FAQs About Slip and Fall AccidentsGet Help Now
The attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault know you have questions after you’re injured in a slip and fall. We provide answers to your most critical questions about this type of personal injury and how to file a premises liability claim.
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Who’s responsible if I’m injured in a slip and fall accident at the mall?
Slip and fall accidents at shopping malls are fairly common, but these types of cases can present unique concerns when pursuing personal injury compensation. To protect your right to a fair settlement, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible.
About Shopping Mall Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents at malls can have a number of causes. For example:
- Spilled cleaning chemicals or food
- Wet floors due to rain or snow
- Improper lighting
- Lack of handrails or other building code violations
- Damaged flooring such as broken tiles or ripped carpet
- Defects in escalators such as misaligned handrails or broken entry mats
- Being pushed or shoved by other shoppers at a crowded event such as a Black Friday sale
Types of injuries victims may suffer include:
- Concussions and other forms of head injury
- Neck injury
- Back injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Sprains and strains
- Broken bones
- Cuts and scrapes requiring stitches
Liability For Slip and Fall Injuries
It does not matter whether you were a paying customer at the time of your accident. If you were lawfully in the mall browsing or visiting with friends, you have the same right to be protected from foreseeable injury as a paying customer.
Some factors that might affect liability for a mall slip and fall accident include:
Where The Slip and Fall Accident Occurred
Accidents inside a store are often the store's responsibility, while accidents in a common area are the mall owner's responsibility.
Who Contributed To The Hazardous Condition
If the store created the hazard by not cleaning up a spill or by failing to have crowd control measures in place for a heavily attended event, the store is responsible.
Knowledge of a Potential Slip and Fall Hazard
Parties cannot be held liable for a hazard they did not know existed such as a spill that had occurred only moments before your fall.
Foreseeability of a Slip and Fall Accident
To be held liable, a party must have been able to reasonably foresee that a condition would result in a high risk of injury to mall patrons.
In most cases, either the store owner or the mall owner is liable for your injuries. However, a third party could be liable in some circumstances. For example, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of the escalator if you fell because of some sort of defect that created a tripping hazard.
If you were engaged in horseplay, ignored posted warning signs, or failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent injury, you could be found partially liable for your injuries. You will still be eligible to file a personal injury claim, but your settlement will be reduced by your percentage of fault to reflect your responsibility for the incident.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
If you're injured in a slip and fall, there are some simple steps you can take to protect your right to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering:
Report the Slip and Fall Incident Immediately
As soon as you are injured, the incident should be reported to mall security personnel. You should report the incident even if you believe your injuries are minor, since more serious symptoms could appear at a later date.
Attend to Your Slip and Fall Injuries
Mall security officers will have a basic first aid kit and are trained to call 911 if someone is seriously injured. If you are transported to the hospital, ask for a copy of the patient treatment report when you're discharged.
Photograph the Scene
If possible, have someone photograph the scene where the accident occurred. This evidence is particularly useful if your fall was caused by a food spill or other temporary hazard.
Get Witness Names and Contact Information
Malls have security cameras in most areas, but witness testimony can present a more accurate picture of how the accident occurred.
Make Note of What You Were Wearing
Clothing can often be relevant evidence in a slip and fall claim, especially if the insurance company tries to argue that your long dress or high heels were impractical for the occasion and directly caused your fall.
Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team can advocate for your interests throughout the process of resolving your claim. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation
What if I'm injured in a slip and fall accident while on vacation in Louisiana?
Louisiana is a beautiful and diverse state, attracting thousands of visitors each year who want to experience world-class jazz, delicious Cajun food, and the beauty of the historic French Quarter. However, some of these travelers may also experience slip and accidents while on vacation.
