Injuries resulting from falls are the top reason that people visit hospital emergency rooms. Although some falls cause only minor wounds, they can also bring about severe or life-threatening injuries. Accident victims can face high medical bills, extended recovery times, and temporary or permanent changes in the way they live their lives.
Anyone who has to deal with that combination of problems can become stressed and frustrated, wondering how they will pay their bills and adjust to life after their accident. If someone else’s negligence causes a slip-and-fall accident, that fact adds to the frustration.
Fortunately, many people can file personal injury claims if somebody else caused their accident due to negligence. However, these cases are often complicated and challenging to prove. That’s why so many people hire a slip-and-fall lawyer. Any personal injury attorney from Silverstein & Kahn is fully qualified to help clients to file and prove their claims and recover compensation from the responsible party.
What’s the Difference Between a Fall and a Slip and Fall?
People fall for different reasons, and not all falls qualify for a slip-and-fall personal injury case. If you trip on a loose shoestring and fall, that doesn’t constitute a valid slip-and-fall claim. For your accident to meet premises liability standards, someone else’s action or inaction, perhaps a property owner’s negligence, must cause your fall; in addition, the accident must directly injure you.
Not all falls on someone else’s property make for personal injury cases. Ask an experienced New York City slip-and-fall injury lawyer if you can file a premises liability claim.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is the center stone of most personal injury cases. A property owner or other person who fails to behave with the same level of caution and care that others would take in a situation is guilty of negligence. Negligence can take the form of both actions and omissions.
When determining negligence in a slip-and-fall case, you must show that:
- The party or parties responsible for the property owed you a duty of care.
- Those people or entities failed to provide the duty of care in a negligent manner.
- You sustained injuries in an accident on that property.
- The negligence of those responsible for the property directly caused your accident and resulting injuries.
A key factor when determining negligence is if a person should know that their omissions or actions are likely to cause harm to others.
- Residential rental property owners who don’t repair or replace a handrail on stairs.
- Commercial property owners who let snow and ice buildup on their parking lots or sidewalks.
- Store managers who don’t place caution signs at spill sites.
- Drivers who don’t follow traffic laws.
- Governments that fail to repair potholes on roadways or playground equipment at public parks.
- People who leave debris in walkways.
Any of those situations can cause people to slip and fall, resulting in injuries. A crucial aspect in proving negligence in slip-and-fall cases is when the responsible party became aware of the hazardous condition.
If a child spills a drink in a store aisle and another customer steps in it immediately afterward and falls, store personnel had no way to clean up that spill or place caution signs before the accident occurred. However, if that spill was left for several minutes before someone slipped and fell, that person can argue that store employees should have known about the spill and failed to clean it up. In that case, negligence was most likely present.
Ongoing storms can provide some leeway to property owners if someone is injured due to a slip-and-fall accident on their property. Ice and snow can pile up quickly, causing hazardous conditions in parking lots and on sidewalks. If the property owner or manager fails to clear those buildups for several hours or days after the precipitation stops, negligence is in play.
However, the storm in progress doctrine can temporarily suspend the duty to clear snow and ice. Doing so could injure workers. In addition, any clearing won’t last long because of continuing precipitation in heavy or extended storms.
Consult NYC slip-and-fall lawyers if you think you have a valid personal injury claim. He or she can assess your accident and resulting injuries, then help you throughout the claim process.
What Is Duty of Care?
People who are responsible for properties have a duty of care to provide a safe environment for those who come to those locations:
- Invited visitors
- Licensees, meaning those who visit the property due to their jobs (utility workers, etc.)
- Residential tenants and their guests
In most cases, trespassers have no recourse if their slip-and-fall injury occurred on someone else’s property. A few exceptions exist in certain instances:
- Children don’t necessarily understand if they trespass, so children injured on someone else’s property may qualify to obtain compensation for injuries.
- Dogs can bite trespassers. Owners of dangerous dogs should post warning signs to avoid potential liability if their animals bite trespassers.
- Property owners exhibiting wanton and willful conduct who harm trespassers in some way.
Trespassers injured in a slip-and-fall accident should consult a slip-and-fall lawyer if they wish to file a personal injury claim for their fall injuries.
Where Can Slip-and-Fall Accidents Happen?
Slip-and-fall accidents can happen almost anywhere as long as someone else owns the property where it takes place,. In specific cases, you might even have a valid personal injury claim if the accident occurs in your own home. An experienced slip-and-fall injury lawyer from Silverstein & Kahn knows the legal criteria you must meet.
Although these accidents can happen to anyone, a few demographic groups are more likely to experience a slip-and-fall accident:
- Construction workers
- Custodial staff
- Elderly persons
- Factory employees
- Manual laborers
- Restaurant servers and kitchen personnel
Common places for slip-and-fall accidents include:
Businesses, Including Retail Stores and Service Businesses
Companies that have brick-and-mortar locations must safely maintain their places of business to reduce the risk of accidents. Insurance offices, banks, supermarkets, and convenience stores alike fall into this category.
