What To Do If You Are Injured in a Slip-and-Fall Accident
According to the National Safety Council, “Slip and Fall” accidents account for approximately 8.9 million emergency room visits each year. To no surprise, the majority of these incidents occur during the winter months and at restaurants, department stores, supermarkets, parking lots, gas stations, banks and even hospitals. Snow and ice on sidewalks and in parking lots, as well as wet and slippery floors inside a place business, create serious hazards that can lead to a wide range of injuries, including broken bones, back injuries, neck and spinal cord injuries, and head trauma, to name a few. At Sheeley Law, we often get calls from people who were injured in a Slip and Fall accident and are unsure about their next steps. If you ever find yourself in this situation, here’s what you need to know:
Who is Liable in a Slip & Fall Accident?
Business and homeowners, as well as tenants, have a legal obligation to maintain their properties so patrons and guests are not unreasonably put in harm’s way. Determining whether or not you have a case depends on two legal concepts: premises liability and negligence.
In Rhode Island, premises liability pertains to the area of law that states patrons have the right to assume they aren’t in immediate danger when visiting property owned or “controlled” by someone else. This means property owners or tenants can be held responsible for violating the law if, for example, they fail to remove snow, ice, and other hazardous material or fail to post warning signs, in a timely manner. This may seem like a cut and dry case; however, slip and falls can be hard to win without the involvement of an experienced slip and fall personal injury attorney.
The injured party has a difficult task to prove that the owner or occupier of the property where the injury occurred was negligent. It is not enough to show that you slipped and were injured on the owner’s property; rather, you must prove that:
1) the owner/tenant of the premises (or an employee) either caused the dangerous condition; knew of the dangerous condition and failed to correct it properly and in a timely manner; or “should have known” a dangerous condition was present; and
2) Your injury was a direct result of the dangerous or hazardous condition, or an aggravation or exasperation of a prior medical condition.
It is important to note that Rhode Island is a “comparative fault state,” meaning if you were acting carelessly or not paying proper attention and that contributed or partially caused your accident, you can still be awarded a certain amount of compensation for your injuries even though you too were partially responsible.
How Long Can I Wait to File a Case in a Slip & Fall Accident?
The statute of limitations for a personal injury case, including Slip and Fall Accidents, in the state of Rhode Island is 3 years. [R.I. Gen.Laws § 9-1-14] However, the sooner you consult an experienced personal injury attorney, such as Sheeley Law, the better. Your injuries may seem minor at first but medical conditions often perpetuate. You may not be able to work, and all the while medical bills and household expenses keep piling up. Furthermore, the property owner or tenant will likely try to clean, fix or cover-up the condition that caused your accident making your case so much harder to prove — so it is imperative that you have a personal injury lawyer protect your rights and the evidence as soon as possible.
Slip and Falls are a common occurrence and even the most cautious of people can suffer from this type of accident and sustain serious, catastrophic and, sometimes even deadly injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured in a Slip and Fall accident, contact attorney Ann Sheeley for a free consultation. We are available 24/7 by calling 401-619-5555 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If negligence is determined and there are grounds for a claim, Attorney Ann Sheeley will guide you through the process, protect your rights and ensure you get maximum compensation for your injuries, including medical bills and lost wages. If the slip and fall accident happened in a work environment then Sheeley Law can help you process the case through the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation or Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation systems.