About Vacation Slip and Fall Accidents
Examples of some causes of vacation slip and fall accidents include:
- Ripped carpet or cracked floor tiles in the hotel lobby that create a tripping hazard you don't notice as you're carrying bags to your room
- Spilled food in a restaurant can cause you to fall
- Poor lighting can cause you to fall while you're leaving a shopping mall
- Loose handrails at a museum or other tourist attraction can cause you to lose your balance
- Insufficient security can cause you to get pushed or shoved and ultimately fall due to crowds at a rowdy public event
Slip and fall injuries can range from minor cuts and scrapes requiring a few stitches to serious back, neck, head, or spinal cord injuries. In addition to ruining your vacation, these accidents can result in significant medical expenses and lost wages. In some cases, you may even be left with a permanent disability requiring ongoing care that affects your ability to earn a living.
Liability for Injuries
In general, the owner of the property where you were injured is liable for your expenses if he failed to take precautions to prevent reasonably foreseeable accidents. However, you may also have a third-party claim in some circumstances. For example, the cleaning company that failed to promptly remove a grease spill that caused you to fall or the manufacturer of a faulty escalator that made you trip could be liable for your injuries.
Under Louisiana law, you may be found partially at fault for your injuries if you acted in a way that showed disregard for your own safety. Examples of situations where comparative negligence may apply include:
- You were in an unauthorized area not open to the general public.
- You disregarded posted warning signs about safety hazards.
- You were engaged in horseplay with another person at the time of your injury.
- You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
You can still receive compensation if you were partially at fault for the accident. However, your settlement will be proportionally reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.
Travelers with physical disabilities such as a visual impairment can't be blamed for their injuries simply because of their disability. If you're visiting a public location, the owner of the facility has an obligation to provide a reasonably safe environment for all patrons.
How to Protect Your Right to Compensation
If you're injured in a slip and fall accident while traveling, there are six steps you must take to protect your rights.
- File an accident report. Typically, the manager or site security staff can file a report of the incident. Ask for a copy for your records.
- Seek treatment for injuries. Getting an evaluation of any pain and discomfort clearly links your injuries to the slip and fall accident. Ask for a copy of the patient treatment report when you're discharged from the hospital or urgent care clinic.
- Photograph the accident scene. Have someone from your traveling group take photos of the scene where the accident occurred.
- Get witness names and contact information. After taking photos, your friend or family member should speak to any witnesses and get their contact information in case their testimony is needed at a later date.
- Document what you were wearing. Make note of what you were wearing at the time of the accident, including your shoes. Tears, rips, or blood splatters on your clothing can support your claim as to the severity of your injuries. You can also use clothing to establish that inappropriate footwear was not the cause of your fall.
- Contact an attorney. When you're injured while traveling, you'll want to speak with a local attorney familiar with Louisiana law. The state has a one-year statute of limitations for filing slip and fall personal injury claims, so you should begin searching for representation immediately.
The dedicated personal injury attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault have extensive experience handling slip and fall claims for both travelers and residents. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.
Can I file a slip and fall claim if I was injured on church property?
If you are injured while attending worship services or other activities at your church, synagogue, mosque, or house of worship, you may be entitled to compensation for accident-related expenses. Churches have the same legal duty of care for their visitors as any other public establishment.
How Slip and Fall Accidents Can Occur
Slip and fall accidents can occur in churches in many different ways. For example:
- Interior lighting is dim to provide an atmosphere for contemplation.
- The floors are often tile or marble, which can be slippery.
- Steps leading to balconies and alters are often made of polished wood, which provides minimal traction.
- Churches rely heavily on volunteers, who may leave items in unsafe locations due to a lack of training.
- Spills may not be promptly cleaned up if staffing levels are minimal.
- Due to a lack of funds, maintenance may be deferred—creating tripping hazards in parking lots and other areas of the facility.
- You may injure yourself while volunteering at a church event.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
Even though a church is a nonprofit organization, most churches have employees, administrators, property, investments, and other financial assets. To protect their interests, they generally carry liability insurance. Coverage limits will vary, but most places of worship have policies similar to a small business that is regularly visited by the public.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident at a church, you should seek an immediate medical evaluation. Even if you're only experiencing minor discomfort, you must rule out signs of a more serious injury while establishing a clear link between the accident and your condition.
