A slip-and-fall accident may occur in the workplace, while on holiday, or when visiting an organization’s premises in another capacity. Understanding how to establish slip-and-fall cases can help injured individuals hold a party whose negligence precipitated an accident to account. Read about initiating slip-and-fall personal injury cases and discover how a New Hampshire family law, criminal law, and personal injury attorney can assist individuals with their legal issues by contacting Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC at (603) 707-4800.
What Is a Slip-And-Fall Personal Injury Case?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a slip-and-fall accident as an incident in which a person hits the ground and injures themselves after losing their footing, tripping over something, or falling down. Common causes of slip-and-fall personal injury accidents include stepladders, loose rugs or mats, spills, clutter, poor lighting, and weather conditions, such as ice, rain, and snow. Victims of a slip-and-fall may sustain injuries that are often painful, such as strains, sprains, bumps, bruises, scratches, lacerations, and fractures. Some of these incidents can even be fatal; for instance, the National Safety Council (NSC) states that almost 225,000 preventable injury-related fatalities occurred in the United States in 2021.
Legal cases seeking compensation for injuries sustained in slip-and-fall accidents fall within a category of personal injury lawsuit referred to as premises liability claims. In pursuing these claims, the plaintiff seeks compensation for the injury sustained on someone else’s premises resulting from the injured person’s slip, trip, or fall.
What Do You Have To Prove in a Personal Injury Claim?
Successfully pursuing a claim for damages in a personal injury case requires the plaintiff to demonstrate both that another party owed them a duty of care and that the individual or entity allegedly at fault breached this duty. Additionally, the plaintiff must prove that this breach led to the damages for which they are seeking compensation. Personal injury claims typically have a time limit between two and four years from the injury date, depending on the state, so be sure to file promptly.
What Is the Largest Settlement for a Slip-And-Fall?
Due to the severity of the injuries sometimes sustained in these cases, the settlements made outside of the courtroom can be higher than in other personal injury cases, a consideration which highlights the importance to property owners and maintainers of taking preventative measures to ensure the safety of the visitors to their premises. Such measures include wet or slippery floor signs, effective lighting, and surface matting.
One of the highest financial awards in a slip and fall personal injury lawsuit exceeded $20 million. In this case, the plaintiff, who was an elderly woman, sustained substantial injuries when she slipped on the hotel lobby’s wet tiled floor. When the case concluded, the jury determined the hotel did not adequately inform their guests of this hazard, meaning they were liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
What Questions To Ask for a Slip-And-Fall Case?
Here are several questions it can be helpful to have the answers to when considering filing for a slip-and-fall claim:
- What caused the incident and where did it occur?
- Have you previously visited the location of the incident?
- Were there any witnesses to this event?
- Who came to assist after the accident?
- Did you get a copy of the accident report?
- Was the incident reported to anyone?
- Did the organization do anything to rectify the condition that caused the incident?
- Did you obtain any security camera footage related to the incident?
- Are there any available photos that depict your injuries or the cause of the incident?
- What were you doing and looking at immediately before the accident?
- What was the type of floor or footing on which the incident occurred?
- Were there any visible signs alerting people to the hazard?
- What shoes did you have on during the incident and in what condition were they?
- What are the injuries for which you wish to claim damages, and when did you realize you had sustained them?
- What medical assessments and treatments have you had for these injuries?
- Did you have any known pre-existing health conditions at the time of the accident?
- How have you funded the medical expenses associated with the slip-and-fall injuries?
- Have you had to take time off work because of these injuries?
- In what other ways have these injuries affected your life?
What Is the Theory of Liability for a Slip-And-Fall?
Property owners are responsible for ensuring safe conditions within their premises. That said, visitors are also responsible for watching where they are going and taking reasonable precautions. Typically, a plaintiff may establish liability in a slip-and-fall case in one of these three ways:
- The property owner or their employee caused the hazard resulting in the incident.
- The property owner or their employee knew about the hazard but failed to quickly fix the problem or notify the visitors.
- The property owner or one of their employees ought to have known about the dangerous surface since a reasonable individual would have been aware and fixed the issue.
What Are the 2 Main Defenses in a Slip-And-Fall Personal Injury Claim?
Sometimes unfortunate accidents occur that are no one’s fault. The individuals or organizations responsible for a property have the legal right to defend themselves when they believe the accident was not their fault. There are two primary defenses in slip-and-fall cases:
- Insufficient negligence: A defendant could state that the creation of the hazard leading to the incident was not due to their negligence.
- Absence of fault: This involves claiming the injured individual was at fault for their own injury and did not take reasonable measures to avoid the hazard.
Contact a New Hampshire Criminal Law, Family Law, and Personal Injury Attorney Today
Determining liability is a necessary step toward bringing a slip-and-fall case against another party. Whether the matter proceeds to court or on the other hand is settled out of court through negotiations with the property owners or their insurers, plaintiffs benefit from understanding the basics of premises liability. With this knowledge, victims of these incidents can fight for their legal rights and hold negligent parties to account more effectively. Find out how a New Hampshire criminal law, family law, and personal injury attorney from Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC can assist with slip-and-fall personal injury claims and other legal matters by calling (603) 707-4800.