Winter is here, and with it comes an increased risk of slip and fall accidents in stores and properties all over the country. Retailers and other business owners are extending their hours to accommodate shoppers’ schedules, increasing the number of people frequenting their businesses.
Do I Need an Attorney for my Slip-and-Fall Accident?
In the winter, slipping and falling are more common because of ice and snow, which can create puddles or dangerously slick areas on stairways and in entrances. Other common causes of slip-and-fall accidents might include new wax on the floor, puddles from spills or uneven flooring. Though slip-and-fall accidents can be caused by a variety of situations, not all slip and falls will have a legal remedy. Talking with a personal injury attorney can help you determine if you have a case.
Difference Between a Slip and a Trip
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, slips are defined as a loss of balance that results from a loss of friction between your shoes or feet and the surface that you're on. Trips happen when a person's foot catches another object, and the person is thrown off balance. In either situation, the person is likely to fall.
Common hazards that could result in slips include:
- Wet surfaces
- Slick floors
- Wearing the wrong kind of shoes for the conditions
Other dangerous conditions, such as over-stacked shelves or work equipment in the aisles, can also create tripping and other hazards for unsuspecting customers. While tripping can happen for various reasons, if uneven surfaces, unattended conditions, debris or other obstacles cause you to lose your footing, assessing the conditions and cause of the accident can help determine if you have a case.
What Are the Common Kinds of Injuries from a Slip-and-Fall Accident?
Several different injuries can result from a slip-and-fall accident, including:
- Broken bones in the hands, wrists or arms from trying to catch yourself
- Head injuries, such as concussions or hematomas, from hitting your head when you fall or are struck from items overhead
- Injured or dislocated joints from the fall itself, or losing your balance
- Sprained ankles or wrists
- Spine or nerve damage
- Cuts and bruises
Depending on how you fall, these and other injuries may be possible.
So, Who Is Responsible?
If you slip and fall when you're in a local store or restaurant, you may wonder who will be held responsible. In the majority of cases, the place of business may be liable for not making sure that the building and its surrounding property was safe for customers.
When a slip-and-fall accident occurs, the main question is whether the property owner could have done something to reduce or mitigate the risk to the public. In short, could they have taken steps to prevent injury?
For example, could they have added mats in the entrance to help dry your shoes, or added a handrail along the steep stairwell. In both cases, these reasonable precautions could have helped prevent an unnecessary slip and fall injury.
In one of our slip and fall cases, a pizzeria in Fresno paid $510,000 after a woman fell and required surgery and emergency care. We successfully argued that the dangerous condition had been neglected by the business, which led to the substantial compensation our client deserved.
Keep in mind that proof of a hazard is needed to make your case. If there was no hazard and you fall as a result of your own actions and through no fault of the business, you may not be able to make a claim for losses or damages.
What Should You Do If You Fall in a Store?
If you fall in a store or restaurant, let the management team know right away. Don't just inform employees since they may not know how to handle the case or report the incident. File an incident report while you're still onsite. If you can, take photos before the scene is cleared so that you have evidence of the dangerous conditions.
Why Should You Make a Premises Liability Personal Injury Claim?
If you or someone you love slips and falls when on someone else's property, you should make a premises liability claim to ask for compensation for your injuries. You can seek damages such as:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills and expenses
- Pain and suffering
Whether dealing with an injury or death from a slip and fall accident, the property owner should be held liable for not keeping the premises safe. You are entitled to seek compensation regardless of where the incident occurred. Some common places this kind of accident can occur include:
- At the mall
- In a grocery store
- The home of a neighbor or friend
- The post office
- Most businesses that are open to the general public
Where you are when the accident occurs can be an important aspect toward getting compensation. Speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine if you can recover loss and damages for your injuries.
It's Appropriate to Seek Legal Support
Dunnion Law is there for you when you suffer from injuries because of a property owner's negligence. To help with your slip and fall lawsuit and get the compensation you deserve, contact Dunnion Law today. Our team will assist you with your questions, and provide you with the legal help to get your slip and fall claim underway.