Depending on what area of the country you live in, freezing rain, ice, sleet, and snow will soon be coming. This kind of weather puts people at risk of slipping and falling. It can also increase the risk of a lawsuit for the small business owner if he neglects to maintain his property. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident through no fault of your own, here is what you should know about the law.
What Kind Of Attorney Should You Seek For A Slip And Fall Accident?
Personal injury lawyers handle most slip and fall accidents. For people who are injured while on-the-job, they would seek a personal injury attorney who also has experience with Workers' Compensation Insurance.
Is A Business Owner Always Responsible For A Slip And Fall Accident?
No, not necessarily. In order to be found liable for a premises liability, which is the legal term for accidents that occur to the general public while on someone else's premises, there has to be a hazardous condition present. Also, sometimes, an accident is simply an accident. If you are walking down the sidewalk, looking at your cell phone rather than paying attention to where you are going, the only responsible party is you.
What Constitutes A Hazardous Condition?
A hazardous condition is one that can be reasonably assumed to be potentially dangerous. For example, a staircase with no hand-railing or that is poorly lit would be considered hazardous by most people. Everyone knows they need to be careful while walking in winter, but a business owner who doesn't keep his sidewalk shoveled and ice-free is creating a hazardous condition. If a store has uneven flooring and it causes a tripping hazard, the area needs to have a sign warning people to watch their step until it can be leveled.
A store that mops their floors when customers are around or when they need to clean up a spill need to put out the caution signs to alert people to the potentially dangerous conditions. If they fail to do so, they are negligent and can be found liable for any accidents that occur as a result.
What Should You Do Immediately After Being Injured In A Slip And Fall Accident?
If you are physically able to, use your cell phone to take any supporting pictures of the area. If this isn't possible, ask a friendly bystander if they could and send them to your phone or email account. You also want to ask witnesses for their personal contact information. The incident must be reported to the store management, who will need to fill out a written incident report.
Once this has been done, you will need to seek medical treatment. Don't underestimate the importance of doing so; injuries often don't reveal themselves until later in the day. Additionally, accidental deaths from slips and falls numbers 15%, so all the more reason to get a thorough checkup. Seek legal counsel immediately and limit your communication with the property owner or their insurance company until you have legal representation.