Falls are one of the leading causes of injury in the United States. Every year people suffer serious trauma of the head, neck, back, arms, and legs in falls from nearly any height. In some cases, these injuries prove fatal.
Dangerous conditions on a property are one of the main reasons people slip and fall. If you slipped or tripped and then suffered severe injury when you fell, you may be able to pursue compensation through a premises liability claim.
Ventura Law has the experience to investigate what caused the condition that led to your fall, as well as the tenacity to hold the negligent party accountable and fight for the damages you deserve. Our slip and fall lawyers serve clients throughout Connecticut from our offices in Danbury, Hartford, Bridgeport, and Norwalk, as well as clients in New York. Please call (203) 800-8000 for your free consultation.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Most people associate slipping and falling with bruises and maybe a skinned knee. Unfortunately, the kind of slip and fall accident claims we see at our law firm generally involve much more serious injuries, often with long-term impacts on the health and lives of the victims.
Serious injuries in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Head, neck, and back injury
- Broken ribs
- Orthopedic injuries to the fingers, hands, ankles, and feet
You may need to be transported to the hospital right away for emergency treatment of these injuries. Even if you aren’t immediately taken to the ER, however, it is important to make medical care a priority. Your case for compensation depends on you documenting the injuries you have suffered and the costs you face as a result.
What Causes Slip and Falls?
As you can imagine, many different conditions may cause someone to fall. Major slipping and tripping hazards include:
- Wet floors
- Ice and snow
- Cracked or uneven tiles
- Cracked and broken sidewalks or pavement
- Frayed carpet
- Loose rugs
- Objects in walkways
- Bad lighting in hallways and on stairwells
Each and every one of these conditions can be cleaned up or fixed with relative ease. Unfortunately, it is often cheaper to leave unsafe conditions intact than invest in the safety of the property.
Another leading cause of dangerous premises injuries, including falls, is a failure to warn. If the property owner or management doesn’t post a sign telling visitors to be cautious of wet floors, an easy-to-miss step, or another condition or hazard, they may be liable for injuries after a slip or trip.
Whether by skipping on signage or failing to clean and perform maintenance, unscrupulous property owners frequently sacrifice the safety of tenants, shoppers, workers, and other individuals who are lawfully on the premises in order to save a few bucks. When this happens and you get hurt, you have a right to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Who Is Liable in a Slip and Fall Accident?
For years, business owners and insurance companies have advanced the notion that someone who falls on a property is generally responsible for the injuries they sustain. They may face blame or even ridicule for being “careless” or “clumsy.”
In reality, though, the impact of slip and fall accidents can be life-changing. When this happens, you need an attorney who can act on your behalf and hold the responsible parties accountable.
To ascertain liability in your case, our lawyers must determine who is responsible for ensuring the safety of visitors on the property. Sometimes this is fairly straightforward. If you slip and fall while inside or on the grounds of a private residence, the homeowner or property manager is usually responsible for keeping the premises safe.
The question becomes more complicated, however, when the slip or trip and fall occurs on residential, commercial, or municipal properties. Multiple parties may be involved in the cleaning, maintenance, and security of these properties, and the success of your claim rests on taking action against the correct defendant or defendants.
You may need to pursue action against the following parties:
- The individual or corporation that owns the commercial space
- The property management company, if it is different from the name on the building
- If a store, restaurant, or other business leases a commercial space, the company renting it and the company that leases the space may be separate entities; you may need to file suit against both.
- The company that cleans the premises
- May be part of the property management company or a contracted third party
- The company responsible for maintenance of walkways, stairwells, etc.
- Again, this may be a third party, rather than workers hired directly by the building
Liability in a slip and fall accident can quickly become complicated. What’s more, the property manager and other parties may work to remove the dangerous condition before it can be recorded. This may keep others safe, but it can also impact the viability of your claim – unless you act quickly.
What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall?
Although each case is unique, there are a few rules you should follow if you suffer injury from a slip or trip and fall. These rules include:
- Get help: Whether you take yourself to the doctor or urgent care or you need emergency medical attention, getting your injuries seen to should be your first priority. Timely treatment will not only get you on the road to recovery, but it will create a record of your injuries and the care you have received.
