Slip and fall accidents typically happen when a premises owner fails to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition that is free of fall hazards. For example, a premises owner might fail to clean up a spill within a reasonable time, causing a patron to slip and fall on the premises. Premises accidents can occur both indoors and outdoors and may result in serious injuries, depending on the circumstances.
If you suffered injuries in a premises accident that resulted from a property owner's negligent behavior, consult a San Antonio slip and fall lawyer in your area as quickly as possible. The slip and fall accident attorney can investigate the circumstances of your fall, gather necessary documents for your case, and file a claim with the property owner's insurance company. In addition, your attorney can handle all settlement negotiations on your behalf and pursue the monetary recovery you deserve.
Throughout the entire process, your lawyer can also answer your questions, weigh your legal options, and pursue the highest amount of monetary recovery you deserve in your case.
How Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?
Slip and fall accidents typically happen when a premises owner fails to reasonably maintain their premises. These accidents can occur both indoors and outdoors at public and private locations. Some common sites for slip and fall accidents include parking lots, garages, driveways, sidewalks, restaurants, shopping centers, grocery stores, and private residences. These types of accidents are widespread in restaurants and grocery stores because food and liquid tend to spill on the floor in these locations. If a property owner fails to clean up a spill or place a warning placard in the area within a reasonable amount of time, they may be responsible for any accidents and injuries that result.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, speak with a premises liability lawyer as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can review your options with you and retain a certified accident reconstructionist who can visit the scene of your slip and fall and determine how your accident occurred and who was responsible. Your lawyer may then file a claim with the property owner's insurer on your behalf.
Common Injuries in a Slip and Fall Accident
In a slip and fall accident scenario, victims do not have any outer covering or protection surrounding them. Consequently, they may suffer debilitating injuries if they strike the ground with a significant amount of force. Factors that may affect an individual's injuries in a slip and fall accident include the surface on which the accident victim falls and the degree of force involved. Some of the most common injuries that slip and fall accident victims experience can include broken bones, road rash injuries, open lacerations, bruises, rib fractures, internal bleeding, internal organ damage, soft tissue injuries, traumatic head and brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and complete and incomplete paralysis injuries.
You may need ongoing medical treatment after suffering one or more of these injuries in a slip and fall accident. For example, if you sustained a broken bone in your accident, you may need to see an orthopedic doctor and undergo an invasive surgical procedure. Additionally, if you suffered a severe concussion or other head injury in your slip and fall accident, you may consult a neurologist. You may also attend physical therapy sessions after undergoing a medical procedure for your injuries.
After a slip and fall accident, always complete your medical treatment regimen. By taking this step, you increase your chances of fully recovering from your injuries. Additionally, you show the insurance company that your injuries are severe and warrant significant monetary compensation. When accident victims have gaps in their treatment or if they delay medical treatment, the insurance company may become skeptical of their injuries. An insurance company adjuster might even claim that the claimed injuries are unrelated to the slip and fall accident.
While you focus on recovering from your injuries, your premises accident lawyer can begin gathering the evidence necessary to support your personal injury claim. Once your medical treatment is over, your lawyer may submit a settlement demand package, which includes your medical treatment records and medical bills, to the insurance company adjuster handling your claim. Shortly after that, settlement negotiations may begin in your case.
A property owner has a duty to promptly warn about or correct known hazardous conditions on the premises for the benefit of business invitees. They are also responsible for routinely inspecting their premises for potentially unknown unsafe conditions. If they encounter a dangerous condition during their inspection, including a slip and fall hazard, they must adequately correct or at least warn about the defect within a reasonable amount of time.
Property owners also owe a high legal duty of care to licensees or social guests on someone else's property. A typical example of a social guest is a dinner guest at someone's house or apartment. A property owner's duty of care to a licensee is similar to the duty owed to a business invitee. Specifically, a property owner must properly correct or warn about known hazardous conditions on the premises, which may pose a significant slip and fall hazard to the property visitor.
Finally, trespassers are present on someone else's property without the property owner's knowledge or permission. If a trespasser is unknown, the property owner typically does not owe the visitor a legal duty of care; however, if the trespasser is known to the property owner, such as a child trespasser, the property owner may owe the trespasser some legal duty of care.
