While slipping and falling can seem like a mundane accident, it can sometimes cause catastrophic injuries. Broken bones, concussions, and even death can occur after a bad slip-and-fall accident. Sometimes places of business will have unsafe walking surfaces or conceal issues with the floors, making falls more likely.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you need the assistance of a driven and compassionate personal injury lawyer in Charleston. Contact Shelly Leeke Law Firm for a free consultation.
Liability for Slip and Fall
Who is at fault for a slip and fall accident mostly depends on whose property the accident occurred. This is known as premises liability, where owners of property have certain legal duties to protect other people from injury on their property.
The legal duties of a property owner depend on what type of visitor you are:
- Invitee – You are an invitee if you are on a person’s property for a business or professional reason, such as if you slipped and fell in a supermarket. The owner of property has a legal duty to take “ordinary care” to ensure you are safe, meaning that they must do what a reasonable person would do in the same situation.
- Licensee – You are a licensee if you are invited onto a person’s property for a non-business or professional reason, such as if you slipped and fell at a neighbor’s house during a party. The property owner must also take “ordinary care” to ensure the licensees’ safety.
- Trespasser – If you are trespassing on someone’s property, they have no legal duty except that they may not hurt you on purpose for trespassing.
- Child Trespasser – If the property owner has an “attractive nuisance,” they might be liable for injuries. An attractive nuisance is something on your property that is reasonably likely to entice a child to come to it, such as a swimming pool.
Your Charleston slip and fall attorney will meet with you to discuss all of the legal arguments that could be made in your case.
The Lawsuit Process
In slip and fall cases, the process will start with you going to a slip and fall accident attorney in Charleston. Your lawyer will normally start by sending a demand letter to the business where you fell or their insurance company. Rarely, this letter will work, and the business or their insurance company will not pay the money demanded.
The next step is actually to file the lawsuit. Your lawyer will do this by filing a document called a complaint where they will make allegations. After this, your case will proceed to discovery, during which your lawyer will gather evidence from the other party to help make your case.
After the discovery phase is over, the case will proceed to trial if a settlement is not reached. This is unlikely because as many as 99% of cases are resolved before trial. Your Charleston slip and fall accident lawyer will have the skills necessary to negotiate with the other party’s lawyers to get you the best settlement possible.
Compensation Available for Slip and Fall Accidents in Charleston
If you or a loved one are injured in a slip and fall accident, several different types of compensation are available to you. Injuries from a slip and fall accident can be catastrophic, especially in the elderly. Damages for the most serious injuries can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
However, every case is different, and your damages will depend on the merits of your case. Your attorney will help you put together a list of your damages. These damages are divided into economic, easily calculable damages, like medical bills, and non-economic, which are more subjective damages like emotional distress or pain and suffering.
The damages that are normally sought in slip and fall accident cases are:
- Home nursing care
- Rehabilitation costs and physical therapy
- Travel for medical care
- Hospital bills such as for surgery, ICU, or ER
- Lost Income
- Loss of Inheritance potential for your family in the event of your death
- Prescription medications
- Medical devices
- Coverage for household services (cleaning, cooking, home maintenance) if you are disabled or die
- Repair or replacement costs for your car
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Punitive damages can also sometimes be available. Punitive (or exemplary) damages are available if you can prove gross negligence, which is negligence that is worse than regular negligence.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
You can take certain steps to help your Charleston slip and fall accident lawyer’s job easier. These steps are:
- Inform the owner, manager, or another employee at the business where you fell.
- Go to the hospital if you are injured, preferably via ambulance, to create medical records.
- Get copies of any records, medical or otherwise, that you create
- Take pictures of the area where you fell, or have a friend take pictures of the area
- Remember the location of security cameras
- Try your best to make notes of your experience so that you can better remember later.
Make sure to contact an attorney as soon as you are able. The sooner you get in touch with an attorney, the better your memory and your witnesses’ memories will be. It will be much easier to make your case, and you will receive the compensation you are entitled to earlier.
Contact a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer in Charleston
Slip and fall injuries may seem trivial, but they can cause catastrophic injuries. If you or a loved one have been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident, it might have been someone else’s fault. You should hire a skilled attorney to get you the justice you deserve.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact Shelly Leeke Law Firm to get the justice you deserve.