Most people who encounter a slick or slippery surface will walk away unscathed. Others will not be so fortunate and suffer the pain of a fall. For the unluckiest of all, however, the fall will cause serious and potentially life-threatening injuries. When a slip and fall accident requires medical treatment, chronic pain, or time off from work it is important that a victim seek legal representation as soon as possible.
A skilled slip and fall accident lawyer will begin by assessing liability – and in some cases, their investigation will reveal none. When a homeowner slips on a patch of ice in his own driveway there is no defendant to name in a lawsuit. Similarly, when someone encounters a visible warning sign that a nearby surface is slippery yet fails to use caution, injuries which result from an ensuing slip and fall accident are generally not compensable. Instead, premises liability law is implicated only when a property owner acts with negligence. Establishing negligence requires establishing that a property owner should have known – or actually knew – that their property had a slip or trip hazard, yet failed to take steps to remedy the problem.
Property owners have a duty to ensure that visitors are not at an increased risk of suffering an injury while on their premises. Whether such visitors are invited or uninvited, expected or unexpected, they should always have a reasonable expectation of safety as long as they are on a property lawfully. Some slippery surfaces should be obvious to a property owner, such as snow-covered walkways following a winter storm. If a property owner ignores such a hazard, a party who suffers a slip and fall accident may have a straightforward personal injury claim under premises liability law.
At other times, such as when a liquid spills on a grocery store floor, the slippery surface may be unknown to a property owner. A slip and fall accident which immediately follows such a spill – before it has been brought to the attention of a store manager or before the spill could reasonably be removed – may indeed be considered by a judge or jury to be nothing more than an unfortunate accident. However, once a store manager or property owner is made aware of the slippery surface they must immediately take steps to eliminate the threat to passerby. Failure to do so can create premises liability.
Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident
Upon suffering a slip and fall accident an injured party should immediately seek medical care for their injuries. Even when injuries appear to be minor, a slip and fall accident victim should seek medical treatment. Once medical treatment has been sought, the injured victim must file a notice of claim. Such notice should be provided to the property owner when the accident occurs on private property, or the owner of a building and a business owner when the accident occurs at a commercial establishment. A store or restaurant will often have a lease with the owner of a building which specifies which party is responsible for defending a personal injury claim stemming from the use of commercial property.
South Jersey Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. Pursue Justice for Slip and Fall Victims
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact South Jersey slip and fall lawyers at Folkman Law. Our team will evaluate your claim and aggressively pursue compensation on your behalf, if we conclude that your injuries were caused by a negligent property owner. Contact us today at 856-354-9444 or online to schedule a consultation at our Cherry Hill, New Jersey office.