While picking up a meal at your local Arby’s, you may slip and fall and injure yourself. Slip and fall injuries fall under a category of legal cases called “premises liability” claims. Because you hurt yourself on another person’s property, you could qualify for damages if you have a legal case. Improve your chances of building a solid case and recovering fair compensation by working with Gould Injury Lawyers. When you trust us with your case and legal rights, you get fast results from a fast firm.
Before exploring how much the at-fault party may owe you in damages, we suggest establishing fault. The success of a slip-and-fall case hinges on whether the property owner took steps to keep the premises in good condition to protect guests, and you must also consider whether you bear fault for your injuries.
Other than establishing negligence, you must also identify the dangerous condition that caused the accident and injuries you suffered. Such conditions must create unnecessary risks to someone on the property. The condition must also be one the injured party cannot expect under the circumstances, which means parties must identify and avoid obvious hazards.
To show the property owner knew about the condition, the plaintiff must prove:
- The owner created the hazard.
- The owner knew the hazard existed, but did nothing to eliminate it.
- The hazard existed for so long that the owner or an employee should have learned of it and resolved it before the plaintiff’s accident.
The injured party must also expect that the dangerous condition would have put another’s safety at risk.
Premises liability claims also depend on whether the at-fault party acted reasonably. The law focuses on whether the property owner makes comprehensive and regular efforts to maintain the property and keep it clean and free of hazards. Some questions injured parties may ask themselves to determine whether the property owner acted reasonably include:
- Did faulty lighting contribute to the injuries suffered?
- Could the property owner have put up a barrier or warning sign to keep guests and visitors safe?
- If the plaintiff slipped on a loose or wet area of ground, floor or carpet, or tripped over a broken, ripped or bulging area, did the hazard exist long enough that an employee or the owner should have noticed it?
- Does the owner regularly clean or repair and study the property? If so, does proof of regular maintenance and inspections exist?
- Does the owner have a good reason to leave the hazard on the floor or ground?
- If the owner has sound cause to leave the hazard where it was when the plaintiff slipped or tripped, could the owner or an employee have removed or concealed the danger or otherwise made the area safer?
If plaintiffs answer these questions in their favor, they may have solid grounds to file a personal injury suit.
After slipping, falling and hurting yourself in Arby’s, you must ask yourself if you could bear some fault for your injuries. In premises liability cases, plaintiffs must understand comparative and contributory negligence.
Contributory negligence refers to actions that create an avoidable risk to oneself and a responsibility individuals have to act reasonably. When parties act unreasonably and experience harm, defendants may hold injured plaintiffs partially or wholly responsible for their harm, even if the defendant played a part in the incident. For instance, while you slipped and fell in Arby’s, you could have become distracted by a phone conversation and failed to look where you stepped, causing you to hurt yourself on an untended spill. Even though the business owner and employees have a responsibility to keep the store safe and clean, you also have a responsibility to pay attention to your surroundings.
When plaintiffs take legal action against at-fault parties, defendants may respond with a contributory negligence counterclaim. If the defendant proves the claim, the plaintiff could receive reduced damages or no damages at all.
With comparative negligence, courts weigh each party’s negligence when determining damages. The two approaches to this concept of negligence are pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence.
With pure comparative negligence, judges and juries total the plaintiff’s damages and reduce them to reflect the injured party’s degree of fault for the incident. For instance, if a slip-and-fall accident results in $100,000 in damages but the court finds the plaintiff bears 40% of the fault, she or he only receives $60,000 in damages.
With modified comparative negligence, the more common approach, plaintiffs do not qualify to receive damages if found to bear equal or more fault for their suffered harm. That means that to recover damages, the injured party cannot bear over 50% of the fault for the incident.
Understanding Common Slip-and-Fall Injuries
After any slip and fall, no matter how minor, you deserve to have a medical professional thoroughly examine you. You could have delayed injuries that take days or weeks to appear, which could complicate your case and your right to compensation if you discover them later rather than sooner. To help your doctor know what to look for, it makes sense to know common slip-and-fall injuries.
Slip-and-fall accidents often trigger soft tissue damage like strained tendons and tears. Falls commonly injure hips, legs, wrists, arms and ankles. Older slip-and-fall victims must make sure they did not sustain hip trauma, which could become a fatal injury in the long term. Depending on the severity of the soft tissue injury, individuals may need surgery and physical therapy to improve their chances of recovering fully.
Examples of common neurological conditions caused by slips and falls include headaches, migraines, numbness in the limbs and difficulty concentrating. Individuals may suffer traumatic brain injuries, such as a concussion.
Head, Neck and Back Injuries
If the spinal cord becomes compressed or severed after a slip-and-fall incident, it could trigger a spinal cord injury. Such life-threatening harm requires immediate medical attention and continuing treatment. Usually, the higher on the spinal column the injury, the more severe the resulting damage. Injuries lower on the spinal column could paralyze the lower limbs, a medical condition known as paraplegia. Higher spinal cord injuries may completely paralyze a person, a condition called quadriplegia.
Abrasions and Cuts
While a cut or abrasion from a fall may look severe, the trauma does not cause the same harm as other slip-and-fall injuries. The most common cuts and abrasions occur on the legs, arms, hips and head. While abrasions and cuts usually look worse than they are, they may cover more severe injuries, such as broken bones and head injuries.
Depending on the force of a fall and where a person lands, an accident may cause broken bones. Besides the bone itself, the tissue around the bone could become damaged, too, which may cause neuromuscular dysfunction or constant pain. Much like spinal cord injuries, slip-and-fall victims who suspect they could have a broken or fractured bone should receive immediate medical attention.
Schedule Your Free Consultation
If you slipped and fell at Arby’s, do not delay in seeing if you have a valid slip-and-fall case, even if you think you contributed to your injuries. Gould Injury Lawyers want to help you win fast and see fast results. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 203-773-0817.
If you suffered injuries due to a slip and fall at any of the following commercial establishments, our personal injury attorneys could help with your case:
- Baskin Robbins
- Bath & Body Works
- Bed, Bath and Beyond
- Big Lots
- Burger King
- Burlington Coat Factory
- Dollar General
- Dollar Tree
- Duane Reade/Walgreens