back to work after sustaining these injuries. As a result, you can experience lost wages or even loss of job, especially if you are unable to recover from the injuries. Serious injuries can also lead to permanent health conditions like disability, paralysis, and other conditions that can severely disrupt your way of life.
Slip and fall accident laws
Property owners that include commercial premises may be held liable for accidents involving slip and fall if certain conditions are proved. They can be liable if the fall victim got injured because the property owner failed to provide a safe environment. They can also be liable if the fall victim got injured because the property owner failed to warn customers or visitors of potential dangers on the premises.
Slip and falls are usually considered to be premises liability cases. This is because there is a premise that your slip and fall accident was caused by the negligence of the property owner, meaning the upkeep and maintenance of the property was improper.
Laws that apply when it comes to property and land owners to maintain their premises properly vary by state. In most states, property owners need to maintain their properties so that there is no unreasonable risk of harming the visitors, meaning they must offer safe conditions. Hence, depending on the laws in your state, this can include homeowners, business owners, merchants, and even other private or public property owners.
There are various factors that can play a huge role when it comes to proving liability in a slip and fall accidents that happen on someone else’s property. This includes if there was something like using a phone that distracted you, if any element of the design of the property contributed to the slip and fall accident, and if you got injured while trespassing on another person’s property.
In premises liability cases, there is the duty of care land and property owners owe their customers. This usually extends to people who are either known to the property owner or are invited to the property. People who trespass on another person’s property and get injured are usually not covered by this duty of care.
There are a couple of exceptions to this duty of care. If there is a trespasser who is known to the property owner, and the property owner accepts the trespassing without protest, then the property owner can be held liable for the injuries you suffer because of unsafe property conditions.
Another exception is if there is a child who is attracted to a feature like a pool that is on the property and gets injured because of unsafe condition, such as slippery pool deck, then the property owner can also be held liable for the injuries that child sustains, even if the child is considered to be unknown trespasser.
After a slip and fall accident
If you are involved in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property and sustained injuries, there are a few things you need to do. Here are somethings that can help you to gather evidence for a slip and fall accident claim:
Seek medical attention
Not every slip and fall injury is apparent immediately after a fall. Some people who are involved in a slip and fall accident cannot notice the injury symptoms for days or weeks after the accident. Other people can notice that their injuries worsen without quick medical treatment.
Therefore, you need to seek medical help if you are involved in a slip and fall accident. Hip and head injuries are usually quite common with slip and fall accidents, especially in older people and may need quick treatment to avoid serious consequences.
Take notes and photos of the accident
After seeking the necessary medical attention, it’s time to start collecting evidence of how the slip and fall accident happened and the resulting injury. So if you have a phone that has a camera feature, consider taking photos of the accident scene, the unsafe conditions that caused the slip and fall accident, and resulting injuries.
Remember also to take note of the date, time, and location of the slip and fall accident for your records. Other crucial details like the type of property, names of the property managers and owners, and if the property owner gave any warning concerning the property’s unsafe state can also be noted.
Witness testimony can also be useful when you decide to take legal recourse for the accident. If the property owner wants to counter your story or attempt to deny their responsibility for the accident, witness statements can confirm your version of events.
Therefore, you need to find any available witnesses like customers in a store and ask if they give a brief description of how the accident happened. Take their names as well as the contact information so that you can contact them if there is any need.
Notify the right authority
After suffering a slip and fall accident on the property of someone else, it’s important to tell the person owning or managing the property that there was an accident that happened. If you sustain injuries on the property of a business, the manager or owner can ask you to provide an accident report. This report needs a statement with all relevant details of the slip and fall accident.
Avoid providing a statement that declares any level of fault for the slip and fall accident before speaking to an attorney. When you file an accident report, this can serve as proof in the claims process. It simply means that you took the slip and fall accident seriously and even took the right steps to record the incident after it happened.
Contact an attorney
Property owners in premises liability cases can take any action possible to avoid compensating victims of slip and fall accidents. While it’s not required to hire a slip and fall attorney to file an accident claim, the unwillingness usually shown by property owners to accept liability, it can be in your best interest to
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The benefits of hiring an attorney
There are several good reasons why it’s not a good idea to represent yourself in a slip and fall accident. Firstly, if the fault is not evidently clear, then this lack of clarity can be used as a leverage by a property owner to deny the liability for the slip and fall accident.
Proving the type of the incident as well as the extent of your injuries can also be hard. Worse still, the property owners usually try to downplay or even deny the extent of your damages.
The good news is that a slip and fall attorney has experience handling similar claims like yours. Therefore, you can use their investigative skill-set and expertise to assist you gather the evidence that is needed to support your claim.
A slip and fall lawyer can also assist your claim process by doing various things. These include interviewing witnesses, consulting experts with relevant insight into premises liability, gathering photographic evidence and police reports, investigating the accident scene, organizing the medical records and bills, and communicating with the insurance company or property owner.
Having an experienced legal representation can give you the reassurance that the slip and fall accident case may not be ignored by the property owner or their insurance.
If you sustain injuries because of a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you can have peace of mind knowing that an attorney can help you get a fair compensation for your losses.
When it comes to personal injury law, damages refers to both economic and non-economic losses that you suffer as a result of a slip and fall accident as well as punitive damages.
The types of damages that you can recover after taking the accident claims process can depend on the extent of the injuries you sustain, degree of fault, type of property, and many more. Some of the usual damages that you can receive from a slip and fall accident claim include lost wages, current and future medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, wrongful death compensation, pain and suffering costs, and many more.
That said, you must remember that there is a statute of limitations for a slip and fall accident. Therefore, if it involves a legal action against a property owner in slip and fall accident cases, time is of the essence. If you were injured and decide to seek compensation from the property owner, then you need to do it within a specified time frame required by the statute of limitations in your state.
This statute of limitations which applies in slip and fall accidents refers to the time injured parties need to file a lawsuit or claim after an accident. There is a deadline for filing an accident claim but it varies by state. You need to consult a slip and fall attorney to find out the best time to file a claim after a slip and fall accident. Even better, an attorney can give the overview of the laws in your state.