The term “slip and fall” seems innocuous enough, but these accidents are not only surprisingly common, but they can give rise to some serious injuries. Perhaps because they are so commonplace, they can be frustratingly difficult to do anything about if you have been injured and seek compensation. Some personal injury attorneys are actually averse to taking on personal injury cases involving slip and fall injuries if the case for a claim doesn’t seem straightforward. However, you can be rest assured that here at the Diaz Law Firm in Jackson we will do our best to ensure you get the legal help you need.
Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere
By ‘slip and fall’ is meant any type of accident in which someone inadvertently slips over and falls down. Similar accidents are often called ‘trip and fall’ accidents. These accidents can literally happen anywhere, but for the purpose of personal injury assessment they can be divided into three categories:
- accidents that happen at home;
- accidents that happen at work: and
- accidents that happen anywhere else, whether it is in a friend’s or neighbor’s house, on privately owned property or property owned by the government.
There is also an important distinction between accidents that are caused by another entity’s negligent actions or those that are entirely the fault of the person who slips or trips and falls.
Accidents that happen at home
If you slip over and hit your head in your own bathroom or kitchen, you probably only have yourself to blame. If you are injured, you will have to rely on your own health insurance if you need medical treatment. The only possibility for making a claim is if you were using a defective device, appliance or apparatus at the time and it malfunctioned suddenly, causing you to fall down.
Accidents that happen at work
If you slip over or trip up at work and fall down injuring yourself, you have a good chance of securing basic compensation through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, assuming that your employer has this type of cover, which most do.
Accidents that happen elsewhere
If you slip over and hurt yourself on someone else’s property, whether this in a city park, on a sidewalk, in a store, a library, or even your best friend’s patio, there is a good chance that your injuries were not your fault entirely. If your injuries are very minor, say just a few scratches and a bruise or two, it is unlikely you will be concerned about making a claim. If your injuries are going to cost you money, you will certainly want to know whether you can claim compensation; otherwise, you might either have to foot any bills yourself or go without the treatment you need. This is where it gets tricky.
Can you prove that your injury was caused by a negligent act?
Many accidents are caused by a lack of care by the property owner whose property you are using. If you believe this is the case, you will need to establish that the injury was caused by willful disregard for safety. This isn’t easy, because if you are badly injured, you will probably be more concerned with getting medical treatment than finding evidence that can back up your claim that it was someone else’s fault. Most property owners who routinely make their properties accessible to the public will have taken out premises liability insurance that should cover them if a member of the public is hurt on their property. However, that doesn’t mean that the relevant insurer will be happy to front up with compensation if a claim is made. In fact, they will probably make it darned hard to win such a claim.
Winning a slip and fall injury claim
There are certain conditions that need to be met to have a reasonable chance of winning a slip and fall personal injury claim if hurt on someone else’s property. These are:
- you were legitimately allowed to be on the property, e.g. as a diner or a customer;
- the property owner was insured for accidents;
- the property owner or manager of the property knew about the hazard that caused the injury (e.g. a floor surface that was particularly slippery) and did nothing about it or did not act in what might be considered reasonable time;
- you can prove that the injury was caused by negligence e.g. because there were eye witnesses who can establish what happened; there were photos taken of the condition of the floor area.