A slip and fall accident is not a minor incident. Many people in Ohio suffer severe injuries and are left with chronic pain or various disabilities after slipping on wet and slick surfaces. Some of these accidents happen at home, but many others take place on someone else’s property: apartment complexes, stores, driveways, public buildings, etc. In this case, the property owner is responsible for the unsafe condition that led to your slip and fall injuries.
Wherever this kind of accident may happen, if you had a legitimate right to be present at the property, the owner or administrator owes you a duty of care. According to premises liability law, this means that the person or legal entity who owns or manages the respective property has the duty to eliminate any dangerous condition or hazardous condition on their property, which may cause injuries. We stress this legal right, because many clients approached our law firm with very low confidence that they have a case, just because a building administrator or store employee told them so.
If you’ve suffered slip and fall injuries, consider reaching out to the Columbus premises liability attorneys at Babin Law to see if they can help you prepare a personal injury claim and recover damages on your behalf.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries?
Injury victims can suffer a slip and fall due to several dangerous or unsafe conditions. A wet floor or ice-covered driveway are some of the most common instances, but not the only ones. Poor lighting, a torn carpet, an unsafe or missing handrail, or very steep stairs can also cause an accident to any reasonable person who is exercising due care in walking, driving, or cycling over the respective surfaces.
Also, slip and fall accidents go beyond the mere act of slipping feet first. Many injured clients who file premises liability claims suffered bicycle accidents or even motor vehicle accidents on uneven surfaces or other unsafe conditions caused by the responsible parties’ breach of care.
Also, slip and falls can be workplace accidents, meaning that the employer did not take reasonable precautions to make the premises safe for the injured party. While this type of accident may be covered by workers’ compensation, it may also be worth reaching out to a personal injury attorney about the possibility of filing a premises liability claim.
How Serious Can Slip and Fall Injuries Be?
Some common slip and fall injuries are sprained ankles and bruising, but they can also cause catastrophic injuries, especially in frail elderly persons. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and falls:
- represent 12% (over 1 million) of all falls that require a visit to the emergency room across the US each year
- result in severe fractures, including hip injuries in 5% of the causes
- are the cause of death for 5% of women and 11% of men at the workplace
- represent number one reason of lost hours on the job
Some of the most serious slip and fall injuries are:
- spinal injuries
- neck injuries
- traumatic brain injuries
- permanent nerve damage
- torn ligaments
Some accident victims suffer paralysis injuries and will require long-term care at home or in a care facility, including assistive devices and modifications to the home. Premise liability attorneys stand witness to the wide range of life-changing injuries, which can require extensive medical treatment and physical therapy.
Determining the Negligent Party in Premises Liability Claims
Property owners, business owners, building managers, public authorities – any individual or legal entity which legally controls a property can be liable for the negligent security features and unsafe conditions which could cause a person’s accident.
The legal concept of premises liability is not very different from personal injury law. The accident victim must prove that:
- the property owner owed them a duty of care
- the owner breached their duty
- the accident victim suffered injuries due to the breach of duty
- the injuries caused them economic damages
In determining a property owner’s breach of duty, a personal injury attorney will seek to prove that:
- the owner failed to remedy known hazards (such as inadequate lighting or a loose handrail)
- the owner failed to inspect their property on a routine basis to identify any unsafe condition
- the property owner failed to warn visitors, guests, agents and other persons who have a legal right to be present at the property of the hazardous condition
Who Can Receive Compensation After a Slip and Fall Accident?
So far, we have stressed that property owners should keep safe premises for the persons who have a legal right to be present there. This includes the shoppers in grocery stores, people who visit friends in rental apartments, various agents performing job duties on private or public properties.
What if someone was trespassing and suffered a slip and fall? In this case, the law states that property owners do not have a duty of care if they do not know that someone is trespassing on their property. If they notice a trespasser, their only obligation is to inform them of the existence of an unsafe condition and ask them to leave. If the trespasser continues to be present at the property and suffers an accident, the property owner has no liability.
There is an exception – when the trespasser is a child. In this instance, the state of Ohio uses the attractive nuisance doctrine, adopted in 2001 by the Ohio Supreme Court. According to this doctrine, a property owner can be held liable for the injuries suffered by a child trespassing on their property, if the injury is caused by a hazardous condition or object that is likely to attract children – for example, an uncovered pool.
Reasons to Hire Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers
Injured persons may not have the time to prepare premises liability claims and negotiate their fair compensation on their own. In most cases, you will spend a lot of time in the hospital followed by a lengthy healing time at home. In addition, the average person may not know all the variables that go into evaluating their total medical expenses, including future costs with physical therapy and rehabilitation, the lost wages, and the possibility of being unable to work anymore.
If hired, a premises liability attorney with a record of success both during negotiations and in court will take charge of all the necessary legal procedures. The lawyer will calculate your economic losses, estimate your non-economic damages (for physical pain, emotional distress and mental anguish), and conduct negotiations with the insurance adjusters on your behalf.
At Babin Law, our Ohio personal injury attorneys have extensive experience in claims for damages after slip and fall accidents, including courtroom experience. When we accept a case, we do not ask for upfront fees, as we work on a contingency fee basis. We will collect our fees out of the maximum compensation we negotiate for you if we are successful.
Remember that you only have 2 years since the date of your accident to file a lawsuit (the statute of limitations), so call us now: 833-SURVIVORS!