Protecting the Rights of the Injured After a Slip and Fall
Slip and fall cases are among the most common that personal injury attorneys handle. Every case is unique, and a single fact can make a tremendous difference in your case’s outcome. Unfortunately, many people will attempt to pursue their claim without consulting with a lawyer and wind up settling their claims for less than what it will take to make them whole. If you’ve been injured in a trip and fall accident, you should speak with a Laurel slip and fall attorney to understand your rights.
What a Laurel Slip and Fall Attorney Must Prove in Your Case
A slip and fall case is a type of premises liability case. In any premises liability case, the injured party must be able to prove the following elements to pursue a claim:
- The property owner owed the injured person a duty. Generally speaking, property owners have a legal obligation to ensure that the property is safe for guests and visitors. In Maryland, property owners owe a lesser duty to private, social guests than commercial establishments owe to their customers and patrons. No duty is owed to trespassers unless the trespasser was a child. If you have been injured on someone else’s property, an experienced Laurel slip and fall attorney will have to establish the appropriate duty of care that applies in your case.
- The property owner breached their duty. This is typically based on negligence. Your lawyer will have to prove that the owner either created the hazard that caused your accident, knew of the hazard that caused your injury and failed to address it, or should have known about the hazard.
- The victim was injured as a result of the property owner’s breach. Your lawyer has to demonstrate that your injury was the direct result of the property owner’s negligence. The fact that you were injured on another person’s property is not sufficient to pursue a claim.
You are not required to hire a lawyer to pursue a slip and fall claim. However, such cases are more complex than many people realize. Successfully pursuing a claim requires knowledge of the law and the ability to identify the pertinent facts that support your case.
Common Injuries for Trip and Fall Victims
Thankfully, most slip and fall accidents result in only minor injuries. Unfortunately, some slip and fall accidents result in serious injuries. A Laurel slip and fall attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve for the following injuries:
- Broken bones – When a person falls forward, they typically put on their hands to catch themselves. This can result in broken bones in the hands and wrists. In more serious falls, broken facial bones and teeth are common. The elderly are particularly at risk, often suffering broken hips, ankles, or legs.
- Head injuries – Concussions are common in slip and fall accidents, and even minor concussions can have long-term consequences. You can also suffer a cranial fracture, hematoma, edema, or hemorrhage as a result of hitting your head on a hard surface.
- Spinal cord injuries – If someone falls on their back from a great height or onto a hard object, they can suffer a severe spinal cord injury that results in partial or total paralysis.
These injuries can require extensive medical treatment, cause you to miss work, or even result in permanent disabilities. If you have fallen and suffered a serious injury, an attorney can help you build your case.
Where You Fall Can Make a Difference in Your Case
In every slip and fall case, you must generally prove that the property owner was negligent in some way. Proving negligence generally consists of showing that the property owner failed to take action in a way that would prevent accidents that a reasonably prudent person would have prevented, given the same situation or circumstances. In other words, what may be considered reasonably prudent will vary according to the situation. That said, an experienced Laurel slip and fall attorney will be able to review the unique facts and circumstances in your case and determine whether the property owner was negligent and, therefore, liable for your injuries.
Laurel slip and fall attorney Tom Pyles has handled numerous slip and fall cases that have occurred in a wide variety of settings and locations. Still, some specific examples may help you better understand how the location of your fall can affect your case.
Slip and Fall Cases in Nursing Homes
Nursing homes offer residential living arrangements for the elderly and others who need care and supervision around the clock. Unfortunately, many nursing home residents have severe mobility issues, impaired vision, or balance issues that can make it easy for them to suffer a serious fall. As a result, nursing homes must take extra precautions to ensure that the premises are free from hazards that can lead to slip and fall accidents. Some of the most common failures in nursing homes that can result in slip and fall incidents include the following:
- Poor lighting
- Debris on the floor in hallways and other common areas
- Wet floors due to water leaks, spills, or inclement weather
- Loose or torn rugs and carpeting
- Broken flooring
- Loose or missing handrails
In addition to maintaining the facility to address potential hazards, nursing homes may also have an obligation to provide supervision and assistance to individual residents. Examples include:
- Elderly residents who have considerable difficulty walking may fall while going to the bathroom because they could not get the help they needed at the time.
