Slipping, stumbling, and falling are all common accidents that may occur anywhere, even in your home. A property owner is responsible for ensuring that their premises are safe for all patrons.
If you or a loved one slips, trips, or falls in a New York building, you may be entitled to compensation. Slip and fall accidents can result in both major and minor injuries. Regardless of the sort of injury, the property owner is liable for it.
A slip and fall lawyer will know how much premises responsibility applies in your case. You have a right to sue if the property owner is to blame for the accident.
What Is a Slip and Fall Injury?
Slip and fall injuries are one of the leading causes of hospitalization in the United States. More specifically, when a complaint files a lawsuit for a slip and fall injury, they are likely doing so because they believe someone is to blame or because someone else’s negligence is to blame for the circumstances that led to the injury. Slip and fall injuries do not have to involve a slip and fall occurring in the same sequence; “slip and fall” is merely a term used to describe any form of injury that is similar to a slip, trip, fall, etc. Typically, the phrase is used in the context of legal procedures.
The following are some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents:
- Stairwells with Poor Lighting
- Construction Sites That Are Dangerous
- Floors that are wet or slippery
- Iced Pathways
- Pavement that is uneven
- Property Owner Who Is Negligent
- Elevated Surfaces That Are Unstable
- Parking Ramps That Are Dangerous
- Ladders that are not secure
If you are struggling with pain, suffering, and medical expenditures as a consequence of a slip and fall injury and believe that one of the factors listed above played a role in the accident, contact an attorney for a risk-free legal consultation. They can assist you in determining who is at fault and obtaining compensation for your pain and suffering.
What Should I Do If I Have a Slip and Fall Injury?
Isn’t your main aim here getting reimbursement for the personal injury you’ve suffered? To do so, you must provide evidence that the party you are suing was negligent or at fault for the conditions that produced your slip and fall injury. When you’ve regained your composure after the injury, make sure to take a lot of pictures – images of the accident scene, pictures of yourself, and pictures of the injury, if it’s obvious.
A business property owner (or one of their workers) will be held accountable for your injuries if they caused the accident, knew about a hazard but failed to address it, or should have known — but were unaware of — the hazardous circumstances that resulted in your injury. If you have evidence that establishes liability in one of the above-mentioned instances, keep it secure and bring it to the attention of a slip and fall injury lawyer.
How to Choose the Best Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer
As previously said, your best bet is to select an attorney that has already had success with slip and fall cases similar to yours. So, if you went down a flight of steps in a government building and suffered a head injury, you should seek the assistance of a lawyer who has previously won slip and fall cases for clients who were injured on government property. Every case is unique in its own way, but you should still do your homework to verify that the attorney you choose is a likely victor.
How a lawyer can help you determine who is to blame for your slip and fall.
To put your slip and fall case in a position to negotiate a reasonable settlement or go to trial, you and your lawyer must be prepared to show that, more than likely, the property owner was negligent, and that negligence played a significant role in causing your injury.
The first thing your lawyer will do is look into how your injury occurred. Falls happen rapidly, and many individuals have no idea how they went from going down a store aisle (or down a flight of stairs) to being hurt on the ground.
Assume you tumbled down some stairs. That is only the beginning of the investigation. Did your foot slip and fall? What did you have on your feet? Were you gripping the handrail? What were you carrying, if anything? In which hand were you holding it? Did you trip or slip on your foot? Where were you staring as you walked down the stairs?
While all of this information is important, it only addresses how you fell. Now the attorney must determine how to hold the defendant legally liable for your slip and fall. So:
- Did you truly omit a step?
- Did you tread on something or notice a flaw in the step?
- Do you remember tripping over your coat, a bag strap, or something else?
- Did you lose your balance when reaching for something (maybe a handrail that wasn’t at the proper height)?
- Were you distracted by your phone or something else?
- Were the risers (the height of each step) of variable heights, causing you to lose your balance and fall?
A qualified lawyer will inspect the scene, analyze all of these options with you, and figure out why and how you fell. The liability inquiry will also include an examination of applicable state, federal, and local laws to see whether any statutes or regulations were broken by the property circumstances. Your attorney will also confer with and retain experts as needed to strengthen your case.
How a Slip and Fall Lawyer Can Assist You in Your Case
A slip and fall lawyer can assist you with an insurance claim in a variety of ways.
#1. Determine Liability in a Slip-and-Fall Case
A lawyer can research your case to discover and demonstrate the property owner’s liability. They can investigate the reason for your fall and establish whether the owner or manager of the property contributed to the situation or if it was an unavoidable accident.
A landlord, for example, can check the property to discover if a similar occurrence has occurred in the past, which may assist you to claim a landlord was aware of the safety issue. If a landlord or property manager was aware of a hazard and did not take reasonable steps to address it within a reasonable time frame, they may be held accountable for your losses.
#2. Stop you from accepting an unfair settlement.
When a victim files a claim, insurance companies frequently give an initial payout. A lawyer can assist a victim in ensuring that the settlement offer compensates them fairly for their losses. They can help ensure that a settlement accounts for their potential losses.
