When a slip and fall accident occurs on property owned by another person or business, the accident victim may be eligible to take legal action under premises liability law. While each individual person is responsible for being aware and conscientious of environmental hazards, property owners are also required to maintain their premises and ensure the safety of guests.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident that occurred on another person or entity’s property, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your losses. Contact an Oklahoma City slip and fall lawyer from the Abel Law Firm today to discuss your legal options. Call (405) 239-7046 to schedule a free case evaluation.
Why Choose Abel Law Firm for My Slip and Fall Case?
First and foremost, because Abel Law Firm gets results. We have helped secure millions of dollars in compensation for our personal injury clients, and we can do the same for you and your family. Though we can’t guarantee a favorable outcome, we have the knowledge and experience to make Oklahoma personal injury law work for you and fight aggressively to get you the compensation you deserve.
Abel Law Firm is an award-winning firm. Attorney Ed Abel, the founder of our firm, was named 2011 Oklahoma City Personal Injury Litigator of the Year by Best Lawyers and was a past president and past chairman of the Oklahoma City Trial Lawyers Association. He is also a frequent lecturer at the Oklahoma Bar Association and Oklahoma Association for Justice. Attorney T. Luke Abel, the current firm manager, was selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America and designated a “Super Lawyer” by SuperLawyers.com.
And lastly, because Abel Law Firm is a family business. We understand the lasting impacts that an injury can have on a family, and we treat all of our clients with compassion and understanding as we help them get through this difficult time and seek compensation for their injuries.
Do I Need an Attorney for My Slip and Fall Injury?
Although you are certainly able to represent yourself in a slip and fall case in Oklahoma, you are at a distinct disadvantage when you do so. In a recent study done by the Colorado Center for Law and Policy that focused on evictions, litigants that represented themselves in civil court to protest their eviction were unsuccessful 68% of the time. That same study found that litigants that retained legal counsel were able to avoid eviction 94% of the time. Having an experienced attorney helps.
The numbers don’t tell the whole story. Slip and fall cases present a wide array of challenges for anyone not familiar with personal injury law. Determining liability and gathering evidence to build a personal injury claim can be a painstaking process for the uninitiated. Having experienced legal representation removes the burden of building your claim from your shoulders and allows you to focus on healing your injury and getting back to the business of living your life.
An experienced personal injury attorney also knows how best to calculate how much compensation you are due for an injury. Damages like pain and suffering and lost wages can be hard to determine on your own, and without a lawyer, you may end up selling yourself and your family short when requesting compensation.
If an insurance company denies your claim for compensation outright and doesn’t offer any settlement, your only option may be to file a lawsuit in Oklahoma court. If that happens, you’ll certainly want legal counsel by your side to argue your case, or you risk getting no compensation for your injuries at all.
What To Do If You’ve Just Been Injured in a Fall
If you’ve just been injured in a slip and fall and think you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim, here are some steps to take right away:
- Get medical attention. Contact emergency medical services immediately. When they arrive, submit to a full evaluation, even if you don’t think your injury is serious.
- Contact the property owner/responsible party. Let them know about the hazard that caused your slip and fall and the injury you’ve sustained.
- Don’t admit fault. Don’t apologize or tell any responsible party that the accident was your fault, especially not in writing.
- Document everything. Note the time and place of your accident. If possible, talk to eyewitnesses and get their contact information. Get photos of the site of the accident, the hazard that caused it, and any injuries sustained.
Damages from Slip and Fall Cases
Slipping and falling can cause serious injury. Fractured hips, fractured ankles, traumatic brain injuries, and knee damage are all common injuries caused by slipping and falling. If you or a loved one has been injured on another person’s property by falling due to unsafe conditions, you may be able to recover compensation for losses due to your injuries. The amount of compensation you’re able to get depends on the circumstances of the accident and the severity of the injury. Generally, the more severe the injury, the more compensation your attorney may be able to obtain for you.
Compensation for injury can cover the following losses:
- Lost wages: According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slips and falls account for more lost days at work than any other injury. If those lost days mean lost pay, you may be able to recover compensation to cover the lost wages. This applies not only to the injured victim, but also to any caretaker or family member that has to take time off work to care for the victim as well.