All of these businesses should maintain liability insurance policies to cover those injured on the premises. However, insurance companies don’t like paying claims and may attempt to minimize the compensation amounts or refuse to pay anything at all.
Slip-and-fall accidents are technically premises liability cases. Fortunately, Silverstein & Kahn handles this type of case regularly and can assist you in recovering compensation for your injuries.
Construction workers likely have to navigate untidy worksites to perform their work. It’s common to see piles of scraps and debris littering the floor on commercial or residential construction sites. In addition, generators and other power tools require cords that typically cross the floor haphazardly. Workers often use several tools, keeping them all close by; many tools find themselves waiting on the floor until their next use.
Another huge fall risk at construction sites is the climbing equipment, such as scaffolding, ladders, and lifts. Poorly maintained equipment that causes a slip and fall suggests negligence on the part of construction companies, thus possibly providing the grounds for a slip-and-fall accident claim.
Government Property, Including Buildings and Public Parks
You may find it more difficult to hold government entities accountable for your injuries if you experience an accident on their properties. However, if you can prove that government negligence caused your accident, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim.
Silverstein & Kahn has a team of slip-and-fall injury lawyers ready to take on the government on your behalf if your accident qualifies. Contact us for a free case evaluation to find out your options.
Poorly maintained parking lots present a significant risk to people walking to and from their vehicles. Poor maintenance is more than crumbling pavement and potholes. Shopping carts left in random spots, trash, and other miscellaneous debris can also cause people to slip and fall. Clogged drains can cause water to pool on the pavement, presenting a slip-and-fall hazard.
During the winter, ice and snow can contribute to the dangers found in parking lots. Unless a storm is ongoing, businesses and property management are responsible for clearing wintry precipitation buildups and maintaining safe walking surfaces on the pavement.
Homeowners have a more challenging time than renters successfully filing slip-and-fall accident claims. Homeowner insurance policies may provide coverage in some instances. In addition, if people doing work at your home are negligent and that negligence causes your fall, you can potentially hold them liable for your injuries. These claims can be trickier than most, so ask your slip-and-fall lawyer for assistance.
If you visit the home of a friend or relative who owns that residence and slip and fall, you might not want to file a claim because of your personal relationship with them. However, you may need to if your injuries require extensive treatment.
Tenants of residential rental properties and their visitors likely have an easier time holding the property owner or manager liable for slip-and-fall accident injuries if negligence results in the incident. However, you’ll probably have to prove that the responsible party knew of a safety hazard yet failed to fix it.
Restaurant kitchens, coolers, and freezers present a higher-than-average fall risk due to the likelihood of spilled water or grease on the floors. Kitchen staff and servers who routinely go into and out of the kitchen to retrieve customer orders are usually working at a fast pace and overlook dangerous fall risks.
Businesses or governments should maintain sidewalks under their jurisdictions similarly to parking lots. These entities should repair damaged sidewalks and keep them clear of debris and snow or ice buildups.
Workers compensation insurance usually covers employees injured on the job. However, the circumstances that cause workplace accidents may entitle injured workers to more compensation.
If you sustain injuries in a workplace accident, you may file two claims. Using one personal injury attorney for both claims makes sense.
Are There Common Injuries From Slip-and-Fall Accidents?
Although these accidents can cause various types of injuries, some are more common than others.
- Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Cuts and Scrapes
- Knee or Wrist Damage
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
Most of these injuries require medical treatment; medical costs often skyrocket for severe injuries with long-term consequences. In addition, victims can require assistance taking care of their everyday needs and also lose income from extended periods away from work during recovery and additional time taken to deal with various aspects of the accident and insurance claims.
Many injured slip-and-fall accident victims turn to Silverstein & Kahn for legal assistance during these troubling times. We can provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that we are looking out for your best interests and will help you file your claims and obtain maximum compensation.
What Are Common Slip-and-Fall Accident Causes?
Many hazards can cause slip-and-fall accidents. Some of the most common are:
- Broken, cracked, or crumbling sidewalks
- Electrical Cords
- Flooring, including area rugs with corners turned up, broken tiles, damaged carpet or wood floors
- Ice and snow
- Loose or broken handrails or stairs
- Poor lighting
- Slippery floor surfaces, whether because of spills or other causes
- Walkway obstructions or loose objects on the floor
How Can a Slip-and-Fall Lawyer Help You?
Slip-and-fall accident claims are often challenging, even for a slip-and-fall injury lawyer. The criteria for negligence in these cases are typically hard to prove. Unfortunately, trying to recover substantial compensation from insurance companies on your own often results in failure.