You must also report the incident to the minister, pastor, or church administrator. If you are unable to make an immediate report due to your injuries, ask a friend to family member to make the initial notification on your behalf. This is necessary to seek compensation from the church's insurance company.
A slip and fall claim can include compensation for:
- Medical care, including anticipated future medical expenses related to your injuries from the incident
- Lost wages, including applicable loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering, including physical pain from your injuries and the emotional distress you suffered from the incident
How Fault Affects Your Compensation
In some cases, you can be found partially at fault for injuries suffered as the result of a slip and fall accident. For example, if you ignored warning signs that a floor was slippery or jumped over a barrier to enter a restricted area, you could be found to have partially contributed to your injuries.
You can still receive compensation if you are partially at fault. However, your settlement will be proportionally reduced by your assigned percentage of fault. This reflects your financial responsibility for the consequences of your actions.
The Value of Legal Representation
Although most personal injury claims are settled out of court, it's still in your best interests to consult an attorney. While you may believe that church officials wish to do the right thing, the insurance company's top priority is protecting its bottom line. This means you could be left without the funds necessary to pay your accident-related expenses.
It's understandable to be worried about legal costs if you've suffered injuries that have left you with medical expenses and/or limited your ability to work. However, personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. This means your attorney will accept a percentage of the settlement as a fee for representation. Under this arrangement, your attorney has a vested interest in the outcome of your case, and you're able to obtain an advocate for your interests with no upfront expense.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault are dedicated to advocating for the rights of Louisiana residents who've suffered injuries as the result of a slip and fall accident. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule your free consultation.
How are slip and fall claims for elevated falls different from claims for same level falls?
Although the majority of slip and fall claims involve falls on the same level, elevated falls tend to result in the most serious injuries. If you've been injured in a slip and fall accident involving an elevated fall, it's vital that you understand how to protect your right to compensation.
About Elevated Falls
Elevated falls can take a number of forms. For example:
- Falls down a flight of stairs
- Falls from a deck
- Falls from a balcony
- Falls from a ladder
- Falls from trucks, ladders, or other equipment
Type of Injuries Associated With Elevated Falls
Broken bones are typical injuries that occur in an elevated slip and fall accident. Fractures may occur in the ankles, legs, or pelvis, but they can also occur in the wrist or arm if the victim instinctively attempts to brace himself for the fall. In some cases, multiple breaks can occur.
Head injuries become a serious concern when a fall occurs at an elevated level. The most minor form of head injury would be a concussion, but a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in permanent physical or cognitive disabilities requiring around-the-clock care.
Spinal cord injuries below the neck can result in paraplegia, while spinal cord injuries above the neck cause quadriplegia. Complications of paralysis can include difficulty regulating blood pressure, inability to control bladder or bowels, sexual dysfunction, inability to breathe without a ventilator, and chronic pain. Depending on the height of the fall, this type of accident could result in a fatality.
Types of Compensation
A slip and fall claim can include compensation for:
- Medical care, including emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, surgery, and physical therapy
- Anticipated future medical needs due to a disability such as wheelchairs and other assistive devices or nursing care
- Lost wages from the time you were recovering from injuries
- Loss of future earning potential due to a disabling injury
- Pain and suffering
It's vital that you wait for maximum medical improvement before settling your slip and fall claim. This is the point at which you've either healed completely or your condition has stabilized enough that the doctor can reasonably predict your future medical needs.
Claims for future medical expenses and loss of future earning potential will need to be supported by expert testimony. Medical experts can describe your condition, while life care planning experts can estimate the cost of your future care given current healthcare inflation rates. Vocational experts can testify as to your ability to return to work, while economic loss experts can quantify the value of your lost wages.