- Medical bills: If your injury is severe enough to require hospitalization, you can recover damages to cover the financial loss. Losses due to hospital stays, ER visits, medication, or long-term treatment for an injury are in this category.
- Pain and suffering: Not all injuries in a slip and fall case are evident and clear cut. A serious injury can affect an entire family, both materially due to a loss of income and mentally due to the strain a debilitating injury can put on a household. Losses for pain and suffering refer to non-monetary hardships that are hard to quantify.
- Long-term care: If a debilitating injury leaves you permanently disabled, you can recover damages to cover the increased medical costs and extra care.
- Wrongful death: If a slip and fall leads to the worst-case scenario of losing a loved one, your family can recover damages to replace the lost income and help get you through the trauma caused by the death.
Types of Slip and Fall Cases
Various circumstances can result in a slip and fall injury. Four generalized categories of slip and fall injures are:
- Trip-and-fall accidents: An object is located in walkway, causing a person to trip
- Stump-and-fall accidents: An impediment in the walking surface causes a person to stump a toe and fall
- Step-and-fall accidents: A structurally unstable walking surface may collapse
- Slip-and-fall accidents: A slippery walking surface causes a person to slip and fall
It is the property owner’s responsibility to provide ample warning about these hazards in order to protect guests and visitors from harm.
Common Injuries from Slip and Fall Cases
Slipping and falling is one of the most common causes of injuries in America. According to the CDC, over 800,000 people are hospitalized every year for injuries relating to slipping and falling. There are several different injuries that can result from a slip and fall. Some of these injuries include the following:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Torn ligaments
- Knee damage
- Neck injuries
Instances When Slips and Trips Aren’t Your Fault
If you slip on someone else’s property, the owner may be responsible, as it’s also their duty to maintain a reasonably safe area. Proving that responsibility is the job of your personal injury attorney.
Examples of when an owner may be liable include:
- There is water on the floor and you slip in the puddle before a sign is put up to warn you of the hazard
- A temporary construction project results in uneven terrain, but they fail to post signs warning you of the hazard.
If you suffer from an accidental fall while in a public space, you may be eligible for compensation for damages. In order to ensure a solid case, make sure you document all aspects of your accident, including: records of injury (hospital bills, doctor visits, etc.), photographs of the hazardous circumstances which caused your accident (uneven terrain, puddles, etc.), and the names and telephone numbers of as many witnesses as possible.
Determining Liability for Slip and Fall Cases in Oklahoma
If you’ve slipped or tripped on someone else’s property, you may be able to recover damages for your injury, but liability can be hard to determine.
The owner or person responsible for a property also responsible for any injuries that occur on that property. There are exceptions to this, and every case is different, so check with your attorney to determine whether the circumstances of your accident will enable you to pursue compensation.
In general, the owner of a property has a duty to maintain a reasonably safe environment for visitors to the property. If your attorney can prove that a property owner’s negligence led to an accident that caused your injury, you may be able to obtain compensation from the owner’s insurance company. Proving this requires one of the following three things to be true:
- The owner caused the hazard that led to your accident and injury.
- The owner knew about the hazard that led to your accident and injury but did nothing about it.
- The owner should have known about the hazard that caused the injury because any reasonable person seeing it would have corrected it.
If your attorney can prove that the property owner was negligent based upon one of these three factors, you may be entitled to compensation.
In Oklahoma, some of the liability may still fall on the injured party in slip and fall cases. Oklahoma follows the comparative negligence doctrine, which states that in accidents where liability is shared, any party more than 50% responsible cannot recover any monetary compensation. For example, if you were wearing sandals on a construction site and slipped and injured your foot, regardless of the hazard that caused the injury, you may still bear some responsibility because you were not following reasonable safety precautions. You may still be able to get compensation for your injuries, but a lesser amount than you would get if you had been wearing closed-toe shoes.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a slip and fall accident due to a negligent property owner, you should discuss your legal options with an experienced attorney. Contact the Oklahoma City slip and fall lawyers of the Abel Law Firm today at (405) 239-7046 for more information.