Imagine that you are shopping at a local store and you slip and fall on a wet floor in the store. You are badly injured, and end up needing months of physical therapy and treatment to recover. Are you responsible for paying for your medical treatments or should the store owner pay those costs?
Slip and fall accidents injure thousands of people every year. If a property owner fails to maintain their property and you are injured in a slip and fall accident, you may have a right to seek compensation for your medical bills and related expenses. West Virginia and Ohio slip and fall attorney Jim Leach and our legal team are prepared to help people injured in slip and fall accidents and hold property owners accountable for their negligence.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is the area of law that deals with keeping your property reasonably safe so that visitors and retail customers are not injured due to a preventable hazard. Business owners, property managers, and construction site managers are responsible for keeping their premises safe for everyone who may use them.
Premises liability law is complex. Having an experienced premises liability attorney on your side can help ensure that you are properly compensated for the injuries you receive from a slip and fall accident, whether the accident occurred in Ohio or West Virginia.
Is the Property Owner Responsible for My Fall?
Whether a property owner or business owner may be responsible for your fall depends on a number of factors. The owner:
- Must have caused the hazard that lead to your fall,
- Must have known about the hazard but not done anything about it, or
- Should have known about the hazard as a reasonable person would have, but not done anything to correct the hazard.
In our hypothetical situation above with the wet floor in front of a store, it is possible that the business owner may be liable for injuries a customer sustains in a fall. It depends on the specific facts of the accident.
If the store’s floor had been wet for a long period, then the person maintaining the store or property probably knew or should have known about the spill on the floor. If that is the case, then the business may be liable for your fall and injuries.
Imagine another situation, where you collide with a post or pole in the store because you were not paying attention to where you were going. Is the business owner responsible? The answer is almost a definite no. A post is a structural element of the building, not a hazard, and the reason that you ran into it was because of your own carelessness. In that sort of situation, the property or business owner would most likely not be liable.
Common slip and fall accident injuries
Slip and fall accidents may seem like a common occurrence, but they can cause many kinds of injuries. The injuries could be very serious depending on the person’s age and health and how far and hard they fall.
Some common injuries include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Deep cuts and bruises
- Back injuries
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Shoulder injuries
One of the most common injuries a slip and fall victim might experience is a broken hand or a broken wrist due to instinctively reaching out to stop the fall. Older victims are susceptible to experiencing hip fractures in these kinds of accidents.
What might seem like a fairly minor fall could be more serious than you initially thought.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
There are many hazardous conditions that make it more likely that someone will have a slip and fall accident. Some of the most common conditions that lead to slip and fall accidents are:
- Weather conditions. Snow, ice, and rain are common causes of outdoor slip and fall accidents. Property owners, business owners, and cities are responsible for clearing ice and snow from their property.
- Uneven surfaces. These include uneven or poorly designed stairways, uneven flooring, cluttered spaces, potholes or defective sidewalks, loose or rotten floorboards, and torn carpeting.
- Wet or slippery floors. Floors that have a liquid spill or have been recently mopped or waxed should be dried or should have a warning sign posted.
What Should I Do if I have a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you are injured as a result of a hazardous condition on someone’s property, the first thing you should do is seek medical treatment. Even if you think your injury is minor, you should be evaluated by a medical professional as a precaution. Some slip and fall injuries may not become apparent until a few hours or days after an accident.
If your fall is not a medical emergency, it may help to take photos of the scene in order to document the conditions and circumstances surrounding your accident. If there are any witnesses, you can ask for their contact information.
As soon as you are able to after your accident, write down exactly what happened. If you were not able to take photos, return to the scene of the accident and document the conditions there (whether or not it has been repaired).
Make note of potentially hazardous conditions, such as floors and other surfaces that are uneven, wet, slippery, cracked, or broken.
An experienced slip and fall accident lawyer can offer guidance about whether a property owner or business may be responsible for your injuries and help you through the process of seeking compensation for your injuries.
We’re here for You
Jim Leach has been assisting victims of property owner’s negligence for more than 15 years. We understand the pain, suffering, and unexpected expenses that can accompany a slip and fall accident, and are prepared to help you recover from your losses.
If you have suffered injuries due to a slip-and-fall accident, please contact Jim Leach, L.C., or call 1-304-715-2108 today to schedule a free consultation. We proudly serve clients in Parkersburg and Wood County, West Virginia, and in Marietta and Washington County, Ohio.