A wrongful death claim for a slip and fall accident that results in a fatality can be filed by the deceased person's surviving family. This claim can include compensation for:
- Medical expenses up to the time of death
- Lost future wages
- Pain and suffering, if the death was not immediate
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of the deceased person's care and companionship
How Fault Affects Compensation
Although property owners or managers have a responsibility to provide safe conditions for visitors and guests, this does not mean they are automatically liable for the accident. In some cases, the slip and fall victim is found at fault.
In injuries involving elevated falls, drugs or alcohol may be involved. This would make the victim at least partially responsible for his injuries. Ignoring posted warning signs or engaging in horseplay would also be considered examples of partial fault.
Someone who is partially at fault can still receive compensation for slip and fall injuries, but the settlement is proportionally reduced by the assigned percentage of fault.
How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help
Minor slip and fall claims that are uncontested may be settled without an attorney, but you should certainly seek legal representation for a slip and fall case involving permanently disabling injuries or a wrongful death.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team can advocate for your interests throughout the process of resolving your claim. This includes gathering evidence of liability, locating experts to testify about your accident-related damages, and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule your free consultation.
Does a wet floor sign prevent me from filing a slip and fall claim?
If you've suffered ankle, head trauma or back and neck injuries in a slip and fall accident, you might think that you're not entitled to compensation if the area was marked with a wet floor sign. However, this is not necessarily the case.
Wet Floor Signs Don't Automatically Protect Property Owners From Liability
Plastic wet floor signs are intended to warn people of the safety hazard caused by a slippery wet floor. They are often used after mopping or in an entrance where rain or snow is likely to be tracked in.
Wet floor signs are considered evidence that a property owner was trying to take reasonable precautions to prevent injury, but they do not provide 100% protection from liability. A wet floor would not prevent you from seeking compensation if your fall was also caused by another safety hazard. For example:
- If the facility was poorly lit, you might not have been able to see the sign or the wet or slippery area.
- Cracked tiles near a slippery spot on the floor could compound the danger caused by a wet surface.
- Overly waxed or polished flooring could make the floor excessively slippery.
- Obstructions in your path may have left you no choice but to travel through the slippery area.
A wet floor sign would also be insufficient if it was used as an attempt to avoid cleaning up or fixing a hazard in a prompt manner. For example, if an employee spills oily salad dressing in high traffic area of a restaurant, a wet floor sign would be an acceptable temporary fix. However, it would be unreasonable for the restaurant to leave the oily and clearly hazardous spill in place all day when hundreds of customers were traveling through the area.
How Comparative Negligence Affects Your Slip and Fall Claim
Slip and fall cases where a wet floor sign was used to warn of potential danger involve considering many factors to determine who is at fault. In some cases, you might be considered partially at fault for your injuries. Examples of behavior that would be viewed as comparative negligence include:
- You were talking or texting and didn't see the sign.
- You were running or engaged in horseplay.
- The area was designated as off limits and, you ignored the warning.
- You failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent injury to yourself.
If you're determined to be partially responsible for your injuries, you can still file a slip and fall claim for compensation. However, your settlement will be proportionally reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were found to be 30% liable for your injuries, you would receive only 70% of the compensation you would be entitled to if the defendant was 100% at fault.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation in a Slip and Fall Case
Your slip and fall claim can include compensation for:
- Prior medical care received as the result of the accident and any anticipated future medical expenses due to permanently disabling injuries
- Prior lost wages due to the accident and anticipated loss of future earning potential due to permanently disabling injuries
- Pain and suffering, including the physical pain from your injuries as well as the emotional trauma you suffered from the incident
After suffering injuries in a slip and fall accident, it's vital that you seek immediate medical attention. A prompt medical evaluation helps establish a clear link between your injuries and the accident.
Once your immediate medical needs have been dealt with, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Since personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis, there is no upfront cost for representation. You will simply need to pay a percentage of your final settlement as the fee for legal services.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team is committed to protecting the rights of Louisiana residents who've suffered injuries as the result of a slip and fall accident. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.
