Everyone has had an occasion when they have slipped or tripped and fell in a public place. It is embarrassing, and nine times out of ten, you pop up quickly so that no one will see you, regardless of how injured you really are. You may deny help from the people around you, preferring to be on your own, to lick your wounds. But, you may also find out that a few hours later you are far more injured than you thought you were and this is when you need a slip and fall attorney.Believe it or not, slip and fall accidents are the second most common type of accident in the United States, killing almost 16,000 people every year. What may seem as a small fall to you could result in serious injury or death, and you need to protect yourself by hiring a premises liability lawyer.
Portland Premises Liability Attorney, Jonathan Friedman
Call The Law Offices of Jon Friedman now for a free, confidential consultation with an experienced Premises Liability attorney at (503) 242-1440
Let’s talk a little bit about premises liability cases, which sometimes people call slips and falls. The insurance companies call them slip and falls because that way they get to blame you for having slipped into something and having fallen. I don’t call them that. I call them premises liability cases, because from the perspective of somebody who is trying to help somebody who sustained injury. I say that the premises were unsafe due to somebody’s negligence. You have to prove negligence associated with injuring yourself on somebody’s premises to get compensation.Now, there is a perception that some folks have that if I walk into a grocery store and I fall and hurt myself that their insurance company will take care of you. They won’t. If your fall is not as a consequence of the store’s negligence, they will say we didn’t do anything to cause your event or your injuries, and therefore, we’re not responsible for taking care of this.
These cases can be difficult, too, because you have to prove in a grocery store, for example, that the grocery store knew or should have known of the hazard which gave rise to you injuring yourself. So to make this clear, if you’re in a grocery store and see on Aisle 4 that a bottle of olive oil has fallen and there’s a big puddle of olive oil on the floor and you go to report that to somebody, and then for whatever reason, 45 minutes or an hour later, you’re still in the store shopping and somebody ends up injuring themselves in that puddle of olive oil, which nobody has done anything about since you reported it 45 minutes or an hour ago, that’s a very winnable claim. Here, you can prove that the store was on notice of the condition which caused your injuries.
Most grocery stores have sweep policies, and they have little clipboards and check boards and show that every 30 minutes somebody swept every aisle in the store, and they’ll initial off on that. So the grocery store may make the argument: “We followed our sweeps policy. For all we know, for all you know, that olive oil had been on the ground for a minute or 90 seconds, and it was impossible for us to know about it or do anything about it, because we didn’t know about it.” That’s what makes premises liability cases difficult. Proving notice.
What’s also difficult about a premises liability case is that juries have a tendency in premises liability cases to blame the victim. You fell in it. You should have seen it, and that compounds the difficulty in trying to prove such a case. They are difficult cases since it is rare when you actually have a witness who saw it, knew about it, gave notice of it, and the grocery or premises had a long enough time to do something about it.
Example of a Premises Liability Accident
If the owner/manager or an employee had not spotted the hazard and was unable to rectify it, then the plaintiff may have difficulty claiming compensation. However, if the spill had been there for some time but nothing was done and no warning sign was put out then the store owner can be held responsible for your injuries. It is not easy to prove a slip and fall accident, especially if the spill has been cleaned up soon after the injury and the evidence has disappeared. That’s why it is important to call a slip and fall attorney to assist you with filing a damages claim. It will help your case if you are able to record the names and contact details of any witnesses to the incident and if you, a friend or even a witness is able to take photos using a cell phone.
Premise Liability accidents are most commonly found in places where there is a hard floor with ready access to liquid. In a grocery store, where it is common for items to melt or break and fall on the ground, many people slip and fall on a regular basis. For younger people, these slips might not seem like such a big thing, but as you get older, you may be prone to more severe injuries, and if you are unable to break your fall and the first thing that hits the ground is your head, then you could be in serious trouble.
A slip and fall attorney can help you recover the costs of your medical care, in addition to psychological care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Some slip and fall accidents are extremely severe, and although you might not think it is the fault of anyone but your own, every commercial business has an obligation to provide a safe place for you to tread. If there is water on the ground, bad lighting, or even a defect in the flooring, then you deserve to be compensated if you are injured.
Although a slip and fall accident may sound minor and even be a little embarrassing for you, you have to remember that your injuries may last a long time, potentially requiring long-term medical assistance. For that reason, a slip and fall law firm should be contacted as soon as possible after the event to help you find the medical attention that you need and to ensure you are properly compensated for all you have been through.
A slip and fall injury can take place almost anywhere, including:
- When walking on a sidewalk where the pavement may have cracks or have become uneven through wear and tear
- While at work, where an unexpected hazard has blocked your passage or a substance such as oil has been spilled on the floor
- In a grocery store when a liquid has spilled onto the floor
- In someone else’s home, while on a stairway, in the bathroom or in the kitchen
Where ever the slip and fall took place, a serious injury could result, such as broken or fractured bones, cuts and bruises and twisted ankles or torn tendons. In the worst case, if the victim slipped and fell off a ladder or some scaffolding, then the accident could be fatal or cause traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries or even paralysis.
Filing a Compensation Claim in Portland, Or
If the accident was clearly not your fault, you do have the right to recover damages from the person who caused your accident. This is not necessarily easy because you have to prove that the person responsible was aware that the hazard could cause a slip and fall accident but did not do anything to fix it.