Slip and fall accidents can result in serious injuries and long-term impairments. Property owners can be held liable when a person is injured on their property. However, the steps you take immediately after an injury can impact the outcome of your claim.
One step you can take to protect your rights is to contact an experienced Mobile slip and fall accident lawyer. An attorney can help you take the steps necessary to secure fair and just compensation for your injury.
Contact Lattof & Lattof to schedule a free consultation with an experienced slip and fall attorney in Mobile.
What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
A “slip and fall accident” is a common term used to describe an injury occurring on another person’s property. Premises liability laws apply to slip and fall accidents. Property owners who fail to maintain safe premises can be held liable for damages and injuries caused by unsafe conditions.
Generally, to recover compensation for a slip and fall accident, a person must show that:
- The property owner owes a duty of care to individuals entering the property;
- The property owner breached the duty of care by failing to maintain safe premises;
- The injured person was legally on the property;
- A dangerous condition that the property owner knew about or should have known about existed and the property owner did nothing to correct the condition; and,
- The person sustained injuries and damages because of an accident that was caused by the property conditions.
Unfortunately, injuries from falls are common. Thousands of people are injured each year because of a property owner’s negligence or carelessness.
How Common are Slip and Fall Accidents?
Falls continue to be a leading cause of death and injury in the United States. Unintentional falls resulted in 36,338 deaths in 2017. Over eight million people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for falls, making it the leading cause of emergency room visits.
Slip and fall accidents account for about 12 percent of the falls treated in emergency rooms, or about one million visits. About five percent of the people who receive medical treatment for falls sustain fractures. According to the CPSC, flooring materials and floors contribute to approximately two million falls each year.
Accidental falls injure people from all age groups. However, a third of the people age 65 or over will experience a fall, and half of those individuals have repeated falls. Falls are the second leading cause of injury-related death for individuals between the ages of 65 and 84 years, and the leading cause of injury-related death for individuals 85 years and older.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in Mobile, AL
The causes of slip and fall accidents are numerous. Any hazardous condition could potentially cause someone to trip, slip, or fall. However, there are some common property conditions or hazards that can cause a fall.
Common causes of slip and fall accidents include:
- Wet and slippery floors
- Torn and damaged carpet and flooring
- Improperly maintained stairs and handrails
- Electrical cords, debris, and other tripping hazards across and in walkways
- Broken and damaged sidewalks and walkways
- Improper lighting
- Malfunctioning elevators and escalators
- Uneven surfaces, including unmarked holes or dips in the ground
A property owner is expected to make reasonable efforts to maintain the property. Reasonable efforts include inspecting the property periodically, making necessary repairs immediately, and providing adequate warning of potential hazards and dangers. When a property owner fails in this duty of care, people are injured.
Types of Injuries Caused by Slip and Fall Accidents
The injuries caused by slip and fall accidents vary. However, even a slip and trip can result in broken bones and other serious injuries. A fall should always be treated seriously until a doctor conducts an examination to determine the extent of the injuries.
Common slip and fall injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Skull fractures
- Broken vertebrae
- Concussions and contusions
- Sprains and strains
- PTSD and depression
- Hip fractures
In some cases, a person may recover from fall injuries in a few weeks or months. However, some individuals may require surgery and lengthy physical therapy to recover from injuries. Tragically, other slip and fall victims may sustain permanent disabilities and impairments that have lifelong consequences.
How Much is a Mobile Slip and Fall Claim Worth?
Slip and fall accidents cause a variety of damages. Damages include physical injuries, emotional distress, and financial losses. The type and amount of damages depend on the circumstances and facts of the case.
Traumatic injuries and permanent disabilities increase the value of a slip and fall claim. The cost of future medical care and ongoing personal care, combined with a loss of income, can be substantial. However, less traumatic cases can also result in substantial damages.
Slip and fall accidents typically result in damages such as:
- Medical Expenses
- Loss of Income and Benefits
- Diminished Earning Capacity
- Personal Care Costs
- Travel Expenses
- Emotional Distress
- Physical Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Loss of Quality of Life
Determining the value of the damages can be challenging. The financial losses are documented through bills, invoices, and payroll records.
However, noneconomic damages do not have an invoice. There is not a standard formula for assigning a value to pain and suffering damages. A Mobile slip and fall accident attorney understands how to value these damages based on the facts in the case.
What Happens if I Was Partially to Blame for My Injury?
In some cases, an insurance company or property owner may try to blame the victim for his or her injury. The reason for this tactic is that Alabama is just one of four states and the District of Columbia that have adopted the strictest standard for contributory negligence.
Under Alabama’s pure contributory negligence standard, a victim who contributed in any way to the cause of the accident or injury cannot recover any compensation for damages. In other words, if you were even the slightest at fault for your fall, the state’s pure contributory negligence standard bars you from recovering compensation for your injuries and damages.
The standard does not apply in all cases involving children or individuals who are not mentally competent. The law recognizes that children and some adults may not have the mental capacity to understand certain risks.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Slip and Fall Lawsuit in Alabama?
Yes, lawsuits for damages caused by slip and fall injuries generally must be filed within two years of the date of the fall. There are very few exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for injury claims related to falls.
There could be an exception that extends the deadline for filing a slip and fall claim if the victim was a minor or a mentally incompetent individual. There could also be an exception if the victim did not discover the injury until later. However, you should never assume that you have longer than two years to file a slip and fall lawsuit.
Furthermore, your time to file a slip and fall claim could be much shorter in some cases. If a government entity or agency is involved, you have just six months to file a claim, or you could lose your right to pursue a lawsuit for your injuries.
It is best to contact a Mobile slip and fall attorney as soon as possible after an injury. Contacting an attorney as quickly as possible helps protect your legal right to hold the property owner liable for damages and injuries.
Do I Need to Hire a Mobile Slip and Fall Accident Attorney to File a Claim?
Hiring a Mobile slip and fall lawyer is beneficial in numerous ways. Some of the steps that an attorney taxes to protect your best interests and legal rights after a slip and fall injury include, but are not limited to:
- Investigate the accident to identify liable parties and gather evidence.
- Monitor deadlines for filing claims and lawsuits.
- Identify insurance companies that provide liability coverage for the property.
- Deal with the insurance companies, including filing claims and handling all requests, communications, and negotiations.
- Document damages, including obtaining medical records, payroll records, and other evidence of financial losses.
- Protect you from bad faith insurance practices and aggressive claims practices.
- Calculate the correct value of your slip and fall claim.
- Advise you of your rights and options regarding a claim.
- Prepare and file a slip and fall lawsuit, if necessary.
Throughout the claims process, our legal team at Lattof & Lattof also provides support and guidance as you continue to heal and manage your life after a fall. Our goal is to decrease your stress and anxiety about a personal injury claim so that you can focus all your attention on your recovery.
Get Help with Your Claim From an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney in Mobile
If you were injured in a fall on another party’s property, seek immediate medical attention. Document your injuries and avoid talking to the insurance company until you speak with a member of our law firm.
Contact Lattof & Lattof for a free consultation with one of our Mobile slip and fall lawyers. We are here to help you seek the compensation you deserve after being injured in a fall.