Slip and fall accidents come with many unique challenges. While the facts might show that the owner owes you compensation for the damages and injuries, it’s likely that you might face multiple challenges in every step you take. It’s important to first take your time and recover, and that one of the key reasons why you need to work with a skilled lawyer. Furthermore, you raise your chances of receiving the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Cellino Law is committed to helping all our clients with the following when they’re involved in slip and fall accidents:
- Protect your rights in case the property manager or owner attempts blaming you for the accident
- Consult with professionals all around Queens to value your case properly
- Confront the insurance company in case they try devaluing or denying your claim
- Investigating the circumstances surrounding your case to find out the root cause.
Our highly trained and experienced Queens slip and fall lawyers will go out of their way to build a strong case on your behalf, and back it with strong evidence. Before we even start negotiating your case with the insurance company or the property manager, we’ll ensure that we’ve gathered compelling evidence as well as witness and expert testimonies to leverage a high settlement amount. In case the offer the defendant gives is unsatisfactory, we’ll not be afraid to take the case to court.
Having a personal injury lawyer in Queens by your side increases your chances of getting a higher compensation amount. Contact Cellino Law today to get more information about your legal options. We provide all our clients with a free initial consultation.
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What Should You Do After a Fall Injury in Queens?
According to research, over a million people go through the emergency room every year across the United Stated because of fall-related accidents. Just as with any other forms of accidents, some people get minor injuries like cuts and bruises, while others get more serious ones like concussions, broken hips, broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord damage. A number of these injuries could be fatal.
The law in Queens, NY, allows you to pursue compensation in case you fall on another person’s property. It doesn’t matter the location or the actual place – it can be public or private property, a home, or a business premises like a restaurant or a store – you can pursue legal action after the fall accident. However, what actions can you take?
Seek Prompt Medical Attention
One of the first things you should do is seeking immediate medical attention after the slip and fall accident. It’s imperative to not only have your injuries assessed by a doctor so that you can receive the right treatment. This will also let you get official medical records, which will be useful when it’s time to file your claim.
Medical records will be used as evidence when demonstrating the extent of your injuries and the damages you incurred. There are a number of serious injuries such as traumatic brain injury that might exhibit immediate symptoms. Furthermore, timely diagnosis and prompt medical care could save your life.
Report the Accident as Soon as It Happens
You should alert the company or person in charge of the premises or the property immediately. For example, when a slip and fall accident happens in a restaurant, you should inform the manager or the owner immediately. In case the accident occurred on a rental property, you should let the landlord know. The person you inform about the accident should ideally make a formal report of the accident, and you should make a point of obtaining a copy. If you have to move from the scene of the accident for treatment, make sure that you call back later and request them to provide a copy of the accident report.
Minimize What You Say and Don’t Share Details of the Incident
After the accident, it’s important to be careful of what you say no matter who you’re dealing with. Avoid casting blame, getting emotional, explaining how the accident happened, admitting guilt, and arguing. Remember that anything you say can and might be used against you later while calculating your compensation claim. Go out of your way to avoid letting the situation spiral into an argument. The only thing you need to do is to report the issue to the relevant persons in a straightforward manner.
Collect Contact Information of Witnesses
If there were witnesses when the accident happened, it’s important to take their contact information and names. The goal is to have a way of contacting the witnesses when you need them to provide backing for your version of the story in case the owner chooses to offer a different version of the story.
Take Photos and/or Videos
Make sure that you record pictures and videos of the accident scene as clearly as possible. Remember that the images or videos need to show the area where you slipped and fell, along with anything else that’s relevant to the accident, including the factors that contributed to the accident, the scene of the accident, along with other elements. Make sure that the videos and images have timestamps on them, and it will make the process of filing for compensation easier for you.
Preserve Everything You Were Wearing
Avoid washing the clothes or shoes that you were wearing the day the accident happened. That’s because it’s an important piece of evidence that will demonstrate that the accident actually occurred and that it was directly caused by negligence.
