Slip and fall accidents can lead to devastating injuries in some cases. These falls can have lasting consequences for some people, and under the wrong circumstances, can lead to fatal injuries.
Slip and fall injuries have the potential to be devastating for a number of reasons. Falling on sensitive parts of the body like the head or neck can quickly result in life-altering injuries.
If you or someone you love suffered an injury in a fall, a claim for monetary compensation may be appropriate. Property owners owe most visitors a duty to address dangerous hazards on the premises, and the failure to do so could lead to a personal injury claim. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC at 800-959-1444 to discuss your case and see how a slip and fall lawyer from our team can help you.
What to Do When You Slip and Fall
When you slip and fall, you may think that is your fault and due to your clumsiness. That is not always the case.
Having just fallen can leave you pretty shaken. If you are able to remain clearheaded and do not need immediate medical treatment, the following steps may prove important in establishing liability in a slip and fall accident:
- Inspect the scene. Look for the reason why you fell.
- Take pictures of where you fell and the surrounding area.
- Get contact information of anyone who witnessed your fall.
- Report the accident to a manager, landlord, or owner. Make sure they make a written report and request a copy.
- Document everything by writing down the details of your accident, including the date and time.
- Seek medical treatment as soon as possible, keep records, and follow treatment plans.
- Consider calling a lawyer.
Slip and Fall Liability
Falls are quite common, especially in the elderly, and their occurrence continues to rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seven deaths per hour due to falls will occur by 2030 if the rate continues to rise. The CDC goes on to say more than 800,000 patients are hospitalized annually due to a fall injury and falls are the second leading cause of accidental injury deaths.
Because falls are so common, a person may not think twice after falling and getting hurt. However, when someone slips and falls, it is not always due to their carelessness. Other parties may be liable, especially for falls that are due to:
- Poorly lit walkways
- Uneven and unrepaired walkways
- Obstacles in walkway
- Lack of signage warning of hazard
- Narrow and unsafe stairwells
- Snowy walkways
- Unsalted icy sidewalks and stairs
- Lack of hand railings or other safety features
When you slip and fall due to any of the above conditions, someone else may be to blame. For example, if you fall in an apartment complex due to unlit hallways, the property’s management may be at fault. If you slip and fall on a residential sidewalk because debris from roadside construction is blocking the sidewalk, the construction company or city may be at fault.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident and are unsure who is to blame, a lawyer may be able to help.
Investigating a Slip and Fall Accident
When you contact an attorney, they will want to hear you explain the details of what happened. They may go to the accident scene themselves and examine the area. They may try to reconstruct the accident and search for any video surveillance in the area. They will be able to determine who the property owner is and if they are guilty of negligence.
The property owner may be a landlord, a company, a city, or another entity. A lawyer can speak with the owner to gather more information about the incident. They will try to determine negligence by investigating many factors, including how long the hazard was present and why it was there.
Costs of a Slip and Fall Accident
A slip and fall accident can lead to many costs for the victim, including:
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Broken bones
- Missed work
- Loss of income
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Pain and suffering
You have already suffered by having an unexpected setback. You should not have to suffer further by paying for costs from injuries that were not your fault. The responsible party for the hazard that made you fall should be held liable. A lawyer may be able to help by attempting to recover compensation on your behalf.
What Not to Do When You Slip and Fall
Just as there are steps you should take when you slip and fall, there are also steps you should not take. One important thing you should not do is speak to an insurance company. They do not have your interests in mind. They want to be profitable and pay as little to nothing on a claim as possible. Anything you say to an insurance company may be held against you and jeopardize your chance of receiving a settlement.
Similarly, you also do not want to speak at length to the property owner when alerting them that you have fallen on your property. They, too, may use anything you say to lessen your chance of receiving fair compensation.
Lastly, you do not want to post any details about your slip and fall accident on social media. Try to avoid mentioning that you had an accident at all.
When in Doubt, Call a Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, a lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC may be able to help. Call (800) 647-3113 for a free consultation. You do not have to worry about legal fees. We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not pay anything upfront or out of pocket. We collect our fee from any settlement we obtain for you.
Different states have different statutes of limitations for the length of time you have to file a claim, so you do not want to delay in contacting our legal team. The sooner you call, the sooner our attorneys can get to work for you.
Can I Sue My Neighbor if I Slip and Fall On Their Property?
