Slip and Fall
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, more than 8 million people were injured in falls in the year 2004 alone. Common slip and fall accidents are often the result of water, ice or snow, foreign substances on commercial floors, as well as abrupt changes in flooring, poor lighting, or a non-obvious danger such as a gap or hard to see hole in the ground. If you or a loved one have been injured as the result of a slip and fall accident, please call the Josh Clayton Law Firm for a free initial consultation.
The term “slip and fall” is a legal term that applies to a wide range of causes for injuries that a person may suffer when they slip, trip or fall after coming into contact with an unreasonably dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property.
Although people of all ages are potential victims of slip and fall accidents, a disproportionate number of older people are injured every year due to falls. The Center for Disease Control estimated that, in 2005, 15,800 people age 65 and older died from fall-related injuries, 1.8 million ages 65 and older were treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries, and over 433,000 people age 65 and older were hospitalized.
While many falls occur due to no negligence on the part of others, a significant number of injuries attributed to slip and falls happen because property owners fail to keep their premises safe from unreasonably dangerous conditions and know hazards. In the event you are injured in a way that you feel may be the fault of another, it is important you take the appropriate steps from the moment the accident occurs to protect your rights and preserve crucial evidence to prove your claim.
In many cases, if you are injured in a slip and fall accident as a result of a dangerous condition while you are in a business establishment or on another’s property, you may have a claim for that injury under Louisiana law.
If you suffer an injury as a result of a slip and fall, the first thing you will want to do is immediately fill out an incident report, or written documentation, at the scene of the fall. This report will document the date, time and circumstances of the fall. Insist that the property owner, or their agent, complete this report. At the very minimum, this report should include the names and contact information of any and all witnesses to the fall.
If possible, a written statement from each of these witnesses as to what they saw will be extremely helpful. Additionally, getting the names of the property owner and/or their agents that were present at the time of the incident will be invaluable in proving that the owner had knowledge of the incident occurring.
If possible, take photographs of the fall location, your injuries and the defect that caused your fall while you are still at the accident scene. Those photographs will prove useful information in the event you decide to make a claim.
In the event you are injured, it is imperative that you seek medical attention immediately. Minor injuries have a way of becoming major issues if ignored. At the time of the accident, the excitement and adrenaline sometimes mask injuries for a period of time. It is in your best interest to see a doctor, or go to an emergency room, the same day as the fall to insure your injuries are not more severe that you may estimate, and to document those injuries to support any claim you may make in the future. Be certain to tell the examining doctor everything about the circumstances of the fall, as well as any pain and discomfort you experienced since the accident.
If your injuries persist, make sure that you obtain ongoing medical evaluations. While your health and welfare is the most important factor to consider when you experience an injury from a slip and fall, medical records are the objective evidence used to establish the value of your case and are critical in supporting a claim for compensation should you desire to bring an action forward.
Can I make a claim against a store if I slip and fall on their floor?
The Louisiana Legislature enacted R.S. §2800.6. “Burden of proof in claims against merchants.” The statute holds that “A merchant owes a duty to persons who use his premises to exercise reasonable care to keep his aisles, passageways, and floors in a reasonably safe condition. This duty includes a reasonable effort to keep the premises free of any hazardous conditions which reasonably might give rise to damage.”
The statute allows for circumstantial evidence to show that the dangerous condition existed to establish constructive knowledge. Showing that the condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition, or the condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable would serve as such circumstantial knowledge. The primary factors in focus would be notice and time of response if any.
Whether or not a person can make a claim against a business establishment property owner for injuries sustained as the result of a slip and fall depends directly upon whether the property owner was negligent in maintaining a safe premise. The injured party has the burden of proving that there was a dangerous or hazardous condition existing on the premises, the property owner knew or should have known, with reasonable inspection, that the condition existed and did nothing to keep the public at large safe from that condition. The question that arises is the criteria which business establishments are judged by in determining if they have made reasonable efforts in keeping their premises safe.
The term “reasonable” often comes up in settlement negotiations and at other key stages of slip and fall cases. That’s because, in order to be held “negligent” and therefore liable for damages in a slip and fall case, a property owner (or the owner’s agent or employee) must have failed to act as a reasonably prudent person would have acted under circumstances similar to those leading up to the accident which instead produced a slip and fall injury.
While the environment that we walk in results in the majority reasons we slip and fall, not all accidents can be totally attributed to another’s conduct. Physical and mental limitations, such as poor vision or the inability to cognitively recognize an obvious danger have been known to cause accidents on a regular basis. Wearing poor, or no, footwear can inhibit your ability to maintain balance, increasing your chances to fall and injure yourself.
Liability for injuries suffered as the result of falling on another’s property is sometimes not as clear as you would think. If you have the misfortune to fall on another’s property you may have a claim for your injuries. You need the help of a qualified personal injury attorney to be sure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to, and that your rights are fully protected.
While you are busy trying to get back to living your life after a slip and fall injury, a lot of evidence needs to be gathered and analyzed to develop your case effectively. The experienced slip and fall attorney at Josh Clayton Law Firm is able to take care of these important matters for you and provide effective legal representation to get you the compensation you deserve for your suffering.