When we visit a store, restaurant, theater, park or some other property, we expect that the premises will be safe and free of hazards. Unfortunately, when a business or property owner is careless and does not maintain property, a visitor or customer may have a slip-and-fall accident.
In the legal community, a “slip and fall” refers to any type of accident where a person loses his or her footing due to a hazardous condition on someone’s property. A “slip and fall” can also involve tripping or being knocked over by hazardous conditions.
People may think that slip-and-fall accidents only result in bumps and bruises. However, many slip-and-fall accident victims suffer serious injuries, including broken bones, torn tendons or ligaments, neck and back injuries, spinal cord injuries, head injuries or traumatic brain injury.
If you suffered a slip and fall in St. Charles, you may be entitled to hold the owner or occupier of the property accountable for your injuries and damages. Businesses and insurance companies aggressively defend against slip and fall claims. That’s why you need a St. Charles slip-and-fall attorney to fight for the financial recovery you need and deserve.
After you’ve suffered a slip-and-fall accident in St. Charles, you may think that a claim for compensation is a straightforward manner.
However, many slip-and-fall claims are looked at skeptically by insurance companies and defense law firms. They either suspect that you aren’t as injured as you claim, or that your accident never really happened.
You need an experienced attorney to give you the best chance at securing maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. At the Law Office of Andrew S. Martin, LLC, our Missouri slip and fall lawyer can help you by:
Investigating your accident and securing evidence. Our lawyer can help you secure critical evidence. That may include an accident/incident report if your fall took place in a commercial establishment, as well as surveillance video and eyewitness reports.
Working with expert witnesses. Professionals such as engineering experts will describe how your accident occurred and how the business or property owner was responsible. Financial and medical experts will describe your injuries and the financial damages you may be entitled to.
Documenting your losses. The lawyer will collect your medical bills and other invoices for out-of-pocket expenses. The lawyer will then calculate your lost wages and income. The lawyer will also build a persuasive case for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or loss of quality of life.
Negotiating for a settlement. Our lawyer will push back against the insurance company’s offer that is less than full and fair compensation for your case.
Preparing your case for trial, if necessary. Our firm will ensure that you have a strong legal case so that the at-fault party will offer a full and fair settlement. If necessary, our firm will file a lawsuit on your behalf and advocate before a judge and jury for a verdict in your favor.
The owner or occupier of property owed you a duty to keep property free of hazards.
The owner or occupier failed in this duty.
You were injured as a result of that failure.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Slip and Fall Claim?
Business and property owners have a duty to keep their property free of dangerous or hazardous conditions that might injure a visitor. In a slip-and fall-claim, you will need to prove that:
In a slip-and fall-claim you must prove that you were owed a duty by the business or property owner whose premises you were visiting. As a customer of a store, bar, restaurant, theater or other commercial establishment, this is a relatively straightforward process.
However, proving that the business or property owner breached its duty to you can be difficult. You will need to prove that the owner or occupier either knew of the dangerous or hazardous condition that caused your accident or show that the condition was present long enough that the business or property owner should have discovered it through reasonable diligence. For example, a store should have conducted regular checks to ensure there were no slip or trip hazards.
You may also need to show that the owner or occupier had sufficient opportunity to fix the hazard. For example, if a customer spills a drink in a bar, and you slip on the spilled drink 30 seconds later, the bar likely did not have the opportunity to clean the spill or place warning signs.
You will also need to prove that the business or property owner’s negligence directly and proximately caused your accident. Sometimes, you may need to show that you didn’t disregard warning signs or other safety features. You may have to show you were forced to traverse a dangerous or hazardous condition and did so in a careful manner. For example, you may have to show you had no choice but to walk across a patch of icy sidewalk right in front of the store.
Finally, you will also need to show that you suffered compensable damages, such as medical expenses or lost wages from missed work.
Demanding Maximum Compensation for Your Slip and Fall Injury
After you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you may wonder whether you are entitled to compensation and, if so, how much compensation you might receive. You may be entitled to compensation for these damages:
Past and future medical expenses, including hospital bills, surgeries, doctor’s office visits, physical rehab, prescription medication, mobility equipment, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Lost income for time that you miss from work while recovering from your injuries.