You can sue your neighbor if you slip and fall on their property if it happened because of their negligence or carelessness. Property owners have a responsibility to keep the spaces that they invite people to free and clear of hazards. If they violate this responsibility, you are legally entitled to seek compensation for your suffering.
Slip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes of accidental injuries. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), slip and falls account for over one million emergency room visits per year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one out of five falls causes a serious injury, such as a broken bone or head injury.
Property Owner Liability for Slip and Fall Accidents
When you suffer an injury because of another person’s negligence, you have the legal right to pursue compensation for the damages caused by their negligence. Damages can include your medical expenses, the cost of property damage, and your pain and suffering. If you slip and fall on your neighbor’s property, you can sue them for damages if the accident was a result of their negligence.
The Legal Information Institute (LII) defines negligence as “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” In other words, if your neighbor failed to exercise a reasonable level of care in preventing you from falling on their property, they may be liable for your injuries.
Some instances where your neighbor may be liable for your injury include if your fall was caused by:
- Uneven walking surfaces
- Wet floors due to recent mopping or an accidental spill
- Recently waxed floors
- Leaking ceilings
- Improperly constructed staircases
- Loose floorboards
- Torn, frayed, or bunched carpeting
- Defective or dangerous sidewalks
- Potholes in pavement
- Cluttered floors or other tripping hazards
- Improper lighting
- Poor housekeeping
The specifics of homeowner liability for falls on their property will vary depending on your state’s laws. To learn more about whether your neighbor is liable for your slip and fall injury on their property, you can reach out to a personal injury lawyer.
Things to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
If you slip and fall on your neighbor’s or someone else’s property, there are several things you can do to help protect your rights and create a record that may help you to get compensation for your injury:
- Seek medical attention. Always visit your doctor after any kind of accident. Not only is this the right thing to do for your health and safety, but seeking medical attention will create medical records of your injury that you can use to prove the accident happened and that you suffered because of it when you pursue compensation.
- Document the tripping hazard. If you are well enough, take pictures of the scene of your slip and fall immediately after it happens. Capture images of what you fell on, where you fell, and the general area. This is important evidence that the property owner could remove later.
- Document your injury. In addition to going to the doctor, you should take pictures of your injuries and other associated losses. Keep a record of your medical treatments and the costs of any property damage or repair expenses.
- Inform the property owner. As soon as possible, report your injury to your neighbor or the property owner. Avoid saying too much or discussing your own fault for the fall. Speaking to a lawyer before you give any official statements can help protect your interests.
- Speak to witnesses. If anyone else was present or nearby when you fell, try to get their name and phone number. If someone saw you fall or saw the tripping hazard, they could give important testimony.
Ways to Recover Compensation for a Slip and Fall Accident
If your neighbor is responsible for your fall injury, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses in a couple of ways. The first is by making a claim on their homeowner or property owner’s insurance. Most homeowners have this insurance, but some may not have a policy that covers accident liability. You will have to speak to the homeowner to find out if they have insurance and who their provider is, but a lawyer can also help you with this and negotiate with the insurance company for you.
Another way to pursue compensation for a slip and fall injury on your neighbor’s property is to sue them through a personal injury lawsuit. Most personal injury cases do not end up going to court, so filing a lawsuit does not necessarily mean that your case will go to trial. In order to win in court or negotiate a successful settlement for your injury, you will need to prove that the property owner was negligent and that their negligence caused you harm.
Recoverable Damages for a Slip and Fall Accident
Possible damages that you may be able to recover through a personal injury lawsuit for a slip and fall accident on your neighbor’s property include:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage costs
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental or emotional distress
The Statute of Limitations Can Affect Your Lawsuit
Civil lawsuits are subject to a time limit, also called a statute of limitations. You can only pursue compensation for your injuries within this state-mandated deadline. This time limit varies by state, but most often, it is two or three years. In some states, the statute of limitations can be as little as one or as many as six years. You should consult a lawyer to see what the statute of limitations is for your state.
Get Help from Ben Crump Law, PLLC
When you suffer an injury, the team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, is here to help you. We offer a free consultation at no obligation to discuss your legal options, and we work on contingency, so you will only owe us a fee if we can earn a settlement for you. Call us at (800) 647-3113 to learn more and see if we can help you recover compensation for your slip and fall injury.
How Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?
There are many ways slip and fall accidents occur. It is worth noting that many people slip, trip, and fall due to their own carelessness. People that fail to keep a lookout or are distracted are more likely to fall even when a hazard is not present. The same is true in cases where an individual wears inappropriate footwear. When a person’s conscious decision results in their fall, they are unlikely to be entitled to monetary compensation.
