Claims surrounding slip and fall accidents are some of the most common in personal injury law. To some people, these accidents may sound minor. In reality, thousands of people visit emergency rooms for slip and fall injuries every year. For many, those injuries are severe and remain with the accident victim for years to come.
Individuals who are hurt in a slip and fall on someone else’s property have options for compensation. They can seek insurance benefits from the property owner’s insurance and they can file a personal injury claim if negotiations prove fruitless.
Accident victims shouldn’t fight the insurance companies and other responsible parties alone. A Phenix City slip and fall lawyer can help accident victims seek the most amount of compensation they deserve.
To find out more about your rights after a slip and fall accident, contact the skilled personal injury attorneys at Bence Law Firm LLC now for a free consultation and to learn more about our legal services.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Slip and Fall Claim?
In Alabama, property owners and occupiers owe a legal duty of care to anyone who is on their property. Everyone is given the same status as a visitor and the property owner has certain responsibilities to each of them. They must ensure that their property is in a reasonably safe condition and that there are no conditions present that could result in a slip and fall.
In order to prove a slip and fall claim, you must prove that the property owner breached their duty of care – that they did not take the necessary care to ensure your safety. This doesn’t mean a property owner is to blame any time someone slips and falls on their property. It means they’re responsible if they did not take reasonable care. If they knew about the unsafe condition, or should have known about the unsafe condition, and did nothing to correct it, an attorney can help you hold them responsible.
You will also need to prove that the accident was the direct cause of your injuries. In addition, you will need to establish the full extent of your losses due to the slip and fall accident.
Liability sounds fairly easy to prove, as the cause of the accident is often quite obvious to those who were hurt. However, proving liability sometimes presents its own challenges. The defense will likely argue that you were partly at fault for the accident that caused the injuries. If a jury agrees with the defense, could be barred from receiving any compensation at all.
How Can a Phenix City Slip and Fall Attorney Help?
People sometimes hear that slip and fall cases often settle out of court and so, they don’t think they need a lawyer. This, however, is not true.
Even outside of the courtroom, these types of cases quickly turn complex. People unfamiliar with the law and procedure can quickly become lost in the process.
An attorney, on the other hand, deals with personal injury cases day after day. They know the ins and outs of the court system, are well-versed in personal injury law, and know what to do and when to do it. This is just one of the ways a slip and fall lawyer in Phenix City can help you.
An attorney will also do much more for you than just argue your case in court. They will research case law, collect evidence from the scene, and contact eyewitnesses. They will do whatever they need to do in order to build a strong case so you can pursue the most amount of compensation possible.
Injured individuals are typically awarded more compensation when they have legal representation. One reason for this is because insurance companies, defense attorneys, juries, and even judges take cases more seriously when someone is represented by an attorney. They know a lawyer will hold them accountable and will ensure the rights of the injured party are upheld.
Lawyers are skillful negotiators, which often results in more compensation for the injured person. They know what claims are generally worth, and will know if a settlement offer is fair, or if they should go to court in order to get full compensation.
Having a seasoned legal professional on your side lets you relax while they work on your case. This is likely one of the most traumatic times of your life. If you’re suffering from a serious injury, you need to put your focus on getting better, not filing papers with the court.
These are just a few of the things a Phenix City slip and fall attorney can do for you, and why no one should try to fight a case on their own.
Recoverable Damages in Trip and Fall Cases
Compensation in a slip and fall case is known as damages. The damages you incurred are losses you have suffered or will suffer due to the accident. This compensation is meant to restore you to the way you were before the accident to the fullest extent possible.
Economic damages are those that have a clear dollar value attached to them. These include items such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Property damage, if for example, you broke your phone during the fall
Any expense you incurred as a result of the accident falls under economic damages.
Non-economic damages are subjective losses that don’t come with a price tag attached, but they are very real and deserving of compensation. They include items such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Loss of future earning capacity, if you’re unable to perform the same kind of work after an accident
- Loss of consortium
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Some causes of slip and fall accidents that are more common than others. Examples include:
- Uneven surfaces without warning signs posted
- Recently mopped or waxed floors
- Loose floorboards or rugs
- Spilled liquids
- Debris on the floor
- Poor lighting
- Loose cords that cross walkways
- Open drawers
- Missing or broken handrails on stairs
Property owners must remain vigilant at all times to ensure none of these hazardous conditions are on their property and to correct them when they arise.
Common Places Where Slip and Fall Accidents Occur
Just as there are many common causes of slip and fall accidents, there are also many common places where these accidents occur. These include:
- Parking lots and garages
- Public areas
- Grocery stores
- Big box retail stores
- Restaurants and bars
- Office buildings
- Private homes
- Apartment complexes
- Hospitals and nursing home facilities
What to Do If You Have Been Hurt in a Fall
If you’ve been hurt in a slip and all accident, you need to protect yourself. Knowing the proper steps to take immediately following the accident is the best way to take care of your injuries and ensure you don’t harm any potential claim.
You should immediately seek medical treatment for your injuries. You must ensure that your injuries will not become worse and get the help you need. After any slip and fall accident, you should see a doctor even if you don’t think at first that you’re hurt. Some serious injuries don’t display immediate symptoms. If you hit your head when you fell, you may have a concussion and not realize it, for example.
Getting medical treatment won’t just protect your health, it could also help a future claim. Medical records are often used in personal injury claims to verify the injuries the plaintiff says they’re suffering from.
You also need to report the accident to the owner, manager, or landlord on the property where you fell. If you do not need emergency treatment, try to do this immediately following the accident. If you need to go get treatment right away, come back at a later time and document the accident with the property owner or occupier. You should ask them to provide a detailed report, and to provide you with a copy.
Also before you leave the property, collect the names and contact information of anyone that may have seen the accident. These eyewitness accounts can also help a future claim. Take pictures of the exact location where you fell, along with any stairs, uneven floors, or other conditions that caused you to fall. Also make sure that you document everything including what you were doing before the accident, how you fell, the exact time and date, and any other important details. It’s easy to forget these details over time, but they are important. You should document everything after an accident.
It’s important to know who to talk to and who to limit your contact with after a slip and fall accident. While you do want to report the accident and injuries to the property owner or manager, you don’t want to give them too much information. Don’t admit blame for the accident, as this could harm a future claim.
You should also use caution when speaking with the insurance company. Slip and fall accidents often involve an insurance company. A homeowner will have insurance on their home, as will store owners on their property. When an accident occurs in these places, the insurance company is going to get involved.
The insurance company is looking for ways to shift fault onto your shoulders, and may even take your words out of context in order to show that you were at fault for the accident. It’s important to remain calm, answer questions succinctly, and never, ever give the insurance company a recorded statement.
You should never post anything online. Doing this can greatly hurt an injury claim, and could even help prove negligence on your part, which will wreak havoc on your case. In the days and weeks following the accident, try to avoid posting anything on social media, even if you don’t think it has anything to do with the accident. An insurance company may come across your post and determine that if you were well enough to do whatever the picture shows, maybe you aren’t really that hurt.
Get in Touch with a Phenix City Slip and Fall Attorney
There is one thing everyone should do as soon as they can after a slip and fall accident. That is speak to a Phenix City slip and fall lawyer.
If you’ve been hurt in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, contact Bence Law Firm LLC today. We know how to pursue these lawsuits to give you the best chance of success. We’ll negotiate on your behalf, speak to the insurance company, and make sure the process is as easy as possible for you.
Now is the time for you to focus on your recovery. Let us focus on the many details involved in a lawsuit. Contact us now for a free consultation.