A slip & fall injury can happen to anyone. You are walking along store aisles, slip on a wet floor and take a fall. Or you trip on an uneven floor or driveway on public or private property with the same result. The truth is that slip & fall accidents are some of the most common accidents. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls represent the cause of over 8 million hospital admissions across the US every year. When it happens to you, you should know that you have rights. An experienced slip & fall injury attorney can help you file a premises liability claim against the property owners’ insurance company and obtain monetary compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.
Unfortunately, many people are not aware of how serious slip & fall incidents can be and that they have the right to be compensated by the fault party. In this article, we will discuss the causes, outcomes, and implications of these accidents, as well as your legal options if you were injured due to hazardous conditions at someone’s property.
Facts about Slip & Fall Accidents: How Dangerous Are They?
Every day we may encounter unsafe conditions in various places we visit. A slippery floor or an icy driveway, an old and rickety staircase and inadequately signaled dangerous areas represent examples of situations covered by premises liability law in the state of Louisiana.
And there is no such thing as “just a slip and fall”. Accident victims of slip&fall incidents may require long-term medical treatment and even remain with a permanent disability and loss of quality of life. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
- 95% of hip fractures are caused by a fall (especially sideways)
- 1 in 5 falls results in a severe injury to the head or a fracture
- falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury.
Moreover, according to Injury Facts, falls represented the number one cause of preventable non-fatal accidents and the second cause of preventable fatal injuries across the US in 2019.
Thus, slip and falls are actually dangerous incidents that cost people’s lives or result in physical pain, the need for immediate medical attention, and long-lasting emotional trauma. When such a situation is caused by a negligent property owner who did not follow the basic rules of the duty of care towards visitors, the responsible party should be held liable for their action or lack of action.
Frequent Injuries Caused by Slip and Fall Accidents
Any personal injury lawyer can tell you that some slip and fall accidents result in minor and moderate injuries. However, our accident lawyers have also assisted injury victims who suffered catastrophic injuries. Many of them required extensive and specialized medical care, and physical therapy and still did not make a full recovery. Chronic pain or physical disability (permanent paralysis) means loss of enjoyment of life and a reduced ability to work and earn an income.
Depending on the person’s age and physical condition, a slip & fall accident can result in:
- spinal cord injuries
- head injury
- neck injury
- fractures (broken bones)
In such a situation, the accident victim and their family suffer significant financial losses. An accident attorney can help you identify the responsible party, prove their liability and conduct settlement negotiations with their insurance company.
Understand Your Rights to Compensation For a Slip & Fall Injury
Business owners, property owners or managers and public authorities have a responsibility towards the people present at their property as:
- invitees (customers in a store)
- agents (various contractors supplying services).
Even private homeowners are liable under the premises liability law. According to the Civil Code of Louisiana Art. 2322: “The owner of a building is answerable for the damage occasioned by its ruin, when this is caused by neglect to repair it, or when it is the result of a vice or defect in its original construction.”
Thus, if you were injured at a private or public property, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner or manager, with two notable exceptions:
- you were trespassing on the respective property
- your slip and fall is a workplace accident – in this case you will be compensated through the employer’s workers’ compensation plan
Moreover, being partly at fault for the accident will not prevent you from seeking compensation. The state of Louisiana uses the comparative fault principle. This means that you are eligible to sue for compensation, however, the final amount of money you will receive will be reduced by the percentage of fault you had in your accident. Thus, a person who was 30% at fault for their slip and fall accident will receive $70,000 out of the $100,000 compensation amount awarded by the jury.
Types of Compensation You Are Eligible to Receive
Personal injury law recognizes two types of compensation for accident victims: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages cover all the actual financial losses sustained by the victim:
- hospital bills
- other medical expenses
- various out of pocket expenses
- loss of income
- loss of future earnings.
Non-economic damages are a form of compensation for the pain and suffering of the victim and cover aspects such as:
- loss of quality of life
- loss of consortium
- mental anguish
- emotional distress
How to Maximize Your Settlement Amount
Premises liability cases are difficult to prove on your own, without the guidance of an experienced accident lawyer. You are in physical pain and you are not aware of all your current and future economic losses. You feel pressured to make a statement to an insurance adjuster. Later on, when you finally file your accident claim, it gets denied. Everything you said and did is used against you.
Here is what you should do in order to maximize your chances of getting a fair compensation:
Seek Medical Attention
Call or ask someone else to call 9-1-1 and request an ambulance. At the same time, inform the owner or manager of the property (or their representative) that you suffered an accident, but do not make any statements regarding to:
- how you feel
- that you may be partly at fault (“I did not see the hole”, “I did not realize the floor was wet”, etc.)
Document the Accident Scene
Use your mobile phone camera to photograph the area where you suffered the accident, as well as the extent of your injuries. They will be valuable pieces of evidence for your personal injury lawyer at a later date.
Follow Through with the Recommended Treatment
Many people got their personal injury claims denied because they stopped going to treatments or refilling their prescriptions. Failure to mitigate your damages can be used against you. These treatments may be expensive, but they are your best chance of recovery. Plus, every cent will be added to your compensation amount and successfully negotiated by your personal injury lawyer.
Hire an Experienced Slip & Fall Injury Attorney
Slip & fall injury attorneys know how to handle every complexity arising in your case, from establishing the property owner’s duty of care to proving the dangerous condition at their premises. Using various pieces of evidence, from your medical records to photographs and eyewitnesses’ testimonies, the lawyer will be able to prove that you suffered your physical injuries due to the responsible party’s negligence.
At Wright & Gray law firm, we believe that every accident victim deserves justice. We will fight for you and win the maximum compensation you are entitled to. We don’t ask for any fees until we win your case, so call us now: 888-912-4944!