Laws Related to Slip and Fall Accidents and How Can You Receive Compensation?
Slip and fall accident is probably the most common type of accident, especially in snowy climates. In North America alone, two and a half million slip and fall cases are registered every year. While most of them are minor, some others can be very serious and even lead to death.
If you believe that the accident was caused by the property owner’s mistake, then you must take help of a Slip and Fall Lawyer to get maximum recovery for your losses.
Serious Injuries Related to Slip and Fall Accidents
a) Neck and Back Injuries: Falling on the back or the neck can result in breaking of bones or sliding of disks near the neck region. Getting injured in the backbone or spinal cord can be very painful.
b) Head Injuries: Head is one of the most vulnerable parts to be affected in such accidents. Falling head-first can cause concussions, coordination problems, and even death.
c) Pelvic Injuries: Pelvic injuries are more like to affect elder people. The slip and fall accidents can result in breaking the bones and pelvises.
d) Torn Ligaments: The reason why soft tissue injuries are dangerous is that they don’t show any sign at the time of occurring. They can be treated only by surgery and some of them just never heal.
Common Causes and Most Susceptible Places for Slip and Fall Accidents
Actually, there’s no place which can be made completely slip-free. Even our own bedrooms are not safe if there is accumulated water on the floor. Some of the most common causes of Slip and Fall Accidents are:
a) Icy and Snowy Surfaces: Ice and snow make the surface very slippery. If we’re not careful while walking on them, even the best shoes can’t prevent the fall.
b) Poor Maintenance: If proper cleaning is not done in places like toilets and bathroom, then this can result in algae or accumulation of water which makes the floor slippery and liable for accidents.
c) Disrepair: Not undertaking the time-to-time repair of tiles, sideways, stairs etc. can give rise to a jagged surface which may make people trip down.
d) Obstacles at the Corners: If there’s something kept in the entrance or at the turning points, then our feet can collide with them and cause the fall.
e) Bad Lighting: Bad lighting makes it difficult to see the things kept on the floor and this may cause people to fall.
How Can a Slip and Fall Lawyer Help?
Slip and fall laws are very disputed laws. The law clearly states that the victim will receive compensation if the property owner is negligent. But proving the negligence is often not easy. The law varies from state to state and also according to the type of institution. There’s also a limit of time. And in the end, there are the money-making insurance companies who will go to any extent to save them from paying you.
A Slip and Fall Lawyer is experienced not only with all the laws but also in proving the at-fault party responsible. He also knows how to deal with the insurance companies. He will read your case meticulously and explain to you the best legal options. It’s true that you can fight on your own, but getting a Slip and Fall Lawyer is like an asset which will help you to earn the maximum benefits.
What Compensations Can You Receive?
If you are able to prove the negligence of the property owner, then there are following types of compensations you can expect to receive:
a) Compensation for General Damages:
Ø Physical and Mental Suffering: Serious accidents cause both physical and mental sufferings such as aches, pains, debilitations, depressions, anxieties etc. If your claim is correct, then you’ll be compensated for your suffering.
Ø Lifestyle Changes: If the accident caused some form of debilitation, then your lifestyle will also be affected. You may lose relations or suffer social estrangements. The Slip and Fall Lawyer can calculate the monetary value for such damages with the help of psychologists and economists.
b) Compensation for Special Damages:
Ø Medical Treatment: You will be paid for all the medical costs involved in recovery. These financial losses are easy to prove with medical bills.
Ø Wage Loss: If you had to take leave from work in order to get better or if you totally lost the power to work, then you’ll be compensated for that.
Ø Attorney Fees: If you win the case, you also receive the fee you had to pay to the lawyer. It’s worth noting that if you’re confident of being innocent, then you shouldn’t worry about the cost of hiring a lawyer.
Factors Determining Slip and Fall Cases:
Following are the factors which decide the cases of Slip and Fall Accidents:
a) Proving Negligence: This is the important for not just Slip and fall but all kinds of accidents. There are four elements of proving negligence:
Ø The Duty of Care: Duty of care refers to if the property owner had responsibility for your safety. For example, if you’re a customer in a shop, then the shopkeeper has to prevent you from slip and fall accidents. But if you’re in there with the purpose of stealing, then he’s not bound to do so.
Ø Duty Breach: After assigning the duty of care for the property owner, you need to prove that he didn’t follow his duty.
Ø Causation: In the third stage, you have to prove that the property owner’s negligence caused you to fall.
Ø Damage: This is the final stage of proving negligence where you have to prove the relation of your damages to the slip and fall accident.
You should keep in mind that all these stages are important and one single mistake can finish your claim. This is why you must take advice from a Slip and Fall Lawyer at every step.
b) Pure and Comparative Fault: Proving negligence is not really the end of the story and you have to prove that you had no contribution to the accident. For example, if a girl wearing a girl falls on a jagged surface, then, of course, the property owner is responsible for not keeping the surface level, but the girl will also be held responsible for wearing such high heels at an inappropriate place.
To determine the contributory fault, there are two approaches:
Ø Pure Comparative Negligence: It actually means that your claim will be reduced by your percentage contribution. For example, if you’re twenty per cent responsible for the accident, then you’ll get only eighty per cent of your total loss.
Ø Modified Compensation Negligence: Here you have to prove more than fifty per cent fault of the owner and you’re done. For example, if you’re able to prove that the owner was fifty-one per cent responsible, then you’ll get full compensation, but if you lose at forty-nine per cent, then you’ll get nothing.
Time Limit: Another thing to be kept in mind is that many states impose a time limit after which you cannot make the claim. Mostly, this time limit is two years.