In addition to showing that the property owner owed you a legal duty of care, you must demonstrate that the property owner breached that duty by failing to maintain their premises in a reasonable manner. For example, the property owner may have failed to clean up a spill on the floor or repair some other defective floor condition within a reasonable time.
Additionally, you must demonstrate that because of the property owner’s or manager's negligence, your slip and fall accident happened and that you suffered physical injuries as a direct and foreseeable result of the accident.
Sometimes, it can be challenging to establish the legal elements of a slip and fall claim or lawsuit. In those circumstances, your attorney can retain an accident reconstructionist to piece together how the accident happened and who caused it. A medical expert can also causally relate your claimed injuries to the slip and fall accident. A medical expert may also establish that one or more of your physical injuries are permanent.
If you recently suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, a skilled premises liability lawyer near you can handle all the legal aspects of your claim while you focus on fully recovering from your injuries. Specifically, your attorney can handle all negotiations with the insurance company adjuster and, if necessary, file a lawsuit in the court system on your behalf.
Negotiating with the Premises Owners Insurance Company
Negotiating with a property owner's insurance company is often an uphill battle. This is because insurance companies will do everything possible to avoid a significant monetary payout in your case. Insurance companies want to try to save themselves as much money as possible, and they pursue this goal by making low settlement offers on personal injury claims.
It will take an aggressive premises accident lawyer to effectively negotiate on your behalf and convince the insurance company to increase their settlement offer. A premises liability lawyer can point to favorable expert reports, medical documentation, and medical testimony to support the causal connection between the slip and fall accident and your injuries. If the insurance company still refuses to compensate you fairly, then your lawyer may file a lawsuit in the court system against the negligent property owner.
Your attorney can then handle every aspect of the litigation process in your case. For example, your attorney can prepare you for a discovery deposition and represent you at other legal proceedings, such as a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding in your case.
During a civil jury trial, the jury will decide the outcome of all disputed issues. At an ADR proceeding such as binding arbitration, a neutral professional will oversee the case out of court, listen to evidence of the case, review documents, and decide on monetary compensation to award you for your injuries. At any of these proceedings, your attorney's primary goal will be to maximize the compensation you receive for your premises accident injuries.
Recovering Damages in a Slip and Fall Case
It is not unusual for victims of slip and fall accidents to suffer debilitating and sometimes permanent injuries. Therefore, accident victims who can satisfy the legal elements of their claim or lawsuit are eligible to receive various types of monetary damages. The total settlement or verdict value of a slip and fall case will depend on multiple factors, including the severity of your fall, the extent of your injuries, and the specific medical treatment you undergo. Other factors may include the cost of your medical treatment expenses and the amount of lost earnings if you have to miss time from work after your accident.
First, accident victims can claim all their past and anticipated medical expenses. If they had to miss time from work due to their injuries, they may make a claim for loss of earning capacity or simply for their lost income.
Slip and fall accident victims may also pursue monetary recovery for their intangible losses or non-economic damages. These damages compensate accident victims for their permanent disability or disfigurement, scarring, cognitive impairments, loss of the ability to use a body part, lost quality of life, loss of spousal companionship and consortium, long-term or lifelong care costs, inconvenience, past and future pain and suffering, and mental and emotional distress.
Your attorney can determine which monetary damages you may be eligible to receive as part of your claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer can then negotiate aggressively with insurance company representatives on your behalf or litigate your case to a resolution in court.
Speak with an Experienced Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Today
If you recently suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, consult a premises liability attorney in your area as soon as possible. According to the state statute of limitations, accident victims must file a premises liability lawsuit within two years of their accident date. Otherwise, they may not be eligible to receive the monetary recovery they deserve. Always be wary of an insurance company that wants to cut you a quick check. When you accept a settlement from the insurance company, you must sign an agreement releasing them from any future liability. In other words, once you accept its offer in an accident case, you will be unable to seek more financial compensation from them in the future. If you accept too little to cover your losses, you might be responsible for covering those costs out of pocket.
A slip and fall accident lawyer can properly investigate your accident circumstances and review your litigation options with you. Your lawyer may also handle all settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives on your behalf and, if necessary, litigate your case to a favorable resolution in the state court system.
Seek your free case evaluation today with a personal injury lawyer.