Benefits of Hiring a Slip and Fall Lawyer
A personal injury can cause anything from a minor injury to a devastating one and slip and fall accidents are no different. They can happen in a wide range of settings, from a shopping mall to a construction site and the type of injury caused can vary according to location.
When a slip and fall accident has caused you pain and inconvenience or has forced you to take time off work, then you want to know who is liable and what your rights are.
Just What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
From a legal perspective, slip and fall accidents refer to a particular type of personal injury case that occurs at a location or property owned by someone else. The covering legal term is premises liability as the owners – or operators – of those premises are the parties most likely to be found liable.
The actual circumstances that may cause a slip and fall injury can vary greatly. For example, they may occur when a mall fails to provide signage warning of a wet and slippy floor. Or where a worn carpet in a restaurant causes a fall. They could also occur outside of buildings if someone falls due to a badly maintained sidewalk.
Workers’ Compensation Law
Where slip and fall cases happen in your workplace, you will be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Entitlement to these benefits will preclude you from pursuing any claim against your employer.
However, if the accident was caused by the negligence of a third party – such as a subcontractor responsible for cleaning and maintenance – then you may have grounds to pursue a premises liability claim. An experienced slip and fall attorney at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can evaluate your case to identify who holds liability.
Types of Liability
There are generally two types of liability in these cases:
Negligence. When someone (individuals, property owners, or leaseholders) has neglected to notice and rectify a potential hazard such as broken tiles, worn carpet, uneven sidewalk, etc. The issue with this can be proving that the liable party had sufficient time to deal with the problem.
Carelessness. Where the liable party actually caused the hazard. This could be in a scenario where they left something with the potential to cause a slip and fall accident in a place where the victim would not normally have expected to find such a hazard.
Your Lawyer’s Role
If you have engaged a personal injury attorney, then there are several roles they may have to play. In many instances, that may mean negotiations with the insurance company when liability has been accepted but the amount of compensation offered is lower than you expected or are entitled to.
Where liability is denied, your accident attorney will seek to investigate and to prove liability and negligence in court. There are several factors the court will need convinced of:
- Did the party have a set system to check for and identify potential hazards to the public and others? If a system was in place, were such checks recorded so that a timeframe of not removing or rectifying the hazard can be established?
- Had the hazard or sisk been there for a significant time period? Had others been injured by it? Had it been there long enough that it was reasonable to expect it to be dealt with?
- Was the hazard justifiable? If there was a legitimate reason for the hazard – such as a tiled area being cleaned – was there adequate or any signage to warn of the danger?
- If the hazard was caused by temporary circumstances, such as electricians working on the power supply or lighting, were any hazards – such as cables – only in place while the workmen were actively working? And were precautions taken to minimize risk?
Were You Partly to Blame?
Michigan has comparative liability law. This covers scenarios where the court decides that the plaintiff shares some of the blame with a defendant. This could happen if you were running in an indoor area and failed to notice a poorly signposted wet floor. The court may consider that you running meant you failed to notice the slippery surface.
If the court decides you are more than 50% to blame, then you will not receive any damages. Comparative negligence will not be considered by the court unless they find the defendant liable and negligent.
What Will I be Awarded?
As with any personal injury claim, the amount awarded can vary greatly according to the circumstances of each case. Your personal injury lawyer will generally seek an award covering these main two areas:
- Any medical expenses. These can include initial and future medical costs.
- Loss of salary. If the resulting injury led to you missing time from work.
Depending on the circumstances, an experienced personal injury lawyer may seek other damages including pain and suffering.
Slip and fall accidents may seem like a minor inconvenience but the reality is that they can cause significant injuries that take time to recover from. And even in cases, where liability is obvious and admitted, the compensation offered may seem derisory in ratio to the pain and financial costs suffered.
The law firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. specializes in personal injury cases including slip and fall injuries. We offer an initial free no obligation consultation which allows us to carry out a case evaluation and to build an attorney client relationship. If you think you need to hire a lawyer, schedule an appointment by calling us today at (866)-466-9912.