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Wondering about your legal rights after a slip and fall claim means that you’ve probably been injured on someone else’s property. When you are injured on another person’s property, you may be entitled to an insurance settlement or filing a personal injury lawsuit. In order to win your case, you need to be able to prove that someone else is responsible for your injuries. If you suffered injuries after a slip and fall, contact a qualified Slip and Fall Lawyer. A lawyer can help you determine if you have a valid slip and fall claim.
To win a slip and fall claim, you need to prove the following:
- Liability: The defendant had a duty of care.
- Negligence: The defendant failed to meet the duty of care and the plaintiff was harmed.
- Cause: The defendant was responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries.
- Damages: Documentation of expenses.
In other words, property owners have a responsibility to prevent slip and falls from happening. In order to determine negligence in a slip and fall, you will need to prove that the property owner caused your injuries or failed to act in a way to prevent your injuries.
Valid Slip and Fall Claims Have Unsafe Conditions
As with all personal injuries, negligence must be present in order to rise to the level of a lawsuit. In slip and fall claims, the property where you fell must have an unsafe condition that led to your fall and injuries. Most commonly, unsafe conditions include the following:
- Slippery or wet floors
- Debris or other items on the floor
- Uncared for sidewalks
- Ice or snow built up on walkways
If you or someone you love fell because of an unsafe condition, schedule a free consultation with a qualified slip and fall lawyer to discuss your legal options.
Examples of Slip and Fall Liability
Property owners can be held responsible for several reasons. But overall, these reasons fall into two overarching categories.
- Potential hazard. Property owners can create conditions that can lead to injuries. For example, failure to address a leaking AC can lead to a puddle in a grocery store aisle.
- Neglected hazard. Property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises safe. For this reason, they must exercise reasonable care when ensuring there are no potentially hazardous conditions on their property. This means that if a hazard exists for an extended period of time, they aren’t reasonably doing their job of keeping the grounds safe.
- Visitor’s Personal Carlessness. There are situations when a slip and fall happens and it isn’t the property owner’s fault. As a result, a plaintiff may have a harder time making a case that another party is responsible for their injuries. Such as, if a work zone is properly marked and someone visiting the property ventures into the zone and suffers an injury, they are at-fault for their own injuries. It is not reasonable to expect a shopper or other business visitor would enter into a properly marked work zone. While an uninvited injured guest would not have a strong claim, they may still be able to collect some compensation from the property owner’s liability insurance.
Knowing whether or not you have a valid slip and fall claim depends on the actions you take and how you feel after your fall.
What are Common Slip and Fall Injuries?
Slip and falls are some of the most common sources of injuries. While falls are common, the injuries can be severe. Each year, falls are responsible for more than 800,000 patients hospitalized. These injuries often because of head injuries or hip fractures. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the most common reason for traumatic brain injuries. Additionally, at least 300,000 elderly people are hospitalized for hip fractures from falls. The traumatic injuries from a fall include:
- Broken legs
- Fractured pelvis
- Back, neck or spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
Many of these injuries will require extensive medical treatment. Spinal cord injuries, for instance, can lead to lifelong pain that may require surgery to reverse. If you were injured on someone else’s property, you should not have to pay for your medical treatment. Contacting a qualified Slip and Fall Attorney can help you get the compensation you’re entitled to.
10 steps to take after a slip and fall incident
1. Report your slip and fall to the store owner or manager.
Our Slip and Fall Attorneys stress the importance of reporting your slip and fall to the landlord, store manager, homeowner or whoever is in charge of the property you fell. This provides documentation of your fall and is strong evidence should your case rise to trial.
2. Take pictures of the scene.
If you are able or if you are with another person, take pictures of the conditions that led to your injuries. You will need close up and wide shots of the exact location where you fell. Take as many pictures of the scene as you can; and the sooner you take these photos, the better. For example, if you’ve fallen on a slippery surface, you need to document whether or not a sign was placed. Further, wet or slippery surface falls can be cleaned up or dried quickly. The sooner you take photos of the scene, you increase your chances of a successful recovery in your slip and fall claim.
3. Write down detailed notes of what happened.
Write down a detailed description of how you fell. You will need to include information such as:
- The shoes you were wearing.
- Which part of your body hit the ground first
- Anyone near you
- What were you doing when you fell (walking, running, looking for something)
- When/if you noticed the condition that led to your fall
- Any other details that you think of that might be helpful in a slip and fall lawsuit.
- Document the time and date you fell, as well as the weather conditions.
4. Preserve everything you wore.
Place your shoes and the clothing you were wearing in a safe place. Additionally, take photos of the items to help your preservation efforts.
5. Do not take responsibility.
One of the most common obstacles our slip and fall attorneys have to overcome is when a slip and fall victim takes responsibility for a fall. Saying something as simple as “I’m so clumsy” can shift the focus of liability from the business’s negligence to you.
6. Limit communications with owners, employees, witnesses and insurance adjusters.
The more you say, the more can be used against you. Do not get into detailed discussions about how you fell. Owners, employees and even witnesses may testify about what you said. Even if you believe you didn’t say anything wrong, it’s possible that a defense can twist your words against you.
7. Determine how long the dangerous condition existed.
To the best of your ability, it’s important that you understand how long the conditions that caused your fall existed. For example, if a customer spilled juice mere seconds before your slip and fall, it may be difficult to prove liability. On the flip side, if an employee was responsible for the condition, or if they were made aware of the spill prior to your fall, then you have a stronger case of proving liability. Your slip and fall attorney will ask questions about the conditions that led to your fall to determine your next legal steps.
8. Never give a recorded statement.
Unless you have already contacted an attorney or have an attorney present, do not allow anyone to record your statement.
9. Don’t sign anything without input from a Slip and Fall Attorney.
Insurance companies and other defendants might quickly agree to cover your medical bills if you agree to not sue them. However, they will use this as an opportunity to undervalue your claim. While you think you’re getting a fair deal, you may not realize that you will quite possibly have ongoing medical treatment. Signing a document prior to consulting an attorney will likely prevent you from getting the entirety of the compensation that you are entitled to. A Slip and Fall Attorney from The Carlson Law Firm can help you determine the value of your personal injury claim.
10. Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney as soon as possible.
Slip and falls are an area of law called premises liability. They are the kind of cases that require a skilled attorney who understands this particular area of law. You need to speak to a Slip and Fall Attorney as soon as possible to preserve evidence and the value of your case.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders After a Slip and Fall
Missing appointments and following your doctor’s treatment plans can signal to jurors that you are not as injured as you say you are. But more importantly, failing to comply with doctor’s orders can have negative impacts on your health. Going to appointments for physical therapy, getting injections and recommended surgeries will help you recover quicker. If your doctor recommends a therapy that you do not agree with, it is OK to discuss alternative options with your doctor. For example, instead of taking pain killers, you can ask your doctor to prescribe physical therapy instead.
The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
The temporary embarrassment of falling in public doesn’t compare to the physical injuries that they can bring about. For even the average-sized adult, falling to the ground is a traumatic experience on the body. If you fall on someone else’s property, it is important that you understand just how life-changing a slip and fall can be. Depending on the extent of your injuries and your doctor’s treatment plan, your medical bills can grow to enormous amounts. Contacting a Slip and Fall Attorney soon after your fall will help you cover the costs of your medical treatment, as well as other damages.
The Carlson Law Firm represents victims of Slip and Falls all over the state of Texas. We have locations in:
- San Antonio
- Corpus Christi
Find a Slip and Fall lawyer near me.