Slip and fall accidents happen all the time and usually when we least expect them, turning a routine day into a painful situation that can result in injuries, loss of work and unpaid medical bills. If you find yourself in such a situation and believe the accident was caused by someone else's fault or negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.
Winning a slip and fall case is not always easy or guaranteed. In this article, Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney Ann Sheeley discusses key factors and strategies to help you build a strong case and increase your chances of obtaining maximum compensation. Each slip and fall case is unique, so it is in your best interest to contact Sheeley Law for a free consultation.
How To Prove Someone Else is Responsible for Your Slip and Fall:
The first step to winning a slip and fall case is determining who is responsible for your injuries. In legal terms, we call this “establishing liability.” Determining liability is not always straightforward. It depends on the specific circumstances that caused your accident, so identifying the cause is essential. Common causes include:
Unsafe Surfaces: Icy or snowy walkways, wet or slippery floors, cracked sidewalks, uneven flooring, or poorly maintained walkways can create slip and fall hazards.
Inadequate Lighting: Poorly lit areas where there are known hazards can cause or contribute to accidents.
Lack of Warning Signs: Failure to provide warnings for potential hazards can help establish liability as property owners have a responsibility to warn visitors about potential dangers.
Establishing liability in slip and fall cases involves proving that someone's negligence or failure to maintain a safe environment directly led to the accident. Below is a checklist to help determine if you have enough evidence to win a slip and fall lawsuit in Rhode Island:
Duty of Care: Did the property owner/occupant fail to maintain a reasonably safe environment for visitors? To win a slip and fall case, you must be able to prove the owner/occupier breached their duty of care obligations. Duty of care varies depending on the relationship between the injured person and the property owner/occupant, with the highest duty owed to invitees (such as customers) and the lowest duty to uninvited guests (such as trespassers).
Negligence: Did the property owner/occupant fail to exercise reasonable care in maintaining the premises? This could include ignoring known hazards, not providing adequate maintenance, or neglecting to warn visitors about potential dangers. In some cases, the injured party's own actions may contribute to the accident. If this is the case, the courts could rule “comparative negligence,” which may reduce the amount of compensation you receive.
Causation: Can you prove that your accident and resulting injuries were directly caused by the property owner/occupant’s negligence? Establishing a causal link is crucial to winning a slip and fall case.
Knowledge of Hazard: Did the property owner/occupant know about the hazardous condition, or should they have known about it through reasonable inspections? Proving they had knowledge of - or should have reasonably foreseen - the dangers are important factors in winning a slip and fall case.
Time of Response: Was the property owner/occupant aware of the hazard but failed to take immediate action? If yes, that will strengthen your chances of winning a slip and fall case.
Below are tips for helping you succeed in your slip and fall lawsuit and obtain maximum compensation for your injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering:
Document the Incident: The success of a slip and fall case often hinges on the evidence you can provide. Immediately after the incident, you should notify the property owner, manager, or appropriate personnel about the accident. Whenever possible, you should document the scene by taking photographs or videos of the area where you fell. Highlight hazardous conditions such as wet floors, uneven surfaces, or poor lighting. This visual evidence can play a pivotal role in establishing the negligence of the property owner or responsible party.
Seek Medical Attention: Your health is THE top priority. Therefore, the first and most crucial step after sustaining an injury is to seek medical attention. Even if you believe your injuries to be minor, you should consult a medical professional as injuries can worsen over time. This medical documentation can strengthen your case by linking your injuries to the accident and establishing causation (as mentioned above).
Consult with an Experienced Slip and Fall / Personal Injury Attorney: After you tend to your injuries and BEFORE you do anything else, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney that is licensed in Rhode Island and has experience with slip and fall cases. A reputable personal injury law firm, like Sheeley Law, will offer you a no-cost and no-obligation initial consultation. During this initial meeting, Attorney Ann Sheeley will assess the details of your case, including the circumstances of the accident, extent of your injuries, and the amount of evidence you have to prove liability and negligence. A responsible attorney, such as Ann Sheeley, will also advise you on the validity of your claim. In other words, they will only encourage you to file a claim if they believe you have legitimate case and chance of winning your lawsuit.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, whether it occurs on private property (such as a restaurant or store) or on public/ government property (such as a sidewalk or airport), the consequences can be severe, leading to injuries, medical expenses, and the inability to work and pay bills. Proving the accident that caused your injuries was not your fault can be a complex and challenging process. It is important to work with an experienced attorney who can guide you each step of the way and fight hard for you.
Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney Ann Sheeley has represented hundreds of victims in her more than 25 years of experience and provides aggressive, results-driven legal services in order to obtain maximum compensation. For a free consultation, contact us at 401-619-5555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.