Falls happen, and trip and fall injuries are a common cause of emergency room admissions. Falls can cause severe damage, including broken bones, brain injuries, and spinal damage. If you sustain an injury in a trip and fall accident, you should consult with a trip and fall accident lawyer as soon as possible. At Halperin & Halperin, P.C. we can help you understand your rights and legal options if you are involved in a trip and fall accident.
What Is a Trip and Fall Accident?
A trip and fall accident happens due to unsafe conditions on a property. Some of the most frequent trip and fall accidents happen when the following conditions are present:
- Loose floorboards
- Obstructed walkways
- Torn or loose carpeting
- Potholes in asphalt or hollows in a yard
- Walking surfaces that are in poor condition
- Inadequate lighting
- Slippery and wet floors
- Ice and snow on walking surfaces
- Broken handrails and uneven or narrow stairs
- Uneven transitions on floors or sidewalks
The property owner must take care of any foreseeable risks in a reasonable manner and time frame. If they don’t and someone gets hurt after falling, the victim could be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, medical costs, lost income, emotional suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. If someone dies due to a trip and fall accident, their family members could file a claim for wrongful death.
Where Do Trip and Fall Accidents Happen?
Trip and fall injuries can occur anywhere. Many trip and fall accidents happen because the property owner has been negligent in maintaining the property. Property owners have a duty of care to remove hazards that could injure people on the premises.
Some of the most common places in which trip and fall accidents occur include:
- Stores – Retailers must make sure to keep aisles clear, clean up spills immediately and post warning signs if there is a risk of slipping.
- Restaurants – People may be at risk of falling if there are spills, clutter, or wet floors around doorways due to precipitation.
- Hotels – Hotel managers and staff should look out for worn carpeting, uneven floors, spills, and icy walkways to help guests and employees avoid accidents.
- Performance venues – Arenas, stadiums, and theaters often have multiple levels. Stairways, ramps, escalators, elevators, and seating areas should be well lit and maintained for safety.
- Workplaces – A fall on a slick surface initiates most workers’ compensation claims. Employers should safeguard offices, construction sites, and factories and train employees on safe practices.
- Residential care and nursing homes – Older adults are at a high risk of getting hurt from slip and fall injuries. Residential care facilities should follow protocols for minimizing this risk.
Who Is Responsible for a Trip and Fall Accident?
Property owners are not automatically financially responsible for accidents or injuries that happen on their property. For example, if a hotel guest spills a drink in the lobby, and someone else slips on it immediately afterward, the hotel may not be liable.
The staff does not follow guests around so that they can clean up after them. However, if the staff noticed the spill and did not clean it up in a reasonable time frame, they could be held responsible for the accident.
What to Do if You or a Loved One Trips and Falls
If you or someone you know sustains an injury in a trip and fall accident, we can help you make sure that you take the right steps to cover yourself and protect your rights. If you can’t get in touch with an attorney, take the following actions to safeguard your health and the likelihood of receiving adequate compensation for your injury:
- Seek medical care – Your health comes first. If you fall and get hurt, see a healthcare professional as soon as possible to address the injury.
- Gather evidence – Your medical records serve as evidence if you seek compensation for a trip and fall injury. You should also collect evidence from the site, such as photographs, witness statements, police reports, incident reports, and the clothing and shoes that you were wearing at the time of the event. Save copies of any receipts or documents that are related to the incident, such as bank statements that show lost wages and copies of exchanges with the insurance company.
- Report the accident – Notify the property owner or manager that you were hurt. Submit a description of the event in writing and ask for a copy of an official written report if the property owner creates one.
- Be careful of what you say – If you take the blame for the accident in any way, you might not be eligible for compensation. Be aware of what you admit to insurance companies, and don’t complain about the situation on social media. Working with an experienced trip and fall accident lawyer can help you avoid saying the wrong thing so that you can protect yourself.
- Secure legal representation– Beyond advising you about what to do and say after an accident, a trip and fall accident lawyer can help you present the most compelling evidence to help your case progress and handle complex legal issues. It would be best if you concentrated on recovering.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Trip and Fall Injuries?
In New York, you have three years from the time of the accident to file a legal claim for a trip and fall injury. However, the deadline for filing a lawsuit could be less than three years, such as when the property at issue is owned by a municipality. In such an instance, you must file a Notice of Claim within just ninety days.
For that reason, it is essential to secure an attorney as soon as possible. Act fast if you want to receive compensation for your injuries. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can work to gather evidence necessary to win your case.
Halperin & Halperin, P.C. has worked with personal injury and liability clients for more than 40 years. Contact us for a personalized consultation. No matter how big or small your case, you are a priority to us.