What if the defendant says my bad vision caused my slip and fall accident?
If you've suffered injuries in a slip and fall, you may be eligible for compensation. However, if you have a condition that affects your vision, you should keep in mind that the defendant may try to use your impairment as a way to avoid paying damages. In this case, you'll need an experienced slip and fall attorney who can advocate for your rights throughout the process of resolving your claim.
How Visual Impairments Can Affect a Slip and Fall Claim
A number of conditions can cause visual impairments that might contribute to a slip and fall. For example:
- Hereditary visual impairment
- Migraines or other conditions that cause sensitivity to bright lights
- Medications causing dizziness or drowsiness
However, if you suffer from a medical condition that affects your vision, this doesn't necessarily mean you're at fault for a slip and fall accident. A property owner has a duty to provide reasonably safe areas for visitors or customers.
In a public place, such as a restaurant or retail store, the property owner should expect that many different types of people will enter the establishment. This includes people with visual impairments, as well as those with mobility issues or young children who might not be attentive to potential risks. Therefore, property owners can't simply expect customers or guests to be solely responsible for their own personal safety.
Regardless of your level of visual impairment, the property owner can be held liable for a slip and fall claim if he failed to fulfill basic safety obligations. This includes:
- Clearing obstacles in walking paths
- Cleaning up wet or slippery areas
- Fixing torn carpeting or loose flooring that would be a tripping hazard
- Ensuring bright lighting for maximum visibility
- Providing handrails on stairs or in bathrooms
- Regularly inspecting public areas for dangerous conditions
Your own responsibility for your safety depends on what steps your doctor has recommended to deal with your condition. For example, if you were purposely not wearing your glasses or using your cane when the accident occurred, you could be found partially at fault.
If it is determined that you are partially at fault for your injuries, this does not mean you are ineligible for compensation. Rather, your settlement will be reduced by your percentage of fault to reflect your own role in the incident.
Slip and Fall Claims as a Form of Medical Malpractice
A slip and fall claim might constitute medical malpractice if your vision was temporarily impaired by having your eyes dilated or having a similar procedure performed on your vision. If the individuals providing your medical care knew you were unable to see clearly because of the care they provided, it would be reasonable to expect them to provide an escort before sending you into poorly lit or cluttered areas of the facility.
Claims for slip and fall damages can include the following types of compensation:
- Prior medical care received as the result of the accident such as stitches and diagnostic tests to evaluate you for a concussion or broken bones
- Anticipated future medical needs, if your slip and fall injuries resulted in a permanent disability
- Prior lost wages due to the accident, if you were unable to work because your injuries affected your ability to perform your current job
- Anticipated loss of future earning potential, if your slip and fall injuries resulted in a permanent disability
- Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma
Documentation of damages is an essential part of pursuing a successful slip and fall claim. Expenses you've already incurred can be documented with bills and invoices, but expert testimony will be necessary if you're asking for compensation for future medical expenses or an anticipated loss of future earning potential. Pain and suffering is calculated based on a multiplier of your medical expenses or using a per diem method.
Protecting Your Legal Rights
Slip and fall claims can present complex liability issues, especially when you suffer from a visual impairment that the defense might try to use as a way to avoid taking full responsibility for your injuries. To protect yourself, you need to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team.
Why are building code violations important in a slip and fall claim?
If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident related to a facility's poor maintenance, proof of building code violations can be used to support your claim for damages.
Building Code Violations as Evidence in a Slip and Fall Claim
Winning a slip and fall claim requires proving four elements:
- Duty. The defendant was required to provide a reasonably safe environment.
- Breach of duty. The defendant created a safety hazard.
- Causation. The breach of duty caused your slip and fall accident.
- Damages. The slip and fall resulted in injury-related expenses.
