Slip and falls happen every day. According to the National Safety Council, falls caused nearly 32,000 deaths and thousands more injuries in 2014. A fall might be unintentional, but that does not mean that someone could not have prevented it from occurring. If your slip and fall was preventable — and caused by another person’s negligence — you may be eligible for compensation. A New York slip and fall lawyer can help.
Call the slip and fall attorneys at Buttafuoco & Associates today for help filing an injury claim or lawsuit: 1-800-NOW-HURT.
When does a slip and fall accident become a legal claim?
When the negligence of a liable party causes a slip and fall accident, we call it a premises liability claim. This type of claim requires establishing the following:
- The victim was lawfully on the property of another party.
- There was a hazard on the property that caused the accident.
- The property owner knew about the hazard, or the hazard was obvious enough that the property owner should have known about it.
- There was adequate time to identify and prevent the hazard from causing harm.
- The victim suffered serious or fatal injury due to the hazard.
An example of a valid slip and fall claim is if a person slips and falls in a supermarket where a bag of ice had fallen and melted on the floor. The fact that the ice had time to melt shows that the supermarket staff failed to clean up the initial ice spill, so the hazard was there for a substantial amount of time.
If a person slips and falls in a restaurant because another customer spilled a glass of water a few minutes before and did not alert the restaurant staff, it is unlikely that the injured party can file a claim against the restaurant. The inability of pursuing a claim is because the spill occurred immediately before the slip and the supermarket staff had no time to identify and fix the hazard.
Now, if the customer spilled the water and immediately told a staff member who ignored it, the injured party may have a valid claim.
Who is liable for my injuries?
There are several potentially liable parties in a slip and fall claim. It is not always the property’s direct owner who is liable for your damages.
For example, if a slip and fall occurs due to floor debris in a shoe store located in a strip mall, the shoe store’s owner/manager would likely be the liable party, not the mall’s owner. This is because the strip mall owner had no hand in the cleanliness of the shoe store’s floors.
In addition to the store owner/manager, other liable parties may include maintenance workers or landscapers if they fail to prevent hazards on property they maintain.
What evidence do I need?
Evidence for a slip and fall case requires that you prove there was an existing hazard that a reasonable person would have been unable to avoid. To establish this, you will need evidence such as:
- Photographs and surveillance video: This could be helpful in identifying how long the hazard existed without remedy.
- The incident report: If you reported the injury when it happened, there should be an incident report that details how it happened.
- Testimony of eyewitnesses: If people around you saw the incident unfold, you can use their testimony to prove that the slip and fall occurred through no fault of your own. For example, the store manager may claim that you were distracted and caused your own injuries. Eyewitness testimony can help prove that you were paying attention but that the hazard was unavoidable.
Collecting this evidence can be difficult, especially if you are trying to recover from your injuries. Our attorneys can help you gather all the necessary evidence and establish your case.
Once we have collected evidence to prove negligence on behalf of the liable party, we will also need to gather your medical records to prove that you suffered injury.
Damages Recoverable in a Slip and Fall
Slip and fall accidents often cause lacerations and bruises as well as fractures, strains, and sprains in the legs, arms, and hips. Spinal cord injury and head trauma are also possible due to the sudden impact with the ground or a nearby object.
If you are able to prove the at-fault party caused your injury, you may be entitled to:
- Medical expenses from the accident
- Long-term or permanent damages due to disability
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Let the New York premises liability attorneys at Buttafuoco & Associates help your family settle a slip and fall claim and get you back to your normal life. Call us today at 1-800-NOW-HURT to schedule a free case review.