The Key to Winning Slip and Fall Claims
By Lynn Shapiro, Staff Writer
Wet surfaces, cracked sidewalks, dark stairwells, construction sites, balconies, bathtubs and showers are all potentially hazardous sites, if not properly maintained.
One unfortunate victim, a 50-year old woman named Roberta, slipped and fell in a New York City apartment lobby, its polished marble floor slick with rain.
She was forced to spend three weeks in the hospital after her leg broke in several places.
Now, some years later, Roberta has finally received an undisclosed settlement, though she still walks with a pronounced limp.
Roberta says her accident was caused by her negligent superintendent, who failed to place a safety mat on the floor as soon as it started raining, as is required by New York City law, according to a neighborhood doorman.
What’s more, the super swore in a deposition he was in the shower when the rain started and Roberta took her plunge.
To the contrary, Roberta testified the super was standing in the lobby, and refused to help her as she lay on the wet floor, writhing in pain.
She said the super must have fled the scene. A tenant saw her alone, heard her screams and called an ambulance.
Premise Liability Lawsuits
Roberta’s accident falls into a category of law called premises liability, which specifies that when you’re injured on another person’s property as a result of their negligence, you have the right to collect both economic and (in some cases) punitive damages.
To prove negligence, you must persuade a judge or jury that the property owner did not “take reasonable care” to keep the property safe and clean.
In Roberta’s case, when she slipped on a wet area, was the dangerous condition in place long enough so the owner “should have known” about it”?
Nolo.com says the rule is: “If one person involved in an accident was less careful than another, the less careful one must pay for at least a portion of the damages suffered by the more careful one.”
Plaintiffs Stand to Win
Roy Konray, a personal injury attorney at TEAMLAW, Clark, N.J., says slip and fall plaintiffs tend to win.
“Of all the personal injury cases we handle, slip and fall cases are the most likely to result in a plaintiff’s verdict or a settlement. I have seen statistical evidence published by either the NJ courts or the NJ Law Journal which indicates your best chance as a plaintiff is with a slip and fall case,” Konray says.
Photos a Must
As with any potential injury claim, you should take pictures of the accident scene, your clothes, and any bruises that you might have suffered, as soon as you are able to do so.
Other evidence that would help your case would be a history of complaints against the defendant or the property.
Gathering More Evidence
Recording witness’ names and addresses and other contact information is critical, as is filing an accident report.
Also, see a doctor or go to the Emergency Room as soon as possible.
Consult a personal injury attorney in your state, who will help you receive the compensation you deserve for your:
- Medical bills
- Long term home care
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning potential
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering due to negligent property owners, superintendents and other parties whose job it is to prevent—not cause--slips and falls.