The cost of medical services in the US is on the rise. In 2017, the average hospital stay cost over $15,000.
For many families, these kinds of bills are out of the question. Without health insurance or emergency funds, unforeseen medical bills can cause harmful amounts of debt.
The question is, was your injury the result of someone else’s negligence? If so, you may have a slip and fall case on your hands, in which case you are entitled to compensation for your medical bills and more.
Read on to learn more about what constitutes a slip and fall case and determine if you should file one.
Were You on Someone Else’s Property?
In order to have a slip and fall case, you must have injured yourself on someone else’s property. In other words, there must be a third party responsible for your injury that you will bring your claim against. This can include a private homeowner in some states as well as business owners in all states.
There are very few circumstances under which you could file a claim for a slip and fall injury that occurred in your own home. If you are renting and the property owner did not address or warn you about unsafe conditions, you may have a case. If you recently had work done by a contractor who failed to address or warn you about unsafe conditions created by their work, you may have a case.
Was the Property Unsafe or Hazardous?
As indicated, your injury must be caused by unsafe or hazardous conditions in order to qualify as a slip and fall case. There are a number of common hazards that often lead to slip and fall cases, including:
- large amounts of debris
- snow or ice that has not been treated or cleared from walkways
- wet or slippery flooring
- potholes or other cracks in concrete
- damaged or unsafe sidewalks
If the accident was caused by your own negligence and could have otherwise been avoided, you most likely do not have a slip and fall case.
Did the Property Owner Know of These Safety Hazards?
It is important that the property owner was aware or reasonably should have been aware of the safety hazard that caused your accident. Timing is also an important factor and it is crucial that the property owner had enough time to address the unsafe condition and didn’t.
Proving that the property owner had knowledge of the safety hazard is difficult. This is where incident reports, security footage, and witness statements come in handy.
Was There W
arning on the Property?
Not all safety hazards have to be repaired right away. Instead, property owners are given the option of providing sufficient warning to any guests or clientele that enter their property.
For example, after mopping a walkway in a grocery store, employees are supposed to put wet floor signs around the affected area. If those signs are there, it becomes your responsibility to take note of them and act accordingly. If those signs are not there, you have the right to open a slip and fall case.
Are Your Injuries Severe or Permanent?
If all of the above is true, then it is important to consider the extent of your injuries. A skinned knee or bruised shin will not constitute a serious enough injury to file a claim. Claims are reserved for serious injuries like broken bones, head or brain injuries, spinal injuries, and any other injuries that require extensive or prolonged medical attention.
Medical bills are not the only thing worth considering. There are injuries that do not require constant, expensive treatment that still take a financial toll. If you have lost income due to limited work duties or missed workdays as a result of your injury, you may be entitled to compensation.
Are You Within the Statute of Limitations?
If the accident did not occur in the recent past, you will need to consider the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in your state. The average statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is two years, although some states allow three to six years for you to file your claim. In Lousiana, you will only have one year to file your claim.
When does the statute of limitations begin? Typically, the clock begins when the accident occurs. However, there are some exceptions if you were not reasonably aware of the extent of your injuries from the moment of the accident, and the clock will begin then.
What to Do if You Have a Slip and Fall Case
If you believe that you have a slip and fall case, the first thing to do is contact a personal injury lawyer. Even in the most cut and dry cases, the defendant’s insurance company is sure to have top-notch legal representation. Their job is to do whatever they can to lessen the amount owed to you and you will need someone fighting in your corner.
The next thing to do is to gather all of the relevant paperwork. This includes any medical bills and records pertaining to the accident. It also includes witness statements, footage of the accident, pay stubs, and more. Your lawyer will inform you if you are missing any of the paperwork they need to fight for fair compensation.
Receive the Compensation You Deserve
Accidents can lead to burdensome medical bills that are difficult for many families to pay off on their own. If you believe that you have suffered due to a property owner’s negligence, don’t take on that financial burden, yourself. Talk to a lawyer and find out if you qualify for a slip and fall case and receive the compensation you deserve.
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