After a fall, it is natural to look around to see what caused you to lose your footing. A variety of dangerous conditions – from wet surfaces to objects on the ground to loose carpeting to poor lighting – may have caused you to slip. If this is the case, who is liable for your injuries?
An experienced slip and fall injury lawyer can review the circumstances of the accident and advise you of your legal rights. You may be able to recover compensation for the losses you sustained as a result of the fall.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall, please call O’Connor & Partners, PLLC at (845) 303-8777 today for a free consultation. Our lawyers serve clients in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and nearby areas of New York.
Understanding Slip and Fall Liability
Slip and fall accident claims are part of premises liability law. Legally, property owners are required to maintain the safety of their premises for lawful visitors. If you slipped and fell because of a dangerous condition, you may be able to sue for damages.
The liable party in your slip and fall injury claim will depend on the type of property on which you were injured. You may file your claim against:
- The owner of a residential property
- As a tenant, you are generally unable to sue your landlord for injuries unless your landlord was aware or should have reasonably been aware of the dangerous condition.
- Tenants of a rental home or apartment may be responsible for the safety of the premises in some cases.
- The owner of a commercial property and/or the business occupying the property
- A government agency, if the fall occurred on public property
Liability can be complicated in cases of slip and fall injury. Do not assume that your case is straightforward.
Negligence in a Slip and Fall Claim
Simply because you fell on someone else’s property does not mean the owner is liable. Even if you were seriously injured, your ability to recover damages is dependent on whether or not the negligence of the property or landowner caused you to slip and fall.
To be found negligent, the owner must a). have reasonably known about the hazard on the property, and b). failed to take action to remove or remediate the hazard.
For example, if you are walking into a store and a customer in front of you spilled a drink on the floor just one minute earlier, the store owner would generally not be liable because he/she could not have reasonably known about the spill and taken action to clean it up before you entered the premises. However, if the spill was left unattended for several hours and you slipped and fell upon entering the store later that day, you may have a viable claim against the store owner.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall, it is in your best interest to contact a lawyer who can help you build your case. Your attorney will investigate the circumstances of the accident and advise you of your options for filing a claim.
Damages in a Slip and Fall Injury Claim
To recover compensation for your injuries in a slip and fall accident, you must prove that you suffered damages due to the negligence of the owner of the premises or the tenant on the property. Your most immediate concern will likely be the costs associated with your injury, including:
- Medical bills
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning capacity, if you are unable to work as a result of the slip and fall
Many people injured in a slip and fall are not aware of the full scope of damages to which they might be entitled. You may also be able to recover compensation for damages such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Ultimately, the amount of compensation you may be able to recover will depend on the costs you have incurred and the dollar value of other damages. An experienced slip and fall injury lawyer will fully evaluate your losses and pursue the maximum compensation you deserve.
Do I Need to Sue to Recover Compensation for My Slip and Fall Injury?
After identifying who is responsible for the property, your next step is to file a claim with the owner or tenant’s insurance company. Most slip and fall claims are resolved through negotiations between your lawyer and the insurance company.
During these negotiations, your lawyer will notify you of any settlement offers. Once you accept a settlement, you will not be able to pursue additional compensation for your injuries. So, it is very important for you and your lawyer to discuss whether the offered settlement fairly compensates you for your current and anticipated losses.
If the insurance company will not agree to a fair settlement, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf to obtain the compensation you deserve. The insurance company may still offer to settle your case before it goes to trial (insurance companies know the lawyers who are willing to go to court, and they may be more willing to deal to avoid the expense of litigation), but this doesn’t happen in all cases.
Your lawyer will handle all aspects of pre-trial preparation. At trial, your lawyer will present evidence and call witnesses on your behalf. Though there is no guarantee of success when trying a case in court, hiring an experienced slip and fall injury lawyer improves the likelihood of a favorable result.
Contact Our Slip and Fall Injury Lawyers Today
The attorneys at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC have more than 150 years of combined experience serving clients throughout the Hudson Valley and other areas of New York. We have earned significant recoveries on behalf of those who have been injured in falls.
For a free case review, please call O’Connor & Partners, PLLC at (845) 303-8777 today. Our slip and fall injury lawyers have offices in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and Newburgh.