Slips and falls are perhaps the most frequent causes of personal injuries. When you visit other people’s property, you have the right to assume the premises will be reasonably safe. If injuries occur, and the landowner is at fault, you have the right to sue for monetary damages.
However, even if a fall happens on someone else’s property, this does not mean that the fall was necessarily the owner’s fault. A person’s permission to be on the land, their reasons for being there, and even their actions all play a role in determining liability. A Springfield slip and fall lawyer helps clients to understand the legal basis for these lawsuits and to pursue claims against negligent property owners and their insurance companies. A dedicated personal injury attorney is sure to be an invaluable ally in your pursuit of justice— call today to learn more.
Slips and Falls Under State Law
Any harm sustained due to a slip and fall on someone else’s property may be the basis for a lawsuit. However, these cases revolve around a few key questions.
Determining the Legal Status of a Property Visitor
First, a guest’s reasons for visiting the owner’s property must be determined. Most injuries occur on property that is open to the public. Visitors to malls, movie theatres, stores, and other such places are known as invitees.
Property owners who have invitees on their property have a legal duty to protect them against any known hazards. This means that all landowners must protect invitees against anything that may cause an injury, which includes inspecting the property in advance for any potential dangers. This can include spills, broken stairs, or even potholes in parking lots. Evidence that points to when a property owner learned of the hazard and any steps they took to fix it can be crucial in establishing negligence in these cases.
Identifying the Cause of an Accident and Who Was At Fault
Second, the exact circumstances behind the accident must be examined. The plaintiff’s actions prior to the fall are important. This is because in Springfield, if a plaintiff is claiming that the defendant was negligent, the defendant can argue that the plaintiff’s actions contributed to their own injuries. For example, if a plaintiff slips and falls on ice, the defendant may argue that the plaintiff wore shoes unsuited for the weather or was running at the time of the accident.
For their claim to prevail, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the landowner was negligent in their care for their property and that this was the cause of their injuries. They must also file their claim in a timely fashion. There is a time limit on these cases according to state law. Under New Jersey Revised Statute § 2A:14-2, people seeking compensation after a personal injury must file their case in court within two years of the incident. A slip and fall attorney in Springfield could further clarify these distinctions and their relevance to a given case.
Evidence in a Slip and Fall Case
It can be difficult to prove a slip and fall case because there are often no independent witnesses to the event. In other personal injury cases, like car crashes, the police always respond to the scene and create an independent report. Slips and falls often go unobserved. Instead, security cameras, business incident reports, and employees of the business are often the only sources of information. For this reason, it is important to be aware of the steps an injured party can take to ensure the best chance of a favorable outcome.
Taking pictures of the property where the accident occurred as soon as possible is crucial. Most people have cameras on their smartphones, and photographic evidence of the hazard and the lack of any warning signs can be essential. Consistent medical treatment is also important. A major part of any claim is medical documentation. Only with doctors’ notes that indicate that the injuries were the result of a fall can a plaintiff hope to receive compensation for their damages. Experienced slip and fall lawyers in Springfield understand what evidence is most helpful in cases like this and can help plaintiffs make sure theirs is as solid and sound as possible.
Let a Springfield Slip and Fall Attorney Help You
The effects of a slip and fall can be life-altering. Even after minor accidents, you may miss time at work and be in severe pain for weeks afterward. The most serious cases can result in paralysis or other permanent injuries.
A Springfield slip and fall lawyer understands the impact of these injuries and how the law allows plaintiffs to pursue damages. Call Steven L. Schepps now to get started.