We have all tripped on a crooked sidewalk, lost our balance on a slippery store floor, or bumped our head on a poorly designed structure. Most of the time we might suffer a skinned knee and a bruised ego, plus some minor resentment at the inconvenience.
However, sometimes a fall can result in a serious injury. A bump to the head or impact on the coccyx might cause pain and problems for years to come.
Sometimes this injury could easily have been prevented had the property owner, municipality, or store manager simply followed the rules. Sometimes they need to be held accountable for failing to maintain a safe environment.
In those cases, you may need to hire a slip and fall injury lawyer. He or she can help you get the compensation you deserve and make sure whoever was responsible makes changes so this kind of injury does not happen again.
Here are ten factors to consider if you are thinking about retaining a slip and fall attorney.
1. Physical Injury
In order to prevail on a slip and fall claim in court, you must present evidence of injury. Claims can arise from many different forms of injury; the most common is due to physical harm.
Depending on your age and physical health, a fall can cause severe problems. Older people are at higher risk for severe injury from falls due to osteoporosis: they may break bones more easily.
Even a young, healthy person can suffer terrible consequences if they fall in a certain way, especially if they hit their head.
If you have fallen in a way that threatens your current and future health and wellbeing, you may have a viable cause of action in court. It is important to collect all medical evidence of your physical injury, including doctors’ reports and Xrays.
Remember that some physical injuries may take time to manifest. Keep in close contact with your doctor to observe ways that your injury may affect you in the future. All of these factors can contribute to a possible suit against whoever was responsible for your fall.
2. Emotional Distress
Other kinds of injuries are also compensable under the law in addition to physical ones. ‘Emotional distress” is recognized in all states as a viable reason to seek damages, provided that there is documented proof of the injuries.
A doctor or psychiatrist can testify that as a result of the fall, the injured person is terrified to go out anymore and is unable to conduct normal everyday errands. The fall may trigger preexisting emotional issues as well.
Recovering from severe physical issues can lead to emotional consequences such as depression. If you are no longer able to enjoy physical activities like dancing or sports or playing with your kids, this may add to your emotional distress. The inability to work can also cause anxiety, insomnia, and depression, or even suicidal thoughts.
All of these emotional ramifications may add to your claim against the responsible party.
3. Damage to Career Prospects
Your body and mind are not the only things that may become actionably injured. If you are unable to work due to the injury, you may sue the person or organization responsible. This falls under the category of lost wages or diminished earning capacity.
Some injuries cause irreparable damage to your potential to engage in certain types of work ever again. For example, if you are a truck driver and you injure your spinal column in an accident, you may no longer be able to sit for extended periods of time and thus be unable to be a truck driver anymore.
You must be able to prove that you could have worked in that capacity in the first place. For example, someone who scars their hand due to another’s negligence may not get as big a settlement as someone who used to make their living as a hand model. Your slip and fall lawyer will have to show how much income you used to generate and how that was impacted by the injury.
4. Inability to Care for Family
If someone is incapacitated by a fall, they may no longer be able to carry out their daily tasks. This may include family care.
If you usually take care of young children and are no longer able to lift or carry them, you may be entitled to ask for compensation for the extra expense of hiring help. If you take care of a disabled family member or an aged parent, you may also need extra assistance.
Speak to a slip and fall accident lawyer to see how the impact of your accident on the rest of your family may contribute to your claim. More people may have been hurt by the defendant’s negligence than just you.
5. Long Term Ramifications
It’s important to remember that you may not see the long term effects of your injury for a while. A good personal injury lawyer will advise you on when to obtain medical consultations and how to follow up.
Often the full extent of a traumatic brain injury may not be clear for some time. Some people may get better quickly, while others may suffer from cognitive issues well into the future.
If you have hit your head due to someone’s negligence, you may seek compensation for future harm to your life. For example, if you can no longer be intimate with your wife, you may have a cause of action for loss of consortium. Loss of memory or cognitive function can also contribute to emotional distress.
6. Negligent Property Owners
Sometimes accidents do happen. More often, they occur because someone did not follow the law, or adequately supervise their premises or people who work for them.
A store owner has a responsibility to keep his property well maintained. If someone drops a jar of pickles, staff must be trained to promptly mop up the mess. This is because it is reasonably foreseeable that if they did not clean it up, it might cause someone to get hurt.
If a janitor fails to change the lightbulbs regularly in a building’s stairwells, the lights may go out more often and plunge the stairs into darkness. This is another situation where it is likely that someone may get hurt. The janitor, his boss, and the building owners may all be liable for that negligence.
Your slip and fall suit must establish that someone had a duty of care to the public to maintain a clean and safe environment and that their failure to do so caused your injury.
7. Safe Workplace
If you slip and fall at your own place of work, this raises more legal questions. Certain employees have rights under state and federal laws which require that their employers keep workplaces reasonably safe.
Some workplaces are inherently dangerous, like oil rigs and construction sites. That’s why these industries are strictly regulated, and employers face steep government fines if they fail to comply with health and safety rules.
Employers also have certain responsibilities for independent contractors.
Talk to your lawyer about your option to pursue worker’s compensation in addition to or instead of your personal injury claims.
8. Preventing Similar Instances
In addition to compensating you for what you have lost, there is a compelling public policy behind imposing liability on negligent business owners or individuals. The justice system wants to discourage organizations from ignoring the law and to incentivize business owners to keep customers safe.
Companies with a track record of failing to protect the public may be penalized. They are also used by the legal system as a deterrent to other organizations, who may be considering cutting corners on employee training and maintenance.
A lawyer can help you get on your feet again – literally! They can also help make sure that no one else gets hurt the way you did.
9. Effective Follow Up
Sometimes when someone gets hurt on the job or in a public place, someone who works there will reassure them that they will be taken care of. They may even receive paperwork from an insurance company or other representative purporting to give assistance.
Make sure you do not sign any releases or other documents before you talk to your own lawyer. These documents may in fact sign away your rights to pursue a legal claim. In this situation, the person responsible has a strong interest to limit your claims.
In other situations, you may never hear anything from the responsible party. You may leave messages and send letters to no avail.
By hiring your own slip and fall accident lawyer, you show the responsible party that you are serious about asserting your rights Your lawyer will represent your interests in negotiating a settlement, and they will know how to get the attention of the person in charge.
10. Financial Compensation
You deserve to be made whole for the losses you incur when someone acts irresponsible or negligent. That may mean coverage for all medical expenses, loss of income, and lost prospects.
Money may never replace a job you loved, the ability to run or jump or play tennis, or the stamina to carry your grandchildren in your arms. However, a successful lawsuit may help you recover both physically, mentally, and financially.
It will also send a message that others should be mindful of their duty of care to others.
Hire a Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer: Protect Your Rights
If you have gotten hurt due to someone else’s negligence, you need a slip and fall injury lawyer to help you get what you need to recover. You need an expert who can help you proceed towards justice and a new life.
If you have questions about a slip and fall claim or any other kinds of personal injury, contact us.