Becoming injured is not a pleasant experience, and it is even more unfortunate when your injuries were sustained due to the negligence of someone else. It is imperative for your slip and fall personal injury case that you collect as much evidence as possible so you can prove the accident was not your fault.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a law that places time limits on bringing a case to court. The time limit varies depending on the type of case you plan to file.
With respect to slip and fall injuries, you must file your case within five years of the accident. The time limit remains the same for property damage that was sustained as a result of the accident that caused your injuries.
This is perhaps the most important factor regarding your slip and fall case. You will not be able to collect damages from the property owner where you fell unless you prove the fall was not due to your own negligent actions.
Just because you were injured on someone else’s property does not automatically make them at-fault for your slip-and-fall-related injuries. It is common in everyday life for substances and objects to make their way to the ground unexpectedly, and for surfaces to become uneven over time. Certain things on the floor serve a utilitarian purpose and shouldn’t be removed, such as drainage grates.
It may be unreasonable to expect a property owner or manager to stay on top of every single substance that finds its way onto the ground. In addition, a property owner or operator may not be at fault for your injuries if they were sustained due to your lack of awareness or attention. We are all responsible for paying attention to what we’re doing at all times.
Property owners are more likely to be held liable for slip and fall accidents if their spaces are not correctly maintained. This is where the fun comes in. It is not always easy to determine whether a property owner or operator could have managed their space in more effective ways in order to reduce the risk of injuries. When this is the case, the fault relies on whether the property owner acted in responsible ways to reduce the chances of slips and falls on the premises. Similarly, your actions will be reviewed to determine if you were being careful enough to see what was happening around you and avoid falling.
In order to be compensated for slip-and-fall-related injuries, one of the following must be present:
- The spill, worn/torn area, or other slippery/dangerous surface must have been present due to the actions of the property owner or an employee.
- The property owner or employee must have been aware of the unsafe surface and didn’t take action to alleviate it.
- The property owner or employee should have been aware of the unsafe surface since “reasonable” people caring for a facility would have realized and fixed the problem.
There are several arguments that property owners use to try to avoid blame and deflect it back at victims:
- Your injury occurred in a section of the premises where guests are not typically allowed or are not expected to be.
- Your footwear was hazardous for the conditions or the situation.
- The unsafe area was sectioned off, which should have been apparent to you.
- Your attention was elsewhere, which caused you to take a tumble (for example, you were texting while walking).
The good news is, victims have useful arguments, too. Ask yourself these questions to help you determine whether the property owner or operator acted responsibly:
- If you tripped on unsafe grounds, were the hazards there long enough for the property owner to reasonably be aware of them?
- Are regular procedures in place for property maintenance and upkeep? Where’s the proof?
- Was there a valid reason for the object you tripped over or slipped on to be left on the ground?
- Were there any warnings of danger in the unsafe areas?
- Was inadequate lighting a factor of danger?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you may have a personal injury claim to work with. Keep in mind that your own carelessness also plays a part in the outcome of your case, so it is wise to consider whether your actions were completely conscientious or not.
If you find yourself in the middle of a slip and fall personal injury lawsuit, the attorneys at Kolker Law Firm can help. Our lawyers never settle for anything less than the absolute best. With over 30 years of experience and more than $100 million won in trial verdicts for clients, Kolker Law Firm is the authority for personal injury law in Missouri.
Let us help you get through this complicated situation. Call our firm at (314) 684-8285 today.