Every day in the United States, someone is injured through a slip and fall incident. These injuries can happen anywhere and at any time, and often result from unsafe conditions in workplaces, retail stores, and publicly-accessible areas.
Slip and fall injuries may result in significant financial hardships for the injured party, who may have to pay for medical care and rehabilitation costs in addition to lost wages from not being able to work. In these cases, injured people may wish to file a premises liability lawsuit against the owners and managers of the place where the injury occurred. Slip and fall injury lawsuits require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney, who can help recover financial compensation.
Premises Liability Lawsuits: Deciding Factors
When a person is injured through no fault of their own, a common recourse is to file a liability lawsuit against those parties responsible for the injury or the conditions that led to the injury. In slip and fall cases, shop owners, municipal entities, and property managers may be liable for injuries received on their premises. Slip and fall injuries may be caused by:
- Slippery walking areas such as wet floors or loose/damaged carpeting and tile surfaces.
- Broken or cracked concrete or paved areas, such as in sidewalks and parking lots.
- Inadequate lighting, particularly in hallways and stairways.
- Inadequate signs warning of hazards on the premises.
- Negligence in maintenance and correction of unsafe conditions.
In a premises liability lawsuit, the case revolves around two primary factors: the extent of the injuries received and how or why the injured party (the plaintiff) received the injury itself.
Settlement Vs. Lawsuit
In a slip and fall injury case, there are two possible recourses for the injured party. In many of these cases, a settlement between the plaintiff and property owners or managers may be reached. A settlement is an agreement between the two parties and is designed to compensate the injury victim for his or her expenses associated with the injury.
Lawsuits are designed to provide a legal remedy for the injured party, using the court system and a jury to help decide an appropriate case disposition. If the injury is extensive, requiring rehabilitation and long-term care, insurance companies may not wish to offer a reasonable settlement. Here, a premises liability lawsuit provides a potential solution.
Factors Influencing a Lawsuit
As mentioned earlier, the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and how or why the injuries occurred are two of the most important factors juries consider during a lawsuit. A minor injury received in a slip and fall injury may not sway a jury in the plaintiff’s favor, especially if excessive damages are being sought. A severe injury, on the other hand – one requiring extended medical care and negatively impacting the plaintiff’s ability to work – has a stronger influence on the outcome of the case. The premises owner’s/manager’s actions, inaction, or negligence can also weigh heavily in the plaintiff’s favor, especially if the conditions that led to the injury were avoidable.
An experienced personal injury attorney evaluates each case, preparing the case as if it were going to trial. While a settlement outside of the courtroom is often the preferred outcome, the attorney will provide all the legal guidance needed if a settlement cannot be reached. With careful evaluation, trial experience, and expert legal assistance stand a good chance of receiving financial compensation for their slip and fall injuries.