Accidents happen, and a slip-and-fall accident can happen to anyone. These falls often occur in public places such as stores, hotels, restaurants, or offices. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Jenifer Lopez, and Justin Bieber, to name a few, have each fallen during a public appearance, so accidents can happen when you least expect it.
In fact, the National Floor Safety Institute reports around one million people visit hospital emergency rooms yearly due to slip-and-fall incidents.
But what happens when the fall causes an injury and is the fault of another? In this scenario, filing a lawsuit to protect yourself and recover fair compensation for the impact of your injuries may well be your best recourse. If your injuries occurred due to the fault of another, there are a few things you need to do to protect yourself.
Three Important Things to do After a Slip-and-Fall Accident
First, if the incident occurs on commercial property, you should immediately notify the property manager or security guard so an accident report can be filed. For injuries occurring on residential property, notify the homeowner of the accident so they are aware of the issue.
Second, get medical attention as soon as possible, even if your injuries are minor. Please remember, failing to report the incident or get prompt medical attention could jeopardize your right to compensation. It can also lead to your conditioning worsening as untreated injuries grow more severe.
Third, if necessary, hire an experienced personal injury attorney you can trust. Once you hire an attorney, the lawsuit process will begin and may involve a long, complex process. Your lawyer can guide you through these steps.
The Steps in a Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit
Not every lawsuit follows the same steps, but they typically consist of:
- Putting the Other Party on Notice – Your attorney will put the at-fault party on notice of what is believed to have been the cause of the slip-and-fall accident.
- Negotiating Remediation – The at-fault party or their legal representation may respond with a settlement.
- Filing the Lawsuit – The lawsuit would be filed in court and served on the property owner.
- Answer – The at-fault party will answer and present their version of how your injuries happened.
- Discovery – Before a case goes to trial, both sides will engage in a formal information-gathering process called “discovery.”
- Trial – If no settlement is reached, a case will proceed to trial.
The at-fault party will devise a defense to counteract your claims during this legal process. This common defense is called the “open and obvious rule,” meaning if the hazard that caused your fall was open and obvious, the defendant (commercial or residential property owner) can’t be held responsible.
Some examples of this defense are the “Caution Wet Floor” signs in public buildings warning people of potential hazards or a homeowner warning you verbally about an unsafe area of their home. If you ignore warnings like these and proceed to hurt yourself, the other party may have a defense mitigating your case, but we highly recommend you speak with an attorney to determine if you have a case.
Hurt in a Slip-and-Fall Accident? Call a Lawyer
If you require an experienced legal ally, reach out to Lopez & Humphries, PA, for more information about how to move forward with a premises liability claim. We have the tools and experience you need to prepare a successful premises liability claim.
You can schedule your free claim evaluation with a Lakeland slip-and-fall lawyer by filling out the contact form at the bottom of this page or calling our office at 863-709-8500.