- Residents with dementia may fall while wandering around the facility unsupervised.
Many nursing homes fail to provide adequate care due to a lack of properly trained personnel or simply due to mismanagement. Unfortunately, this means that many of the slip and fall accidents in nursing homes could be prevented if they took steps to ensure that the premises are safe and that residents are getting appropriate help. If someone you love has been injured in a fall at a nursing home, a Laurel slip and fall attorney may be able to help them hold the nursing home accountable for their injuries.
Slip and Fall Accidents in Apartment Complexes and Condominiums
Every year, many people are seriously injured in slip and fall accidents in apartment complexes and condominiums. Your landlord, the management company, or the building owner has an obligation to ensure that the property is safe for all residents. Many accidents that result in injury are the result of the following:
- Failure to clear snow and ice that has accumulated on walkways, stairs, or parking lots
- Failure to warn of wet floors in lobbies or other common areas
- Broken or missing handrails on stairways
- Unsafe flooring, including torn or wrinkled carpeting or loose tiles
- Broken concrete or asphalt on walkways or in parking lots
- Inadequate lighting
- Water leaks and drainage problems that can lead to pooling water
- Malfunctioning elevators
These hazards can be present both inside and outside the building, and the property owner has an equal obligation to guard both. It is also worth noting that, while condominium owners are responsible for maintaining their own units, landlords may be held liable for hazards inside the unit if they were informed of the danger and failed to take action.
One of the challenges that can arise in slip and fall claims involving apartment complexes and condominiums is determining who should be held liable for your injuries. Corporate entities own many apartment complexes. As a result, there may be multiple layers of potential liability, including the owner of the building and the personnel responsible for managing the property. In addition, the hazard that caused your accident may have been the fault of contractors at work on the property or may have been caused by shoddy repairs. An experienced Laurel slip and fall attorney can identify who was at fault in causing your accident and ensure that you pursue the correct parties for compensation.
Slip and Fall Accidents in Grocery Stores
Many slip and fall claims arise from accidents in grocery stores. In addition to the typical hazards that result in injuries (such as broken flooring), there are some unique conditions in grocery stores that can lead to injury:
- Slippery floors caused by dropped merchandise such as spilled beverages or broken eggs
- Injuries caused by items falling from shelves
- Merchandise in aisles waiting to be shelved that lead to customers tripping and falling
- Poorly placed displays in high traffic areas
- Wet floors at entrances due to inclement weather and no signage or inadequate mats
The most common challenge in grocery store slip and fall claims is proving that the store was aware of the hazard and failed to take action. For example, a clerk may have been aware that water had been spilled in the aisle and failed to report it to the manager. Alternatively, the slip and fall may have occurred before they could clean it up. In some situations, such as wet floors due to inclement weather, all the store can do is warn their customers by putting up a sign.
As a result, the facts surrounding your accident will be critical if you have been injured in a slip and fall incident at a grocery store. In addition, determining what the store knew or should have known may be difficult. A Laurel slip and fall attorney can help you gather the evidence that you need to build your claim and ultimately help you get fair compensation for your injuries.
Compensation That a Laurel Slip and Fall Attorney Can Seek
If you have been injured on someone else’s property due to their negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. A skilled Laurel slip and fall attorney can seek the following compensation for your injuries:
- Medical expenses, including any uncovered losses such as copays and deductibles. Your lawyer can seek compensation for both your past and current medical expenses, as well as any anticipated future medical expenses.
- Lost income as a result of being unable to work. This can include long-term absences as well as intermittent absences to go to doctor’s appointments or physical therapy.
- Lower earning capacity or future lost wages if your injury results in a permanent disability that prohibits you from working at all or earning the same as you did before your accident.
- Pain and suffering for your physical pain and mental anguish resulting from your injuries. This can be a significant portion of your claim if you have suffered a serious injury that requires extensive medical treatment, results in permanent disability, or significantly limits your daily living.
- Wrongful death damages if your loved one died as a result of a slip and fall accident.
Work with Laurel Slip and Fall Attorney Thomas E. Pyles
At the Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles, we’ve helped thousands of injured people across the state of Maryland get the compensation they need to rebuild their lives. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, we have the knowledge and experience you need to get fair compensation. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today at 301-705-5006 to discuss your case and how we can help.