Hempstead Slip and Fall Lawyer
Many people slip and fall every day in Hempstead. They lose their balance, trip, or topple over. Sometimes no one else is to blame for the accident. But in many situations, someone’s negligence or a dangerous situation causes the fall and resulting injuries. Victims may file a personal injury lawsuit against the individual or entity who caused their injury.
In the legal field, slip and fall refers to an accident when a person slips, trips or falls on someone else’s property and is injured.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may seek compensation. Contact our Hempstead personal injury lawyers of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP at (516) 542-0931,
Victims of slip and fall accidents may receive compensation for their losses, such as medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you should consult the experienced Hempstead slip and fall attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP right away to discuss your legal options.
Where and Why Do People Slip and Fall in Hempstead?
The National Safety Council reports that slip and fall accidents account for around 8.9 million emergency department visits each year. They are one of the most common types of unintentional injuries. About 50 percent of all accidental deaths at a home result from a slip and fall.
Falls can happen anywhere and at any time, on public and privately owned property, job sites, restaurants, or shops. People slip on wet floors, trip on rugs or uneven surfaces, or fall when going up or down the stairs. There is no exact definition of what constitutes a dangerous condition. There are, however, some commonly known dangerous conditions that show up over and over again in slip and fall cases, such as ice, snow, and liquid spills. According to the National Safety Council, most falls at home happen in doorways, crowded areas, or on uneven surfaces, stairs, ramps, or ladders.
Falls and injuries that occur in public areas, businesses, or work settings frequently happen in parking lots, on sidewalks, stairs, and slippery floors, as a result of tripping over an object, or as a result of falling from work equipment.
Slip and fall accidents are the primary cause of days lost from work due to a work-related accident. These accidents happen in all kinds of work conditions, but the risk of falls is particularly high in the construction industry. Falls account for 33.5 percent of all construction-related deaths.
Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations, especially in Hempstead. Many laws and regulations require employers to make workplaces safe, provide protective equipment, and train employees on safety matters. A law passed in 2017 requires construction workers to attend at least 40 hours of safety training by September 2020.
Types of Injuries Sustained in Falls in Hempstead
No matter what caused the accident, a fall can result in serious injuries. Common injuries caused by falls include:
- Broken bones. Fractures occur in 5 percent of all people who fall.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
- Head and traumatic brain injuries.
- Neck injuries.
- Torn ligaments in the victim’s wrists, feet, or legs.
- Lacerations and scarring.
- Internal bleeding.
- Chronic pain.
The Law Regarding Hempstead Slip and Fall Cases
New York has complicated laws that establish when a property owner is responsible for damages following a slip and fall accident. Because such accidents usually happen on someone else’s property, such as a store or other place of business, many cases are premises liability claims. Premises liability is based on the legal theory a property owner or caretaker owes a duty of care to those who enter their property.
An important issue in these cases is the question: Why was the person on that property in the first place? An individual who enters another person’s property may fall into one of three categories: invitee, licensee, or trespasser. Accordingly, the person responsible for the property owes different levels of care depending on what category the injured person falls into.
Invitees are invited guests, and as such are typically owed the highest duty of care from the landholder. A licensee, on the other hand, is someone who is allowed to be on the premises for their own benefit, such as a utility worker, but the property owner still owes them some duty of care. Finally, trespassers are those who have no permission to be on the land. Usually, the property owner owes them little or no duty of care.
However, the fact that someone fell and was hurt is not enough for a claim.
According to the New York City Bar association, when a victim was injured because of an unsafe condition on someone’s property, that person must establish certain key elements to recover compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering:
- The victim was lawfully on the property (i.e., the owner invited the victim or hired them to work on the property), or if not lawfully on the property that the owner knew they were trespassing on the property;
- That the property owner was negligent in dealing with the unsafe condition—that is, that the owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition on the property and failed to repair it (or if repaired, it was repaired in a way that did not fix it or made the condition worse), rope it off, or warn of the condition;
- The negligence caused the victim’s injury.
Proving Fault in Slip and Fall Cases
A homeowner, an agent representing the owner, a management company, a business, or a government agency may own or possess the property. Proving that the property owner or possessor should have anticipated that their negligence would create the hazard that caused an injury requires a complex legal analysis, and differs somewhat based on who was in control of the property.
Landlords may be liable to tenants or third parties for slip and fall accidents on a rental property. The injured person must establish that the landlord had control over the dangerous condition and that the landlord knew or should have known the unsafe condition existed but failed to make reasonable efforts to fix the problem, which caused the slip and fall injury. For example, a property owner who is responsible for overseeing common areas may be liable for slip and fall accidents on ice or snow if walkways are not properly cleared.
