Unfortunately, accidents happen every day, and some result in injury. Many types of accidents can cause injuries, but over 8 million people visit hospital emergency rooms due to falls every year; falls are the number one reason for injury-related ER visits.
Seniors and young children are most likely to suffer from falls, but people of all ages can receive injuries from falling. These can be minor or very serious and require medical attention.
You can fall anywhere, even in your own home. A fall on someone else’s property is known as a slip and fall accident. If you’re injured due to a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Complaints must be filed within two years of the date of the accident.
Where Can Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?
Workplaces and stores are obvious places where you might slip and fall. Landlords of business and retail properties are responsible for the safety conditions on their property. However, residential property owners can be held liable for slip and fall injuries as well. If you rent an apartment and take a spill on icy stairs, your landlord may be liable for injuries you sustain.
In some cases, multiple parties are liable. For instance, the legal occupant of a rented or leased property along with the property owner can be responsible under premises liability laws because they are both legally obligated to provide a “duty of care.” This means that they must attempt to assure the safety of legal visitors and occupants by addressing hazards promptly. If there are known safety hazards, signs warning of the issues should be placed in a visible area near the hazard until repairs are made.
Not all visitors are eligible to file a premises liability claim. Employees; invited visitors or customers; licensees, such as utility workers; and residents have legal reasons to be on other people’s property. Trespassers are on the property illegally and usually have no recourse if they slip and fall.
What Can Cause Slip and Falls?
Many situations can cause people to slip and fall, including:
- Spills or wet floors
- Poor lighting
- Uneven, cracked, damaged or broken flooring, stairs and walkways
- Loose cords
- Clutter or obstructed views
In Connecticut, winter weather conditions often include snow and ice. Slips and falls related to these elements are sometimes valid premises liability claims. However, Connecticut has laws that pertain to ongoing storms. Property owners might not realistically be able to prevent icy or slick conditions during an ongoing storm, so they may not be held responsible for slip and fall injuries during those times.
However, property owners are required to provide signs in areas that are hazardous, warning people of the potential danger. In addition, snow and ice must be removed when weather conditions permit.
Can You Receive Compensation for Every Slip and Fall?
Property owners are not always held responsible for slip and fall accidents. The property manager or owner must be aware that a hazardous condition exists and have sufficient time to place warning signs or make repairs to be held liable. If they knew or should have known about the safety risk but took no measures to repair it or warn of its existence, the property owners or managers are being negligent.
You must be able to prove negligence for a slip and fall injury to be subject to premises liability laws. There also must be cause and effect present: Hazardous conditions must be present, and those conditions must be the direct cause of the slip and fall.
You can’t receive compensation for a slip and fall if there are no proven damages directly caused by the accident. Damages may include medical treatment, lost wages, partial or complete disability, inability to take care of non-work-related responsibilities, and pain and suffering.
How Much Compensation Can You Receive?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Each slip and fall premises liability case is different, and there are several factors involved that affect the amount of compensation for that case.
Factors Related to the Property Owner, Manager or Legal Resident
- Can it be proven that they were negligent?
- Is that negligence the direct cause of your slip and fall accident?
- What are the limits for their applicable insurance policies?
Factors Related to You
- Have you experienced pain and suffering due to the slip and fall?
- What medical expenses are the direct result of the slip and fall, both current and in the future?
- Have you and will you lose wages due to the inability to work after the slip and fall?
- Are you able to fulfill non-work-related responsibilities?
- Are you partially at fault for the slip and fall?
Why Does It Matter if You Are Partially at Fault?
In Connecticut, both the defendant and the plaintiff may be assigned fault in a premises liability case. This is known as comparative liability or comparative negligence. Just as property owners are responsible for the safety conditions on their property, visitors are expected to be careful and not take actions that would reasonably be expected to cause injuries while on that property.
Visitors who are injured due to circumstances they could have avoided are guilty of contributory negligence. For example, if you slip and fall on icy stairs even though there was a properly placed sign warning that the stairs are dangerous when icy, you are considered negligent.
Any slip and fall case will first be investigated to determine the percentage of liability for each party, and the burden of proof for the plaintiff’s negligence is placed on the defendant. If the victim’s assigned negligence isn’t 51% or higher for the accident, that person can pursue a claim for compensation from the other parties in the case.
How Can a Premises Liability Attorney Help?
If you are the victim of a slip and fall injury, competent premises liability lawyers will increase the likelihood of receiving the compensation you deserve. Their experience allows them to assess your case, investigate the circumstances surrounding your slip and fall accident, and either negotiate a settlement or represent you if the case goes to trial.
If you were involved in a slip and fall accident in Connecticut that resulted in injury, contact Gould Injury Law to consult an experienced premises liability attorney today.