If you sustain injuries as the result of a slip and fall accident or a trip and fall accident on someone else’s property due to the negligence of the property owner, you are entitled to be compensated for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. Statistics have shown that more than 17,000 people die every year nationwide in falls.
Many of these slip, trip and fall injuries are caused by conditions that should have been prevented or repaired by the property owner. Some of these include a wet floor, defective staircase or handrail, a rough patch of ground, uneven concrete or a hole that is not openly obvious. When a dangerous or hazardous condition exists on a property, the owner and/or manager of the property has a duty to forewarn those lawfully upon the property that the dangerous condition existed.
When an individual is lawfully upon a property, they are legally entitled to the expectation that they are safe and that they will not fall or be injured in any way. Property owners have a duty to ensure that they maintain property in a safe and hazard free condition so that those lawfully on the property will not be injured, harmed or killed. Some property owners fail to obey the laws to maintain a safe and hazard free property. When someone who is legally on the property dies as a result of a fall caused by the property owner’s negligence, that the decedent’s survivors may file a death claim.
If you sustain injuries due to a slip, trip and/o fall, first understand that it is truly a normal part of living that things will be spilled, dropped or that holes or defects will exist. Although a property owner cannot always be held responsible for a slip, trip or fall injury, understand that the law does provide that property owners do need to be careful in keeping up their property.
There is sometimes no precise way to determine when the property owner is legally responsible for something that caused a slip, trip and/or fall accident. The negligence claim, however, will be decided based upon whether the property owner acted carefully in ensuring that there was no likelihood of someone slipping, tripping or falling on the property as well as whether you were careless in not seeing or avoiding the dangerous or hazardous condition.
For a determination of negligence on the part of the owner of a property for your slip, trip or fall accident, one or more of the following must be true:
The owner of the premises, through the exercise of due diligence, should have known of the dangerous condition which existed that caused your injury because a reasonable person in the exercise of due care and diligence in maintaining the safety of the property would have discovered it, removed it or repaired.
The owner or manager in charge of maintaining the premises knew or must have known of the dangerous condition which existed that caused your injury but did nothing to remove it, repair it or warn those lawfully on the premises that it existed.
The owner or manager of the premises, or an agent, servant, and/or employee must have caused the spill, worn spot, slippery or dangerous substance or other defective condition to exist and failed to remove it, repair it, or warn those lawfully on the premises that it existed
The first situation causing a slip, trip and fall accident is often the most scenario of an injury. However, there is a great burden of proof in this situation because of the words “should have known”. A judge or jury in this case often needs to apply common sense as to what constitutes “should have known” in any given situation. The question becomes if the owner or manager of the property took the necessary steps to maintain a safe, defect-free, and hazard free environment for people who were lawfully on the property. The question of negligence depends on whether the property owner or manager (defendant) acted “reasonably”.
There are some things that your attorney will discuss with you at an initial consultation for your slip, trip or fall accident claim that will help determine of the property owner or manager was negligent, and if so, to what extent:
Did inadequate lighting at the scene of the accident contribute to your fall because you were unable to see the defective condition?
If you tripped over an object, was there a safer place that the property owner could have or should have put that object in order to maintain a hazard-free area?
If you tripped over or slipped on an object, was there a good reason for that object to be there?
If the object was used by the owner and/or its agents, servants and/or employees for a particular purpose, but that purpose no longer existed, should the object have been put somewhere else to avoid injury to those lawfully upon the property?
If you tripped over a hole, a defective sidewalk, a torn or bulging carpeting, a broken or sticking up floor tile, or slipped on something that was wet, had that dangerous existed long enough that in the exercise of due care and diligence (and regular inspection) the owner should have fixed and/or removed the hazardous condition?
If there was no avoiding that a dangerous condition existed, did the property owner, manager, or its agents, servants and/or employees take the appropriate steps to warn those lawfully on the property that the hazardous and unsafe condition existed?
If you sustain an accident due to a slip, trip or fall accident here are a few things you should do while still at the scene:
Take several pictures with your cell phone of the dangerous condition from several angles. Be sure to take a picture that shows where the dangerous condition existed, for example, if it was a defective or broken concrete condition in the parking lot, take a wide enough picture to show the defect and the surrounding area.
Get the correct legal name of where your accident occurred if it was a grocery store, hotel, medical facility or some other property which is owned by or operates as a business. Get the full address as well.
Report the incident to a manager, owner, employee or someone on duty if there is such a person. Get a copy of the incident report and the name and position of the person that you spoke to
If there were any witnesses to the incident, or someone who assisted you in getting up from the fall, try to get their name and contact information including their telephone number.
To really protect yourself and your future after a slip and fall accident that is not your fault, you need to retain the services of a law firm that has represented injured clients and knows how to deal with insurance carriers.
The Barker Law Firm will make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries, your pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages. We will make sure that the insurance company for the at-fault party does not have the opportunity to take advantage of you and settle your claim for a nominal amount which is likely significantly less than what your case is really worth.
If you, a family member or friend has sustained injuries due to a slip, trip and/or fall accident, call The Barker Law Firm at 727-328-9000 to find out what your rights are to bring a claim for the injuries which you sustained due to the negligence of someone else
To schedule a free consultation or request additional information about our services, please contact us at 727-328-9000 or click here to contact us by e-mail.