Building code violations, assuming they are related to the circumstances that caused your injury, are valuable evidence in a slip and fall claim because they provide proof that the defendant failed to provide a reasonably safe environment for visitors to the property. They can also be used to refute accusations that your own carelessness contributed to your injury.
Examples of building code violations that could lead you to slip and fall include:
- Stairs with missing or defective handrails
- Broken or uneven staircases
- Steps that are too high
- Steps that are too deep
- Blocked or improperly marked exit doors
- Improper handicapped access
Learning About Code Violations for a Specific Property
Building codes regulate how buildings are constructed in the name of protecting public safety. They address issues such as building design and durability, as well as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. They also designate that buildings must meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design, have emergency escape routes, and hold to practices that reduce the risk of occupant injury.
Building inspectors rely on code books, which are public record and available at your local town hall, city planning department, or records building. In some cases, building codes may also be online. Typically, local building codes are designed to follow the International Building Code (IBC) standard.
In addition to learning of problems via a building inspection, code violations can also come about as the result of complaints from tenants, visitors, and others who have conducted business on the property.
Both citations and convictions for building code violations can be used as evidence in a slip and fall case, although a conviction will be the most beneficial. The building code department and/or local municipal court can provide updates related to specific violations.
Although building code violations can be excellent evidence in a slip and fall claim, they are not enough to build your case on their own. Ideally, you want to provide photos of the accident scene, as well as testimony from witnesses to the accident or others who knew about the unsafe conditions that caused your slip and fall. If you were injured in an establishment monitored with surveillance cameras, this footage can also be used to support your claim.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
Personal injury claims related to slip and fall accidents can include compensation for several types of damages:
- Medical expenses. This includes emergency care and any necessary follow-up visits, as well as the cost of anticipated future medical needs related to your injuries
- Lost wages. You can seek reimbursement for lost wages while you were recovering from your injuries, as well as loss of future earning potential.
- Pain and suffering. Your pain and suffering compensation is intended to reimburse you for both the physical pain and emotional trauma related to the incident.
The best way to protect your right to compensation after a slip and fall accident is to retain the services of a skilled personal injury attorney. An attorney with experience in slip and fall claims can help you assess the value of your case, gather evidence of building code violations to support your claim for damages, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
The dedicated legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping Louisiana residents who've suffered slip and fall injuries resolve their personal injury claims. Cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis, so there is no upfront cost to protect your right to compensation. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.
How does comparative negligence affect a slip and fall claim?
If you sustain injuries in any type of slip and fall accident, can may be left with significant expenses. However, if you're determined to be partially at fault for your injuries, your ability to recover damages will be limited.
Proving Liability in a Slip and Fall Case
A property owner isn't automatically considered liable for your slip and fall injuries. To receive damages in a slip and fall case, you must establish the following:
- The property owner had a duty to provide reasonably safe conditions.
- The property owner failed to provide reasonably safe conditions.
- The property owner's actions or lack of action caused your injuries.
- Your injuries resulted in a financial loss.
Examples of cases where a property owner would likely be found liable for your resulting injuries include:
- Failing to post warnings about slippery floors or other safety hazards
- Using excessive amounts of wax or floor polish, or applying these materials unevenly
- Neglecting property maintenance such as leaving cracked tiles or loose carpeting as a tripping hazard
- Using inadequate lighting that makes it hard to see hazardous areas
- Leaving debris on stairs
- Missing or broken handrails
- Violating building codes related to tripping hazards
Types of Compensation Awarded
If you can satisfactorily meet the burden of proof, you're entitled to receive compensation for the following accident-related damages:
- Medical expenses such as emergency care, surgery, hospital stays, medication, and physical therapy
- Anticipated future medical needs, if the accident left you permanently disabled
- Lost wages from the time you were unable to work during your recovery
- Loss of future earning potential, if you've been left permanently disabled
- Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma
You must provide appropriate documentation for the damages you're seeking. This includes medical bills and copies of pay stubs, as well as applicable statements from experts to estimate the value of future medical expenses and loss of future earning potential. Pain and suffering compensation is most often calculated as a multiplier of your medical expenses, so that serious or permanently disabling injuries receive the highest compensation.