If the accident renders you permanently incapacitated or unable to work in the same capacity, a lawyer can negotiate a settlement that covers the expense of therapy as well as your reduced earning capacity.
#3. If your case goes to trial, they will represent you.
If you are unable to reach an agreement with the insurance company, your slip and fall lawyer can assist you in filing a personal injury case. They can assist you in meeting any applicable deadlines, such as your state’s statutes of limitations, as well as handling the paperwork. A lawyer can advocate for your best interests in front of a jury and a judge.
Slip and Fall accidents
Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere and cause significant injuries. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that falls cause approximately 800,000 hospitalizations each year. Hip fractures and head injuries are common in these situations, both of which can result in temporary or permanent incapacity for the person.
Some accidents are unavoidable, while others occur as a result of conditions that, with reasonable measures, might have been avoided. Visitors, guests, and invitees may suffer a slip and fall incident if a property stays dangerous. In these circumstances, the owner of the property is held liable for the costs of their injuries.
Some of the instances in which a slip and fall could occur due to negligence are as follows:
- Failure to keep the property in good condition
- Failure to fix a broken stairwell handrail
- Inadequate provision of handrails in critical regions
- Failure to secure carpets or rugs securely so that no tears or wrinkles trip a visitor
- Failing to eliminate obstacles in the guests’ path
- Failure to prevent a leak, resulting in a pool on the floor
- Failure to address a stated safety problem on the property
Even if these events do not appear to be threatening in and of themselves, they can have serious implications if left handled. Replacing the carpet may appear to be a cosmetic issue, but when you consider that a snag at the entry could cause a visitor to trip, you can see why landlords must prioritize anything that could provide a safety risk.
What Information Is Required to Prove a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
To prove and win a slip and fall case in Michigan, the injured person must present proof of the following five items:
- On the property, there was a hazardous condition. Witness testimony, images, films, and documentation such as incident reports and repair records all attest to this.
- The property’s owner was aware of or should have been aware of, the situation prior to the fall. This is demonstrated by displaying past complaints about the dangerous condition, a history of previous falls at the same area, or demonstrating that the issue persisted for such an extended period of time that the owner should have been aware of it.
- The individual was legally on the property as a social visitor or business invitee (not a trespasser).
- The property owner was neglectful in property maintenance or failed to repair the issue. Evidence such as repair records, photographs, and video are used to demonstrate negligent property maintenance and repairs.
- As a result of the hazardous injury, the individual was injured. The injury must have been caused or aggravated by the fall. To establish the causation of the injury, medical records and doctor testimony are used.
In Slip and Fall Lawsuits, What Are the Defenses?
Slip and fall situations have numerous common defenses. One argument is that the injured person was on the property illegally, and thus no legal duty was owed to the person. Other defenses include the fact that the condition was not unreasonably unsafe or that the owner was unaware of the hazard prior to the fall.
Today, the most common legal argument utilized in court is that the hazard was “open and evident”. This signifies that the condition was so severe or obvious that the injured person should have seen it and avoided the hazard. Depending on the circumstances, some courts may dismiss a case on the case.
There are, however, exceptions to the open and clear defense that can save the case and result in a settlement for the injured party. The exception is if the condition was unreasonably unsafe, in which case the owner may still be held accountable.
Similarly, if the injured individual could not have avoided the hazard, such as by taking a different path around it, the judge should not reject the case. This defense does not apply in certain circumstances, such as injuries sustained in an apartment complex where there is a landlord-tenant relationship.
How Much Does a Slip and Fall Lawyer Charge?
In a slip and fall case (as in most personal injury claims), lawyers almost always work on a contingency fee basis, which means that the lawyer deducts his or her fee from any settlement or jury award you receive. If you don’t get paid, neither does your lawyer.
Who Is Responsible for a Slip and Fall Accident?
Determining who is accountable in any personal injury case, but especially in premises liability cases, has its own set of issues. Maine has a ‘comparative fault’ system, which enables for a percentage of the liability or blame in negligence cases to fall on you, the plaintiff, even if you are the injured party. To be eligible for compensation, you must be able to demonstrate that you were 49 percent or less at blame. On the plus side, if you are partially to blame, you will still receive compensation; however, you will only receive pay commensurate to the degree of culpability assigned to you.
Though, in general, judges and juries use common sense when deciding culpability in slip and fall cases, being able to prove that the bulk of ‘blame’ lies on the property owner, i.e., the defendant, is the key to collecting reasonable compensation following a slip, trip, and fall injury. The state of the premises at the time of the accident will be thoroughly examined to determine liability.
You must be able to demonstrate that the property or business owner did not act reasonably to prevent injury to any visitors or customers who slipped and fell when accessing the property. In most cases, liability will be established by demonstrating that a dangerous condition on the property was present and foreseeable and that the defendant was aware that the condition could pose an unanticipated risk to anyone who entered the property. So, as a result, you did not act to correct or fix the condition. Assume a person is unaware of any hazardous hazards on a property. In that case, they cannot be held liable for any injuries sustained as a result of the hazardous conditions when they access the property.