There’s no denying it, but unfortunately, you or someone you know will endure a slip and fall accident sooner or later in their lives.
Sadder yet, the accident likely won’t be their fault. Since slip and falls can happen in any place, and to anyone, it’s critical to understand what steps to take following such an accident.
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This is particularly important when your injury is not your fault. By law, structures, homes, parking areas, and walkways must be kept up in a safe manner, which is a duty given to the owner of the property known as premises liability.
Premises liability implies that on the off chance that you were genuinely harmed in the wake of slipping, stumbling, and falling on another person’s property in light of the proprietor’s carelessness, you could be qualified for compensation for your doctor’s visit expenses, time off work, and even pain and suffering.
What is A Slip and Fall Accident?
Basically, Slip and Fall, or sometimes known as Trip and Fall accident, is exactly what it says: when you tripped over something and fell on someone else’s property.
A slip and fall accident can happen in an assortment of settings, both on public and private property, in a store aisle buying groceries, or on a city walkway.
Much of the time, property proprietors have a legitimate obligation to keep premises sensibly safe from perils (those that they think about and those that they should think about).
Slip and fall lawyers help injured parties of slip and fall accidents to get paid – by means of a personal injury lawsuits in which the victim asserts a claim of negligence and claims pain and suffering – when a slip and fall injury is due to a lack of regard or carelessness with respect to the property proprietor.
In order to have a valid slip and fall injury and have a viable case, a dangerous condition must be present on the property and the dangerous condition must be a condition a reasonable person would not have expected.
In the end, the dangerous condition must be a risk that is unavoidable and is not open and obvious in nature.
Additionally, the property proprietor is usually required to have notice of the dangerous condition.
In a significant number of these circumstances, a slip and fall is generally on another person’s property when the accident happens.
A slip and fall case is usually pursued against the owner or tenant of the property where the injury took place.
It will be required to prove that the proprietor or tenant was careless and negligent in not noticing the dangerous condition or rectifying it in an opportune manner.
Should this occur, and you wind up in such a circumstance, you need to consult a personal injury legal attorney at the earliest opportunity.
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In order to have a valid slip and fall case, it’s not enough that you’ve injured yourself on somebody else’s property.
There needs to be negligence involved. You first need to consider whether or not there is liability.
You need to consider whether the dangerous condition, such as something falling on the ground or smooth surfaces that wind up uneven, was due to the negligence of the property owner.
This means that the property owner (or tenant) knew or should have known about the dangerous condition but failed to fix it.
This means that there would be less liability on behalf of the property owner if they were aware of the dangerous condition only briefly but did not have sufficient time to fix it, as opposed to a property owner who was aware of the problem for a longer period of time and failed to act.
Furthermore, a property owner wouldn’t be liable of somebody slipping or falling on something that a reasonable individual should hope to discover there or in which the dangerous condition is open and obvious and therefore totally avoidable.
This “open and obvious” defense is often used by insurance companies to deny the claim on the basis that the injured party has a duty to watch where they’re going.
Be that as it may, property owners have a duty to be watchful in maintaining their property.
While there is no exact method to decide when another person is legitimately in charge of something on which you slip or fall, cases often turn on whether the property owner acted reasonably with the goal to avoid the slipping or falling when it occurred, and whether the injured victim was reasonable in not seeing or avoiding the dangerous condition where they fell.
Here are some different standards to enable you to choose whether another person was to blame for your slip or outing and fall injury.
To be legally responsible for the injuries you suffered from slipping or tripping and falling on someone else’s property, one of the following must be true:
• The owner of the premises or an employee must have somehow caused the spill, worn or torn spot, or other slippery or dangerous condition.
• The owner of the premises or an employee must have known of the dangerous surface but failed to remedy the dangerous condition and do anything about it to prevent injury.
• The owner of the premises or an employee should have known of the dangerous surface because a “reasonable” person taking care of the property would have discovered and removed or repaired it.
The third circumstance is the most widely recognized, but on the other hand is less obvious than the initial two in view of those bothersome words “ought to have known.”
Risk in these cases is frequently chosen by presence of mind.
Judges and juries decide if the proprietor or occupier of property was watchful by choosing if the steps the proprietor or occupier took to protect the property were sensible and reasonable.
What Is “Reasonable”?
Any negligence claim often hinges on whether the defendant acted reasonably.
In determining a property owner’s “reasonableness,” the law concentrates on whether the owner makes regular and thorough efforts to keep the property safe and clean.
Here are some initial questions you can ask to determine whether a property or business owner may be liable for your slip or trip and fall injuries:
• If you stumbled over a torn, broken, or protruding zone of cover, floor, or ground, or slipped on a wet or free region, had the perilous spot been there sufficiently long that the proprietor ought to have known about it?
• Does the property owner have a general procedure for looking at and cleaning or repairing the premises? Assuming this is true, what evidence does the proprietor have of this regular maintenance?
• If you stumbled over or slipped on an object somebody had put or left on the ground, was there a genuine explanation behind the objection being there? Was it open and obvious?
• If there once had been a valid justification for the object to be there, but that reason does not exist anymore, could the object have been secured or generally made safe?
