When should I hire a Slip & Fall accident attorney?
While the idea of slipping, falling, and suing a property owner is often joked about, if you are the one left with the aftermath of a slip and fall injury then you will know that it is no laughing matter. As slip and fall accident lawyers, we have helped many people recover for the damages they incurred after slipping / tripping and falling.
What Is a Slip and Fall Accident?
“Slip and fall” is commonly used to describe a situation where someone slips and/or trips while on someone else’s property resulting in an injury. The three most common places for slip and fall accidents to occur are:
- Commercial properties,
- Residential properties, and
- Government properties.
Where Do Slip and Fall Accidents Happen?
A slip and fall accident can happen anywhere. Here are some of the most common slip and fall accident locations:
Wet or Uneven Surfaces:
Statistics from the National Floor Safety Institute show that over half of all slip and fall accidents happen as a result of hazardous walking surfaces. Things such as loose carpeting, loose floorboards, wet floors, and cluttered floors lead to a number of slip and fall cases each year.
While a property owner can neither predict the weather, nor control it, they are still responsible for making sure their sidewalks are free of snow and ice. If they fail to salt their steps and walkways and someone slips and gets hurt, they can be held liable for damages.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, close to a quarter of all slip and fall accidents are the result of improper footwear. If you know that you are going to be climbing many stairs or walking long distances within a public or private space, make sure you are dressed accordingly and that you have the appropriate type of shoes on your feet.
Steps need to adhere to certain construction guidelines and there should also be handrails and proper grips on a step.
How Do Slip and Fall Accidents Happen?
A slip and fall accident can happen because of a number of reasons.
Certain occupations, such as manual laborers, factory workers, kitchen workers, and people in the construction industry need to be much more aware of the risks involved with slipping and falling.
The general public, however, may also be exposed to a variety of situations that could lead them to lose their balance.
Avoiding wet and slippery surfaces, creating and maintaining proper lighting, and removing obstacles from walkways and aisles are just some of the steps that a property owner can take to reduce the risk of a slip and fall case on his/her property.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Injury Accident?
If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident, then there are a few steps that you should follow:
Step 1: Get help
Alert nearby staff and/or people that you have fallen and injured yourself. Ask someone to call an ambulance so that medical professionals can tend to you.
Step 2: Take note of the current environment
Make sure you are aware of the details of your surrounding. Was the floor wet? If so, was there a safety sign? Did you fall due to a handrail giving way? Were there loose floorboards or clutter on the floor?
Step 3: Report the accident
The accident needs to be reported to the property owner as well as the tenant of the property. Even if it was a minor trip and fall, document the date, time, and people who were on duty when you fell.
Step 4: Document everything
Document the time you missed from work due to having to go to the hospital, any tests that you had to undergo, all your injuries, the names and numbers of the people who helped you, and be sure to keep photographs of your injuries.
Step 5: Decline to give statements
It is not always in your best interest to deal directly with the property owners yourself. You do not have to place blame or accept any type of apology – contact your slip and fall lawyers first.
Step 6: Get in touch with a Personal Injury Lawyer
It is important to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer who specializes in slip and fall accidents. Proving that your injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence is not always easy – you will need an experienced legal professional guiding you through the process. The lawyer can also pursue your claim and keep you updated on the progress of your claim.
How Much Time Do You Have to Sue After a Slip and Fall Accident?
The amount of time that you have to sue after a slip and fall accident will vary depending on where the accident happened.
In Florida, for example, you have four years to pursue a slip and fall claim after the injury took place.
In New York, you will need to file the lawsuit within three years.
The clock starts running from the day the accident happened.
What is considered a slip and fall injury?
Back, neck and spine injuries:
Many people sustain injuries to their backs, necks, and spines. This type of injury can take a long time to heal and may even require surgery.
Broken pelvis or hip:
This type of injury from a slip and fall accident is more common among older people.