How Comparative Negligence Affects a Claim
Comparative negligence is a method of determining how each party's actions contributed to a specific event. In a slip and fall case, comparative negligence can be an issue if the other party believes your own carelessness was the cause of your injuries.
You might be considered partially at fault for your injuries in a slip and fall case if:
- You were texting while walking.
- You were jumping, running, or skipping.
- You were engaged in horseplay with another person.
- You ignoring posted warning signs stating that the floor was wet or slippery.
- You jumped over a barrier intended to keep people away from a specific area due to hazardous conditions.
- You failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent injury such as using a handrail when going down stairs.
If you are determined to be partially at fault for the accident, your settlement will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault. For example, if you were found to be 25% at fault and would otherwise have received $100,00, you'd only receive $75,000.
The Value of Experienced Legal Representation
Obtaining legal representation is always recommended in a slip and fall case, but it becomes vital when comparative negligence questions are raised. Since there is no one set formula used to determine comparative fault, having an experienced attorney to negotiate on your behalf can often result in a lower fault percentage assigned to your case. A lower fault percentage can significantly increase your settlement offer, especially when your case involves serious or permanently disabling injuries.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team has extensive experience helping Louisiana residents resolve their personal injury claims in a prompt and fair manner. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.
Is it malpractice if I suffer a fall in the hospital?
Hospital falls can result in sprains, bruises, cuts, fractures, or head trauma. If you suffer a fall in a hospital, your case may be considered either a malpractice or premise liability claim. The appropriate type of legal action to pursue depends on the circumstances that caused the incident.
Falls Related to Medical Malpractice
A fall in a hospital could constitute medical malpractice if a patient fell because of complications associated with his medical condition. Examples of this type of malpractice case might include:
- Falls related to medication. If dizziness or loss of coordination are side effects of the medication a patient received, the hospital has a duty to take precautions to prevent falls. This might include using restraints, electronic monitoring devices, or beds that are difficult to get out of without assistance.
- Falls related to a failure to diagnose a specific medical condition. Doctors who fail to recognize the signs of a stroke or other medical condition resulting in unsteadiness, confusion, and/or limited mobility can be held liable for malpractice if the patient falls.
- Falls related to negligence. Hospitals have protocols for identifying patients as a fall risk when they are dehydrated or complaining of symptoms such as dizziness and lightheadedness. Neglecting to assist a patient or take other precautions to prevent a fall in this case could leave the facility liable for resulting injuries.
- Falls when patients are left unattended. Hospitals that leave patients unattended during transfer or while waiting in treatment rooms can be held liable for failing to provide proper supervision and monitoring, even if the patient wasn't initially considered a fall risk.
To prove a malpractice case, you must establish four key elements:
- The existence of a doctor/patient relationship with a provider at the hospital
- The correct standard of care for your condition, according to recognized medical experts
- How the hospital deviated from appropriate treatment for your condition
- The damages you suffered as the result of the failure to follow the appropriate standard of car—this can include the need for additional medical procedures or being required to take time off work to recover from your injuries
Falls Related to Ordinary Negligence
If you slip and fall in a hospital for a reason that isn't related to your medical condition, you would likely seek damages under ordinary negligence law. Examples of this type of case include:
- You tripped over medical equipment while visiting a patient at the hospital.
- You tripped on torn carpeting in the visitor's area.
- You slipped on a wet or recently waxed floor.
- You slipped due to poor lighting in a stairwell.
- You didn't see a pothole in the parking lot and tripped as you were returning to your car.
When a fall is related to ordinary negligence, the burden of proof is easier to meet. Instead of establishing the four elements of a malpractice case, you only need to determine what was reasonable under the circumstances with regard to proper hospital maintenance. For example, if you fell on a freshly mopped floor, you would only need to establish that the facility created the hazard by neglecting to place warning signs in the area.
