Slipping over on a wet or icy floor or tripping over on an uneven surface is an everyday occurrence for thousands of people across the U.S.
Some of these accidents are serious with fractures, sprains, cuts and bruises, spine and brain damage all common results.
In fact, slip and fall accidents rank only second to vehicle accidents in frequency. Serious slip and fall injuries can be surprisingly costly to cope with personally.
It’s not just the extra cost of medical treatment, but lost income, especially if the injury takes a long time to get fixed, will mean a real strain on the household budget.
When an accident happens in your own home, you usually only have yourself to blame, but at least it is something you have some control over.
If you are careful, nothing will go wrong, but when you walk out the door you enter a public space and anything can happen.
Accidents only normally do happen because you are unaware of a hazard.
If the property owner or manager knew of a hazard and did nothing about it and the public had legal access to that location where the hazard existed, that person may be legally liable for any accident caused.
For instance, if you are walking on the deck of a boat marina, on a wooden bridge or platform or in a building which had wooden floorboards, you could easily trip over if one of the floorboards was loose.
If you suffer a significant injury from a fall caused by a loose floorboard you might wonder why the person in charge of that area hadn’t maintained the floor in good condition or at least warned anyone using the area of a potential hazard.
Proving Liability for an Accident
You may have the basis for a personal injury claim against whoever was responsible for the loose floorboard, but it may be a bit more complicated.
You would have to prove that the person who would be responsible for the floor knew about the loose floorboard and yet had not fixed it so it was safe.
It is quite feasible that the floorboard had just become loose and it would then be unreasonable to blame anyone for the hazard posed.
There is also the question of your own responsibility to look after yourself while walking around. Were you engrossed in conversation or simply not looking where you were going when you tripped over?
Were you at least partially to blame for the accident?
These complexities make it a more difficult task proving who was liable in an accident of this type. In many ways, proving who was to blame in a vehicle accident is easier.
Because of the gray areas involved in a slip and fall case, it is wise to do what you can yourself at the scene of the accident and then contact a lawyer.
Any evidence you can obtain yourself, such as taking photos of the hazard, will be invaluable and the sooner you can get them the better.
If someone becomes aware of a potential liability issue, it is quite likely that the loose floorboard which tripped you up becomes fixed pretty quickly!
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Win Your Case
An experienced slip and fall attorney will know from cases he or she has handled in the past whether a particular accident merits making a claim for compensation and will be able to negotiate through the claim process on your behalf.
This may include requesting discovery, obtaining depositions from witnesses present and anyone who is thought to be responsible and estimating the full cost of a claim based on your expenses and needs.