When we visit places like stores, restaurants or parks, we rarely consider the risk of a slip and fall accident. However, these accidents are common. Fall-related injuries account for 32% of nonfatal emergency room visits, according to the National Safety Council. Falls are the third-highest cause of preventable, injury-related deaths.
Property and business owners owe a legal duty to keep their premises safe for visitors. They must monitor their property and remedy any dangerous or hazardous conditions that might cause a slip and fall accident. When property and business owners neglect their duties, they may be held legally responsible when a visitor is injured in a slip and fall accident.
Pursuing compensation for a slip and fall accident can become a complicated and time-consuming endeavor. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in Greensboro or anywhere in North Carolina, turn to an experienced, skilled attorney who will fight to ensure that you get a financial recovery for your injuries.
Contact Ward Black Law today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. You can learn more about your legal rights and options. You’ll also learn how our experienced Greensboro slip and fall accident lawyers can help you seek maximum compensation. Call us or contact us online now.
Do You Have a Slip and Fall Case?
Slip and fall accidents, and trip and fall accidents are known as premises liability actions. They are like other kinds of personal injury cases. You may have a slip and fall case if you can prove that you were injured by a condition of someone else’s property. You generally must establish these elements:
- The property owner or business owner owed you a duty to protect you from hazardous conditions on the property.
- The property owner or business owner failed to carry out this duty.
- You were injured as a result and have incurred compensable damages.
Determining the liability of a property owner or business owner in a slip and fall case often begins by determining what duty was owed to the injured slip and fall victim. In most slip and fall cases, the property owner or business owner owes the injured visitor a duty to take reasonable efforts to keep the premises free of dangerous or hazardous conditions. The property owner or business owner must also warn visitors of dangerous or hazardous conditions that the owner knows – or reasonably should know – exist on the property.
You may have a slip and fall case if you can show that the property owner or business owner either knew of a dangerous or hazardous condition that could cause a slip and fall accident, or that the condition existed long enough that the property owner or business owner should have discovered it with reasonable diligence. You must also show that the property owner or business owner had sufficient opportunity to correct the condition or warn visitors of its presence.
For example, if you slip on a puddle of spilled milk in a supermarket, you must show that the store either knew about the puddle because an employee saw it or that the puddle existed long enough that the store would have discovered it. You must also show the puddle was present long enough for the store to clean it up or place warning signs.
In some slip and fall cases, the property owner or business owner may argue that the place where you slipped was an “open and obvious” condition, or one that should have been reasonably apparent to you. You chose to cross that condition and failed to do so with reasonable care. That made you partially or wholly at-fault for your accident, the owner argues.
If the property owner or business owner asserts an “open and obvious” defense, you will need to show that the condition wasn’t “open and obvious” and that you were forced to navigate the condition. As an example, you might make the argument there was a patch of ice in front of a store entrance.
How Can a Greensboro Slip and Fall Attorney Help?
If you have a slip and fall case in Greensboro, an attorney can help you maximize the compensation for your injuries and damages by:
- Thoroughly investigating your accident – An attorney can collect evidence, such as accident scene photos, incident reports, or surveillance video. That evidence can help prove how your slip and fall accident occurred. It may also establish the liability of the property owner or business owner.
- Identifying at-fault parties and sources of compensation – Your attorney can determine which party or parties bear fault for the dangerous or hazardous condition that caused your slip and fall. The attorney will also determine what kind of financial resources, such as insurance coverage, are available to provide you with monetary compensation.
- Working with experts to develop a strong legal argument – Your attorney will use experts who can explain how your slip and fall accident happened and why the property owner or business owner was legally responsible for your accident.
- Negotiating with the insurance companies for a settlement – An attorney can file a claim with the insurance companies on your behalf and aggressively negotiate for a settlement that provides you with fair and full compensation.
- Preparing to take your case to trial, if necessary – When a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney can file a lawsuit in court and advocate at a trial for a verdict in your favor.
