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What Should You Do If You Are Involved in a Slip and Fall Incident?

Interviewer: What should someone do if they are involved in a slip and fall incident?  Should they notify a store employee or do they immediately contact a police officer?

Adam Hunt: They should probably notify management and provide only a minimal statement. It is advisable to get an attorney involved so they don’t say anything that might put them in a position where it wasn’t their fault.

What Should You Provide to Your Attorney after a Slip and fall?

Interviewer: If someone calls you and said they had a slip and fall, what sort of information are you going to be requesting?

Adam Hunt: I would want to know the location and if it was a commercial establishment.  As with other personal injury cases, I will ask what the nature of the injuries were and whether or not they made a statement.

If so, can they remember what the statement was? Did they seek medical treatment? How long has it been since they’d been treated? Have they had a thorough examination? Those are the types of things that I want to know as soon as I can in order to help them make sure that their case proceeds accordingly.

Take Photographs Where the Incident Occurred, If Possible

Interviewer: Would it help if someone had a phone with a camera and took pictures of the area?

Adam Hunt: I would definitely recommend something like that if they could. This is because that would probably be one of the best pieces of evidence to be brought in to show that it wasn’t their fault.

If you are claiming, “I couldn’t see that the water was on the floor, there was no sign.”  A photo is the best way to support that. Photographs can support that there was no sign warning that construction was going on where they fell.

I would obviously take pictures, even in a car accident. It is the same type of scenario. I would take pictures to show the extent of the damage. Typically a police officer will do that, but in the slip and falls it’s probably more important that they do that as an individual.

How Does the Business Tend to React When a Customer Has a Slip and fall Incident?

Interviewer: Are businesses cooperative during a case and are they going to fight the case? What are they trying to prove on their end?

Contributory Negligence: Commercial Establishments Will Try to Minimize Their Exposure

Adam Hunt: It really depends on the company, first of all, and the nature of the accident. They’re primary position is probably going to be what we call contributory negligence. This means that the actual person that was injured was at fault for not paying attention or not doing what they should have been doing. That tends to be the default position on it. They want to minimize their exposure.

Some Larger Establishments Prefer to Litigate Cases Instead of Settling

Interviewer: With a place like Walmart, how do they typically react to a slip and fall incident?

Adam Hunt: Typically, well, they’re probably the most sued company in the United States, so, they typically have probably a trial for a lawsuit going on every day of the year. They have a lot of cases filed against them. They tend to be a little litigation heavy and not willing to settle on things.

Case History: A Slip and Fall Case

Interviewer: With that in mind, also, is there any particular slip and fall cases that you’ve covered that you may want to share with us?

Adam Hunt: One of them that I’ve had is attributed to roof damage. Water leaked through and it caused floor damage and the person had fallen through, on a rental property, the floor. This was after they had provided notice to the landlord that there’s water damage and a repair was needed.

I’ve had cases that were attributed to an employee was cleaning something. It’s not necessarily a slip and fall, at one of the larger stores. But an employee was cleaning or using a cleaning product that had bleach in it and had accidentally splashed some or dropped it, when they dropped it, it splashed a person and got in their eyes.

Do Slip and fall Cases Take Longer to Resolve than a Case from an Auto Collision?

Interviewer: With slips and fall cases, compared to auto accidents cases, how long would those take to resolve?

The Nature of the Injury Can Dictate How Long a Case Takes to Resolve

Adam Hunt: Again, it’s going to be based on how long they’d need treatment and what the nature of the injury is. It might take a little longer because you’re negotiating with legal counsel and the insurance company at that point in time. In some cases, you have both in house and out of house counsel, so it might get a little complicated.

It might take a little longer. Predominately, it’s going to be based on what the scenario was, what caused the accident, and what’s the nature of the injuries. How clear liability was on behalf of whatever store it was.

When Renters Are Injured, Which Party Is Legally Responsible Needs to Be Determined before a Suit Is Filed

Interviewer: Hmm. What about a situation where someone is injured at an apartment they are renting?

Adam Hunt: It’s going to depend on, again, what the nature is of the incident. It’s going to be a little more fact specific, what happened exactly, who was in control, who or what entity is responsibility under the law, and whether the other party had notice.

City or State: Which Entity Is Responsible for Injuries Sustained in Public Areas?

Interviewer: What about injuries in a public area, such as on the street?

Adam Hunt: The city or the state could be liable, depending again on the nature of the situation, and if they had notice. The city or whatever public entity could typically be liable, depending on what the facts of the case are and the nature of the injury.

Interviewer: If I was walking and I trip on a pothole or on a sidewalk that was uneven and I became injured; would that be a legitimate case?

Adam Hunt: It could be, depending on whether, how long that obstruction was there and whether the city knew about it. It’s going to be very specific as far as the individual cases. That’s why individuals injured should probably always consult an attorney and see if they are entitled to some compensation.

Interviewer: When someone refers to premises liability cases, what’s the difference between that and any other personal injury case?

Adam Hunt: Premises liability is a little more fact specific. It depends on whether something is open to public. There are numerous variations depending on what the issue was and what happened.

By Adam Hunt

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