One factor that distinguishes medical malpractice claims from ordinary negligence cases is comparative carelessness. In a malpractice claim, the doctor and other members of the healthcare team have the responsibility to prevent you from falling. In an ordinary negligence case, your compensation can be reduced if you were careless in preventing injury to yourself. For example, if you didn't see a hazard because you were texting on your phone, you'd likely be found to be partially at fault for the incident, and your settlement would be reduced accordingly.
Retaining Legal Representation
When you slip and fall at a hospital, retaining legal representation is essential. An experienced attorney can advise you on the correct type of action to pursue and how to best document your injuries. Your attorney can also negotiate a settlement on your behalf, leaving you free to focus on recovering from your injuries and getting back to your daily routine.
The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is dedicated to helping Louisiana residents protect their right to compensation after slip and fall accidents. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.
Can I receive compensation from a store if I slip and fall while shopping?
Stores have a duty to provide a reasonably safe environment for their customers. If a store fails to fulfill this duty and a customer slips and falls while shopping, the injured party may be eligible for compensation.
How Do I Prove Liability for My Injuries?
It's important to keep in mind that sometimes an accident is considered simply unavoidable. To receive personal injury compensation, you have to establish negligence on the part of the store manager or owner.
One way to establish negligence is by providing evidence that the store knew of the dangerous condition and failed to fix it. For example, if another customer testified that the store manager was informed of a laundry detergent spill in an aisle one hour before you fell, this would show negligence in failing to promptly fix a potential safety hazard. Surveillance video of the scene of the accident before, during, and after the incident can alternatively be used as evidence to establish liability.
Stores can also be considered negligent if a hazard should have been discovered in the normal course of business. This would include slippery spills in a restroom, by the entrance, near the cash register, or in any other high traffic public area.
In some cases, violation of building codes can serve as evidence to support a slip and fall claim. For example, if the store was required to have handrails in an area and the lack of handrails contributed to the severity of your injuries, this helps prove negligence.
Stores are typically not liable for injuries if the customer failed to take reasonable care to prevent a slip and fall accident. Some examples of this would be tripping because you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, running into a large display because you were texting on your phone and not paying attention to your surroundings, or falling because you were running through the store and ignored clearly posted "Slippery When Wet" or "Wet Floor" signs.
A store's liability may also be called into question if the accident occurred when you were in an area that wasn't open to the public. For example, if you went back into the stockroom of a retail store or into the kitchen of a restaurant, the store wouldn't be held liable because it couldn't reasonably anticipate customers being in these private areas.
When Is Another Party Liable?
When you are injured in a slip and fall accident while shopping, the store owner isn't always the party responsible. If the accident takes place on the sidewalk or street outside the store, the city or municipality responsible for maintenance might be liable. If the store is renting space from a property owner and a building code violation caused your slip and fall, the property owner might be liable.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive?
A personal injury claim resulting from a slip and fall can include compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses. This includes emergency room care and any necessary follow-up appointments, as well as the cost of pain medication, crutches or a wheelchair, and physical therapy.
- Lost wages. The store may be held liable for your lost earnings if you were unable to work because of your injuries. Earnings are verified with your past pay stubs or a detailed account of your business activities if you are self-employed.
- Pain and suffering. Considered non-economic damages, pain and suffering compensation is calculated based on a multiplier of medical expenses or as a per diem rate for each day you suffered pain due to your injuries. This category of personal injury compensation is intended to reimburse you for both the physical pain of your injuries and the emotional trauma of the experience.
What Is the Best Way to Proceed With My Case?
The store where you fell will undoubtedly have experienced attorneys handling the claim, so it's vital that you have legal representation to advocate for your needs. Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping Louisiana residents who've suffered slip and fall injuries while shopping resolve their personal injury claims. Cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis, so there is no upfront cost for representation. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.