Regardless of how cautious you are, avoiding hazards when you are out and about is not as simple as it may seem. The moment you leave your house, you are at the mercy of all those people who maintain the businesses and properties you'll be visiting. Whenever you get injured on someone else's property, you or your loved ones may have the right to sue the responsible parties for damages.
If you or someone close to you has been the victim of a slip and fall ordeal on another person's property in Gadsden, you need to know Alabama's premises liability laws. Our Gadsden slip and fall lawyers can help you with all the information you need. We will also help you determine if you have a viable case. We offer free case evaluations and invite you to contact Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers firm today at 256-666-6000 or using our contact form. Let us fight for the justice and full compensation you deserve.
What are the Most Common Slip and Fall Accidents?
Some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents include but are not limited to:
- Wet/slick floors, walkways, or staircases. Walking through such places may cause a slip and fall accident, especially if there are no warning signs.
- Broken staircases (including missing handrails) and malfunctioning escalators may cause someone to slip/trip and fall.
- Structural defects like cracked sidewalks, uneven steps, torn carpeting, potholes in parking lots/ streets, broken floor tiles caused by improper maintenance may lead to slip and fall accidents.
- Unlit hallways or walkways may cause a slip and fall accident because lack of light may impair the victim's vision.
- Weather-related slip and fall accidents. Failure to shovel or salt snow or ice breeds conditions for a slip and fall accident.
- Unattended spills inside hospitals, stores, nursing homes, etc., often cause people to slip and fall.
- Failure to clean up hazardous debris such as tree branches, etc. Such hazards may cause people to slip or trip then fall.
- Hazardous conditions during heavy rainfall or snowfall caused by the failure to install gutters, storm drains, or anti-slip devices may lead to slip and fall accidents.
- A failure to notify and or restrict people from visiting areas when any of the hazardous conditions named above exist.
How Can A Gadsden Slip and Fall Lawyer Help Me With My Case?
There are several ways that a Gadsden slip and fall lawyer can help you with your case:
- Build a solid case. Without a slip and fall accident attorney by your side, your case is as good as lost. A lawyer can help you build a strong case since they understand all the complexities of a slip and fall case.
- Establishing contact and skillfully negotiating with the other involved parties. A Gadsden slip and fall attorney will establish contact with other parties on your behalf. They also have adequate negotiation skills to make sure you get the best deal possible.
- Advice you on whether to accept a settlement package or go to trial. If you decide to settle, your attorney will advise you on whether you should take the deal or take your case to trial.
- Drafting settlement paperwork. Your slip and fall attorney will help you draft the paperwork regarding your settlement on your behalf.
- Ensuring that you collect your judgment promptly. Once the court issues a favorable verdict, your attorney will make sure you collect your settlement on time.
Your lawyer helps you with all the aspects of your case. A Gadsden Slip and Fall Attorney will ensure that you take all of the necessary steps to maximize your compensation. Working with an experienced attorney will increase your chances of winning a fair and reasonable settlement for your slip and fall case.
What Steps Can You Take To Help Your Slip And Fall Case?
You can be your best advocate if you slip and fall in a public place by doing the following:
Make an Incident Report
Report the incident to the property manager/owner and even draft an incident report. Preparing this document right after you fall. That way, you can have a way to establish that your accident occurred. You need to protect your interests because some unscrupulous property or business owners will not admit that your accident occurred. Once you make an incident report, preserve a copy for your lawyer.
To document your injuries, take all the photos you can. Ensure you capture your injuries, the scene of the accident, and what caused your fall. If you can, go back to the accident scene the day after your fall to ensure you didn't miss any details before the defect is repaired.
Get the Contact Information of the Parties Involved
Obtain the names and numbers of the property or business owner, their insurance carrier, and any eyewitnesses to your fall. Witnesses could be vital in showing how your slip and fall accident happened. They may also have helpful pictures in case you were severely hurt to take them.
Save Your Clothes
Save the clothes or attire you were wearing when you got injured. Your clothes (especially if they are torn and bloodied) can be vital evidence.
Evidence of what you were wearing can also help quash an insurance adjuster's claim that somehow your clothes contributed to your fall.
You want to ensure that all evidence that could help your case is kept safe. Preserve evidence such as witness statements, pictures, the accident report, surveillance tapes, and medical bills.
Seek Medical Attention Promptly
Even if you do not feel hurt or you think your injuries are not severe, you want to see a doctor because you must document your injuries if you make a compensation claim. This will also prove that there was a link between the accident and your injuries. Another reason you should seek immediate medical care is that some injuries tend to worsen over time.
Avoid discussing the details of your accident and injuries with anyone other than your lawyer. Do not talk about your slip and fall accident on social media because attorneys and insurance adjusters routinely comb your social media accounts for any inconsistencies in the statements you made about your fall.
