Slip and fall injuries are part of everyday life in a bustling and active city like New York. Simply because they are common, however, this does not mean that slip and fall victims are given fewer rights under the law. In fact, New York law is generally favorable to slip and fall victims seeking to recover their expenses.
If you have suffered an injury due to a slip and fall, do not hesitate to contact an attorney. There are a number of legal actions you must take to preserve your case, depending on who the defendant is and how long ago the injury occured. If you are unsure of whether you have a valid claim for compensation, contact the attorneys at Moshes Law, P.C. Our knowledgeable attorneys offer free consultations and can help evaluate the merits of your case.
Under the law, slip and fall accidents are a subset of negligence law, where the injured party seeks compensation for his or her injuries that were caused by the negligence of another. A successful negligence lawsuit requires four things:
A duty arises when an individual or entity owes the injured individual a duty of care. Generally, the duty of care is to act as a reasonable person. For example, you have a duty to act reasonably to every person you encounter in your everyday life, while driving, walking, and riding your bike down the street. The duty, however, can vary depending on who owes it.
For example, slip and falls often occur inside grocery stores due to spills or other conditions, such as wet floors from the rain. If you are a customer inside a grocery store, you are an “invitee” under the law – this means that the owner of the store has invited you in the store for the purpose of being a customer. Because of that, the law holds the store owner to a higher standard. The store owner must affirmatively seek out and remedy any conditions that might result in injury to a customer – that is the store’s “duty.”
On the other hand, if you are at an acquaintance’s house and trip on an uneven sidewalk, the homeowner is subject to a different duty. The law treats you as a “licensee,” meaning that the homeowner invited you into their home, without a commercial reason. A licensee owes a lower duty to a guest than a store owner does.
New York abandoned these distinctions in the 1970’s, but they are still relevant. Today, anyone who expects a visitor on their property, for any reason whatsoever, must act reasonably under the circumstances. The status of the visitor as either a licensee, invitee, or trespasser, however, is still a relevant consideration in determining whether the property owner acted reasonably. Thus, determining the duty a property owner owes to an individual on his or her property can be a complicated analysis.
Once the duty owed to the injured party has been established, the slip and fall attorney must show that a breach of that duty occurred. In New York, this will mean that the defendant did not act reasonably given the circumstances. This is often a factually intensive determination and will generally rely heavily on whether the defendant knew about the dangerous condition or not. If the defendant knew of the danger and did not fix it or at a minimum put up a warning, that is generally an unreasonable act. This is exactly why “wet floor” signs are in existence. Examples of breaches may include:
The third step that must be proven in a negligence case is causation. This means that the breach of duty found above did in fact cause your injuries. The law recognizes a number of “causes,” and “causation” is a common way for a defendant to deny liability. For example, if you trip on an uneven sideway, the defendant may allege that your injury was actually due to a bicyclist riding on the sidewalk, who caused you to abruptly move to the side. In that case, the main cause of your injury was arguably the bicyclist, not the sidewalk. A slip and fall injury attorney will anticipate and be prepared to counter these types of arguments.
Finally, even if you prove the first three elements of a slip and fall negligence claim, you are unlikely to recover unless you actually suffered some harm. If you merely slipped and stood up without injury, you have suffered no harm and will generally not have a case. The law calls harm suffered “damages.” You are entitled to recover compensation for your injuries only if you can prove that you suffered damages. Damages typically are monetary, such as medical bills, rehabilitation costs, or lost wages. Damages may also be for non-monetary items, such as pain and suffering.
If you were injured from a slip and fall on another’s property, you may very likely have a slip and fall case. As all good New York slip and fall lawyers know, however, an article cannot give you a proper “yes” or “no” answer as to whether you have a case. Most slip and fall cases have many moving parts and the facts are vitally important. A fact that is minor to you may be a smoking gun for an experienced attorney. If you believe you may have a case and would like to seek compensation for your injuries, contact an experienced slip and fall attorney at the Moshes Law Firm, P.C. today for a free consultation.
Our attorneys at Moshes law will help you through the entire process of litigation and settlement. We understand that for most people, this hopefully will be their first and last experience with the legal system. Because of that, we take our time to explain the entire process and keep you updated along the way. At the end of the day, it is your case, not ours, and you deserve attorneys who will fight for exactly what you want. Our attorneys will help you navigate the following steps:
As much debate that goes into proving who was at fault, determining the amount of damages suffered is oftentimes debated even more. This is because damages can oftentimes be very difficult to determine. While medical expenses are typically a fixed number, items such as pain and suffering are hard to value. Furthermore, once those damages are determined, what if the defendant is only partially at fault? A good slip and fall law firm is able to review all of the facts and circumstances and come up with a reasonable assessment of your injuries.
Horrible legal advice is easy to come by. Whether it be a neighbor who had a slip and fall before and vaguely remembers what happened, or a friend’s non-litigator child who is a new attorney, many individuals follow bad advice. The experienced litigators at Moshes Law focus on slip and fall cases. We will make sure that you meet all deadlines and avoid costly mistakes, such as failing to bring your case before the statute of limitations expires.
Slip and fall lawsuits are rarely litigated against the defendant directly, but the insurance company that represents the defendant. Insurance companies have nearly unlimited financial resources and oftentimes hire the largest and most reputable law firms. A slip and fall plaintiff attorney needs to know how to negotiate with insurance attorneys, anticipate their tactics, and call their bluffs. While they are generally the largest law firms, they handle many cases and are always looking to quickly settle negotiations on reasonable terms. In fact, the vast majority of slip and fall cases settle before ever going to trial.
