Should I Hire an Attorney After a Slip and Fall Accident?
Yes, you should consult a personal injury attorney if you are injured after a slip and fall on someone else’s property. There are no fees for discussing your slip and fall case with the experienced attorneys at Stewart & Stewart. They will be able to tell you whether or not you are eligible for compensation and what your next steps should be.
Be sure to seek medical attention for your injuries and to record the associated costs. Typically, these costs include medical bills, recovery costs, the impact of any long-term suffering, and lost wages for time away from work. Depending upon the nature of your accident, you may qualify for damages issued from the property owner.
Property owners are obligated by Indiana law to keep their property safe for visitors. That means that the property should not be in a state of disrepair. Also, for any dangerous conditions that the owner is not immediately able to address, they must properly block off that area and post warning signs to visitors for their safety.
In turn, visitors are obligated to behave properly on another’s property. Slip and falls that occur as a result of a visitor trespassing or acting in woeful disregard for their safety have a more difficult time winning their personal injury claim.
In many cases (such as situations involving a storefront), both the property owner and the tenant may be liable for your injuries after a slip and fall. You should let your attorney know who these parties are so that they can properly advise you on the next steps.
Dangerous Property Conditions
Heavy traffic areas, such as walkways and sidewalks, should be safe for visitors. Broken pavement and flooring can cause visitors to fall and injure themselves. This is a classic dangerous property condition for which the victim can file a personal injury claim against the owner.
Also, ice and moisture can endanger visitors on these walkways. That’s why Indiana property owners should take extra precautions to clear walkways and sidewalks of water and ice. Failure to do so constitutes a dangerous property condition in a premises liability case.
Stairs in disrepair pose a major threat to the safety of others. Any stairs that are not in optimal working order should be fixed or blocked off from use. During major renovations, it is wise for owners to block off entire rooms to protect themselves from injuries or a personal injury lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a time limit that Indiana places upon a personal injury claim. For slip and falls, you have two years from the time of the accident to file your personal injury claim. Your entire case doesn’t need to resolve within that statute of limitations, but you must have initiated the claims process within the state’s statute of limitations.
Slip and Fall Comparative Negligence
If you (the plaintiff) and your attorney properly demonstrate that the property owner (the defendant) was negligent in their duties regarding premises liability law, then the defendant may make the case that you were also negligent. If the defendant can also demonstrate that you were careless and it contributed to your slip and fall, then the case becomes one of comparative negligence.
If the jury determines that your negligence contributed to your accident, they will assign fault to each party by percentage. Should your contributory negligence amount to 15%, then the defendant’s negligence is 85%. In this case, your damages would amount to 85% of what is stated in court. For example, if your total damages amounted to $50,000, then you will be awarded 85% of that amount ($43,500).
In many slip and fall cases, the negligent party’s insurance company may attempt to offer a settlement. There are pros and cons to accepting a settlement. Bringing a case to court can be expensive and take a long time. If the offer is fair, it may be in your best interest to accept a settlement instead of pursuing a personal injury claim.
However, not all settlement offers are fair. You should always consult with your attorney before accepting any settlement.
For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your slip and fall case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.