Depending on how and how hard a person falls, he/or she may sustain a minor bump to the head or even brain damage as a result of the slip and fall accident.
Fractures such as broken bones can be sustained from tripping and falling. While the fracture may seem minor, it can have a prolonged negative impact on a person’s health and mobility. Fractures can also give rise to future complications such as blood clots and neurovascular damage.
Who is Liable for a Slip and Fall Injury?
As mentioned above, it is not always easy to determine blame in a slip and fall case. Property owners are responsible for maintaining their properties and ensuring that guests, staff, and the public who visit their spaces are safe. However, the public also have to be alert and use good judgment when moving around in public areas.
Some of the ways to determine whether the property manager is at fault are to ask questions such as the following:
- Did you trip over a loose carpet, floorboard, or cluttered items?
- Have slip and fall accidents happened in the same area before?
- Did you trip over clutter on the floor? (And if this was the case, was there a reason for the clutter to be there?)
- Should there have been a safety or warning sign?
- Is there anything else that the property owner should have done to warn people about the potential danger?
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Slip and Fall Case?
While any person can file a slip and fall case, it is always in your best interest to hire an experienced attorney. A slip and fall lawyer will be able to represent you in court and contact the insurance company on your behalf, which can save you a lot of time and stress.
Your attorney’s job is to prove liability. In order to achieve this, they need to prove that the property owner was negligent. A slip and fall accident can happen in seconds, so it’s not always a clear-cut case of showing your injuries.
Another added benefit of appointing a lawyer for your case is that you can focus on your recovery without having to deal with insurance companies, forms, and administrative red tape. If you sustained a broken arm or a back injury, you may need ongoing physical therapy and help to recover. Your health is of paramount importance and you should be making it a top priority while your lawyers handle the rest.
What Information and/or Evidence Will a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Require After the Slip and Fall Accident?
These are some of the questions that a slip and fall lawyer will likely ask you after you have contacted them:
- Where did the accident take place?
- What caused the fall?
- Was it your first time in the place of the accident? (If not, describe why you visit this place regularly)
- Were you alone when you fell?
- Did anyone see you fall?
- Who helped you after your fall?
- Did you file a report after the fall?
- Did you see a medical specialist?
- What did the floor or surface that you slipped on look like?
- What were the weather conditions on the day of the fall?
- Were there any warning or safety signs in the area?
- What did the property owner or business do after the fall?
- Has the condition been corrected by the property owners?
- What are the names of the staff members who helped you? Do you have their phone numbers?
- Do you have any pictures of your injuries?
- Did you miss time from work as a result of your injuries?
- Are you experiencing any ongoing pain from your injuries?
- Are you seeking treatment from a medical professional for your injuries?
- Has the injury impacted your ability to move and work
How much do slip and fall accident cases settle for?
When determining a slip and fall settlement, there are a number of things that will be taken into consideration to calculate what your compensation should be. Medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering are some of the things taken into consideration when trying to determine what your compensation should be.
The three key factors that your slip and fall attorneys will have to investigate and prove in your case include:
- Negligence, and
- The injured party’s (plaintiff’s) freedom from fault.
To prove that the property owner or insurance company should compensate you for damages, they will need to show that you are free from guilt in order to place all of the liability on the defending party.
Why Shamis & Gentile, P.A. – South Florida Injury Attorneys
At Shamis &Gentile, P.A., you will always deal with a seasoned attorney; skillfully assisted by the most innovative support staff in the profession. Our law firm is progressive and trusted within the legal community. We are often called upon to settle cases that other law firms may not be able to handle on their own.
The team of personal injury lawyers at Shamis & Gentile, P.A. set the standard on being innovative and technologically savvy. This innovation and use of cutting-edge case management software allow us to create an unparalleled level of customer service and attention to detail with our clients, which has led to an exceptional growth rate rarely seen in law firms.
Besides slip and fall cases, we also specialize in: