A slip-and-fall accident can cause broken bones, sprains or strains, traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury, paralysis, or even death. If you fall on someone else’s property, you may have certain legal rights under Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Indiana law. If the owner or the renter of the property was negligent in any way that led to your accident and injuries, you can recover compensation to cover your losses.
Slip-and-fall cases can be complicated, and you should have a slip-and-fall accident lawyer from Becker Law Office review the specifics of your accident to advise you about your legal options. However, knowing some basic information about slip-and-falls can help you to determine if you have a right to monetary damages.
The following FAQs can help you to understand more about how slip-and-fall laws work.
To learn more, contact us today online or via phone to schedule your free consultation. From our offices in Louisville, Lexington, and Florence, we handle claims across Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee.
Slip and Fall
It should come as no surprise if the owner of the property where you fell does not step up and offer you money for your injuries or offers less than what you deserve. But the law says you deserve to be compensated if the property owner’s negligence was the cause of your accident and injury. A slip-and-fall lawyer works to compel the property owner’s insurance company to do what’s right by you after an accident.
There are many maneuvers the property owner’s insurance company is likely to attempt to avoid paying you the settlement you deserve. An experienced attorney, such as ours at Becker Law Office knows what to expect and how to head off or counter an insurance company that is trying to short-change you. Your Becker Law Office attorney can also counsel you so that you don’t make a mistake that hurts your case.
In fact, the Becker Law Office provides twice the protection. Our clients are represented by two law firms with their own unique skill sets to ensure that each case is handled professionally and efficiently. The attorneys at Becker Law Office focus on settling cases, while the litigators at Bubalo Law PLC take cases to court if they cannot be settled appropriately.
This means you’ll have AV-rated lawyers who are skilled negotiators if you need them, and you’ll also be represented by attorneys who have been recognized among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Kentucky if the case goes to court. Your legal team will help you get the compensation that you deserve after your slip-and-fall injury.
Owners have a duty to ensure their properties are reasonably safe for people who are legally on the property, such as customers at a business or people invited to a home. If a property owner fails to meet this duty, someone who slips or trips and falls and is injured could have a legal claim.
If you have fallen in an accident and been significantly injured, you need to determine why the fall happened. If you just tripped over your own feet and fell, no one is to blame for this accident. If it happened at work, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
In other situations, however, a problem with the property or area where you were walking may have caused your fall. This could have been debris in a walkway or store aisle, a slippery floor caused by a spill, a broken sidewalk or a pothole in a poorly lighted parking lot.
A property owner or the renter/ lessee in charge of the property is given a reasonable opportunity to recognize and correct slip-and-fall hazards in a timely manner. But, if they have neglected a hazard and it is the reason you have been injured, they can be held legally responsible for the fall and can be required to compensate you.
We have more details at Do I Have a Slip & Fall Case?
It is not just store owners or the owners of public property who are responsible to their guests. If you are invited to visit someone’s house, that property owner has a legal responsibility to correct any dangerous conditions that could hurt you and to warn you of any known hazards.
This means if you go to someone’s house and you fall because the property is poorly maintained, you can take legal action against the homeowner. You would need to be able to show that:
- You were legally on the property – you were not a trespasser.
- That the owner had an obligation to you to make the property safe.
- That the owner fell short in fulfilling this obligation.
- Your injury was caused by a hazard that existed because of the property owner’s negligence.
It is important to keep in mind that homeowners’ insurance covers these types of claims. You don’t have to worry about filing a lawsuit against a friend or neighbor, or that the money you may receive will come out of their pocket. Homeowners’ insurance covers the cost of medical bills and expenses if you slip and fall while a guest at a friend’s house.
A lawyer from Becker Law Office can look at the circumstances of your slip-and-fall accident and determine whether you have standing for a case. If we can, we would be happy to help you pursue a claim for the compensation you deserve.
What if I get hurt in a fall on a sidewalk or other public property that is owned by a state government, local government or federal government?
When property is owned by the public (the government), there is always some governmental agency responsible for maintaining it. If this agency falls short of its obligation, it is possible to take legal action. Lawsuits against the government are more complicated, however.
There are special rules called sovereign immunity laws that limit how and when claims can be made against government workers and agencies. However, your Becker Law Office slip-and-fall accident lawyer can help you to understand how the rules apply to your accident.
Another factor to look at in a slip-and-fall accident on public property is whether a third party may be responsible for your injury. For example, a landscaping company hired by the local parks authority may have been responsible for a hole or equipment left behind that resulted in your tripping and injuring yourself. Another example might be a cleaning company whose worker failed to post “wet floor” signs in the city hall lobby where you slipped and fell on a recently mopped floor.
In such cases, it may be that the contractor should compensate you for your injuries and other losses. Our experienced slip-and-fall accident lawyers know that the way to maximize the compensation our clients receive is to fully investigate the circumstances of your accident, and work to hold all responsible parties accountable.
You should not be surprised if a property owner or their insurance company denies responsibility for your slip-and-fall accident. You will have to prove that the property owner, renter or someone acting for them, such as a manager, had an obligation for your safety and failed to meet it. As your slip-and-fall accident lawyers, we would help you to do this.
We gather evidence about your accident and injury to build the case for a valid claim. This includes medical records that establish your injury and the medical treatment it required, and evidence of the accident itself, which may range from testimony by you and witnesses to your accident, to security camera footage that recorded the accident.
As lawyers investigating your accident, we could seek a court order directing the property owner to turn over any security camera footage that existed. But we would have to move soon enough to ensure footage is not overwritten or otherwise destroyed. This is one reason to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a slip-and-fall accident.
