Slip and fall injuries can be incredibly serious – and in some cases, they’re due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Slip and fall accidents can cause several types of injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Sprained joints
- Knee damage
- Shoulder dislocations
- Muscle strains
- Spine and nerve damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Cuts, bruises, scrapes and other injuries
Each of these can be serious enough to prevent you from working – and cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills. If your slip and fall was caused by someone’s negligence, you may want to talk to a personal injury lawyer for help.
Slip and Fall Injuries: Could You File a Lawsuit?
If you’re injured in a slip and fall accident, you could be entitled to compensation that helps pay your medical bills, makes up for the time you’ve missed at work, and helps you make ends meet while you’re recovering. However, in order to win a slip and fall lawsuit, you’ll have to prove one of the following is true:
- That a property owner (or an employee or agent of the property owner) should have known that a hazardous condition existed (like a hole in the floor or a slippery surface), and that someone should have fixed the issue but failed to do so.
- That a property owner or an employee caused the hazardous condition, and that it was reasonably foreseeable that someone would slip or trip and fall because of the condition.
For most people, the best course of action is to work with a personal injury attorney who understands the implications of a slip and fall accident.
Slip and Fall Injury Suits
If you’re entitled to damages, your attorney might suggest that you file a formal lawsuit in court. However, before you do that, you’ll most likely want to try to reach a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Most cases like this actually do settle out of court – and nobody has to go before a judge. Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and he’ll fight hard to get you the settlement you deserve.
When negotiations fail, though, your lawyer may suggest that you file a formal lawsuit. In a formal lawsuit, both sides can introduce evidence and bring in witnesses – and eventually, the judge will decide whether you’re entitled to compensation (and how much you’re entitled to receive).
If the judge rules in your favor, you could win two separate types of damages: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are designed to compensate you for actual losses, such as lost wages, hospital bills and rehabilitation costs, as well as for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering. Punitive damages are designed to punish bad actors, and courts use them to teach people or companies a lesson. There’s no difference in the way you’ll receive your damages – either way, the money you win in a lawsuit is yours.
Defenses to Slip and Fall Lawsuits
The defendant in your case (the at-fault party) could use one of several defenses to show that they’re not at-fault for your accident. Often, though, defendants say that they didn’t have enough time to discover and fix the hazard that caused a fall, or that the fall was actually your fault.
For this reason, it’s incredibly important that you never talk to insurance adjusters – or worse, put a statement in writing. You should always contact your attorney (or direct people calling you to contact your attorney) rather than give your own statement about the accident. The insurance company could twist your words to show that you’re to blame for your injuries – even if it’s not your fault at all.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, even if you were partially at fault, we may be able to help you. Call us at 818-230-8380 or fill out the form below to tell us about your situation. We’ll be happy to visit you at home, in the hospital or in our office to learn more.