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Learning the Basics of Slip and falls

March 20, 2019 Hastings and Hastings

Here at Hastings & Hastings, we are committed to defending the rights of accident victims. We know that experiencing an accident and suffering an injury can be one of the most difficult things an individual will go through in their life.

Accident victims need someone by their side who can guide them through the complex matters surrounding personal injury cases. They need someone who will fight for them and help them receive the financial compensation they deserve for suffering through their hardship.

Often, the primary thing keeping someone from pursuing a personal injury case is that they do not know they have a case on their hands. Although this is not always the case, in incidents like car accidents, it is sometimes quite easy to establish fault. This is often much more difficult in accidents such as slip and falls.

After suffering a slip and fall, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your situation. Here at Hastings & Hastings, we have been in the business of defending accident victims for over 35 years. Our team has 90 years of combined legal experience. In today’s blog, we will cover the basics of a slip and fall case.

Why is a Slip and Fall a Personal Injury Matter?

This is a question we hear frequently. Often, people will begin a conversation by asking, “Don’t slip and falls just happen? Why would this be a legal matter?”

This issue comes down to one of liability. Liability is defined as, “the state of being responsible for something, especially by law.”

And there we go! The question in determining if a slip and fall is a personal injury matter comes down to an issue of responsibility. Typically, if you are pursuing a slip and fall case, the accident will have happened at a business or in someone’s residence. In short, someone must be responsible for the location in which you are walking/traveling through. It is going to be difficult or even impossible to hold someone responsible if you are travelling through a public place, although these situations do occur.

A slip and fall is a personal injury matter when the responsible party:

  • Caused the surface to become unsafe. This could be by spilling a liquid, leaving an item underfoot or not properly maintaining the surface.
  • Should have “reasonably” done something about a slippery location/worn surface/dangerous area, yet declined to do so.
  • Should have known/did know about a spill/worn surface/dangerous area and ignored it

You will notice the term “reasonable” was used above. This is regarded as a subjective term and is thus one of the primary reasons it is important to employ an experienced personal injury attorney in any slip and fall accident. They will have the ability to establish and prove what is “reasonable.”


Examples of Slip and Falls

Now that we know why a slip and fall should be considered a personal injury matter, we will look at some examples of slip and fall injury cases. Of course, every incident is different. There could be countless factors involved in even a simple slip and fall accident.

  • Anthony is walking through a popular retail store on a busy Saturday afternoon. As he turns a corner, he trips over something and falls. He notices the carpeting at the corner is ripped, torn, and frayed. In fact, he notices that the carpet throughout the store is in poor condition. In this incident, the owners of the store could be held responsible for neglecting a hazard.
  • David is waiting for a train at a station owned by the city. When his train finally arrives, he moves forward to board. He slips on a patch of ice and falls, breaking his ankle. In this case, the city could be held responsible, for it is their duty to ensure that the train station is a safe environment.
  • Jennifer is walking through the grocery store to shop for produce. She trips over a bag of potatoes which has fallen from a display, breaking her wrist. The bags of potatoes were stacked too high on the display, creating a hazardous situation.

Of course, there are situations in which an individual’s carelessness may have contributed to a slip or a fall. We will provide one such example:

  • Bradley is walking through the grocery store shopping for produce. He can’t find the fresh dill he is looking for. He notices a door to the back of the store that is clearly marked “dangerous: employees only.” He goes through the door to the back. He walks around briefly, looking for an employee before slipping and falling on a wet patch of floor. In this incident, Bradley was in a location he should not have been, after clearly being warned.

But wait! Bradley may still have a case. For instance, why wasn’t the door to the back locked or secured in any way? Was the sign clearly displayed and legible? Any of these factors could have contributed to Bradley’s accident

As you can see, slip and falls can be very complex matters. For this reason, it is important to contact an experienced legal professional following an accident. They will help you explore your options and help you decide if you have a case on your hands.

What Will My Attorney Do?

A personal injury attorney representing in a slip and fall case will have two primary goals:

  1. Proving Liability

It will be the job of your personal injury attorney to clearly prove that the defendant was negligent or liable for the accident. They will establish how your accident happened, why it happened, and in what way the defendant was liable.

  1. Proving Damages

It will also be the job of your personal injury attorney to clearly illustrate the full extent of your damages. Documentation is crucial. You may need medical bills, pay stubs, tax forms and more to fully establish the extend of your damages. A good personal injury attorney will coordinate all of these things.

If you have any further questions regarding slip and falls, or if you have experienced an accident yourself, you should contact Hastings & Hastings at your earliest convenience.

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