That said, a large number of slip and fall accidents occur due to hazards on another person or entity’s property. When falls occur due to these hazards, a personal injury claim could be in order.
There are endless types of hazards that could result in a slip, trip, or fall. They can be humanmade, like a spilled drink or a defective staircase. They could also be naturally occurring, like accumulated snow or ice. Some of the most common ways slip and fall accidents can occur are:
- Accumulated precipitation
- Broken steps
- Missing handrails
- Inadequate lighting
- Spilled food or drink
- Uneven pavement
- Loose extension cords
- Faulty scaffolding
- Leaking chemicals
- Frayed carpet
One or multiple factors could combine to result in a slip and fall injury.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Slip and Falls?
Slip and fall accidents happen for a variety of reasons. These falls can occur within a private residence or outdoors on public property. One of the reasons slip and fall accidents are so common is that they can occur under so many different circumstances.
Slip and fall accidents sometimes involve slick, hazardous surfaces. There are many ways these surfaces can occur. This category of slip and fall accidents can result from spilled drinks, accumulated ice, or leaking fluids, among other factors.
The condition of carpets and floors is also one of the most common causes of slip and falls. This includes loose rugs, torn carpet, or cracked flooring. Each of these hazards increases the odds of tripping and falling.
Many falls occur on steps or stairs. These falls can occur for a number of reasons. Missing banisters, defective handrails, or broken steps can all lead to falls on a stairway. Other potential causes of slip and fall accidents include:
- Inadequate lighting
- Accumulated snow
- Faulty construction
- Loose extension cords
- Recently waxed floors
- Uneven floors
When serious injuries are involved, any of these factors could lead to a successful claim for monetary compensation.
Where Do Most Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?
Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere. Any location—public or private—that has a dangerous hazard could ultimately result in a slip and fall. These places include:
- Grocery Stores: One of the most common locations for slip and fall accidents is a grocery store. There are a few reasons for this. First, grocery stores are full of items that can be spilled or dropped on the floor. Spilled food and drinks represent a major slip and fall hazard. Add in that these stores are often crowded, and you have a formula for an accident to occur.
- Government Buildings: Large government buildings often have heavy foot traffic and naturally slick floors. It can be difficult to notice the spilled drink or recently mopped floor in your path.
- Private Residences: Slip and fall claims also stem from private residences. Whether it is a driveway covered in ice or interior stairs that lack a handrail, these claims are common.
- Public Sidewalks: Public sidewalks get plenty of foot traffic. Unfortunately, that often leads to substantial wear and tear. If a sidewalk is cracked or broken, the risk of tripping and falling is substantial.
What Happens to Your Body When You Slip and Fall?
In many cases, injuries are the result of what happens to your body when you slip and fall. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of five falls leads to a serious injury, and more than 800,000 people are hospitalized from falls.
The specific injuries you might sustain in a slip and fall accident will depend in part on the nature of your fall. Often, falls will result in damage to more than one body part. Some of the most common injuries that come with a slip and fall accident include:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and bruises
- Sprains and strains
- Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal damage
For multiple reasons, the symptoms of these injuries might not be immediately apparent. Some wounds only manifest over time. In other situations, adrenaline might prevent you from immediately noticing the signs of a fall injury. Because of these delayed symptoms, it is best to seek medical treatment for your injuries right away.
What Are the Effects of a Fall on an Older Person?
Slip and fall injuries can result in serious health complications for people of all ages. That said, the effects of a fall on an older person are often more severe. Often, slip and fall accidents prove to be fatal for the elderly.
According to the CDC, falls are a leading cause of injury for the elderly. Approximately 29.0 million fall accidents happen each year, and elderly victims seek medical treatment each year for various injuries and may need to stay in a hospital to recover.
Often, the injuries suffered by older fall victims are more severe than those of younger individuals who trip and fall. As the human body ages, muscles tend to deteriorate, and bones become brittle. This deterioration can result in broken bones or soft tissue damage that are far beyond what a younger person might experience.
Injuries typically take longer to heal with olden individuals. This means the recovery process for an older person could take much longer after a slip and fall accident. Regardless of age, a person that suffers a fall injury through no fault of their own could have a viable compensation claim. To see how a slip and fall lawyer could help you, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC immediately.
What Injuries Can You Get from Falling?