In cases involving commercial property, there may be several people or entities legally responsible for a slip and fall injury. Potentially liable parties may include the property owner, lessee, or employee of a business who may have caused a hazardous condition, known about it, or should have known about it, and did nothing to correct the problem. For example, a grocery store may be liable if a customer slips and falls on spilled milk in an aisle. A fitness center may be responsible for improperly maintained equipment. A beauty shop owner may be liable for chemical burns from incorrectly-applied hair color.
Slip and fall cases that occur on property owned by a local, state, or federal government entity can be particularly complex. There may be immunity provisions that protect them from liability. Also, special rules may apply, including strict notice requirements. Local codes and regulations often come into play and may affect who is legally responsible for the injury.
Evidence in Hempstead Slip and Fall Cases
The plaintiff (the victim) has the burden of proving the elements of a slip and fall case. The type of evidence they must provide depends on how the accident happened. For example, if the victim tripped and fell on a piece of torn carpet, a picture of the accident scene is valuable evidence. Many public places now have video cameras and it is critical to obtain the footage before it is erased. Pictures of the surrounding area might also prove whether there were any warning signs present at the time of the fall.
The owner’s maintenance and repair records may show whether the condition was a recurring problem or what the owner has done in the past to try to remedy it. In other cases, such as a fall on stairs, the design of the stairs may play a role.
Common problems with the design of a staircase include:
- There are no handrails or insufficient handrails.
- Handrails are at the wrong height.
- Risers (the height of each step) are the wrong height or are of varying heights.
- The steps are not wide enough, so a person’s foot does not fit on the step.
- The steps are unsafe because they are worn.
Compensation in a Hempstead Slip and Fall Case
As a result of slip and fall-related injuries, a victim may be entitled to compensation, such as:
- All medical expenses related to the slip and fall injury. This includes current and possible future costs for emergency treatment, tests, hospitalization, doctor’s visits, rehabilitation, physical therapy, medications, and medical equipment.
- Lost income because of diminished work capacity or time missed at work. The victim might have missed work because of the injury, or they might find that the injury prevents them from working in the same capacity as they did before suffering the injury. A victim may seek compensation for current and future lost wages.
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering, which are considered non-economic damages, although they often do have financial implications for sufferers. They include things such as anxiety, humiliation, or loss of enjoyment of life because of chronic pain.
How Can a Hempstead Property Owner Prevent Falls and Injuries?
To prevent falls and injuries, the property owner must always be alert to identifying and correcting potential hazards.
Precautions should include:
- Making sure all areas, including halls and stairways, are adequately lighted.
- Keeping walkways free of electrical cords.
- Keeping floors and walkways free of clutter.
- Cleaning any spills without delay.
- Making sure that all carpets and area rugs are securely attached to the floor and in good condition.
- Blocking off hazardous areas and/or providing warning signs.
- Keeping stairways free of tripping hazards.
- Providing sturdy handrails on stairways.
- Marking the top and bottom steps of stairs with bright or reflective tape.
- Repairing holes and other hazards on sidewalks and in parking lots.
What to Do, and What to Avoid Doing, to Protect Your Right to Compensation Following a Hempstead Slip and Fall Accident
If you have slipped, tripped or fallen and been injured on someone else’s property, at first, you may be upset, in pain, or even embarrassed. Therefore, you may not take steps that might help you in pursuing a claim.
If possible, however, consider taking these actions:
- Seek medical attention. Remember that some injury symptoms are not immediately obvious, so always have a doctor check you for injuries after any type of accident.
- Report the fall to property management as soon as possible.
- Take pictures of the area, including the hazardous condition that resulted in your fall and the surrounding area.
- Take notes. Write down the exact time and place of your accident, as well as who you informed about the accident. Note the weather and lighting conditions.
- If anyone saw your accident, get their name, address, and phone number.
- Save the clothes and shoes you were wearing and don’t clean them.
- Stay off social media. Do not discuss your injuries or a potential legal claim on social media. Statements you make on social media may later harm your claim.
- Avoid making statements or signing paperwork for the owner or their insurance company until you have consulted an attorney.
The Slip and Fall Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a law that limits how much time you have to file a lawsuit in Hempstead. As set forth in New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules section 214, a victim in a personal injury case, such as a slip and fall on someone else’s property, has three years to file a lawsuit.
Calling Our Hempstead Slip and Fall Lawyers for Help
A slip and fall accident can take place in seconds, but the resulting personal and financial losses may last a lifetime. For over 40 years, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP have protected the rights of injured victims. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may seek compensation. For more information or a free case evaluation, call Jacoby & Meyers, LLP at (516) 542-0931, start a chat with one of our live representatives, or contact us online.
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