Slip and Fall Lawyer in Lake Charles
Slip and fall accidents are so commonplace that we forget their consequences can be quite serious. The National Floor Safety Institute estimates that falls account for over 8 million emergency room visits each year. Injuries from slip and fall accidents can range from traumatic brain injury to serious bone fractures that can take months, even years to fully heal. Before you shrug off a slip and fall as a simple “accident” or “mistake,” it pays to talk with an experienced attorney about whether you deserve compensation for your injuries.
Slip and fall accidents are preventable. At [firm-name] we want to make sure that negligent property owners are held accountable for the dangerous conditions that led to your accident. If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries as a result of falling on someone’s unsafe property, please take the time to contact the office of [firm-name]. Our experienced team can review the facts surrounding your fall and lay out your legal options. Call us at [phone-number] to schedule a no-obligation consultation.
What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
Premises liability cases are a form of personal injury case where a victim suffers an injury due to some type of unsafe condition on another person’s property. Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of accidents covered under the umbrella of “premises liability”.
A slip and fall accident is a type of accident where unsafe or hazardous conditions on someone’s property cause a victim to fall down and injure themselves. Simply falling on someone’s property doesn’t mean that you will be able to recover compensation, though. For a slip and fall accident to rise to the level where a lawsuit may be filed, certain conditions must be met.
Those conditions include:
- The slip and fall accident was the result of a spill, torn carpet, uneven surface, or other hazardous condition that the owner of the property or an employee caused.
- The owner of the property must have known that the situation was dangerous but choose to do nothing about it.
- The owner of the property must have also known that any “reasonable” person taking care of the property or a similar property would have known the surface was a hazard and had it fixed, cleaned, or replaced.
If these conditions are met, then the owner of the property may be considered negligent. It is likely that a lawsuit would be able to move forward.
If you do have a case against a property owner, the best course of action is to retain an experienced slip and fall attorney. Property owners are not likely to want to fork over thousands of dollars for your medical bills. They will begin the process of trying to protect themselves by claiming they were reasonable in the maintenance of their property or that is was the victim’s own careless actions that caused the fall and not a dangerous condition. Having an attorney working for you means you have someone on your side, gathering evidence to strengthen your case and refute those types of claims.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Numbers compiled by the National Floor Safety Institute show that slip and fall accidents are responsible for the majority of emergency room visits in the United States and are also the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also find that slip and fall accidents were the leading cause of injury and death for older Americans as well. Falls among those 65 and older account for 800,000 hospitalizations and 28,000 deaths annually. These falls alone cost Medicare $31 billion dollars a year.
Some of the most common causes of a slip and fall accident include:
- Cracks in flooring
- Cracks in pavement or walkways
- Uneven flooring
- Ripped or torn carpeting
- Loose carpeting or rugs
- Unmarked stairs
- Stairs with no railing
- Poor lighting conditions
- Spills or wet flooring
- Workplace hazards
- Hazards left in walkways such as hoses, cords, or wires
- Ice or slippery weather conditions
Slip and Fall Accidents Cause Serious Injuries
Unfortunately, the slip and fall accident has become a form of humor, the stuff of internet mockery. The truth is that slip and fall accidents are no laughing matter. They can actually cause very serious, even traumatic injuries. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries and account for almost half of all traumatic brain injury-related emergency room visits.
In addition to brain injuries, there are several other serious injuries that can result from slip and fall accidents. These are some of the most common:
- Broken bones
- Joint injuries
- Cuts and bruises
One of the worst parts of a slip and fall accident is that it can be totally preventable. Slip and fall accidents don’t have to happen when property owners take reasonable measures to maintain their properties and keep them safe from hazards and dangerous conditions.
Who is Responsible for a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident due to a hazardous condition on someone else’s property, chances are you reasonably believe that the property owner is at fault and liable. If you are the property owner, you may be afraid of being held responsible for someone else’s medical bills. You’ll want to prove that that accident was the victim’s fault and not a result of your own negligence.
If this sounds like an episode of the blame game, that’s because it is. Why does that matter? It matters a great deal because the state of Louisiana determines how damages are awarded based on what is known as the comparative negligence rule.
The comparative negligence rule means that a court will look at the evidence and facts surrounding a case and assign a percentage of blame to each party involved. For example, you, as the victim, prove that the property owner was negligent in maintaining their property and that your accident was the result of the owner failing to repair a broken stair. However, the property owner maintains that you were on your phone at the time of the accident, and you were not exercising reasonable caution.
In a case like this, the court may find that the property owner is 70 percent to blame for the accident, but your actions also make you 30 percent responsible. If the total amount of damages in the case is $100,000, under the comparative negligence rule, the property owner only owes you $70,000 in damages. That is the total amount minus 30 percent.
Having an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer working on your case is crucial if you want to be able to collect the maximum amount of compensation possible. That’s because an experienced attorney will be able to review your situation and gather evidence that supports your claim. A knowledgeable attorney will also be able to work on countering claims by the property owner that they didn’t know there was a safety issue, or that the majority of the accident was your fault.
Statute of Limitations on Slip and Fall Cases
What many victims of slip and fall cases don’t realize until it is too late is that in Louisiana, the second you hit the pavement, the clock is ticking. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you only have one year from the date of the accident to file a legal claim against the property owner. If you cannot file a lawsuit within the one-year time frame, the property owner can ask the court to dismiss the case. In almost all situations, that request will be granted.
One of the reasons victims miss this deadline is because they have spent the majority of their time waiting on a settlement or insurance claim. When suddenly the terms of the proposed settlement come back and are unreasonable, a victim finds themselves scrabbling to file a lawsuit, only to find that the statute of limitations has elapsed.
Even if you are hopeful that an agreeable settlement can be reached, it pays to have a lawyer working on your behalf. A lawyer may be able to help you negotiate better terms for a settlement than you could on your own. If a settlement is still deemed unreasonable, an attorney will have the means to file a suit on your behalf. Talking to an attorney can help increase your odds of a successful outcome, no matter which legal option is right for you.
How an Experienced Lake Charles Slip and Fall Attorney Can Help
When you leave your home, you expect that the store, your workplace, an office building, even an apartment complex will be a reasonably safe place to visit or conduct business. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Some property owners don’t take their responsibility to the public seriously and fail in their duty to maintain a safe property. Should you be on the hook for expensive medical bills related to an accident you didn’t cause? At [firm-name], we don’t think so.
Contact the firm of [firm-name] to talk about your slip and fall accident case. We want to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to. Call [phone-number] to schedule your free initial consultation.