Slip and fall accidents are common and can happen anywhere: inside or outside, on stairs, escalators, curbs, or walkways, on uneven ground, in environments with bad lighting, slippery surfaces, or obstacles in the way. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, falls account for 33% of all nonfatal preventable injuries that result in a visit to the emergency department.
Slip and fall accidents can be serious and lead to expensive medical bills, current and future lost wages, and pain and suffering. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Torn ligaments
- Knee injuries
- Back injuries
- Head/brain injuries
Slip and fall accidents are considered part of “premises liability” law which states that a property or business owner is responsible for any injuries caused by dangerous conditions on their property or establishment. If you or a loved one have been injured by a slip and fall accident, in order to receive compensation, you must be able to prove:
- The condition of the property was dangerous (i.e., wet or icy surfaces, potholes, obstacles in a walkway, etc.).
- The property or business owner was aware of the dangerous conditions.
- The property or business owner had a reasonable opportunity to fix it or to warn the injured party.
- The condition was not obvious to the injured party. and they were not being careless at the time of the accident.
These criteria are not always easy to prove unless you are able to provide adequate evidence from the scene. Here are some tips on preserving the scene of a slip and fall accident in Kentucky:
1) Seek Medical Attention
The first step you should always take after a slip and fall accident is to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you think that your injuries are minor. Sometimes symptoms and pain from an injury can be delayed or may worsen over days or weeks, so it’s important to receive proper medical treatment in order to protect your health. Seeing a doctor for your injuries immediately after the incident will also help your case by creating a document trail that will prove you had a legitimate injury.
2) Report the Accident
Another important step after the accident is to file an incident report detailing the events that caused the accident and the resulting damage. An incident report should also include eyewitness accounts of what happened. Filing an incident report is a common procedure after an accident in many private and public establishments. If the injury occurred at a private home, it would be a good idea to file a police report in order to have an unbiased description of the incident. Once an incident or police report is filed, be sure to obtain a copy of the report for your records.
3) Collect Evidence
Unless the incident was caught on camera, physical evidence is very important to proving your case, especially if no one was there to witness it. Evidence should be documented as soon as possible before it is moved, lost, or destroyed. As soon as you are able, take photos and videos of the scene with your phone documenting the hazardous conditions of the area, any debris or skid marks where you slipped, and the injuries or resulting damage incurred. Please note that any physical evidence that is moved or taken away from the scene must be carefully collected and bagged, and this should only be done by an expert.
4) The Legal Implications of a Slip and Fall Accident in Kentucky
As stated earlier, for a property or business owner to be found negligent in a slip and fall case, you first need to prove that they failed to act “reasonably.” This can be tricky to prove. That’s why it’s a good idea to find a Louisville slip and fall lawyer that can conduct an investigation.
The most important questions that should be answered include:
- How much time did the owner have to remove, correct, or warn of the hazard?
- How easy would it have been to fix or mark the hazard?
- If the hazard was an object, did it have a legitimate purpose for being there?
- Did the owner have a regular procedure in place for cleaning and maintaining the property?
- Was it hard to see the hazard due to improper lighting?
It’s also important to take into consideration whether the injured party was being careful at the time of the accident. For example, were they running on a slippery surface? Were they in an area that was considered off-limits to the public? Were they texting at the time and not watching where they were going?
These factors come into play when determining the amount of damages, the injured party is qualified to seek from the defendant. In personal injury cases, Kentucky follows comparative fault laws. Under these laws, if the injured party is found to be partly at fault for their accident, they may still be entitled to seek damages. However, the amount of their award will be reduced by the amount of responsibility they had in causing the accident. For example, if the injured party’s total losses are $10,000 and they were found to be 20% responsible for the accident, then the defendant must pay them 80% of the damages, or $8,000.
5) Safety Concerns
By documenting the scene of a slip and fall accident, you are also helping to prevent future accidents on that premises. Property and business owners must be held accountable when they violate safety standards and should be expected to identify and fix any hazards on their property in a timely manner, educate their employees on safety, and practice regular maintenance and cleaning of their property.
6) Consult a Louisville Slip and Fall Lawyer
You may think that it would be easier to file a slip and fall claim by yourself. However, some insurance companies have been known to take advantage of claimants who do not have legal representation. It’s never a good idea to speak to the insurance company or sign anything without seeking legal advice.
Instead, consider getting a slip and fall lawyer in Louisville who has the experience to gather the best evidence and medical experts to build a strong case and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance companies. In the event that the insurer refuses to cooperate, a good lawyer will have the ability and experience to take them to court. Even if you are unsure if your case warrants legal advice, most lawyers offer free consultations, so you have nothing to lose.
Get Help from Aguiar Injury Lawyers Today
If you ever suffer from a slip and fall due to someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Holding property owners accountable is the right thing to do to prevent future accidents and get the compensation you deserve. Hiring an experienced, local slip and fall lawyer gives you the best chance of a successful outcome. Here at Aguiar Injury Lawyers, we are the slip and fall lawyers Louisville residents can count on to get results. We handle all kinds of personal injury cases, from work-related accidents to vehicle crashes. We will always be in your corner, and with our No Fee Guarantee®, we won’t get paid unless you do. Contact us today.