Slip and fall accidents kill nearly 40,000 Americans every year, and they injure many more than that. If the accident was someone else’s fault (the owner of commercial premises, for example), you might need to sue for a slip and fall injury. Filing a slip and fall accident lawsuit doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a trial. It could be just what you need to motivate the defendant to offer a generous out-of-court settlement.
What Are The Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents?
The most common slip and fall accidents include:
- Wet floor slip and fall accidents
- Slip and fall accidents in the workplace (employer violation of safety regulations)
- Slip and fall accidents in a grocery store (slick floors)
- Slip and fall accidents in hospitals (infirm, unsupervised patients)
- Slip and fall accidents in restaurants (curled up carpets, wet floors, etc.)
- Slip and fall accidents in supermarkets (icy, unsalted parking lots, etc.)
Slip and fall in-store accidents are particularly avoidable, since stores have employees who can act to ensure that floors, stairs, and escalators are safe at all times. The most common causes of slip and fall accidents can be prevented with just a bit of extra care.
Compensation for Slip and Fall Accidents
A serious injury is a likely consequence of most types of slip, trip, and fall accidents. It is even more likely that the accident will be someone else’s fault. If so, you are entitled to compensation. This doesn’t mean just medical bills. It also means lost earnings and, in most cases, pain and suffering.
How Do Premises Liability Laws Work?
Proving fault in slip and fall accidents is not always straightforward. Nevertheless, you can still win a generous settlement if your lawyer knows how to handle a slip and fall accident. If your injury occurred on someone else’s property, your claim usually comes down to whether the property owner exercised “reasonable” care in keeping their property safe for visitors.
How Can You Prevail With Your Slip and Fall Claim?
You can win your slip and fall claim by proving the following:
- An unreasonably dangerous condition existed on the premises
- The property owner or occupant knew or should have known about the dangerous condition
- The dangerous condition caused your accident
- You suffered damages
You only need to prove each of the foregoing elements on a “more likely than not” basis (NOT “beyond a reasonable doubt” as in a criminal trial).
How Can Property Owners Respond?
The defendant can respond by claiming:
- Your evidence is not convincing;
- The condition was not unreasonably dangerous, or the danger was unavoidable;
- The defendant appropriately warned of the danger (a “Wet Floor” sign, for example); or
- The accident was partly or wholly your fault (you were intoxicated, for example).
The defendant might try other possible defenses as well.
How Are Most Slip and Fall Cases Resolved?
A skilled personal injury lawyer will know just how to handle a slip and fall accident. Most slip and fall claims are resolved through out-of-court slip and fall accident settlements, not through trial.
What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?
You may be wondering, “what should I do after a slip and fall accident?” Below is a list of steps to take after a slip and fall accident.
Get Medical Treatment
Seek medical treatment immediately, while your wounds are still fresh, so that the insurance company cannot say that your injury was not caused by your slip and fall accident. Medical records are strong evidence in slip and fall accident cases.
Inspect the Scene of the Accident
Try to determine the cause of the accident and identify any dangerous condition. Photograph the scene of the accident and photograph any dangerous condition you observe in particular detail.
Report the Accident
Report your accident in writing to the owner of the premises. Give as little information as necessary such as the place, date, and time of the accident and the fact that you were injured. Ask the manager for a copy of any accident report that the establishment prepared. If the police showed up, get a copy of the police report.
To the extent possible, get contact details for every witness before you leave the premises. If you cannot do this, try to identify them later. They may turn out to be your strongest evidence. The longer you wait to contact witnesses and get their statements, the more details they will forget.
Document Everything and Maintain a Case File
Keep every document you receive — not only medical bills, but all correspondence from the defendant or an insurance company, etc. Make copies of everything and organize it all into a readily accessible file. You should even keep the clothes you were wearing at the time of the accident, including your shoes. Do not wash them, because bloodstains can serve as valuable evidence.
Decline to Give Statements
Don’t make any statements to the insurance company or anyone else, other than the minimum information necessary to report the occurrence of the accident to the owner or manager of the premises (see above) and the insurance company. The insurance company in particular will be full of trick questions. Let your lawyer do your talking for you.
Meet With a Lawyer
Meet with an experienced slip and fall lawyer as soon as you can after the accident, and certainly before you talk to any insurance company, even your own. Your lawyer can advise you what to do in a slip and fall accident and can help you avoid damaging your claim.
Your lawyer should know how to write a slip and fall accident report for your case file. They can also negotiate for you, win higher compensation, and win at trial if necessary.
How Soon Should You Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney?
Who is responsible for a slip and fall accident? You might not know who is responsible for yours until you talk to an attorney. An attorney can help you investigate your slip and fall accident claim from the beginning. Therefore, contact a lawyer immediately after the accident, even if you are still in the hospital.
How Much Is a Slip and Fall Claim Worth?
How much is a slip and fall accident worth? Compensation for slip and fall injuries can be substantial. The average cost of a slip and fall accident (for the defendant) is between $10,000 and $50,000. Depending on your circumstances, you could receive more or less than the amounts in this range.
Act Immediately to Enforce Your Claim
If you have suffered a slip and fall accident, or if your relative died in one, you need to begin preparing a legal claim immediately. For that, you are going to need an experienced Indiana slip and fall lawyer.
Call Stracci Law Group immediately at (219) 525-1000 or contact us online. We serve clients in Crown Point [46307, 46308], Hammond [46320, 46323], Merrillville [46410, 46411], and everywhere else in Northwest Indiana.