Any part of the body could bear the brunt of a slip and fall accident. That said, the injuries you get from falling often fall into a few common categories. In minor accidents, the most common injuries are cuts and bruises. While not life-threatening, these injuries can be painful and take time to heal.
Broken bones are also a common injury in a fall accident. These injuries can occur anywhere on the body that absorbs the impact of the fall. Often, fall victims break wrists and arms while attempting to brace from the impact. Individuals that land on their back are more likely to break ribs or even crack their skull. Falls that do not result in broken bones could still lead to soft tissue damage in the tendons and ligaments throughout the body.
Some of the potential injuries in a fall lead to severe consequences. Brain injuries, including concussions, are often a worst-case scenario for individuals that land on their heads in a fall. Neck injuries and paralysis are also common occurrences in serious fall accidents.
Slip and fall accidents also have the potential to cause internal bleeding. This injury is especially common for falls that occur at great heights. The damage to internal organs can be difficult to identify immediately in some cases.
What Are the Most Serious Consequences of a Fall?
The most serious consequence of a fall is the potential for serious bodily injuries that can have life-altering effects. Although not every fall will result in an injury, those that do frequently require extensive medical treatment. Broken bones, brain injuries, paralysis, spinal damage, and internal bleeding are some of the most severe consequences of a fall accident.
Bodily injuries are not the only consequences that can occur with a slip and fall accident. While property damage claims are more common in motor vehicle accidents, your property could suffer irreparable damage in a fall. Common items that suffer damage in a fall include laptops, watches, and mobile devices. A successful slip and fall claim could pursue compensation not only for your bodily injuries but also for your property damage claims. This could include either repairing your damaged item or replacing it entirely, depending on which option is more economically viable.
If you are facing the consequences of a slip and fall accident, you could benefit from discussing your options with legal counsel. Let a slip and fall lawyer help you pursue compensation from the negligent party that caused your accident. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC to learn more.
When Would Someone Falling Become a Cause for Concern?
Any injury that results from a fall is a cause for concern. After all, seemingly minor injuries have the chance to become more severe over time. There are two major reasons why a person should address their injuries after a fall, even in cases where they seem minor.
First, injury victims may not always immediately understand the severity of their injuries. As adrenaline pumps, the body tends to ignore the symptoms of injury, including pain and stiffness. As the adrenaline spike fades, the symptoms of the injury can begin to creep in. Some injury symptoms also naturally take time to develop. The most common example of this involves symptoms of traumatic brain injuries. In fact, certain concussion symptoms may only become obvious days or weeks after a fall.
Second, delaying medical treatment after a fall could impact your chances of financial recovery. Attorneys and insurance companies often point to delays in medical treatment as evidence that the injuries are not severe or that they occurred after the fall. Seeking immediate medical treatment creates a record of your effort to address your injuries that is useful at trial. It can also greatly strengthen your personal injury claim and your health.
When Should You Go to the Doctor After a Fall?
If you suffer injuries, you should go to the doctor immediately after a fall. For many, it is tempting to avoid immediate medical treatment in hopes that the injuries clear up on their own. While some injuries improve naturally, many others only grow worse in the days and weeks after a fall.
By seeking immediate medical care, you can begin the process of healing from your injuries right away. Often, this can make a huge difference in the amount of time you need to recover.
Seeking immediate medical care can also strengthen a personal injury claim. The defense’s counsel in a slip and fall case could point to a delay in seeking medical treatment to signify that your injuries are not severe or that you are untruthful about how the injuries occurred.
In addition to medical care, you also have the option of consulting with a slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can help you pursue compensation to pay for those treatments. To get started on your claim, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC as soon as possible.
Am I Entitled to Compensation for My Slip and Fall Injury?
You are only entitled to compensation for your slip and fall injury if you can establish that the property owner or operator is responsible for your injury. This requires showing that the property owner, occupier, or their agents failed to take reasonable steps to protect you before your injury.
However, your status on the property at the time of the fall is also relevant. In some states, the duty a property owner owes you varies based on your status. For example, business owners typically owe a higher duty to customers than a homeowner would to a social guest.
At the bottom of the spectrum are trespassers. If you were trespassing at the time of your injury, you might not be entitled to any compensation from your accident. In most jurisdictions, even trespassers enjoy some rights to recovery. If your injury occurred due to intentional acts of the property owner, you might be eligible to pursue a claim even as a trespasser.
A slip and fall lawyer can approach your case from every angle to determine if you are entitled to compensation. For a thorough review of your case, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC today.