• Was there a more secure place the object could have been placed? Would it be able to have set in a more secure way, absent considerable inconvenience or financial costs to the property owner?
• Could a basic barrier have been made or a notice been given to the public to keep individuals from slipping and falling?
• Did poor or broken lighting act as being responsible for causing the accident?
If the answers to one or more of these questions come out in your favor, you may have a viable slip and fall claim.
However, you must still think about whether your own carelessness contributed in any significant way to your accident.
Your Own Carelessness
In almost every slip or trip and fall case, you must decide whether your carelessness contributed to the accident.
The rules of “comparative negligence” help measure your own reasonableness in going where you did, in the way you did, just before the accident happened.
There are some questions you should ask yourself about your own conduct — an insurance adjuster will almost certainly ask them after you file your claim:
• Did you have a legitimate reason – a reason the proprietor ought to have foreseen – for being in the place where the dangerous condition was?
• Would a reasonable person have seen the dangerous condition and avoided it enough not to slip and fall?
• Were there any signs that there was a dangerous condition?
• Were you doing anything that occupied you from focusing on where you were going, or would you say you were running, hopping, or dawdling in a way that made falling more probable?
You don’t need to “prove” to the insurance company that you were careful; you just need to show that you were not careless.
Knowing What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident.
In the event that you or somebody you think about has been harmed in a slip, trek, and fall mischance, it’s essential that you take the following steps to build the best case possible.
5 Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident
1. Seek Medical Attention Immediately.
Your health and well-being is your number-one priority following a slip and fall accident.
If you’ve been injured, it’s important to see a physician so that your injuries can be properly documented.
Those medical records will be important pieces of evidence should you decide to seek compensation for your injuries because they establish the history of the accident.
If you wait, one, your memory may not be able to recall the accident as clearly as when it happened, and two, your medical attention indicates the immediacy of the injury.
2. Report the Accident.
No matter where the slip and fall accident happens, whether it’s in a store, on a sidewalk, or at a friend’s house, you need to make sure you report it to the appropriate party, either the manager, owner or landlord.
Remember to report the details of the incident in writing and to make a written report. Also, you need to make sure to request a copy of the complaint before you leave.
3. Document Everything.
It’s important to collect the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of any and all potential witnesses.
This includes people that saw the accident, heard the accident, saw you after the accident, were present while you spoke with the property owner, etc.
Their statements could help prove your claim if you decide to pursue a legal claim. Also, remember to take pictures of the precise location where your fall took place and make sure to photograph any stairs, icy patches, or other conditions that contributed to your accident.
Document what you were doing right before the accident, the way you fell, and any other details, including the exact time and date.
Also, place the shoes, clothing, and what you were wearing during the accident in a safe storage place.
They may be relevant pieces of evidence later. You’ll also want to take photographs of your injuries right away.
Don’t wait until later because the injuries may heal or disappear.
4. Avoid Giving Statements to the Insurance Company.
When an accident occurs, the insurance company will most likely reach out to you and try to get you to give a statement.
Oftentimes, the insurance company will use your statements to try to use it against you to avoid liability or to undermine your injuries or claim.
You need to limit your communication with the property owner or manager and especially the insurance company.
Do not post any details related to your accident on social media. Decline to give a statement to an insurance company until you’ve consulted with a personal injury attorney.
5. Call a Personal Injury Attorney.
When considering legal action, the best person on your side is an experienced personal injury attorney.
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Since many slip and fall cases are complex and difficult to prove, you need to seek an experienced, knowledgeable personal injury lawyer.
Insurance Company Interview
It is always recommended that you not initially give a statement to the insurance company until you’ve first spoken with an experienced personal injury attorney.
The reason for this is because oftentimes an injured victim will talk with an insurance company first and give a statement, and then the insurance company will use their statement against them to weaken or deny their case.
Accordingly, it is highly advisable to consult with an attorney first before a statement is given.
The following is a series of questions that are very typical in the investigation of a slip and fall and/or premises liability claim:
1. Where did you fall?
2. When did you fall?
3. How did you fall?
4. How did you land and which body parts were injured?
5. On whose property did you fall?
6. What is the exact location of the fall?
7. Were you able to obtain pictures of the fall?
8. What are the names and addresses of any witnesses to your fall?
9. What were the lighting conditions where you fell?
10. What do you feel the owner of the property or the persons responsible for the management and/or upkeep of the property did, or failed to do, which proximately caused you to fall?
11. Please describe how you feel the owner or the premises manager or store owner was responsible for your fall.
12. Please give the names of the owner and/or manager of the premises who had notice of the condition that caused you to fall.
13. Please describe the exact nature of the condition that caused you to fall.
14. What kind of shoes were you wearing?
15. Were you carrying anything? If so, what?
16. Where was your attention focused and/or concentrated?
17. Please describe how you feel this fall could have been prevented.
18. Please give any other relevant information you feel is important that our firm should know or understand regarding the circumstances of your premises liability and personal injury.
Have you found yourself in a slip and fall accident? Getting legal advice is crucial especially when you must negotiate with insurance companies about the accident.
The Law Office of Yuriy Moshes serves victims of slip and fall accidents in the greater New York City area including all its boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island) as well as Northern New Jersey, Long Island, and Upstate New York.