A slip and fall lawyer represents clients with personal injury claims resulting specifically from a person slipping or tripping and falling. Cases are typically based on a negligence claim that a property owner is liable for the accident through the allowance of a dangerous condition to exist.
Types of Cases
There are four basic types of cases a slip and fall lawyer represents:
1. Slip. A person loses traction while walking on a surface.
2. Stump. A person stumbles over an obstruction on the walkway.
3. Step. A person loses balance and falls because of a hole or a defect in the walkway or surface.
4. Trip. A person trips over an object.
Personal injury accidents of this nature happen in various settings and situations. Customers at a grocery store can lose footing on a wet floor. A loose stair banister at an apartment complex may cause a tenant to lose balance, misstep and tumble. Businesses have an obligation to keep their environment reasonably safe, and they realize that part of the cost of doing business is the potential for personal injury cases.
However, courts are aware that businesses cannot prevent all accidents. Individuals have a responsibility to look out for their own safety. It can be difficult without the advice of a slip and fall lawyer to distinguish the difference between an unavoidable accident and a viable personal injury claim. There are at least three criteria which must be met for a property owner or occupier to be considered legally responsible for a victim’s damages.
For an owner/occupier to be considered responsible for a victim’s injuries suffered in a slip and fall case, a lawyer must demonstrate the owner/occupier:
1. directly caused the dangerous condition,
2. knew about the condition and did nothing to correct it, or
3. should have reasonably known about the condition
The last situation is most common, but least cut and dry. In the instance that the owner or occupier “should have known,” liability is determined through a careful decision as to whether the owner took proper steps to keep the property safe. An owner who makes regular, thorough efforts to maintain his or her property is less likely to be found liable than an owner who allowed his or her property to decline into disrepair.
What to Collect if Filing a Claim
To protect one’s right to compensation following a slip and fall accident, one should bring the following information to their attorney:
1. a detailed account of the accident, injuries, and damages suffered as a result of the accident;
2. records of conversations with others involved in the event or claim;
3. preserved evidence collected at the scene of the accident (i.e. photographs)
4. contact information of potential witnesses who may be able to help prove the case; and
5. any copies of notifications of intent to file a claim sent to the party or parties believed to be responsible.
Each injury claim is unique, so there is no step which must absolutely be taken in order to receive a fair settlement in a slip and fall accident. A lawyer will be able to look at the evidence presented and advise the victim on whether or not there are grounds to file a suit.