Slip and Fall Accidents: Understanding Liability
A slip and fall accident can happen anywhere, and at any time. Whether it’s at a grocery store, somebody’s house, or even when walking along the sidewalk, a slip and fall accident can result in serious injuries. If you or a loved one has been involved in a slip and fall accident, it’s crucial to understand liability and how it may apply to your case. Keep reading as we discuss what slip and fall accidents are, who may be held liable for them, and what you should do if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident.
What are Slip and Fall Accidents?
Slip and fall accidents occur when somebody slips or trips on a surface and falls, resulting in an injury. The most common causes of slip and fall accidents include slippery or wet surfaces, uneven flooring, dim lighting, and cluttered walkways. Slip and fall accidents can result in a range of injuries from minor cuts and bruises to broken bones and serious head injuries.
Who is Liable for Slip and Fall Accidents?
Determining liability for a slip and fall accident can be complex, as it depends on a variety of factors. In general, the property owner or occupier may be held liable for a slip and fall incident if they did not ensure that the property was safe for visitors. This may include failing to clean up spills or hazards, neglecting to repair or replace broken flooring, or failing to warn visitors of potential hazards.
It’s also important to note that liability may not always be clear-cut in a slip and fall case. For example, if somebody is engaging in risky behavior, such as running in a store, or was in an area that was clearly marked as off-limits, the property owner may not be held liable.
Proving Liability in Slip and Fall Cases
If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident, it’s crucial to gather evidence to support your claim of liability. This may include taking photos of the hazardous conditions that led to your fall, obtaining witness statements from anyone who saw the accident, and seeking medical attention as soon as possible.
It is also important to notify the property owner or occupier about the accident as soon as possible. If an incident report is available, fill this out at your earliest convenience. This will help establish a record of the accident and ensure that the property owner is aware of the situation.
Negligence and Contributory Negligence
In slip and fall cases, the concept of negligence often comes into play. Negligence refers to the failure on the part of the property owner or occupier to prevent harm to others. In slip and fall cases, negligence may include failing to maintain a safe environment or failing to warn visitors of potential hazards.
In some cases, contributory negligence may also be a factor. Contributory negligence refers to the behavior of the injured party that contributed to the accident. For example, if the injured party was not wearing the correct footwear for a certain environment, this may be considered contributory negligence.
In some states, including Mississippi, comparative negligence is used to determine liability in slip and fall cases. Comparative negligence takes into account the actions of both the injured party and the property owner or occupier when determining liability. For example, if the injured party was found to be 20% responsible for the accident, they may only be able to recover 80% of the damages.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, there are several steps that you should take to protect your rights and make sure that you are able to get the compensation you are entitled to. These are as follows:
- Seek medication attention as soon as possible: Even if your injuries seem minor, it’s essential to be checked out by a health professional as early as possible. Some injuries, like head injuries, may not always show immediate symptoms.
- Notify the property owner or occupier: This should be done as soon as possible to ensure that they are aware of the situation and can take steps to prevent future accidents.
- Gather evidence to support your liability claim: This might include taking photos of the hazardous conditions that led to the accident, obtaining witness statements from anybody who saw it happen, and filling out an incident report if one is available. It’s also crucial to preserve any evidence that you have. This could include preserving physical evidence such as the shoes or clothes you were wearing at the time of the accident. It’s also essential to preserve digital evidence like text messages or social media posts that are relevant to the case.
- Track your expenses: Along with medical expenses, slip and fall accidents can result in other expenses, like transportation costs or lost wages. It’s crucial to track all these expenses and keep detailed records, as you may be able to get them reimbursed.
- Be cautious about speaking with insurance adjusters: Insurance adjusters may seem to want to help you, but ultimately their aim is to save the insurance company money. Because of this, they may try to get you to settle for less than you deserve, or even try to deny your claim altogether. It’s important to consult with an attorney before you speak to any insurance adjusters.
Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney
An experienced attorney will be able to help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. At DLH Attorneys, we can help you negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company or file a lawsuit if necessary.
We understand how a slip and fall accident may impact your life, especially if you sustained a serious injury. Our main goal is to help our clients get the justice and compensation that they deserve, to help you get your life back on track after a traumatic experience such as a slip and fall.
Visit our Ridgeland office on 370 Towne Center Blvrd MS 39157. Or call now for a free consultation on (601) 981 4717.