While insurance companies are quick to settle, they are even quicker to try and dismiss a case. Nearly every slip and fall case must overcome the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. A summary judgment motion is where the insurance company or defendant will file a motion with the court asking to have the case dismissed completely. Summary judgment motions are always tightly contested and require in person arguments before a judge. An attorney will review your case, prepare the legal arguments, file the response, and argue your case in front of the judge.
At the Moshes Law, P.C., we truly have seen it all. In our years of practice, we have helped hundreds of victims receive compensation for their losses. We can help you receive compensation for slips and falls resulting from the following:
Individuals injured in slip and falls can generally recover two types of compensation for their injuries – economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that bear an economic cost to the injured individual, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and lost earning capacity. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are payments for things that are not economic in nature, such as pain and suffering and emotional anguish. Typically, the following five types of damages are the most common seen in slip and fall cases.
Medical bills are the most common types of damages in slip and falls and typically the easiest to prove. This is because the injured will generally have proof of payments for medical services. Calculating medical damages can get more complicated if payments for future medical expenses are needed. This will generally occur when the individual needs ongoing or long-term medical treatment, such as rehabilitation or surgery.
Injured persons in most situations cannot work. Because of that, they may be entitled to recover compensation for the time at work that they missed and the subsequent pay. If an injury causes an individual to stay home from work for a month, for example, suing for a month’s wages is typical. Defendant’s attorneys will oftentimes attempt to show that the plaintiff could have returned to work sooner than they actually did, but choose not to for personal, non-medical reasons. An experienced slip and fall attorney will be ready to respond to these types of arguments.
While an injury may prevent you from returning to work in the short term, a long-lasting injury may impact your ability to work in the future. A claim for reduced earning capacity seeks recovery when your injury prevents you from working the job you previously worked, and you are instead forced to take a lesser paying job. This can come in many forms, for example, a slip and fall may prevent a construction worker from being able to return to his or her job given the demands of a construction site. If a slip and fall results in a brain injury, that may prevent a doctor or other professional from returning to his or her profession as well. When this happens, the victim should ensure they hire an attorney experienced with these types of claims, as they are often difficult to value and recognize.
Pain and suffering is the most common type of non-economic damages. It is non-economic in nature because pain and suffering does not cost the injured individual money directly. Rather, pain and suffering compensation is given to the injured for having to physically withstand and endure the pain from the injury. While a pain and suffering claim can be brought in any case, they are most successful in cases where the injury is long-lasting and causes significant discomfort. Examples include confinement to a wheelchair for a period of time, chronic headaches, aches from broken bones, and pain from surgery.
Emotional anguish can be difficult to define and to prove. In essence, a claim for emotional anguish seeks compensation for some mental injury caused to the injured. A typical example of this is a diagnosis of PTSD, which typically affects the injured’s ability to return to his or her normal life. Mental anguish may also take many other forms and is typically seen in incidents that were severely traumatic to the victim.
Hiring a slip & fall lawyer is not a cost prohibitive process. In fact, most slip and fall lawyers will take your case without any cost to you. Rather than charging you an hourly or fixed rate, New York allows personal injury attorneys to take cases on a commission basis. This is because New York state does not want the cost of hiring an attorney to be a barrier to adequate representation under the law. Many people would be unable to hire an attorney if they were required to pay out of pocket.
This means that the attorney will take payment from your ultimate recovery from the defendant. Most personal injury attorneys charge ⅓ of your ultimate recovery, however this may change depending on the case. This also means that if you lose your case, your attorney will not charge you.
At Moshes Law, we are a client-centric firm. Our entire practice is built around providing our clients with the best legal representation possible. Whether you want to be involved in the day-to-day advances in your case or prefer a more “hands off” approach, we will ensure that you are satisfied at the end of the day.
While we could talk all day about how we love to serve our clients, there is no better recommendation than from our clients themselves. While other firms hide their reviews, we put ours proudly on display. Our client testimonials show why we receive the vast majority of our business is from client recommendations.
To prove negligence in a slip and fall, you must prove four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. As explained above, this is often a highly fact intensive analysis.
The most common cause of slip and falls are slippery surfaces that are not dried, marked, or cleaned in an adequate manner. This is because the surface generally looks safe, so the injured person is not weary of slipping as they may be when walking on more rough terrain, such as an outdoor sidewalk.
Whether a slip and fall case is hard to win depends both on your definition of “winning” and the facts of the case. Typically, most slip and fall cases result in a settlement to the injured. If any settlement is considered a victory, then the plaintiff has “won.” The reality, however, is that not all settlement offers will be sufficient for the injured party. A “winning” settlement will adequately compensate the injured for all of their injuries.
A slip and fall case in New York City will generally settle around one year, give or take a few months. If it is a highly contested case, it is very likely for the case to go on for two years or more. This, however, is generally not common. Insurance companies typically wish to avoid legal costs if at all possible and settle quickly.
Very few slip and fall cases will go to trial. Perhaps less than one percent. The ones that do go to trial are almost always lawsuits for significant amounts of money, where the injuries are catastrophic. Otherwise, it is typically cheaper for the insurance company to settle out of court and avoid the costs of paying an attorney.
This is difficult to say. Most cases settle out of court because the plaintiff would rather reach a quick settlement that pays them adequate compensation for their injuries. In certain situations, however, the defendant may refuse to settle or offer a fair settlement amount. In those cases, the best option may be to go to trial, rather than accept a settlement that is insufficient.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of a slip and fall in New York City, you may be legally entitled to compensation for your expenses and injuries.
The slip and fall attorneys at Moshes Law, P.C. regularly provide legal counsel to slip and fall victims in all five boroughs of New York City and the surrounding area. If you think you may be eligible for compensation, contact us today for a free case review and discussion.
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