When a customer enters a business or commercial building, they expect that it will be a safe environment. Businesses have a responsibility to keep its patrons safe from unnecessary dangers, but when someone is injured due to a failure of maintaining grounds free of hazards, the injured party may have a claim against the property owners or business. This legal concept is known as premises liability and the most common form of it involves slip and fall cases.
Slip and fall injuries range in severity. A sprained ankle may last a few days, but a spinal cord injury could cause permanent nerve damage, cognitive impairments, and paralysis. Serious injuries may also result in significant economic consequences for accident victims by preventing them from working, or requiring them to hire long-term care.
What to Do If You’ve Been Involved in a Slip and Fall Accident
• Report the accident immediately to the owner or property manager. Ask for a copy of a written, formal report.
• Record the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Witness statements may help substantiate a claim.
• The full extent of injuries is rarely immediately obvious after an accident. Do not assume that you are not hurt, but promptly get a medical evaluation. If legal action becomes necessary, medical records may form important evidence.
• Take pictures of the location and record the facts of the accident, including the date, day, time, weather, and any other relevant information. Note any conditions that may have contributed to the accident.
• Keep the shoes and clothing you were wearing at the time of the accident in a sealed bag for possible future examination.
What Not To Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
• Do not make any statements about the accident to anyone other than the property owner, law enforcement, and your medical professionals.
• Do not minimize your potential or unknown injuries and say, “I’m okay,” before you undergo a medical examination. Do not admit blame (“It’s my fault”), or say you caused the accident if there was no formal review of the evidence.
• Do not post anything on social media or any public platform.
Insurance companies make the greatest profits by selling the maximum number of policies and paying the minimum amount for claims. Lawyers will represent the property owner’s insurance company, and they will seek to discredit you and disprove or limit any potential claims. They may employ private investigators to monitor social media and find evidence that may hurt your case, such as comments about your injuries or photos of physical activities after the accident.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
• Poorly maintained, wet, or slippery floors
• Debris on floors, walkways, or parking lots
• Broken stairs
• Poor lighting or insufficient security
• Broken sidewalks
• Snow, ice, or water on sidewalks
• Poor construction
• Defective materials
• Building code violations
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and falls can cause temporary or long-term, life-changing, and expensive injuries:
Regardless of whether you were a customer, tenant, or guest at a property, if you were injured in a slip and fall accident, Indiana law may entitle you to compensation. Indiana law protects your rights regardless of whether you were injured on government or municipal property, at a commercial property, or in a private home. When property owners were negligent in their duty of care, victims may recover the medical, economic, and other costs incurred by the accident.
Slip and Fall Damages
Damages depend on many factors, including the extent of injuries and the consequences for the victim. Victims may sustain medical, economic, or non-economic, personal injury damages, including:
• Medical costs, including ambulance rides, hospitalizations, doctor visits, surgeries, radiology, and prescription medication
• Lost wages
• Lost future wages, or lost earning capacity
• Physical therapy and future treatment
• Rehabilitation and recovery costs, including assistive devices
• Long-term care for permanent disability
• Pain and suffering
• Lost enjoyment of life
• Emotional trauma
• Lost consortium
Expert witnesses who review the economic condition of the victim before the accident, including prior tax returns and income information, can help determine economic damages, then project the consequences of the injuries for the victim’s future earnings. While immediate lost wages are a straightforward metric, calculating long-term damages in more serious cases can prove complex. Factors to consider include the age, education, and skills of the victim, and whether the accident has changed the victim’s ability to work in the same capacity, or at all.
Legal Help Is Available
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, speak with a lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable in this area of the law as soon as possible. Slip and fall accidents are often preventable, and you need a competent and diligent advocate to ensure the negligent property owner is accountable for the injuries they caused.
Because many variables influence every accident, slip and fall cases require individual review. If a slip and fall accident injured you, the Law Offices of Hurst Limontes LLC offers a free consultation to discuss your case. Call us at (317) 636-0808 or use our online form and contact us. If we accept your case, our firm will commit to serving you and getting you the best possible outcomes.