In a free initial consultation, we can advise you of the steps to take if you pursue a claim, and things to avoid doing that could hurt your claim. Our “What to Do after a Fall” page discusses some of these issues, but if you have been seriously hurt in a slip-and-fall accident, you should contact the Becker Law Office today.
In many cases, someone on a property illegally will be barred from obtaining compensation for injuries suffered in an accident while there. But the law and courts recognize that there can be many factors that influence an accident, including the injured party’s age, so any serious fall accident deserves the attention of an experienced slip-and-fall lawyer who can determine whether you have the basis for a claim.
Even for trespassers, property owners can have certain legal obligations and can sometimes be held responsible for falls that occur while someone is trespassing on their property. For example, if a property owner knows that there are trespassers and that there are dangerous conditions on the property, the owner may be required to warn trespassers of the risk. If property owners make their property inviting, especially to children, and encourage trespass through their actions, then they also have an obligation.
For example, kids may be drawn to swimming pools and construction sites and be more likely to trespass as a result. These are sometimes known as “attractive nuisances,” which impose special responsibilities on property owners. The homeowner who fails to secure a pool or a property developer who leaves a construction site open may be found liable for falls and injuries on their property even though they instructed children to stay away.
Whether property owners can be held responsible for falls on snow and ice — and to what extent — will vary depending upon the situation. Ice and snow are temporary hazards, which in certain circumstances a property owner should clear within a reasonable amount of time. Failure to do so could leave them liable for slip-and-fall injuries.
If you slipped and fell on naturally occurring snow and ice in the parking lot of a store, and the property owner did nothing to make the parking lot more dangerous, you may be limited in your ability to recover compensation.
But, if there was ice and snow on a sidewalk directly in front of a store, the property owner or manager may be responsible for clearing the hazard within a reasonable amount of time – such as by shoveling snow and/or salting or spreading sand on ice. In some communities, local ordinances specifically require property owners to clear ice and snow in a certain amount of time after a snowfall or ice storm.
In cases of snow or ice tracked inside an office building or store that then melt and make the floor slippery, the property owner is likely to be liable for injuries due to falls. The property manager should be aware of the fact of the hazard – the snowfall – and should work to deal with it, such as by monitoring and mopping the floor or putting a mat down, and/or posting “wet floor” hazard signs. Doing nothing could easily be seen as negligence.
If a property owner or a property owner’s representative knew about an ice-and-snow hazard and failed to take reasonable steps to remove it or warn visitors about it, someone who slips and falls could have a legal claim. A Becker Law Office attorney would be happy to discuss the circumstances of such a case with you.
First and foremost, you should get medical attention after a slip-and-fall accident, regardless of how you feel. Some common slip-and-fall injuries can cause delayed symptoms but can be diagnosed by a medical professional before problems arise. Seeking medical care also establishes a record of your injuries, which you’ll need to prove a potential claim against the property owner.
After a slip-and-fall accident, you’ll want to take several steps to establish a record of the accident and preserve evidence of what has happened to you. If you have fallen at a business, office or other public establishment, you or a companion should report your accident to management as soon as possible. Obtain a copy of the accident report.
You’ll want to save copies of any document connected to your accident, including any accident report(s) and receipts for medical care, medicine and physical therapy. You’ll also want to create and preserve evidence if you can, such as photos of the hazard and of your injuries (bruises, a cast, etc.), witness statements, and anything else, such as clothing that was torn or shoes or jewelry that was broken in your fall.
As soon as you are able, you should contact an experienced slip-and-fall accident lawyer. At the Becker Law Office, we will meet with you to go over the circumstances of your case and explain your legal options at no charge and with no further obligation. If we can help you pursue a claim, we will do so at no charge unless we obtain a monetary settlement or court award for you.
Read more about What to Do After a Fall.
To be successful in a slip-and-fall accident lawsuit, you will need evidence that proves you were hurt by a hazard on the defendant’s property, that the defendant had a duty to ensure you were safe on the property but neglected to do so, that that negligence led to your injury and that your injury is compensable (can be made better by money). There are several types of evidence that can help you do this.
Some of the different types of evidence you may need include witness testimony about how the fall happened, photographs of conditions leading to the fall, maintenance records that document how long a hazard existed without being corrected, records that document your injury and medical expenses, and expert testimony about your accident, injury and recovery prospects.
In most cases, you will need an experienced slip-and-fall lawyer to help you build your case by finding witnesses, using the pre-trial discovery process to get necessary documents from the property owner, and otherwise gathering the information needed to show that the property owner is responsible for what happened to you.
In almost all cases, compensation for your medical expenses and other losses after a slip-and-fall accident will come from the property owner’s or business manager’s insurance company. The work of a personal injury lawyer handling your case is to persuade the insurance company or a jury that you deserve to be compensated and by how much.
Often, slip-and-fall cases can be settled without going to court. You and your attorney and the insurance company (or the property owner directly in a few cases) come to an agreement on the amount of money you will be paid and, in return, you give up the right to sue. If such an agreement can be reached, it saves time – you get paid faster and can get on with your life.
You can accept a settlement at any point in the process. Your attorney will advise you about any settlement offer, and whether to accept is your decision.
The other option is to go to court and prove your injury and losses, and the property owner’s negligence. This will result in a verdict by a jury, which will be either for you or against you and will include what compensation you are to receive. At this point, either side may appeal, or the defendant’s insurer will make the ordered payment.