What Damages Can I Receive for My Slip and Fall Accident?
The kinds of damages you can receive for your slip and fall accident are numerous. Not every form of compensation will be available in every case, though. The facts of your case and your injuries’ severity will determine what compensation you could be entitled to. The types of damages commonly recovered in slip and fall claims include:
- Medical Bills: Slip and fall claims routinely result in compensation for medical bills. This compensation could cover costs related to hospital stays, ambulance rides, surgery, or even chiropractic care.
- Lost Wages: If you miss time away from work due to your injuries, you could recover your missed paychecks through an injury claim. You could also be entitled to compensation for any future wages you might lose due to your injuries.
- Pain and Suffering: You can also seek compensation for your physical and emotional pain and suffering stemming from the fall.
- Property Damage: If your personal property was damaged in the fall, you might seek compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing it.
Can My Conduct Prevent My Slip and Fall Case?
In some cases, your conduct can prevent recovery in your slip and fall case. The good news is that those situations are few and far between. However, there are many circumstances where your behavior could limit the amount of compensation you are entitled to recover.
Ultimately, you are only entitled to compensation if you can demonstrate that the property owner did not act reasonably in their effort to make their property safe. You would struggle to prove this if you assumed some or all of the risk of your injury.
If you were aware of the hazard that caused your injury and had the opportunity to avoid the slip and fall accident, you are not entitled to monetary compensation. Whether or not you have the right to some compensation depends on your state’s contributory negligence laws.
You might also be limited as to what you can recover if you were trespassing on someone’s property when you fell.
Am I Entitled to Recover Damages if I Noticed the Hazard Before My Slip and Fall Injury?
You could be entitled to recover damages, even if you noticed the hazard before a slip and fall unless you could have avoided it and failed to do so. Being aware of a hazard is not in and of itself enough to result in the denial of your injury claim.
Defendants often allege that a slip and fall accident was avoidable, as it is one of the few defenses available in these cases. However, you could still recover compensation for a fall when you are aware of the hazard if it was unreasonably dangerous. In some cases, it can be too late to avoid a fall once you are aware of the hazard’s existence.
One advantage you may have is the duties inherent with property owners and occupiers. In many cases, these property owners have a duty to prevent or address hazards before you ever enter the property. If you can show that exhibiting an ordinary degree of care while on the property was not enough for you to avoid the accident, you could be entitled to financial compensation.
However, you should always avoid admitting fault in any injury case until you consult with a lawyer.
Do I Have to File a Lawsuit to Get Paid after a Slip and Fall Accident?
You do not have to file a lawsuit to get paid after a slip and fall accident in every case. However, certain situations will require legal action for you to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Many slip and fall injury claims are resolved by the parties long before filing a lawsuit. In some cases, the property owner or their insurance company will acknowledge fault for the accident. Plaintiffs routinely negotiate settlements in these cases before a lawsuit becomes necessary. These settlements can take a matter of days or require weeks of negotiation. Ultimately, a lawsuit will become required in any cases that do not settle.
Ultimately, it may become necessary to file a lawsuit to protect your right to pursue a claim. The statute of limitations governs every slip and fall injury claim. If you wait too long to file a lawsuit, you will miss out on your opportunity to recover compensation forever.
Lawsuits might also become necessary if the property owner adamantly denies liability for your injuries. When the parties disagree on who was actually at fault, the odds that a lawsuit will become necessary grow. Your attorney can advise you on whether you should file a lawsuit.
How Does a Slip and Fall Case Work?
A slip and fall injury case works much like any other personal injury claim. Following an accident, a plaintiff can seek the guidance of legal counsel. An attorney can assist with every aspect of the claim, often representing an injured person attempting to recover financial compensation.
Slip and fall cases typically begin with an investigation. The attorney will review the client’s medical records and discuss the circumstances of the slip and fall accident. This also frequently involves making contact with any independent witnesses that saw the fall occur as well as requesting copies of any incident reports the place of business might have related to the fall.
After the investigation stage, an attorney typically sends a demand letter to the property owner or their insurance company. A demand letter is a formal request for financial compensation in exchange for a promise not to bring a lawsuit. Some cases settle shortly after the demand is sent. Others can drag on much longer.
If the two parties cannot agree to a settlement, the next step in a claim is to file a lawsuit. Slip and fall accident lawsuits can take months or even years to go to trial. The good news is that settlement negotiations often continue throughout the process.
What Is the Difference of Premises Liability and Slip and Fall?