Compensation Available After a Slip and Fall Accident
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident in Greensboro, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you incur as a result of these injuries. These damages can include:
- Past and future medical treatment expenses, including surgeries, hospital stays, doctor’s office visits, other medical procedures, prescription medication, physical and occupational therapy, and mobility equipment
- Costs of long-term care, such as home health care or alterations to your home, vehicle, or office, to accommodate disabilities and physical difficulties caused by your injuries
- Lost wages and income, if you must miss time from work while recovering from your slip and fall injuries
- Lost earning potential, if your injuries prevent you from returning to your old level of work or to any form of employment and you suffer a reduction in your income as a result
- Lost enjoyment or quality of life, such as that caused by physical disfigurements and disabilities, or the inability to perform tasks of daily living or participate in activities you previously enjoyed
- Pain and suffering, or the physical and mental anguish or distress brought about by your injuries
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents have numerous causes. Common reasons why slip and fall accidents occur include:
- Puddles of liquid
- Snow and ice
- Oil or other slippery substances
- Mud, dirt, or gravel tracked inside
- Recently mopped or waxed floors
- Broken hardwood flooring or tiles
- Torn or loose rugs or carpeting
- Broken or uneven pavement or potholes
- Transitions between flooring surfaces, such as from carpet to tile
- Uneven flooring
- Broken stairs
- Broken or missing handrails
- Trash or debris on the ground
- Loose wires strung across walkways
- Furniture, doors, or cabinets blocking walking paths
- Low light conditions
- Holes in the ground that are not obvious
Common Places Where Slip and Fall Accidents Occur in Greensboro
Our firm has seen Greensboro slip and fall accidents happen in locations such as:
- Grocery stores and supermarkets
- Department stores
- Bars and restaurants
- Train and bus stations
- Schools, colleges and universities
- Assisted living facilities
- Swimming pools
- Amusement and recreational parks
- Public sidewalks
- Parking lots and driveways
- Residential complexes
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Fall on Dangerous Property
If you’ve been injured in a fall that you believe was caused by a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property, consider the following steps to protect your legal rights. These steps may put you in a better position to seek compensation for your slip and fall claim:
- Report the accident. You should report your slip and fall to the owner or operator of the property as soon as possible after your accident. If your accident occurred on private residential property, notify the homeowner. If your fall occurred on a commercial property, notify the manager or owner of the business. A homeowner will be able to notify the homeowners’ insurance company. A business will likely prepare an accident report that is submitted to an insurance or risk management company.
Do not delay in reporting your accident to the property owner or business owner. If you are slow to notify the owner, you risk losing critical evidence, such as surveillance video. You also give the property owner or business owner a reason to deny that your accident occurred in the way you claim.
- Document the accident scene and your injuries. If possible, take photos or videos of the scene where your slip and fall occurred. Document whatever may have caused you to fall. Show whether any warning signs or safety equipment are around the area. Also photograph anything that obstructed your view of the hazard, as well as the lighting conditions at the scene and the weather conditions (if applicable).
You should also preserve or photograph the clothes you were wearing at the time of the accident, including your footwear. If you suffered any visible injuries, photograph those as well. Photographs or videos may serve as evidence in a later claim for compensation.
- Be careful if you are asked by an insurance company for your statement. Following your accident, you may be contacted by insurance adjusters or attorneys for the property. They may ask for a statement from you about your accident. If you have legal representation, have those parties directly contact your lawyer. Your attorney can look out for your rights and interests with the insurance companies.
If you must give a statement to the insurance company without an attorney’s help, stick to the facts of your accident as you remember them. The insurance companies may deny your claim for compensation by arguing your statements show your fault in the accident.
- Seek medical attention. Follow up with your physician or another medical provider as soon as possible after your accident. You may not think that you suffered any injuries. However, pain or other symptoms of injuries can take days or even weeks to manifest. A doctor may be able to identify injuries caused by your fall. Swiftly identifying your injuries will allow you to quickly start treatment. The medical record can help show that your injuries were caused by your fall.
- Speak to a slip and fall accident attorney. Speak to an experienced slip and fall accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. The longer you wait to speak to an attorney, the more likely that you will lose critical evidence and weaken your legal argument for compensation. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options whether you are in Greensboro or anywhere in North Carolina. The attorney can begin investigating your accident and contacting the insurance company and property owner or business owner on your behalf to assert your claim.
Talk to a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Greensboro, NC, Now
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident due to a dangerous or hazardous condition on somebody else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. Don’t wait another day to start the process of seeking the financial recovery that you need and deserve.
Contact us for a free, no-obligation case evaluation with a slip and fall attorney at Ward Black Law today. We will discuss your legal rights and options following your fall. You can learn how our firm can help you pursue maximum compensation in your slip and fall case.