We are all familiar with the phrase “accidents happen.” However, when does this phrase become a cop-out from responsibility? Yes, accidents do happen and are sometimes unavoidable, but many accidents can also be directly tied to someone else’s negligence. According to the National Floor Safety Council, slip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes for emergency room visits, as well as the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims.
Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries, injuries you shouldn’t be on the hook for if someone else’s heedless actions led to your accident. Every year slip and fall accidents cost Americans both time and money – time away from work and family, and money lost to missed productivity and paying outrageous hospital and medical bills. What many accident victims may not realize is that if their accident was the result of negligence, they have legal rights and may be entitled to compensation.
Have you been the victim of a slip and fall accident in Hickory, North Carolina? The legal team at DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P., wants to help you recover the compensation that you deserve. Contact our office at (828) 345-1111 to set up a legal consultation. We want to help you get back on your feet again.
What Is a Slip and Fall Accident?
A slip and fall accident is a phrase that describes an accident or personal injury case where an individual slips or trips and falls down on someone else’s property. Slip and fall accidents can happen just about anywhere: a place of business, an apartment building, at work, or on someone’s private property.
Several different conditions can all contribute to someone suffering from a slip and fall type of accident. Typically, a slip and fall accident is caused because an owner or operator of a facility, business, or property has not taken proper measures to ensure the public’s safety. Some of the most common causes of slip and fall type accidents include:
- Uneven flooring or cracks in a floor
- Wet floor
- Uneven pavement or sidewalk
- Torn carpeting
- Unmarked or hard to see step or stairs
- Stairs with no handrails
- Hidden hazards
- Unsafe working conditions
What Does Premises Liability Mean?
Slip and fall accidents are covered by a broader legal term known as “premises liability” cases. A premises liability case hinges on the fact that a property owner has been negligent with respect to owning or maintaining their property. This negligence is the foundational cause of the accident, which left a victim with injuries. It is not enough to simply be injured on someone else’s property, or that the property itself is unsafe. The burden of proof is on the victim to establish that the property owner knew there was an unsafe condition on their property, or should have known there was an unsafe condition, and the owner still failed to take reasonable actions to correct the problem.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, it is important to retain legal counsel in a timely manner after your accident for a number of reasons. To begin with, in the state of North Carolina, there is a time frame, or a statute of limitations, for when you can file a slip and fall lawsuit. North Carolina General Statutes dictates that cases, like slip and fall cases, must be filed within three years of the date of the accident. Not only is time ticking, but the sooner you are able to get experienced legal aid, the sooner that legal team will be able to help gather evidence to strengthen your case before it becomes lost or destroyed.
Strong evidence can make or break a slip and fall case in the state of North Carolina. North Carolina is one of only a handful of states that follow what is known as a “contributory negligence” rule. This is a much less victim-friendly rule when compared to other states that follow a “comparative negligence” regulation. Under contributory negligence, if the injured slip and fall victim can be found responsible for even the smallest amount of blame leading to the accident, the victim cannot recover any compensation from the property owner or other at-fault party.
Proving Fault in a Slip and Fall Case
As you can see, in order to get the compensation you deserve after an accident in North Carolina, you need to have an air-tight slip and fall case. That means you need to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side fighting to protect your rights and to gather the evidence you need to strengthen your case. In these types of cases, it is common for a property owner to try and pin the blame on you since contributory negligence is on their side.
That means they may try to claim that you were in an area you weren’t allowed to be in, or that there was reasonable signage warning of danger, that you just weren’t paying attention to your surroundings, or even that the danger should have been obvious to you. An experienced attorney will be able to review the circumstances of your case and help build a strategy to counter these types of arguments from the property owner.
An attorney will also need to work diligently to gather any evidence that can help demonstrate the property owner’s negligence in maintaining the safety of their property. You must be able to establish that no part of the accident was your fault, while also showing that the owner created the dangerous condition, knew it existed, and that it existed for such a length of time that the owner should have known or discovered there was a problem and taken steps to correct it.
Are Slip and Fall Accidents Really That Dangerous?
In a word, yes. Slip and fall accidents can be very dangerous. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that one out of five falls causes a serious injury, such as a broken bone. Even more disturbing, slip and fall accidents are one of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries. Slip and fall accidents tend to be the butt of jokes, but an accident like this is no laughing matter, they are serious and can cause severe, even traumatic injuries. Some of the most common injuries that can result from a slip and fall accident include:
- Broken bones
- Dislocated hip
- Brain injury
- Injuries to joints such as knees, ankles, wrists, and shoulders
- Sprains and strains
- Cuts and bruises
Slip and falls accidents can mean time in the hospital or other medical facility, and that can mean steep medicals bills you may not have been expecting. You shouldn’t be weighed down by medical debt for an accident that you didn’t cause. Talk to an experienced attorney with DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P., about how we can help you get out from under medical debt from a slip and fall accident case.
Compensation for a Slip and Fall Accident
If you’ve been injured as a result of a slip and fall accident that someone’s negligence caused, you may be entitled to compensation. Compensation can help offset the cost of your mounting medical bills and help you recover the money you may be losing because you’ve been unable to work. While every slip and fall case is different, in general, these are the forms of compensation you may be able to recover following an accident:
- Current medical expenses
- Future medical expenses related to your injury
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
What is the total value of compensation from a slip and fall accident? That depends on the circumstances of your case, the type of injuries that you have suffered, and being able to prove the property owner is completely at fault. A seasoned attorney will be able to sit down with you and give you a better idea of compensation when they get to know all the details of your case.
How DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P., Can Help If You’ve Been the Victim of a Slip and Fall Accident
Slip and fall cases in North Carolina can be complicated because the burden of proof is on your shoulders. However, you don’t have to shoulder that burden alone. The legal team at DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P., has the resources and experience to investigate the accident, wade through the bureaucratic red tape, and safeguard your rights as a victim. Before you start talking to an insurance company or the property owner themselves, consult an experienced personal injury lawyer about the circumstances surrounding your case.
At DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P., we focus on the entire picture. Not just who’s at fault and how much compensation is worth, but also on your recovery, well-being, and getting you back on your feet again. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a slip and fall accident, talk to a Hickory personal injury attorney with DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P., today. Call (828) 345-1111 to schedule a case consultation today.
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