Lost earning potential, if your injuries kept you from returning to your pre-accident job or level of work and your income was reduced as a result.
Pain and suffering, or the emotional and physical distress brought about by your injuries.
Lost quality of life, which can result from disabilities, physical disfigurement, the inability to participate in activities you enjoyed prior to your accident, and the difficulty in performing the normal tasks of daily living.
In addition, if in your fall you damaged any property, such as glasses or a cell phone, you may be entitled to compensation for that damage.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Fall
If you’ve suffered a slip-and-fall accident, take these steps to protect your right to seek compensation for your injuries and damages:
Report your accident. Inform the business or property owner of your accident. If your slip and fall took place in a commercial establishment, the business owner may write up an accident report for the insurance company. If you are asked to give a statement, stick to the facts as you remember them. Don’t try to assign blame for your accident.
Document the accident scene. If possible, take photographs or videos of the accident scene, including whatever it was that you believe caused your fall. Also photograph any warning signs or other safety features and whether those features were broken, defective or missing. Photograph the lighting and, if applicable, the weather conditions at the time of the accident.
Seek medical treatment. Even if you don’t feel as though you were injured, follow up with your doctor or another medical provider. Pain and other symptoms of injuries can take days or even weeks to manifest themselves. Your doctor may identify your injuries in an examination. Be sure to follow your provider’s treatment instructions. If you don’t, the business or property owner may argue that you aren’t as injured as you claim.
Speak to an experienced slip-and-fall accident attorney. Talk to a knowledgeable Missouri slip-and-fall accident lawyer about your accident. You’ll learn more about your rights and options. An attorney can make sure that critical evidence in your case, such as the accident report or surveillance video, is preserved. An attorney can also pursue compensation on your behalf.
How Long Do You Have to File a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
After you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you have a limited period in which to file a lawsuit for your injuries and damages. This time period is called the statute of limitations.
In Missouri, the statute of limitations on a slip-and-fall lawsuit is five years. The starting point is measured from the date of your accident.
Under certain limited circumstances, the statute of limitations can be extended, or “tolled.” For example, if a minor child is injured in a slip-and-fall accident, the statute of limitations does not begin until he or she turns 18.
If you fail to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations in your case, the court can permanently dismiss your lawsuit. That means you lose your right to any compensation.
If your slip and fall accident occurred on government property, you are also required to provide the government with notice of your slip-and-fall claim within a certain period. This period is usually shorter than the statute of limitations.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip-and-fall accident can occur any time a condition causes a person to lose his or her footing. Common causes of slip-and-fall accidents in Missouri include:
Mud or greasy surfaces
Snow and ice
Trash or debris
Recently mopped or waxed flooring
Loose flooring, rugs or mats
Abrupt transitions between flooring surfaces, such as from carpet to hardwood
Potholes and broken pavement
Cords and wires strung across walkways
Furniture and open drawers
Poor lighting and weather conditions can also create the risk of a slip-and-fall accident.
Common Places Where Slip and Fall Accidents Occur
Although a slip-and-fall accident can occur nearly anywhere, these types of properties in St. Charles are prone to slip-and-fall accidents:
Supermarkets and grocery stores and other commercial retailers
Restaurants and bars
Hospitals and other medical facilities
Swimming pools and waterparks
Amusement and recreational parks
Apartment/townhome buildings and complexes
The location of your slip and fall accident can matter in a later claim for compensation. The location can affect who may be held liable for your injuries. It may also affect the kind of legal duty that those parties have.
Talk to a St. Charles Slip and Fall Attorney Now
If you or a loved one have suffered a slip and fall accident in St. Charles or elsewhere in Missouri, don’t wait another day. Contact the Law Office of Andrew S. Martin, LLC, today to schedule a consultation. Speak with our Missouri slip-and-fall lawyer about your accident. You’ll learn more about the financial recovery you may be entitled to receive.