If you or a loved one were badly injured in a slip and fall accident and have limited resources to support yourself while you recover, you are not alone. Many people are in the same situation and seek legal advice.
The Cleveland slip and fall lawyers at Friedman, Domiano & Smith are here to help you protect your rights. Our investigators often find the fall occurred because the property did not comply with safety codes.
We have obtained millions on behalf of a variety of injury victims, including slip and fall victims. Partner Marco Bocciarelli was named Litigator of the Year by the American Institute of Trial Lawyers in 2020. Bocciarelli is also a member of the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
There is no risk in contacting our firm because an initial consultation is free, and you are not obligated to hire our firm afterward. If you decide to work with us, there are no upfront fees while we work on your case. We only get paid if you receive compensation.
Give us a call today to learn more: 216-621-0070. We are ready to help.
Can I File a Claim Over My Slip and Fall?
Many people who slipped and fell on someone else’s property may be able to take legal action against the property owner. However, these cases are complex and there are many factors that must be considered to determine if a case is valid.
It is important for victims to discuss their situation with a qualified attorney. At Friedman, Domiano and Smith, there are no hourly fees and no obligation to take legal action.
You do not want to assume there is no case without talking to an experienced attorney. Many injury victims wrongly assume they are at fault for a slip and fall when that might not be true. Even if you are partially to blame, you may still be able to seek compensation. There may have been things you could have done differently to prevent the accident, but that does not excuse the property owner’s negligence.
Some of the factors our attorneys often need to consider about a slip and fall claim include:
- The type of injury you suffered
- How the accident happened
- If there was any warning about the hazardous condition that caused the accident
- Where the accident happened
- The legal status of the victim at the time of the injury (invitee, licensee, trespasser)
- Whether the property owner knew or should have known about dangerous conditions
- And more
What are the Benefits of Hiring an Attorney?
Proving a slip and fall resulted from negligence can be a challenge, and not just because the property owner and the insurance company are likely to fight hard to avoid responsibility. These cases can be difficult to prove no matter what the other side does.
Building a case requires an extensive investigation and a detailed understanding of the law. You also need an experienced attorney who has been through the legal process many times and understands the challenges of recovering compensation.
The Cleveland slip and fall lawyers at our firm are prepared to manage each step of the legal process on your behalf. We understand the complexities of slip and fall claims and have the resources to investigate these situations and build strong cases. Some of the steps we are prepared to take on your behalf include:
- Negotiating for compensation
- Collecting evidence, including pictures, witness statements and more
- Bringing in expert witnesses if necessary
- Preparing to take your case to court if the insurance company does not offer fair compensation
Call us today to learn if you may have a case: 216-621-0070.
Damages Caused by Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall accidents can cause severe injuries, like broken bones (broken legs, arms, hips, etc.), back injuries, head/brain injuries, knee injuries, ankle injuries and more. The cost of treatment for these injuries can quickly add up.
If you have a valid claim, our attorneys can seek compensation for the cost of all treatment recommended by a doctor. This includes ongoing treatment after your case concludes. For example, you may need ongoing physical therapy, prescription medication and appointments with doctors.
Our attorneys have worked with countless injury victims, and we understand the many ways an injury can affect a victim’s life. We are prepared to pursue full compensation for your damages, which may also include:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity if you cannot work as much as before
- Lost companionship if your injuries hurt your relationship with your spouse
- Modifications to your home to accommodate your injury
- Pain and suffering
- And more
We are committed to pursuing full compensation for all your damages to help you move forward with your life.
Can a Property Owner be Held Liable for Your Damages?
The short answer to this question is yes. However, it is up to the victim to prove the property owner is liable for your damages due to negligence. This is where things get complicated because there are so many factors at play.
Simply proving you suffered an injury on another’s property is not enough to recover compensation. Even if the conditions of the property caused your fall, the property owner or occupier may be able to show there was no negligence.
There are many factors that must be assessed in a slip and fall case, including:
Legal Classification of the Victim While on the Property
One of the most important things to consider is the legal classification of the victim at the time of the accident. The property owner’s duty of care to the victim depends on the victim’s legal classification.
For example, property owners usually cannot be held liable for injuries to trespassers. However, property owners could be held liable if they intentionally cause harm to a trespasser. Property owners have a duty to not act willfully or recklessly to cause harm to someone who is trespassing on their property.
If a visitor is considered an invitee, which means he or she was invited onto the property for his or her benefit and the benefit of the property owner, the owner has a duty to:
- Warn of unreasonably dangerous hazards
- Take reasonable steps to keep the property safe and remove hazards/obstacles
- Inspect the property regularly to discover and remedy hazardous/dangerous conditions
Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees. Examples of invitees include customers in a retail store, like a grocery store or restaurant.
Some visitors to a property are considered licensees. These people are given permission to enter the property for a non-business purpose. An example of a licensee would be a houseguest or people who come to someone else’s house for dinner or a party.
Typically, property owners only have a duty to tell licensees about hazards they are unlikely to discover themselves and to avoid intentionally causing injury.
Most slip and fall claims involve invitees and licensees. Once your attorney determines if you were an invitee or licensee, he or she can determine if the property owner may have violated a duty of care to you. Your lawyer must determine if the hazard that caused your injury should have been dealt with and whether it was unreasonably dangerous.
Hazards That Often Cause Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall accidents are often caused by slippery/wet surfaces, uneven flooring/walkways or tripping hazards. Examples of conditions that can cause these injuries include:
- Cracked sidewalks
- Spills on the floor
- Floors that were recently mopped or waxed
- Clutter on the floor, such as merchandise in aisles in a retail store
- Uneven carpeting
- Loose flooring
- Broken or missing stairway railing
- Snow or ice on the sidewalk
- Cables or power cords on the ground
- Poor lighting
- Falling objects, like ceiling tiles or merchandise
If someone slips and falls because of one of these hazards, the question becomes whether the hazard should have been taken care of by the property owner.