Slip and fall accidents are a type of premises liability claim. When slip and fall accidents occur, any legal proceedings occur under the scope of state premises liability law.
A premises liability claim involves an injury that occurred on the property of another person. A plaintiff can hold the property owner accountable for their injuries if they can show the owner failed to take reasonable steps to keep the premises free of dangerous hazards. A slip and fall accident is only one of those potential hazards. Other premises liability claims could involve:
- Dog bites
- Hazardous chemicals
- Exposed wiring
- Falling objects
- Negligent security
- Inadequate maintenance
While many of these incidents have the potential to involve serious injuries, slip and fall accidents are often the most severe of the group. This is especially true in cases where a person lands on their neck or head after a fall.
If you sustained injuries in a fall, you do not have to pursue a financial settlement on your own. A slip and fall lawyer could help ensure you recover the compensation you deserve. To move forward with your claim, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC today.
What Happens When You Slip and Fall at a Store?
Any slip and fall accident on private property is typically the property owner’s responsibility.
The important thing to remember is that you have the right to pursue a slip and fall injury claim even when the accident occurs within a store or business. Your priority should always be your health, so seek necessary medical treatment right away.
If your injuries do not require emergency attention, it is vital you make the store aware of the fall right away. Next, document as much of the store’s conditions as possible. Make sure your pictures and videos show what hazard caused your fall.
In order to have a claim against a store owner, there has to be a hazard that caused your fall, the property owner should have known about it but failed to correct it, and your injuries have to result from their failure to correct the situation.
If you can prove all of the above circumstances, you should be able to file a premises liability claim.
How Do You Prove Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case?
Establishing negligence in a slip and fall case is a four-step process. This process is vital to your claim, as you cannot prevail at trial without proving the property owner was negligent.
Negligence is any careless, reckless, or intentional act that results in harm to another person. In the sphere of premises liability law, negligence generally involves a property owner’s failure to take reasonable steps to make the premises safe for visitors.
What is reasonable depends on the circumstances. One of the most important factors to consider when determining if a property owner acted reasonably is the amount of time they had to respond to a hazard.
The more time a property owner lets pass after learning of a dangerous hazard, the more likely a court is to find they failed to act reasonably. For example, a jury might not find the failure to clean up a spilled drink on a restaurant floor in a matter of seconds is unreasonable. The same may not be true if the drink is left on the floor for hours.
How Do I Prove Damages for a Slip and Fall Accident?
The available damages in a slip and fall accident claim fall into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. The way you prove damages for a slip and fall accident depends on which type of compensation you are pursuing. Most slip and fall injury victims seek both economic and non-economic compensation.
Economic damages involve tangible losses in a slip and fall accident. These damages are easily measurable, which simplifies the job of proving them in court. Economic damages have a set monetary value. In many cases, the plaintiff will cover the cost of these damages upfront and seek reimbursement from the at-fault party later.
Common examples of economic damages include medical expenses, personal property damage, and lost wages. Proving these damages can be done through documentary evidence. Examples include medical bills, pay stubs, and property repair estimates.
Non-economic damages are not so simple to establish. These intangible losses cannot be reduced to a bill or invoice, as they vary from one person to another. Examples of these subjective losses include pain and suffering or the loss of consortium. Proving these damages typically requires testimony. It might also help to keep a record of your pain and suffering, and any life changes that result from your accident.
How Much Can You Sue for a Slip and Fall?
Every case is different, and the compensation available to one injury victim might not be the same as another.
Like most injury claims, the value of a slip and fall case starts with the severity of your injuries. In general, the cost of medical bills you accrue due to your injuries will influence what the rest of your claim is worth. The point of an injury claim is to ensure you do not suffer financially after the accident, which means you could be entitled to the full amount of your medical bills if you prevail in your case.
You could be entitled to more than just your medical bills, however. Pain and suffering damages are also commonplace in slip and fall injury claims. Typically, the amount of compensation you receive for pain and suffering will be a multiple of your medical bills. The higher your bills, the more pain and suffering compensation may be available.
What Is the Average Slip and Fall Settlement?
Unfortunately, it is impossible to give an accurate estimate of the average slip and fall settlement. This is due primarily to the lack of data available on most injury settlements. After all, most negotiated settlements are confidential. These settlements could be resolved for a few thousand dollars on the low end. For major injuries, slip and fall claims could be worth six figures or more.
