Common Slip and Fall Questions and AnswersNovember 22, 2016
Slip and fall cases can be complicated, and people who have suffered injuries after a slip or fall often have questions about whether they have a strong case. Knowing the basics of what to do after a slip or fall is essential.
Below, you’ll learn about common slip and fall questions and answers to help you ensure that you make the right choices about legal representation.
Question #1: Who is Responsible for My Injury?
All property owners are obligated to ensure that their properties are safe for those who are legally on the property. Whether you are at a business or a home, if you slip or fall you may have a legal case.
If you’ve been seriously injured, your first step after your accident is to understand what happened. If you fell because of your own clumsiness, there is no one to blame, but if there is an issue with the property, such as a slippery floor in a store, the property owner could be responsible.
It’s also important to remember that property owners with an issue on their property can recognize and fix hazards in a reasonable amount of time, but if they have failed to attend to a hazard that has injured you, they can be held responsible under the law.
Question #2: What if I Get Hurt Because of a Slip and Fall at Someone Else’s Home?
Private property owners are just as legally responsible for fixing dangerous conditions as public property or store owners. If you slip and fall at someone’s home that isn’t well maintained, you can take legal action.
In order to do this, you’d need to prove that you were on the property legally, the owner was obligated to ensure that the property was safe, that the owner neglected to ensure your safety, and that the hazard that caused your injury was the result of the owner’s negligence.
Homeowners’ insurance will cover your pain and suffering. It will also cover all medical bills and expenses without forcing the property owner to pay out of pocket.
Question #3: What if I injure myself on public or government property?
If a property is owned by the government, they are responsible for keeping it in good condition. This includes public property. If they do not properly maintain the property and this results in an injury, you can take legal action, although this can be complicated.
There are often limits on how claims can be made against government agencies or employees.
If you suffer a slip and fall accident on public property, it’s also possible that a third party was responsible for your injury. If a private company doing work on a sidewalk left tools or an unmarked hazard behind, they are responsible for compensating you. Because these cases can be complicated, it’s a good idea to work with a lawyer.
Question #4: What if the property owner does not take responsibility for my accident?
It is not uncommon for a property owner or their insurance company to refuse to take responsibility for your accident. This means you’ll have to provide evidence proving that they failed to take measures to ensure your safety while on their property.
Your slip and fall lawyer will help you gather evidence, including medical records describing your injury, medical treatment you underwent, and evidence of the accident. This may include your own testimony, witness testimony, or security camera footage. If you know there were security cameras at the site of your accident, you’ll want to contact a lawyer as soon as possible so they can get the footage before it’s overwritten.
Question #5: What if I was injured while trespassing?
If you are on a property illegally, it may be difficult to be compensated for injuries you sustained during your accident. If your child was trespassing and was injured, the court may be more lenient.
Whether you were trespassing or not, property owners must still fulfill certain obligations to keep you safe. For example, if there are dangerous hazards on the property and the owner knows there are trespassers, they may be required to post a sign or other warning.
Kids are also more likely to trespass in places where there are swimming pools or construction sites, so property owners are responsible for ensuring that these areas are safe. If a pool is uncovered or a construction site is left open, the property owner may be held liable.
Question #6: What happens if I am injured after falling on snow or ice?
Depending on the situation, the property owner may or may not be held responsible for injuries resulting from snow and ice. Because these are temporary hazards, it can be tricky. Still, a property owner should clear the area and make it safe within a reasonable amount of time.
For example, if snow and ice was in front of a storefront, the owner would be responsible for eliminating it within a reasonable time frame. Likewise, if a floor is slippery because of melting snow and ice that was tracked in, the property owner is responsible if they don’t mop or post a warning sign.
What should I do after a slip and fall injury?
The first step after an accident is to get medical care, even if you don’t think your injury is serious. This is because symptoms can build up over time. By seeking medical care right away, you’ll have evidence of your injuries that you’ll need for your claim.
You should also report your injuries to the management of a public establishment as soon as possible, and get a copy of any incident report. Save all copies of incident reports and receipts for medical treatment, and take photos of the hazard, your injuries, and any torn clothing or shoes.
Finally, take witness statements if you can. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible to see how strong your case is. This is usually free of charge.
What evidence will I need for my case?
To win a slip and fall case, you’ll need to prove that you were injured because of a hazard, that the property owner had an obligation to ensure your safety and didn’t, that this negligence caused your injury, and that your injury can be remedied through compensation.
In addition to the evidence described above, you’ll want to have maintenance records that show how long the hazard existed without being taken care of. Expert testimonies about your accident and injuries can also be helpful. It can sometimes be difficult to get all of the evidence you need on your own, so working with a lawyer can help.
How will my slip and fall case be resolved?
Any compensation for your injuries will usually come from the property owner’s insurance company. Your lawyer will work to convince the insurance company about the proper amount you should be compensated. Slip and fall cases can usually be resolved through negotiations between your lawyer and the insurance company, rather than going to court. If they can’t come to an agreement on the compensation level, a trial will occur. Your lawyer can offer you advice about settlements, but whether to accept is always up to you.
How can a personal injury lawyer help?
If the property owner will not compensate you for your injuries, a lawyer can help you receive the compensation you’re entitled to. Insurance companies are experienced in avoiding paying you what you deserve, but your lawyer will have the knowledge to ensure that you get a strong settlement. Because of the level of evidence that must be quickly gathered, it’s essential to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your slip or fall.
If you’ve experienced an injury due to a slip or fall, book a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer.
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