Liability for a slip and fall accident depends on the facts of each case. A property owner may generally be liable when someone falls on their premises, though there are exceptions to this general rule.
Your attorney may use the standard of negligence to determine who is liable for your fall and resulting damages.
Actions That Contribute to Slip and Fall Accidents
Property owners and others can contribute to slip and fall accidents in several ways.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies some of the leading causes of slip and fall accidents, which include:
- Loose flooring
- Puddles from rain
The CDC also identifies specific ways that a property owner or other responsible party can contribute to a slip and fall.
These failures may make someone negligent and include:
- Failing to spot slipping hazards when they are apparent
- Failing to clean up spills and other slick substances
- Failing to remove clutter from walkways
- Failing to install handrails, which may allow someone to catch themselves after slipping
- Failing to inspect or use ladders and step stools properly
Studies show that the medical cost of fall-related injuries each year exceeds $50 billion. These are only medical expenses and only for a portion of the population. The total toll of fall-related injuries and deaths is immense.
How Slip and Fall Accidents Affect a Victim
If you or a loved one have slipped, fallen, and suffered injuries, you understand how harmful falls can be. An attorney will speak with you about your losses.
They will then create a full record of your damages, which may include:
- Pain and suffering: This loss may include pain from injuries, lost quality of life, lost sleep, traumatic memories, and other forms of suffering. Any financial recovery you get may cover these losses and treatment costs for mental injuries.
- Medical costs: The cost of a fall isn’t only expensive on a societal level—individuals like yourself experience those medical costs directly. Your injuries may require emergency transportation, surgery, hospitalization, visits with specialists, imaging services, and other medical procedures.
- Lost income: Your injuries may cause you to lose income while you’re unable to work. You may also lose performance bonuses, retirement benefits, and other professional benefits. If you can return to work in a limited capacity, you may lose earning power.
- The loss of a loved one: Slip and fall-related injuries can be fatal. If you’ve lost a loved one, an attorney may seek coverage of funeral expenses, pain, suffering, lost financial support, lost companionship, lost parental guidance, and other damages.
Each fall accident victim experiences different losses. Have an attorney evaluate your damages and assign them a financial value.
What to Do if You Were in a Slip and Fall Accident
If you or a loved one has been in a slip and fall accident, you want to act carefully. You have a limited time to take legal action, so set your priorities properly.
After the fall, you should generally:
Seek Medical Attention
Health is always the priority. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries, you must seek the medical care you need.
By seeing a doctor:
- You receive an accurate diagnosis for every injury that you have
- You have a plan to prevent further injuries
- You have a treatment plan
- You get documentation for all of your fall-related injuries
You need documentation to pursue a lawsuit. By obtaining clear documentation of your injuries, and when those injuries happened, you can help set your lawyer up for success.
Hire an Attorney
Speaking of your lawyer, you may want to hire an attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer will handle your lawsuit or insurance claim from start to finish. As soon as you retain their services, your attorney will protect you from anyone who might violate your rights.
The Role of an Attorney in a Slip and Fall Accident Case
If you choose to hire an attorney, you can expect them to:
- Investigate your fall: Your lawyer will gather all relevant facts and evidence from your slip and fall accident. They may collect evidence such as video footage of your fall, witness accounts of dangerous conditions, and accident scene photographs.
- Value your damages: The valuation of your damages will be central to your case. Your attorney will rely on proven methods to calculate every loss, including those without a clear value (like pain and suffering). Your lawyer’s case valuation will guide their settlement negotiations.
- Hire any experts who can help your case: Your attorney may have familiar relationships with experts who they may hire for your case. In most cases, the law firm covers expert fees upfront.
- Negotiate for fair compensation: Once they’ve completed preliminary steps, your attorney will begin negotiating for the compensation you deserve. They may negotiate with insurance companies, attorneys, or directly with liable parties.
- Complete a trial if your case calls for it: Most civil cases end with a settlement, not a trial. If your case requires a trial, your attorney will take the lead.
Having a lawyer handle your case may provide several benefits. From a health perspective, your lawyer will allow you to avoid handling your case on your own. Rather than dealing with insurance companies and other case-related duties, you can focus on getting better.
Financially, a law firm may pay all case-related expenses. Most firms do not take any upfront fee, either. Rather, clients generally only pay a legal fee if the firm wins their case. In such instances, the law firm’s fee comes from the client’s financial recovery.
Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney Today About Your Slip and Fall Case
You’re not alone after your slip and fall accident. Contact a slip and fall lawyer to seek justice and compensation for your losses. With help from a slip and fall lawyer, you can hold the parties responsible for your injuries responsible for making you whole again.