Personal Injury Lawsuits-Slip and Fall Accidents
Most people have slipped, or tripped and fallen at some point in their lives. When does a slip and fall accident warrant a lawsuit? Injured slip and fall or trip and fall victims can file a personal injury lawsuit under certain conditions; generally, you can sue a property owner if they were negligent with regards to an unsafe condition, which caused your injury.
These types of cases fall under premises liability. Parker Waichman LLP is a personal injury law firm with decades of experience successfully representing clients in personal injury lawsuits, including slip and fall cases. The firm offers free, no-obligation legal consultations. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee, meaning you only pay lawyers’ fees if we win your case.
Injuries from a slip and fall accident can range from minor to life-threatening. Falling injuries are particularly dangerous in older adults. Compensation from a slip and fall lawsuit can cover economic losses such as medical expenses and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress.
What is Premises Liability?
Simply slipping and falling does not warrant a personal injury lawsuit. Under premises liability, property owners are liable for injuries caused by an unsafe condition on their property. However, the plaintiff must show that the owner was negligent with regards to this unsafe condition; the owners must be given a reasonable amount of time to address the unsafe condition.
For example, it is unlikely you will have a case if you slip and fall on a broken sidewalk that became broken minutes beforehand, because that does not allow the owner a reasonable amount of time to repair the issue. You would likely have a case, however, if the sidewalk had been broken for years.
Slip and fall accidents mostly include slippery floors and floor hazards, but premises liability is broader. A property owner can be held liable for failing to repair a security gate, for example.
Examples of unsafe conditions causing a slip and fall accident include:
- Slippery floors
- Uneven sidewalks, broken cement
- Snow and ice, such as “black ice”
- Stairway hazards such as a broken handrail
- Objects on the floor
- Unsecured carpet
- Cluttered hallways or aisles
Slip and fall injuries may occur in a number of different situations, leading to a lawsuit. Perhaps you slipped and fell outside in front of a store or an apartment building, at work, at a shopping mall, or in someone else’s home.
You may also file a claim for a slip and fall injury that occurred on public property, although these claims have certain restrictions. An experienced slip and fall attorney at Parker Waichman can answer any questions you may have about filing a claim.
Slip and Fall/Trip and Fall Injuries
Depending on the conditions of the accident, a slip and fall could lead to serious injuries. You may have incurred significant economic costs due to medical bills, and lost wages. Severe, long-lasting injuries may have caused pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Examples of slip and fall injuries may include:
- Broken bones such as a broken arm or hip fractures
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Cuts and bruises
- Internal injuries such as bleeding
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
In older American adults, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one-fourth of Americans aged 65 and older falls each year; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
Suing for a Slip and Fall Injury
For a slip and fall claim to be credible, the injury must have been caused due to the property owner’s negligence. Trip and fall lawsuits must also meet other criteria. For example, you must show that you were on the defendant’s property legally. This includes guests or people hired to do work on the home.
Trespassers generally cannot sue for a slip and fall injury. A few exceptions apply. If the owner is aware of the trespasser but does not do anything about it, he or she could face liability in a slip and fall case.
Additionally, the owner may be liable when children trespasses due to an attractive nuisance on the property, such as an unfenced pool. A personal injury case may be filed even if the owner did not know about the trespassing child.
In a slip and fall case, negligence means that the owner knew that there was an unsafe condition and had plenty of time to correct it, but did not. The injury must have been caused by this unsafe condition, leading to damages such as medical bills and lost wages. As with most ordinary personal injury cases, the plaintiff must show that the defendant breached their duty of care.
Can you still sue if your slip and fall injury occurred on government property, such as a public park or the post office? This answer is yes, but to a limited degree. For more information, contact one of our experienced slip and fall attorneys.
What to do After a Slip and Fall
If you just suffered a slip and fall accident, get medical attention for your injuries immediately. You should consider seeking medical attention even if you “feel fine”, because symptoms of a serious injury do not always appear right away. Delaying treatment in these cases can lead to worse outcomes and prolong recovery.
Upon seeing your physician or healthcare professional, describe the details of your accident and your symptoms. Follow any instructions given by your physician. Remember that medical records provide proof of your injury.
With any lawsuit, solid evidence can strengthen your case. For a slip and fall injury, this means taking photos of the slipping hazard if you can; ask someone else to do it if you cannot. These pictures help prove that the property was unsafe. You should also take pictures of your injuries.
Obtain contact information from any eyewitnesses. Do not wash any clothes or shoes you were wearing at the time of the accident, as they may contain evidence. You only have a limited amount of time to sue, so contact a personal injury attorney immediately.
Filing a Slip and Fall
If you or someone you know is interested in filing a slip and fall lawsuit, contact one of our accident attorneys today. Parker Waichman offers free, no-obligation case evaluations.
For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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