“Slip and fall” is a term used for a common injury suffered by many people in Louisiana.
Most people have tripped or slipped and fallen at some point. Usually, the fall is shaken off and there is little or no injury. Other times, the fall can be more problematic, leading to injuries that require medical attention, physical therapy — and in the worst cases — partial or permanent disability.
In most severe cases, many people who suffer one of these accidents simply “shake off” the fall, thinking their injuries are minor. It’s only later that they discover their injuries are more serious. Not only have they delayed medical treatment, but they may have forgotten important information that could prove useful in their case. This is why it’s important to educate yourself on exactly what you should do after you suffer a slip and fall accident.
Regardless of the severity, many people are entitled to compensation, and a Louisiana personal injury lawyer at the Smiley Law Firm can help.
Falls can happen anywhere, but they often happen in commercial businesses, which have a legal duty to keep their premises safe for patrons. If a business breaches that duty and a fall results, then you should be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Some common locations of these incidents include:
– Uneven sidewalks
– Public buildings
– Office and commercial buildings
– Grocery stores
If you slip and fall at any of these locations, you should document the incident, seek medical treatment and educate yourself about your rights.
Thanks to the “busyness” of most restaurants, spills are often overlooked. Water, drinks, soup, and sauces can easily find their ways to the floors of the dining room, hallways and kitchen. Both customers and employees are prone to slip and fall in these places.
Many hotel employees and guests slip and fall each year on uneven surfaces, slippery tiles, and puckered rugs. If there is a restaurant on the premises, the potential for slip and fall accidents increases.
Stairs are one of the most common places for slip and fall accidents. Uneven and slippery stairs are often the causes of these accidents. Sometimes stairwells aren’t properly lit, and it’s difficult to see the stairs. Many stairs should have non-skid surfaces, but these surfaces are often not properly maintained.
Sidewalks are often difficult to maintain; many sidewalks can fall prey to tree roots, extreme temperatures and extreme weather. Sometimes it is the city’s responsibility to maintain sidewalks, and sometimes that duty rests on local residents’ shoulders.
Public buildings — such as courthouses, libraries and town halls — are locations where slip and falls can happen. Often, towns and cities don’t have the funds to maintain floors and stairwells properly. Rainy weather can affect the safety in these buildings, as floors are more prone to get slippery. If the maintenance staff doesn’t clean up spills or puddles early, the floors can become dangerous.
Many commercial buildings can harbor slip and fall accidents. Offices and companies rely on employees to alert the maintenance staff about hazardous conditions. Sometimes companies try to “cut corners” and don’t repair floors and stairwells when they aren’t maintained properly. When slip and falls happen in these buildings, many employees worry about the safety of their jobs should they see legal action.
Just like in restaurants, grocery stores can be one of the most unsafe places — thanks to spills and slippery tiles. Customers might break bottles or spill liquids and fail to alert staff of the problem. Any unsuspecting customer could slip and fall on these slippery surfaces.
Slippery and uneven floors aren’t the only causes of slip and fall accidents. Unfortunately, there are a myriad of reasons that these types of accidents occur. Some of the most common include:
– Slippery floors (as previously stated)
– Inclement weather (rain, snow, and ice)
– Uneven sidewalks and pavement
– Improperly maintained stairs
– Objects in walkways
– Improperly maintained (and marked) curbs
– Uneven and improperly maintained stairways
– Uneven indoor surfaces
The immediate actions you take after an accident can affect the outcome of your slip and fall case. Unfortunately, such accidents can cause victims to act in a way that isn’t “ideal” to their legal cases. Some of the biggest mistakes victims make after a slip and fall include:
– Moving too soon after the accident
– Allowing business staff to persuade them to make poor decisions after a fall
– Failing to make note of important environmental factors
Step-By-Step Slip and Fall Actions
After such an accident, you should always take the following actions to ensure you are considered a credible victim during litigation.
Don’t try to get up or move immediately after your accident. Many slip and fall victims are embarrassed immediately after an accident and try to pretend that the fall never happened. There is no reason to feel this way after a fall. It’s not your fault; you’re not “clumsy.” That’s exactly what a manager or property owner would want you to believe: that the fall was your fault.
Do a scan of your body to determine how you feel.
You should seek immediate medical treatment if you answered yes to any of these questions. Do not move. Call an ambulance or ask someone to do it for you.
If you answered no to the above questions, try to move a little. Sometimes you won’t feel the pain of an accident until you get up or put weight on your limbs. Again, if you feel pain, seek medical treatment and try not to move any further.
Ask nearby witnesses if they saw what happened. Ask them for their contact information and if they would be willing to tell the authorities what they saw.
Make notes on what you see. Is there liquid or debris on the floor? What caused the slip and fall? What weather conditions could have caused the fall? How did employees or owners respond? Write down as much as you can for future reference. If you seek medical treatment, document everything doctors tell you about your accident.
Contact a New Orleans slip-and-fall lawyer as soon as possible to determine if you can seek liability. Tell your lawyer exactly what happened and share your notes and witness information with your lawyer. The sooner you contact someone regarding your accident, the more likely you’ll receive compensation.
After an accident, you may be awarded compensation. There are many factors that a New Orleans slip-and-fall lawyer will consider before taking a case. The two biggest reasons a lawyer would accept such a case include whether the owner of the building or property did not take the proper actions to keep their property safe and whether they caused unnecessary suffering to the victim.
Many people do not want to make a claim or file a lawsuit because they are scared away by the complexity of the legal system, or they have a prior relationship with person or business where the fall happened.
Many people are simply afraid to take legal action. They don’t want to bother with such action because they believe they won’t win or that the legal system takes “too long” to make a decision. Yet failing to take immediate action can result in disappointment down the line. You may be faced with medical bills you can’t pay, or someone else might be a victim of an owner’s or business’s negligence.
An experienced New Orleans slip and fall lawyer knows the property owner where the fall occurred will rarely have to pay for your injuries out-of-pocket. Instead, insurance policies generally cover such occurrences, depending on the circumstances.
Usually, compensation for your injuries will come directly from the insurance carrier providing coverage. So it is possible to get all of your medical bills paid and get compensation for your pain and suffering as well.
Compensation for such accidents can include payment of:
– Medical bills
– Pain and suffering
Common medical bills can include bills for issues such as brain injuries, fractures, sprains, breaks — and in some cases even death.
Pain and suffering compensation is a phrase used for money paid for your time and stress.
If you have been injured as the result of a fall, a slip and fall lawyer at Smiley Law Firm will pay attention to every detail of your case and make sure you get the personal attention that you deserve. The New Orleans personal injury lawyers focus on slip & fall accidents and have in-depth knowledge on these cases. Don’t wait and call the firm today for a legal consultation.