What You Can Do About a Slip and Fall on Public PropertyJune 27, 2014
Here are five important points to remember about slip/trip and falls on public property:
1. Falls on a city street or sidewalk have distinct rules and limitation periods (as compared with falls on private property). Did you know that if you slip and fall on ice on a municipal sidewalk, not only do you have to notify the city within 10 days or risk losing your claim entirely, but you need to prove the city or the snow/ice removal contractors hired on the city’s behalf weren’t just delayed or sloppy in removing the ice, but were grossly negligent in eliminating the hazard? That means there must have been a careless or reckless disregard for your safety and well-being. It’s vital to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to understand your rights.
2. Evidence of the hazard and your fall are key. You or your lawyer need to obtain evidence from as many sources as possible, including photographs, video from nearby security cameras, snow removal truck data from city websites, weather data, internet photos and video, witnesses, etc. Don’t be so embarrassed that you brush yourself off and leave. Get a passerby’s name and phone number and use your smart phone to take some pictures of why you fell.
3. As soon as you know you’re seriously hurt, contact a lawyer. Waiting too long means that important evidence may disappear, along with your case. Witnesses will have gone about their merry lives, ice will melt, the city may fix that giant hole in the street.
4. The owners of the property or their insurance companies may do surveillance and investigation to try and minimize your case. Not only will they follow you around and take pictures or video of your activities, but they will also talk to neighbors or employers and check your online information. Be careful what you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. following a fall. One of my clients agreed to post his wedding video on his videographer’s website as a great sample of the videographer’s work. The insurance company found the video online and used it to show my client dancing all night some time after the accident (I mean, it was his wedding after all!)
5. Start documenting your out-of-pocket expenses right away. This includes income loss, ambulance and hospital bills, housekeeping and caregiving assistance (an invoice/note from the snow removal or grass cutting company you had to hire, a letter from your relative’s work place about the income they forfeited while away from work and caring for you), prescription expenses (you can get a printout from your local pharmacy from the date of loss onwards!) The better your records, the more of these out-of-pocket expenses will be recovered.
For more information, visit our slip and fall section. If you have any questions, book a free consultation or call 1-855-446-7765 for immediate assistance.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is a general guideline made available for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as legal advice for the reader's specific situation nor in general. By reading our blog and website content, the reader acknowledges the above and understands there is no lawyer-client relationship created between you and Himelfarb Proszanski through this content. To get specific legal advice, we encourage you to book a free consultation with one of our lawyers to clarify the legal aspects of your situation.