If the property owner warned visitors about the hazard, such as with clear signage or by roping off the area, the owner may be immune from liability. However, if the owner did not warn visitors about the hazard, the question becomes whether it was reasonable to expect the hazard to have been dealt with.
If you were an invitee at the time of the accident, the owner had an obligation to regularly inspect the property for hazards. The owner may try to say he or she was not aware of the dangerous condition. However, your attorney may be able to argue the property owner should have been aware of the situation. Your attorney may be able to prove employees knew about the situation and if they did not take care of it or inform a supervisor, the property owner may be liable.
If someone says they told an employee or manager about the hazard that injured you, try to get that person’s name and contact information. It is very important for the lawyer to know exactly what caused you to fall and where, and it is helpful if you have a photo. Your lawyer will need to know the names of any witnesses, including store employees if you are able to get them. Often, a store supervisor or manager will ask you to complete an incident report. If so, ask for a copy.
Open and Obvious Defense
Property owners often try to use the “open and obvious” defense to shield themselves from liability. Ohio law states that if a condition is readily visible, the landlord owes no duty of care to people who are lawfully on their premises. The law says the landowner can reasonably expect that people in their place of business will be able to see dangerous conditions and take measures to protect themselves.
However, there is room for interpretation of what an open and obvious danger is. Property owners may assert this defense even when it is not a strong argument. That said, you need an experienced attorney to represent you because he or she will know how to gather evidence to counter this defense.
Frequently Asked Questions About Slip and Fall Claims
If you are considering hiring a slip and fall attorney, you may have questions. We answer some of the most frequently asked questions below:
I Slipped and Fell at My Apartment or Rented Home. Can the Landlord be Held Liable?
Potentially. A landlord has a duty to maintain your home to ensure it is a safe place to live. However, you must be able to prove the landlord had notice of the problem. That is why you should call a lawyer to discuss the situation.
What Kind of Information Will a Lawyer Need to Decide if I Have a Case?
The first thing you should do is document the defect that caused your injury. If you can, take pictures or record a video of it.
Your lawyer will need to prove that the defect is something that your landlord knew about and had the opportunity to fix before your injury. Make copies of any letters you sent to your landlord informing him or her of the defect.
If you did not complain in writing, make a list of all the times you verbally complained to your landlord, the date and time of the complaint and the identity of any witnesses who were present when you made your complaint.
You should also be able to tell your lawyer how your landlord responded to the complaints and if any other people got hurt in the same way that you did. If you know the names of any of these people, make a list and include their addresses and telephone numbers. Your lawyer will also need to look at a copy of your lease agreement and any documents that you completed on the condition of the apartment or rented home when you moved in.
Can I File a Claim After a Fall Caused by Ice or Snow?
Possibly. It depends on the situation, so you should talk to a lawyer. In Ohio, the courts have ruled that people need to be aware of bad weather and act cautiously in the ice and snow. You will not be able to bring a claim against a landlord for what the courts call “natural accumulations of snow and ice.”
However, you may be able to make a recovery if you slip and fall due to an “unnatural accumulation of snow and ice.” If a landlord pours water on the ground where people walk and it freezes, the landlord may be liable if someone slips and falls. If water from a leaking gutter falls to the ground and freezes, the property owner may be exposed to liability.
I Slipped and Fell at My Friend’s House and Hurt Myself. Can I Seek Compensation?
These situations can be awkward, especially if the injury is severe. A lawyer can help you decide whether to pursue a case. Many cases can be settled before a lawsuit needs to be filed. If your friend has insurance, any compensation you receive (within the policy limits) will come from the insurance policy and not from your friend’s pocket. If your case cannot be settled without filing a lawsuit, your lawyer can explain the litigation process to you and help you make the best decision.
What is the Deadline for Filing a Claim?
State law puts a time limit on filing a claim, called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations may vary depending on where you fell and who is responsible for the property.
If your accident happened on an individual’s property, such as your neighbor’s front porch, or if it occurred at a store or restaurant, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If the deadline passes, you will be barred from filing a lawsuit.
If you fell on municipal property, such as a sidewalk or at city hall, the legal process may be different and there may be other deadlines that apply. That is why you should talk to a slip and fall lawyer as soon after the accident as possible.
Call us today at 216-621-0070 or complete an online form.
Steps to Take After a Slip, Trip or Fall
Slip and falls happen so quickly, things are often a blur — especially when you have been injured. However, it can be helpful to gather evidence at the scene. Get witness names and take pictures if you can; a tumble in the produce aisle can cause your life to change in an instant, but the water on the floor only takes a minute to clean up.
Make sure to report the incident to the property owner and complete an accident report. Get to a doctor as soon as possible and follow the doctor’s prescribed treatment plan. Calling an attorney is also a vital step, as the legal process is complex, and you need an experienced advocate to pursue a case.
Contact Our Cleveland Slip and Fall Lawyers Today
Slip and fall injuries can affect you for a long time, and they are often the result of a property owner’s negligence. These are two of the most important reasons slip and fall victims should contact an experienced attorney to talk about what happened.
Friedman, Domiano and Smith’s Cleveland slip and fall lawyers are prepared to help you. Contact our firm to schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your situation. We can determine how we may be able to help you.
Unlike the insurance company, we are dedicated to recovering maximum compensation so you can pay for the medical treatment you need and the other damages you have suffered. We have helped many Ohio injury victims take legal action and have obtained compensation on their behalf.
Visit our testimonials page to find out what others have to say about their experience working with our firm.
Free Consultation. No Upfront Fees. Contact us: 216-621-0070.