Trip or slip and fall accidents happen in many places: Your home, a friend’s home, a retail establishment, walking down a city street on the sidewalk, or even on the walkway to an apartment building.
In many cases, someone’s negligence caused you to trip or slip and fall.
You could recover damages after you fall, but from whom? It depends on where you trip or slip and fall and the type of entity that owns the property and it is typically a property owner. However, someone else might share liability for your slip and fall accident injuries in some circumstances.
In a Retail Establishment
Many things could cause you to trip or slip and fall in a retail establishment. Debris left in aisles, the corner of a pallet of stock, and wet floors are all things that happen in retail establishments. The manager or another employee must warn about dangerous conditions, such as wet floors that someone just cleaned or entryways tracked up with rain, snow, or slush.
However, just because a sign is present does not mean that you cannot recover damages from the retail establishment. Always contact a slip and fall lawyer after an incident and let someone familiar with these laws determine whether you have a case.
Those who might have liability in a retail establishment include:
- The owner.
- The lessor.
- The lessee.
- The store manager (in certain circumstances).
At a Friend’s Home
Have you ever been to a friend’s house and tripped over a non-standardized step or the edge of a carpet that lifted because of heavy traffic across it? You could sustain injuries if you hit your head when you fall or if you hit something with your body on the way to the floor.
While your friend is most likely liable for your injuries, you will most likely settle with your friend’s homeowner’s insurance.
On a Public Walkway or Road
Public walkways can pose many hazards, especially when the municipality does not maintain them. Cracks and lifted or uneven walkways could cause you to trip. Walkways not cleared of ice and snow could cause you to slip.
Because not all municipalities have the same rules, depending on where you live, the following people could have liability for injuries suffered because of icy and snowy walkways:
- The municipality.
- The property owner.
- The lessor or lessee of a building or unit.
Some municipalities require that residents clean public walkways in front of their homes. However, if a person is disabled, works all hours of the day, or otherwise cannot get out to clean the walkway, then who is at fault? An experienced slip and fall attorney will investigate your case to determine whom you should take legal action against.
If a walkway is in disrepair and causes you to trip or slip and fall, the municipality is generally liable for your injuries.
In Your Own Home
You could even trip or slip or fall in your own home. But, who is liable? Were you the negligent person who left something in your way? Or was it a defect in the home that you did not know about? You may file a personal injury claim against your homeowner’s insurance, depending on what caused you to trip or slip and fall.
On a Private Walkway
Private walkways are another source of injury if the walkway is not maintained properly or kept clear of ice and snow.
Depending on state laws, several people could share liability for your injuries, including:
- The property owner.
- A lessor or lessee.
- Another resident.
An experienced slip and fall attorney can investigate your case, including local laws and regulations, to determine who is liable for your injuries.
Trip or Slip and Fall Injuries
While many slip and fall injuries are minor bruises, bumps, and cuts, this type of accident could cause serious or even catastrophic injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
- Face and eye injuries.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Strains and sprains.
- Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries.
- Internal injuries.
Your injuries depend on several factors, including whether you hit something on the way to the ground. Sharp items usually cause more damage than items with rounded corners. For example, a metal shelf will most likely cause more damage than the rounded edges of a wood coffee table.
Recovering Damages After a Trip or Slip and Fall Accident
Damages you could recover after tripping or slipping and falling depend on the extent of your injuries. Those who suffer minor injuries might recover only economic damages. Those who suffer severe or catastrophic injuries that take longer than a year to heal or lead to long-term or permanent disabilities often recover non-economic damages.
Both types are compensatory damages, which the court orders in an attempt to make you whole again. Economic damages have a monetary value, so you will need to save all invoices and bills related to the fall, such as medical expenses, prescription expenses, and those incurred by purchasing ambulatory aids and other medical equipment. Also, document lost wages, as you could recover wages for the time you were out of work.
Suppose your injuries are severe or catastrophic and cause long-term disabilities. In that case, you could recover pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, loss of companionship and/or consortium, loss of use of a body part or function, and more.
After a slip and fall accident, you might notify an insurance company of your injuries, though it is better if you let an attorney do that for you. Insurance companies twist what you say to deny your claim or offer you less compensation than you deserve. And that is not the only trick they pull to get out of paying a claim. Attorneys know the tricks, so let an attorney file your claim.