If you were badly hurt 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 slip-and-fall lawyers at Friedman Domiano & Smith Co., L.P.A., are here to help you protect your rights.
Let Us Take A Look – We May Be Able To Help
Every year, over 30,000 people die from falls in America, and millions are injured. When people consult with the attorneys at Friedman, Domiano & Smith regarding trip-and-fall injuries or death, our investigators often find that the falls occurred because the properties did not comply with safety codes. Here are some facts about premises liability law to preserve your options.
You Only Have A Limited Time To Sue
State law puts a time limit on how long you have to file 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. For example, if you fell on municipal property, such as a sidewalk or city hall, you may have only a few days to get the legal process started. 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 may have a few years. Knowing these time limits is very important, so talk to a slip-and-fall lawyer as soon as the accident happens.
How To Get Help
Property Owners May Have Defenses
Your injury alone is not enough to prevail. Even if the conditions of the property caused your fall, the property owner or occupier can show there was no negligence. Proving negligence can be complicated – a slip-and-fall lawyer can assess your situation and advise you about whether you have a case.
Slip-and-fall cases happen so quickly that things are often a blur – especially when you are the one who has been injured. Still, do what you can to gather or preserve 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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Slips, Trips and Falls
If you are considering hiring a slip-and-fall attorney, you may have questions. We answer your most frequently asked questions below.
I slipped and fell at my apartment or rented home and got hurt. I complained to my landlord, but they won’t pay my bills. Can a lawyer help me?
Yes. A landlord has a duty to maintain your home so that it is a safe place to live. However, you must be able to prove that the landlord had notice of the problem. If you got hurt and your landlord won’t pay your bills, a lawyer can help you get reasonable compensation to make up for your loss. You should call a lawyer and explain your situation. Some of the common causes for injuries in apartments or rented homes are slip-and-falls on broken or rotted steps, trip-and-falls over cracks or defects in the ground or injuries due to improperly maintained ceilings, floors or banisters.
I slipped and fell in my apartment or rented house, and I am looking for a lawyer to help me. What kind of information will the lawyer need to decide if I have a case?
The first thing you should do is document the defect that caused your injury by taking photographs or video. Store your photos in a safe place where you can find them easily because these pictures will be very important. 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 them 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 each complaint and the identity of any witnesses who were present when you made your complaints. 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 of their names, 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 house when you moved in.
I slipped and fell on ice, and now I have some bad injuries. Can a lawyer help me?
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.” But, you may be able to make a recovery if you slip and fall due to an “unnatural accumulation of snow and ice.”
An example is if a landlord poured water on the ground where people walk and the water froze. Another example is if a gutter leaked or was directed across a sidewalk and the water froze on the pavement. Learn more about who can be held accountable if you were injured on ice.
I slipped and fell on something slippery while I was shopping in a store. I broke my leg and now have a lot of medical bills. Do I have a case?
Yes, if the lawyer can prove that the store was negligent and store employees knew or should have known about the slippery substance before your fall. Proving that someone at the store knew about the condition prior to your injury is vital. If someone says they told someone about it, 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 the fall took place, and it’s helpful if you have photos. 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.
I slipped and fell in a store and got hurt. The insurance company is telling me they do not have to pay my bills because the condition that made me fall is “open and obvious.” What does this mean?
“Open and obvious” is a defense that landowners use in Ohio courts to protect 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 (i.e., not trespassing) 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, you should consult a lawyer, because these cases can be complicated.
I slipped and fell at my friend’s house and hurt myself. My friend gave me the name of her insurance company, but the insurance company won’t pay my bills. I don’t want to sue my friend – what can I do?
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 for you.
Steps To Take After A Slip, Trip or Fall
If you have been hurt as the result of a slip-and-fall, you have legal options. Take note of these tips to make sure that you have the best chance for a successful legal claim:
- Seek medical attention: See a doctor as soon as possible and follow any prescribed treatment plan.
- Report the accident: Tell the property owner or manager what happened.
- Take photos: Use your smartphone to take pictures of the accident scene.
- Record witness names: Get contact information for anyone nearby who saw what happened.
- Call an attorney: Do not miss out because of the statute of limitations; get your case assessed quickly.
You are not alone. Even if your situation feels like it’s too much to handle, you can get help. Time is of the essence, so get started right away.