Hiring a slip-and-fall attorney to handle your claim provides several benefits. Your lawyer can:
- Find and gather evidence to build your case against the parties responsible for your accident, including evidence that is difficult for the average person to obtain
- File and update all paperwork related to your claim
- Provide insights and advice
- Handle all communications with insurance companies
- Use legal knowledge and experience to negotiate maximum compensation for you
Evidence in slip-and-fall cases can disappear quickly, even if there isn’t an ulterior motive in play. Wet floors are mopped, ice melts, trash is picked up, cords are put away, and so forth. In addition, witnesses to your accident can forget pertinent details that would help your case over time. Because of this, consulting a lawyer right after your accident can mean the difference between receiving a large settlement and no compensation at all.
In many of these cases, attorneys for the defendant may claim that their client’s actions or failure to act didn’t cause your accident. They might accuse you of fraud. Even though you know that you didn’t commit fraud, these attorneys or insurance company representatives can seek to intimidate you, making you believe that it’s not worth fighting for your rights.
A reputable slip-and-fall lawyer will nip those tactics in the bud. We at Silverstein & Kahn won’t let these people bully our clients; in fact, we will serve as your point of contact, so you don’t have to deal with them. We’re similar to a teacher watching closely in a schoolyard, preventing bullies from attacking other children during recess. That won’t happen on our watch.
Another reason that people routinely seek help from lawyers is the complex New York laws that govern premises liability cases.
What New York Laws Apply to Slip-and-Fall Accidents?
In New York, you have to file slip-and-fall accident claims within three years of the incident. While most people find it advantageous to hire an attorney to process their claims shortly after their accidents, they should be aware of the strict deadline.
New York State Law follows the pure comparative negligence rule. These laws state that even if you have a degree of fault for your accident, you can still file a claim for compensation.
Many times, more than one person causes an accident. For instance, store personnel doesn’t mop up a spill, but the person who slips and falls because of the wet floor doesn’t notice because they’re talking on their phone. Store management might claim that the victim wouldn’t have fallen if they were paying attention to where they walked.
In cases where multiple parties share responsibility for causing an accident, pure comparative negligence affects the amount of compensation the victim can receive. If that person is 20% responsible for their slip and fall, the total compensation they could obtain is reduced by 20%. So, in a claim with $100,000 total damages, the victim could receive $80,000.
It’s to your advantage to show that you’re not to blame for your accident. Your slip-and-fall injury lawyer can help to prove that you didn’t cause it.
What Damages Might Apply?
New York recognized three distinct categories of damages you can receive.
As the name implies, these damages have a direct economic origin. A slip-and-fall accident can cause many financial burdens, and compensation for these damages pay for specific expenses, including:
- Bills for medical treatments, both current and long-term
- Lost income due to time missed from work
- Charges for prescriptions and necessary medical equipment
- Certain daily expenses
- Costs associated with hiring caregivers, modifications to your home necessitated by your injuries, and transportation to and from medical appointments
You should keep all bills and receipts so your attorney can be sure you’re fully compensated for your expenses.
Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages don’t have an inherent monetary value. The amount you can receive partially depends on the degree that your injuries affect your life. Payments in this category might compensate you for:
- Quality of life decreases
- Pain and suffering – physical, mental, and emotional
- Permanent disfigurement
- Diminished earning capacity due to disability caused by your fall
- Relationships that suffer because of your injuries
Slip-and-fall accident victims rarely qualify for punitive damages. You can seek this kind of compensation only in cases of extreme and willful negligence by the guilty party or parties.
Punitive damages attempt to punish the guilty party for their actions further. Your slip-and-fall attorney can tell you if you might receive these damages.
How Can You Help Your Case?
As the injured victim, you can do several things to increase your chances of receiving maximum compensation. These include:
- Recording as much detail as possible at the accident scene using your smartphone, including your injuries, what caused you to slip and fall, witness statements, the placement of video surveillance cameras, and anything else that might affect your case
- Seeking medical assessment immediately after the incident
- Continuing with recommended medical treatments
- Not talking about the details of your case, including not posting any photos or comments on any of your social media accounts
- Keeping a folder with all paperwork related to your accident, injuries, and treatments, including journal entries about relevant details
- Documenting ways that your injuries affect your everyday life
Why Should Silverstein & Kahn Provide Your Slip-and-Fall Lawyer?
We understand the confusion, financial difficulties, and emotions that injured slip-and-fall accident victims face. Our entire firm is dedicated to making all of our clients feel comfortable, providing crucial legal advice, and winning large settlements to win fair compensation for fall victims’ medical expenses, lost wages, or other damages.
We are so confident in our abilities to represent you that we guarantee:
- All of our clients can speak to an attorney when desired, getting the personal attention their cases deserve.
- We treat every client like a member of our family.
- You won’t owe attorney fees unless we obtain compensation for you in your slip-and-fall accident lawsuit.
Our family-owned and operated law firm attorneys have 70+ years of combined experience. Our extensive knowledge gained from so many years in practice is just one reason that we have so many five-star reviews; feel free to see what our satisfied clients say about us.
If you think you have a valid slip-and-fall accident claim, contact us for a free consultation. We will listen to the details of your situation and give you options for handling it. Contact us by live chat 24/7, request your consultation online, email us, or call us at (631) 424-6850.