You took a bad fall at a local store, perhaps tripping over an uneven step or slipping on a wet floor. You were hurt badly enough to see a doctor. Do you need to hire a slip and fall lawyer?
If you or a loved one has had to ask that question, know that you are certainly not alone. Every year, many people are injured by slips or falls that happened because of someone else’s negligence. It’s important to know the facts about slip and fall cases, and to know whether you need to hire an attorney that specializes in these kinds of personal injuries to represent you.
What is a Slip and Fall?
A slip and fall is an accident that occurs when someone either slips or simply loses their balance and falls. However, to be a slip and fall case, there are quite a few criteria that need to be established.
A true slip and fall case involves the negligence of another party, which can be challenging to prove. In order to verify that an incident was due to negligence, questions such as the following will need to be addressed:
- Was there something present that caused the surface you were walking on to be slippery, such as ice or a liquid?
- Did you miss a step when walking?
- Were you distracted when you fell?
- Were you holding onto a handrail when it happened?
- Was there an uneven surface?
- Was the area well lit?
Keep in mind that slip and fall accidents can occur in grocery stores, amusement parks, office buildings, nursing homes, schools, and any other type of building where someone has neglected to ensure that conditions are safe.
Causes of Slips and Fall Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the direct medical costs for fall injuries are $31 billion annually, and one out of five falls results in a serious injury. If we look just at statistics for the elderly, we discover that 2.8 million senior citizens are treated annually in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. Slips and falls are a major problem for both young and old alike.
There are definite risk factors for falls. Uneven steps, loose or missing handrails, insufficient lighting, uneven surfaces, poorly marked steps, clutter, and even rugs can cause serious problems. Liquids spilled on the floor with no warning signs, slick flooring, and damaged flooring also increase the risks of falls. Bunched up entryway rugs, loose tiles, and unstable handrails can cause an otherwise healthy, stable person to fall.
Then there are winter weather issues, such as rain water that has been tracked onto the floor or an icy walkway. Cold weather seems to be especially notorious for increasing the risk factors of slips and falls.<.p>
Slip and Fall Injuries
Slips and falls can result in a variety of injuries, with the most common ones being bruises, cuts, broken bones, or even head injuries. Broken bones can include wrists, ankles, and, for the elderly, hip fractures. Head injuries can be a major problem with falls, especially when it comes to the elderly.
Falls are one of the major causes of traumatic brain injuries. Not all issues resulting from a fall are physical, however. Falls can be very traumatic, sometimes reaching the point that a person’s fear of falling again begins to affect their private life and even their job.
When to Call a Slip and Fall Lawyer
If there is any question in your case as to whose fault the fall was, then you need the assistance of a slip and fall lawyer. It can be very difficult to prove who was at fault, and a good slip and fall lawyer knows how to establish negligence. Even if you feel that you have a solid case, without the assistance of an attorney, the insurance company will try to take advantage of you.
One of the first things that a personal injury attorney will do for you is to establish a clear line of communication with the insurance company. Your slip and fall lawyer will then work with you to prove liability, which includes things like:
- Investigating and documenting the site of the accident;
- Filing a report with the nearest authority;
- Working with you to determine exactly how the fall occurred;
- Putting together the medical documentation to demonstrate not only the seriousness of your injuries but to prove they did result from the fall.
A slip and fall attorney will also assist you in establishing the damages to which you are entitled.
How to Prove Negligence by the Responsible Party
Proving negligence involves an honest assessment of exactly what happened, what risk factors were at play, and who was truly at fault. If you tripped going down the stairs because your shoelace was untied, that is not the responsibility of the property owner. If, on the other hand, you tripped going down the stairs because the steps were uneven and the handrail was wobbly, then a case for negligence can be established.
Compensation for Slip and Fall Injuries
Another major challenge involved in a slip and fall case is establishing the damages that you have a right to be compensated for. This involves poring over your medical history, which can be very time-consuming. Many law offices have a staff member that specializes in obtaining copies of client medical records. Sometimes the medical records themselves are not enough to establish the extent of the injury, and a special letter will have to be requested from your physician. In either case, a good slip and fall attorney can not only gather the required information, but analyze it and build a solid case for your compensation.
Expert Slip and Fall Lawyers in Media, PA
Donaghue & Labrum is your best choice when it comes to finding experienced, successful, skilled attorneys for a slip and fall case. We specialize in personal injury cases, which include slip and fall accidents. These types of cases are notoriously hard to prove, but our track record speaks for itself. Not only do we offer a free consultation, but we will even meet with you in your home. We service Delaware, Chester and Philadelphia counties. Contact us today, and let us fight for you.