- Document the scene: If you don’t need medical care right away, take some time to capture photos and videos of the conditions that led to your fall. This may include the unsafe surface, as well as the surrounding area to show that no signs were in place to warn of possible hazards.
- Speak to witnesses: If there are other people around when you slip or trip, be sure to talk to them about what they saw. Get their contact information as well; their testimony could be key to supporting your claim for compensation.
- Report the incident: If you slip and fall in or on the premises of a private home, “reporting” the injury involves telling the homeowner; you likely did this at the time it happened. With residential and commercial properties, however, additional steps may be involved in order to notify the building management. If you receive an accident report to fill out, be honest in your account of what happened. The accident report will serve as notification to the property manager and document the events leading to your injury, potentially supporting your claim in settlement negotiations and in court.
- Contact a slip and fall injury lawyer: Once you report the accident, you may be contacted by the property owner’s insurance company. Your best course of action is to hire an attorney to do the talking for you.
As with all accident or injury cases, insurance companies are looking for any excuse to pay as little as possible. Therefore, if you try talking to an insurance adjuster by yourself, you run the risk of saying something that could jeopardize your ability to recover compensation for your injuries.
When you contact Ventura Law, our lawyers have your best interests at heart. You can feel confident referring insurance company calls and other communications for us to handle on your behalf.
How Our Slip and Fall Attorneys Can Help You
In addition to handling interactions with the insurance company, our firm will launch a prompt investigation of your case.
First, we will get to know you, the hardships you are suffering because of the fall, and how your family is affected. Learning these facts will enable our lawyers to provide you with the most effective representation.
Then, we will delve into the facts to build your slip and fall or trip and fall claim. This will involve:
- Speaking to doctors who have treated your injuries, including your family doctor, emergency room staff, surgeons, and specialists
- Investigating conditions on the premises
- Some unsafe conditions, such as broken sidewalks or a pothole-ridden parking lot, can persist for months or years. Other conditions, however, like a slippery floor, only last a short while. That is why it is so important to contact Ventura Law as soon as possible on the heels of your injury
- Researching building inspection reports for documentation of previous incidents resulting in injury
- Investigating prior complaints against the property owner and building management
Most slip and fall cases are resolved through negotiation; they never see the inside of a courtroom. However, we are focused on meeting your needs at every stage of your case. If the settlement offer is inadequate, we are proud to represent you in court should you decide to proceed with taking your case to trial.
What Compensation Is Available in a Slip and Fall Injury Lawsuit?
The damages available in your case will depend on both the type of injuries you sustain and the severity of those injuries. As experienced personal injury attorneys, the team at Ventura Law will pursue the full compensation you deserve.
Damages our lawyers can pursue on your behalf in a slip and fall accident claim include:
- Medical bills
- Missed time from work, resulting in lost wages
- Diminished ability to perform some or all of your prior job duties
- Expected medical expenses for medications, surgeries, ongoing therapy, home modifications, etc.
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (i.e., disruption to the relationships among family members, such as between spouses or between parents and children)
In some cases, victims don’t survive their injuries in a slip and fall. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls account for over 20% of accidental deaths.
If your loved one passed away due to injuries sustained in a fall on an unsafe premises, Ventura Law can pursue a wrongful death action on your family’s behalf. You may be entitled to compensation for:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical expenses incurred prior to death
- Lost wages (present and future)
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
In cases of injury or death in a slip or trip and fall, time is of the essence. The statute of limitations, or time in which you must file your claim, is two years in Connecticut and three years in New York.
Contact Ventura Law to Get Started on Your Slip and Fall Injury Case
As you can see, it is important to act on a slip and fall or trip and fall accident sooner rather than later. Some injuries may get worse without proper treatment, potential witnesses go on with their lives, and the property owner or manager may even fix a dangerous condition –– usually because one or more people got hurt, and they are trying to cover themselves.
Ventura Law stands ready to help if you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident. We take your case seriously, and we pride ourselves on earning your trust so you view us not just as your legal representation but a partner to help you reduce your worries in a difficult time.
For a free review of your slip and fall or trip and call case, please call (203) 800-8000 today. Ventura Law has offices in Danbury, Bridgeport, Norwalk, and Hartford, Connecticut. We also serve clients in New York.