When you slip and fall on another’s property, a flurry of thoughts may jolt through your mind. Did you hurt yourself? How severe are your injuries? Does the property owner have insurance? Might you have to sue to cover the resulting medical bills? Who bears fault for the incident? With so many questions and so much at stake, you deserve to understand how slip-and-fall cases work. That way, you know what steps to take, which actions to avoid and how to make a full recovery.
A Rundown of Slip-and-Fall Case Elements
Several elements affect slip-and-fall cases. For instance, you deserve to understand how premises liability works. The concept involves a property owner’s obligation to maintain a safe property. When neglect leads to injuries, owners may open themselves to lawsuits.
Negligence also factors into slip-and-fall cases. While action or inaction may contribute to accidents, harmed parties may bear partial fault. Partial fault does not bar parties from recovering compensation. Instead, injured those injured may not receive as much compensation as they would if the other party bore full responsibility.
Damages also affect an accident case’s outcome. Examples of common personal injury damages include:
- Pain and suffering, which are nonmonetary damages. For example, accident victims may experience depression or anxiety. If they can no longer enjoy their favorite activities, they could receive damages.
- Health care bills, which is the cost of medical treatments and procedures.
- Lost wages, which result from injured parties taking time off work to recover. They may also miss work to attend doctor’s appointments, surgeries or physical therapy.
- Expected future financial damages, which represent future medical treatment costs and lost wages. Some personal injuries take months or years to heal. Rather than wait before awarding compensation, courts use estimates to award damages.
- Additional recovery expenses, which include transportation, adaptive medical devices and lodging related to the injury.
Attorneys help clients determine damages and gather evidence to maximize those damages.
Legal representatives also help clients investigate their cases. The investigation phase involves interviewing witnesses, gathering incident reports, taking photographs and talking to professionals.
General Overview of Slip-and-Fall Cases
Personal injury victims must navigate their cases carefully. One wrong move could set a claim back. Usually, the first step in a slip-and-fall case is to gather evidence to prove fault. Legal representatives may also gather surveillance footage of the incident or hire a professional investigator.
Attorney’s help clients evaluate losses, which involves collecting evidence from medical bills, property damage, prescription medication, lost earning potential and lost wages. Some accidents involve noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. Other examples of nonmonetary damages include loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, disability, disfigurement and loss of consortium.
Victims and attorneys must prove negligence. Establishing fault means proving the at-fault party caused the hazard and knew about or should have known about the danger. Proving fault also means showing the property owner should have remedied the hazard. Victims must also show they sustained injuries because of negligence and the hazard.
Sometimes, legal representatives negotiate for their clients with an insurance company or the property owner. Usually, parties would rather negotiate out of court rather than go to trial, which costs time and money. The American Bar Association notes that roughly 97% of civil cases settle outside the courtroom.
If the defendant and plaintiff cannot agree, the slip-and-fall case goes to trial. Letting a court settle a case could take several months or years, and the arrangement often involves greater stress for all involved. Despite the added pressure, attorneys go to court to better ensure their clients get the settlement they deserve.
Factors That Affect Slip-and-Fall Cases
Other than negligence, other factors affect personal injury cases. With liability, owners must have a legal obligation for an establishment and anything that happens on that establishment. Usually, business and property owners take responsibility for harm that happens on their premises, unless if insurance assumes responsibility for them. With liability coverage, the insurance company assumes liability, which means injured parties must take their case to the coverage provider rather than the business or property owner.
Accident victims could bear guilt for sustained injuries, which is partial liability. Some states have contributory fault laws that bar victims from recovering a settlement if they bear blame for their harm. With comparative negligence laws, while injury victims may receive damages even if they contributed to their injury, they win a reduced settlement in proportion to their percentage of the blame.
Partial liability involves measuring the victim’s access, engagement and received warnings. For instance, if someone made a phone call or was otherwise distracted when she or he become injured, that could count as partial liability. If parties were in restricted areas when they hurt themselves, the property owner could have a partial liability case. The owner may also have a case if the person ignored posted warning signs and sustained an injury.
Medical Documents That Help Support Slip-and-Fall Cases
Lawyers handle a lot of heavy lifting to build a case, but clients must understand how to help. Personal injury suit success depends on proving the existence, extent and cause of injury. Medical documents help with this goal.
Victims should submit their doctor’s diagnosis, itemized medical bills and doctor appointment notes. These documents could include supplementary information, such as medication and therapy plans. Parties may also include X-rays and radiologist notes. Helpful medical bills include physical rehab, surgery costs, ambulance fees, blood work and diagnostic imaging. Some documents may seem redundant, but it makes sense to err on the side of caution for legal matters.
Schedule a Consultation Today
No matter how strong a case you have, do not take chances with your rights or compensation. Gould Injury Law stands ready to help you build your case and make sure you get every penny you deserve. To schedule a consultation, fill out and submit a Contact Us form. Call a New Haven representative at 203-773-0817 or a Hartford representative at 860-689-0484. Let us show you why we call ourselves “The FAST Firm.”