If you slip and/or fall because of someone else’s negligence on someone else’s property, you may be in a position to take legal action.
But what exactly is a slip and fall lawsuit? What do you stand to gain from pursuing a slip and fall lawsuit? And how do you find the right lawyer for the job?
Slip and Fall Cases: Premises Liability
If you slip and fall on someone else’s property, you could have a premises liability case on your hands. Premises liability refers to a type of liability held by a landowner and/or occupier for some types of torts that happen on the land for which they’re responsible. In other words, a premises owner or occupant may be responsible for certain duties – if they violate those duties, leading to your injury, they could be held responsible for damages.
If you choose to move forward with a premises liability case, the first step is talking to a lawyer. A personal injury lawyer will help you understand the law as it applies to you, the nature of your case, your potential for compensation, and the legal strategies that could put you in a better position. After moving forward, you’ll likely enter a period of negotiation, wherein you and the plaintiff attempt to reach a settlement out of court. Most cases are resolved before ever going to court, but if you can’t reach a resolution, arguing your case in court may become necessary.
Requirements for a Premises Liability Case
What needs to happen for you to have a premises liability case after a slip and fall accident?
Most of us have slipped and fallen at least once in our adult lives, but very few of us have filed a lawsuit. For your lawsuit to be successful, you need to demonstrate the following:
- Premises possession. First, you must establish that the plaintiff is the one possessing the land on which your accident occurred. This is usually relatively easy, especially if the possessor both owns and lives on this property.
- An invitation. In most areas, you’ll also need to prove that you were invited onto this property. Trespassers cannot file premises liability cases in most areas.
- Negligence. You’ll also need to prove negligence, which can be tricky from a legal perspective. A person is found to have taken negligent action if they conduct themselves in a way that breaches an established duty of care. In other words, if there is a reasonable expectation for a premises owner to keep the premises safe, and they fail to uphold this responsibility, they may be found negligent. As a simple example, store owners are usually responsible for making sure customers are informed when floors are wet; if someone slips on a wet floor, and there was no sign to warn them about the floor’s condition, they may be in a position to take legal action.
What Can You Win in a Premises Liability Lawsuit?
What kind of compensation can you win any premises liability lawsuit?
These are some of the most common categories of damages awarded:
- Medical expenses. Negligent actors are typically responsible for compensating victims for any and all medical expenses, including hospital visits, appointments, physical therapy, prescription medications, and ongoing treatments.
- Lost wages. If you are unable to work because of your injuries, you may also be entitled to compensation for any of your lost wages. If you’re going to be out of work for the indefinite future, your future lost earnings can be included here too.
- Pain and suffering. In some cases, the victim is entitled to compensation for their subjective pain and suffering. The more anguish you experienced, the more you can be awarded.
- Punitive damages. In some cases, the plaintiff may also be responsible for paying punitive damages. These are designed to “punish” the negligent party.
- Legal fees. The plaintiff may also be responsible for paying legal fees associated with the case, if they’re found guilty.
When Should You Pursue a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
So, when should you pursue a slip and fall lawsuit?
That’s largely up to you. If you slipped and fell because of someone else’s actions or lack of actions, you could be in a position to take meaningful legal action. And if you were hurt significantly in that accident, you’ll stand to win compensation for those injuries. The more severe the neglect was, and the more severe your injuries were, the more motivated you should be to take legal action.
However, it’s also important to emphasize the fact that initial consultations with personal injury lawyers are usually free. If you believe you were harmed because of someone else’s negligence, it’s important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.