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.