The good news is that an attorney could assist in evaluating your case and providing a detailed estimate of your potential recovery. There are many factors in estimating a settlement offer, and each individual case will have a different outcome. Your attorney can give you the best picture of what to expect from your slip and fall injury claim.
How Long Does a Slip and Fall Case Last?
It is impossible to predict how long a slip and fall case will last at the onset of a new case. The facts surrounding these cases can differ substantially, and the parties involved will vary as well. Whether or not the at-fault party in the case admits they are responsible will significantly impact how long it takes to resolve a claim.
When liability is not at issue, you could be surprised at the speed the parties to a slip and fall case could resolve a claim. In some cases, the parties will reach a settlement within a matter of days after the demand letter is sent.
There is no guarantee of a quick settlement, even in cases where liability is not at issue. Some defendants in slip and fall claims will accept responsibility but lack the financial means to pay. Other cases involve a defendant that has an insurance policy, but the policy limits are below the total amount of your damages.
Cases where the defendant disputes liability typically take much longer, as these are the claims most likely to go to trial. Cases that do not settle immediately can take between nine and 15 months to wrap up. In congested courts, it could be years before a case goes to trial.
How Do I Win My Slip and Fall Case?
Ultimately, winning your slip and fall case requires showing that the owner of the property where you fell failed to act reasonably. Property owners have a duty to their guests to take reasonable steps to ensure their safety. Multiple factors go into whether or not a property owner acted reasonably in addressing a dangerous hazard prior to your injury.
The amount of time a property owner has to address a hazard prior to the injury is relevant. If the owner had ample time to address the hazard and failed to do so, that could be enough to win a slip and fall injury case. However, if the accident occurred mere moments after a hazard appeared, it may be unreasonable to hold the owner accountable.
Finally, notice plays a part in these cases. You can only hold a property owner accountable for hazards on their property that they knew about or should have known about. They also should have told you about the hazard.
What Does a Slip and Fall Lawyer Do?
Not sure if hiring legal counsel is worth it after a slip and fall accident? The truth is that a slip and fall lawyer can do a lot for you. In fact, the guidance of an attorney is valuable from the moment your accident occurs.
Your attorney can assist with every step of the claims process. An attorney can help identify the right healthcare providers and ensure that you follow the necessary steps for any insurance claims you might file.
One of the most important roles an attorney will take is serving as your advocate. There are risks associated with speaking directly to the at-fault party or their insurance company. These parties might attempt to trick you into admitting fault or twist your words in some other way. With an attorney as your advocate, you can avoid speaking directly with the other side entirely.
Your attorney can also put their skill and experience to good use when negotiating a settlement on your behalf. If you have never been involved with a personal injury claim before, you might be unclear on what your case is worth. Your attorney can ensure that you do not accept settlement offers that are less than the true value of your claim.
Do I Need an Attorney for My Slip and Fall Accident?
You are under no obligation to hire an attorney, as the law allows you to pursue an injury claim on your own. Handling your claim yourself is your right, but you also might benefit from hiring a lawyer to help you.
There are many risks in proceeding with a slip and fall injury claim alone. Negotiating with or even speaking to the property owner’s insurance company can compromise your claim. One misstatement or misstep could mean the end of your chances of financial recovery.
An attorney can help ensure that you protect your claim and maximize your chances of recovery. This starts with a thorough investigation and includes the aggressive pursuit of a fair settlement offer.
If your claim does not end in a settlement, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf. The trial process is complex, and attempting it on your own can be stressful and might compromise your recovery process.
What Do I Look for in a Slip and Fall Attorney?
Given the complexity of slip and fall accidents, your choice of an attorney is a pivotal factor in your claim’s success or failure.
Experience is critical. To get the most out of your personal injury claim, your best bet is to go with an attorney with experience in slip and fall accident cases. A lawyer with a lengthy career might not have the skills needed if they have previously only focused on other areas of the law.
A track record of success is another strong indicator. At your initial consultation, ask your attorney about other claims similar to yours they handled. Discuss their approach in those cases, and ask what the ultimate outcome was.
Your personal relationship with your attorney is also important. While accolades and a track record of success mean a lot, they are not as valuable if you do not get along with your attorney on a personal level.
Finally, find a lawyer that communicates well. Your legal is here to serve you. However, it is impossible to get the answers you need if you are unable to reach your attorney.
What Should I Ask My Slip and Fall Lawyer?
