Unsafe Property Conditions Can Cause Slip and Fall Accidents
When it comes to personal injury litigation, slip and fall accidents often come to mind. You may know that a slip and fall injury can be grounds for a lawsuit, but what else should you know about suing for a slip and fall accident? Slipping, tripping and falling can be caused by unsafe property conditions. When filing a slip and fall lawsuit, plaintiffs must show that conditions were dangerous and the owners knew or should have known about unsafe conditions.
The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing clients in accident cases, including slip and fall lawsuits. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a lawsuit.
Certain conditions must be met for a slip and fall accident lawsuit. Among other things, the plaintiff must prove that the conditions were unsafe and that the property owner was negligent in addressing these conditions. An example of dangerous conditions may include broken concrete, a hidden hole or a slippery floor.
The property owner must have notice of the conditions in order to be liable for someone’s injuries. A lawsuit may be filed when the owner had notice and failed to act, or acted in a way that was insufficient.
It can be difficult to prove negligence if the property owner had no way of knowing about the unsafe condition. This may be a point that is contested in the lawsuit. If a slip and fall accident occurs right after snow starts falling, for example, recovering damages may be challenging. A stairwell without a handrail, on the other hand, is a much more straightforward example.
Seek medical attention and notify the property owner if you were injured in a slip and fall accident. Document your claims, including your injuries and any dangerous conditions (such as a wet floor). Since you only have a limited amount of time to sue, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible if pursuing a claim.
Slip and Fall Lawsuits and Settlements
Parker Waichman notes that suing over a slip and fall accident can lead to a substantial settlement. Pursuing litigation obtains compensation for the injured individual, but it also holds property owners liable for unsafe conditions.
One woman, for instance, recently obtained $350,000 in a slip and fall settlement. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff slipped and fell while walking in a New York City parking garage on a rainy day. She slipped and fell in the staircase of the parking lot, fracturing her elbow. Her slip and fall injury required surgery. The lawsuit filed on her behalf alleges that the property owner was negligent and presented an unsafe condition. The staircase allegedly needed maintenance; the complaint states that the steps were worn and possibly needed retreading. During rainy days, the worn steps become a safety risk, the lawsuit alleges.
Slip and fall accidents are particularly prevalent during the winter, when snow and ice create unsafe conditions. Rain can also make surfaces slippery and if the proper precautions are not taken, a slip and fall injury can easily occur.
Being cautious on a rainy or snowy day can help prevent a slip and fall accident. If you do suffer from a slip and fall, seek medical attention right away if needed. Not all injuries are immediately obvious, and symptoms may not arise until later. In terms of litigation, medical records provide evidence of your injury. In fact, not seeking medical attention after a slip and fall accident may be used against you in some cases.
Examples of Slip and Fall Claims
A slip and fall accident lawsuit must show that a property owner knew about a dangerous condition but failed to address it. Alternatively, a lawsuit may also allege that the owner addressed the conditions in a way that was insufficient.
There are many examples of slip and fall accidents leading to potential lawsuits. You may slip and fall on the slippery floor of a shopping mall where the owner failed to place a warning. Proper measures may include cleaning the floors, roping off the area or placing a caution sign. A lawsuit may also be filed if the owner cleaned the floor but did not inadequately, still presenting unsafe conditions.
In another example, you are in an office building that has just laid new carpet. The carpet is not securely attached to the floor and you trip on the carpet edge, suffering an injury. You may be able to recover damages in a situation where you park your car in a parking lot, and then land in a hole when you exit the vehicle. The pavement was under repair but there were no warning signs or roped off areas to alert you to the unsafe conditions.
Ice can also cause slip and fall accidents. Sometimes, these cases may be difficult to prove because they are considered to be accidents and not negligence. Still, there are situations where the injured party can recover damages. For example, you slip and fall on an icy surface while walking on a municipal sidewalk. You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit because the municipality undertook to clean the sidewalk but did so inadequately, creating an unsafe condition.
In these situations, the property owner had notice of the dangerous condition but did not act appropriately. Negligence is difficult to prove if the owner could not have notice of a condition.
Filing a lawsuit can recover damages for medical expenses, as well as past, present and future wages. Compensation helps pay for medical bills, such as hospital visits. You may also recover for lost wages if you needed to take time off from work for your injury, including sick days or unpaid leave. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be unable to resume working for a long period of time. In serious cases, injury can even lead to permanent disability. In these scenarios, the injured party would also recover damages for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. For example, a slip and fall accident leads to paralysis or permanent nerve damage.
Legal Help for Slip/Trip and Fall Accident Victims
Parker Waichman has decades of experience representing victims injured by slip and fall accidents. If you or someone you know was injured by someone else’s negligence, you may have valuable legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).