Don't Sign any Documents
Have your attorney review any documents, including a medical or settlement release, before you sign. You could be unknowingly giving up substantial rights.
Hire an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney
One of the most crucial steps is hiring an experienced slip and fall lawyer after your accident – the sooner, the better. An attorney will investigate the incident and keep evidence, advise you on the steps to take, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
How Can A Slip And Fall Incident Be Proved?
There are things that a slip and fall accident victim must prove to hold another party responsible for their injuries. They include:
The property/business owner, their employees, or an agent of the property owner had knowledge of the hazardous condition (i.e., an uneven walking surface or a pothole) or should have recognized its existence and repaired or removed the potential danger, but failed to do so. The critical question here is whether a reasonable person would have identified the condition as dangerous and whether the defendant had ample opportunity and time to fix the situation before the accident's occurrence.
The injured victim was not made aware of the hazardous condition (there were no signs posted, or they could not see the danger on time).
The property/business owner, their employee, or an agent of the property/business owner caused the hazardous condition leading to the fall, i.e., by leaving a hazardous obstacle in a walking path. The victim must prove that it was reasonably foreseeable that the condition would cause someone to trip and fall.
How Is Liability Determined In A Gadsden Slip And Fall Case?
Alabama is one of the few states that follows the less claimant-friendly contributory negligence rule on personal injury cases. According to Alabama's contributory negligence rule, a plaintiff seeking compensation for damages in a personal injury case, including a slip and fall accident cannot recover any damages from the at-fault party if he/she is found to share even 1% or a fraction of a percent of the blame or fault for the accident.
In order to establish liability, the following questions may be asked during the claims process of a slip and fall accident:
- Did the claimant have permission or good reason to be on the business/property owner's premises when he/she slip and fell?
- Would a person of reasonable awareness have caught sight of the hazardous condition and avoided it in a similar situation if they weren't distracted in any way?
- Did the business owner give notice or post warning signs of the hazardous condition that caused the claimant to slip and fall?
- Was the claimant participating in any contributory activities prior to their slip and fall accident?
Sometimes, whoever you're trying to hold liable for your slip and fall accident might attempt to pin some blame on you by claiming that:
- You were on a restricted part of the property, or you did not have permission or good reason to be in that particular part of the premises
- You were distracted, i.e., you were not attentive because you were using your phone.
- The defendant took reasonable steps to protect visitors by putting signs or cones to cordon off the hazard.
- The hazardous condition should have been evident to you.
- Your actions contributed to your slip and fall.
- You were wearing the wrong type of footwear for the circumstances.
How Much Is My Slip And Fall Accident Claim Worth?
Based on the type of injuries sustained, medical bills, and financial losses suffered, a seasoned Gadsden slip and fall attorney can provide a ballpark estimate on your claim's worth.
The value of your Gadsden slip and fall claim will be determined by many factors, including but not limited to:
Your medical expenses – At the foundation of your injury, damages are all your medical expenses, including surgeries, treatments, urgent care, X-rays, diagnostic testing, doctor's visits, mobility aides, transportation costs to and from medical appointments, prescription medications, and rehabilitation. Ensure you keep the receipts for out-of-pocket expenses.
Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity – Your damages will pay for all the wages you missed due to injuries sustained in your slip and fall accident. You can also receive a lump sum for reduced earning capacity if you cannot resume work due to your injuries. Also, the property owner may be asked to foot the bill for vocational training in another field of work.
Non-economic losses – Non-economic losses like pain and suffering also contribute to your claim's worth.
Permanent or long-term disability – The value of your slip and fall claim will be much more if you suffered long-term injuries or a permanent disability.
Are There Any Time Limits For Filing A Slip And Fall Lawsuit?
In Alabama, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including claims arising out of slip and fall accidents, is two years from the day the injury occurred. If for some reason you miss the deadline and attempt to lodge your claim, you will be barred from recovering any compensation since you will no longer have the right to have your lawsuit heard in Alabama's civil court system.
It's vital to understand how Alabama's statute of limitations applies to your slip and fall claim. An experienced Gadsden slip and fall attorney can make sure you lodge your claim within the set time limits.
Contact Our Gadsden Slip and Fall Lawyers Today
Were you injured in a Slip and Fall Accident in Gadsden? Call Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers Firm today – we can help. Whenever you suffer an injury because a property/business owner failed to take good care of their property, it's your right to pursue compensation for damages. At Mike Bell Law Firm, we have exceptional lawyers that can get you restitution for your injury.
The legal team at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers has a ton of experience dealing with personal injury cases, including slip and fall accidents, and will fight for the full compensation you deserve. Our Gadsden personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis and offer free initial case reviews, which means you don't have to worry about affording our services. Call us at 256-666-6000 to learn about Alabama's premises liability law and determine if you have a case.