Most injury attorneys offer prospective clients free initial evaluations. During this consultation, you will have the opportunity to ask questions about your claim. Your consultation is generally your chance to discuss your legal options prior to hiring an attorney, so it is important that you ask the questions that are important to you. Some helpful questions to ask during your consultation include:
- Do you have experience with slip and fall claims?
- How long do I have to file my claim?
- What are my chances of success?
- What is your fee?
- What if I was partly at fault?
What Should I Do if an Insurance Company Calls Me After My Slip and Fall Accident?
If the owner of the property where your fall occurred is up to date on their insurance, you can expect a call from an adjuster in short order. However, you never have to take a call from an opposing insurance company after your slip and fall accident.
First and foremost, many insurance companies aggressively attempt to settle these cases early on in the process. It is their hope that an injury victim will accept a small settlement before they can speak to a lawyer, and before they are aware of the extent of their injuries.
The other insurance company also reaches out in hopes that they can take your recorded statement. An attorney will quickly advise their client not to speak with the other insurance company, which leads these carriers to attempt to obtain a statement before a lawyer is hired. Insurance adjusters are trained to look for inconsistencies and will often twist your words in an effort to deny your claim.
The good news is your attorney can speak with the opposing party and their insurance company on your behalf. This way, you do not have to worry about saying the wrong thing.
Should I Go on Record for the Insurance Company After My Slip and Fall Accident?
In most slip and fall cases, the property owner will have homeowners’ insurance they can rely on. While these policies might ultimately pay for your damages, that does not mean they are on your side. Often, the insurance companies will aggressively pursue a recorded statement from you immediately after the accident occurs.
The risks of going on record for the insurance company after a slip and fall accident far outweigh any potential benefits. While the insurance company might imply that your claim depends on speaking with their adjuster, the reality is that you have the right to refuse to speak with them.
It is worth taking advantage of that right, as insurance companies will frequently use recorded statements against injury victims. Their adjusters will look for any excuse to blame the victim, often twisting their words to make it appear they admitted fault in the accident.
Your attorney can deal with the insurance companies, so you do not have to. By letting your legal counsel advocate on your behalf, you eliminate the possibility of misspeaking or having your words taken out of context. Allowing your attorney to deal with the insurance companies also gives you more time to focus on your health.
Who Can File a Slip and Fall Claim?
Any person who suffers injuries in a fall on another person’s property can file a slip and fall claim. Filing a claim does not guarantee success, however. To recover compensation for your injuries, you must also establish that the property owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent your injury.
In cases where a child suffers an injury in a slip and fall accident, their parents typically have the right to bring a claim in most jurisdictions. Some states allow parents the choice of pursuing a slip and fall injury claim right away or waiting until the child is over the age of 18 to allow them to pursue the claim themselves.
A slip and fall lawyer can assist with filing an injury lawsuit against the careless property owner. If you believe you are entitled to compensation after a fall, call Ben Crump Law, PLLC as soon as possible.
How Much Time Do You Have to Sue After a Slip and Fall?
There are limits on the amount of time you have to file a slip and fall injury lawsuit. These claims are governed by what is known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations serves as the legal deadline required to file a lawsuit. This deadline is typically enshrined in state law and varies from one state to another.
While the time to file suit is not limitless, states typically provide a plaintiff with enough time to move forward with a claim. This window of time can be as short as a year in some states or as long as six years in others. The important thing to remember is that the courts strictly enforce these time limits.
If you bring your slip and fall injury claim after the statute has expired, your case will generally be dismissed. This dismissal can occur, no matter how strong the underlying facts in your case are. Given what is at stake, compliance with the statute of limitations is vital.
Although rarely available, most jurisdictions provide for some exceptions to the statute of limitations. It is never wise to assume these exceptions will apply in your case, however. Let an attorney review your claim and advise you on the factors that could impact your time limit on filing suit.
You Could Be Entitled to Compensation After Your Slip and Fall Accident
If you are living with the consequences of a slip and fall accident, you have the right to hold the at-fault party accountable for your injuries. Whether that person is the owner or occupier of the property, you are entitled to seek compensation if they failed to take reasonable steps to protect you from harm.
The process of pursuing a slip and fall injury lawsuit can be long and challenging. To ensure you maximize your chances of recovery, let a slip and fall lawyer assist you with every aspect of your claim. From investigating your case to taking your claim to trial, your attorney can help you pursue the compensation needed to make you whole. To get started with your claim, schedule a free consultation with Ben Crump Law, PLLC by calling (800) 647-3113 as soon as possible.