Get in Touch With an Attorney
Contact a personal injury attorney near Queens as soon as the accident happens. Your lawyer will be able to help you gather the evidence before it starts disappearing. Moreover, they will make sure that you don’t have to answer questions you don’t need to, such as those that don’t concern the injuries you suffered or the accident, or question that might end up affecting your compensation claim.
It’s also imperative that you hire a lawyer before signing anything or starting the negotiation process with the insurance companies. Keep in mind that the insurance companies are just like other businesses – they are always looking for opportunities to minimize the number of expenses or expenditures in order to increase their profits. Therefore, they are always trying to give out the minimal amounts in compensation possible.
Where Do Fall Accidents Commonly Happen?
Fall accidents and the resulting injuries can happen to almost anyone across Queens or any other part of the country. This is especially true when the people responsible for ensuring safety fail to uphold the safety of public areas. Slip and fall accidents commonly happen in areas such as:
- Icy or snowy parking lots and walkways
- Wet floors that are left unmarked
- Carpets or mats that aren’t tacked down properly
- Construction sites’ scaffolding
- Poorly lit stairways or steps
While many people usually end up blaming themselves for the slip and fall accident, the real responsibility lies on the property manager, owner, or the people responsible for maintaining a particular area. In such a case, the negligence of these people caused the accident along with the resulting injuries and damages.
What are the Most Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents?
The Floor Safety Institute says that slip and fall accidents are responsible for over 1 million annual emergency room visits. Most of the victims sustain head trauma, bone fracture, lacerations, and bruises from the accident. The most common cause of fall injuries is walking on dangerous surfaces. However, there are many more dangerous conditions that are widely known to cause people to fall.
Some of the fall accidents are caused by conditions such as:
Wet, Uneven, or Slippery Surfaces
As you probably already know, wet surfaces can significantly affect traction. Things like a recently waxed floor, spills, a recently mopped floor, etc. can easily make a person slip and fall. Further, things like torn carpets, loose floorboards, unanchored rugs, and mats, etc. are all potential slip and fall hazards that could cause injury.
There are also outdoor potential hazards such as rain, snow, and ice, which are all known to increase the likelihood of causing slip and falls. There are also other factors such as uneven surfaces or defective surfaces that can also make a person fall.
These are things like boxes, clutter, power cords, toys, equipment, shoes, tools, etc. This list is nearly endless.
Poor or Absent Lighting
This is a major culprit when it comes to potential slip and fall accidents, especially inside buildings and on staircases. Poor lighting is actually one of the elements that create an environment with high probabilities of fall accidents. It can be a major hazard even on surfaces or environments that would otherwise have been non-hazardous.
Lack of Safety Features
Elders are more likely to use the railings on buildings to avoid falling. Therefore, not installing rails or installing ones that are not of the proper height, or even loose handrails can easily cause a person to slip and fall. Wheel stops and speed bumps are also major hazards for falling accidents. As such, they shouldn’t be installed directly onto a pathway, and if they have to be installed, they should be marked with bright colors.
If a floor is dug or opened for construction purposes, it has to be covered well whenever it’s not in use, and signs installed to alert passersby. There should also be permanent grate and floor openings, all of which should be covered well to avoid people tripping over them.
Stairways That Are Poorly Designed or Constructed
Handrails aren’t the only elements that cause people to fall. Some other features like the stairs could easily make a person trip and fall. Remember that all buildings have to abide by the stipulated building codes both in the state and the local county. For example, the staircases have to meet certain depth and height size minimums, and the difference in the depth and height shouldn’t vary significantly.
According to the New York Building Codes, all building owners have to maintain elevators, curbs, escalators, and other building features depending on the acceptable standards.
Since fall accidents could happen just about anywhere, people who spend much of their time at work are especially prone to work-related fall accidents. In fact, according to the official statistics, many falls happen while people are at work. These accidents tend to be considerably more severe than others, especially in risky industries like construction. Work-related falls are pretty common and are increasingly becoming a lead cause of lost time at work. Many workers will fail to go to work because of the injuries resulting to fall accidents at work.
Furthermore, fall-related accidents usually account for a significant number of workers’ compensation requests, with about 12% to 15% of the requests being directly related to fall accidents. According to research, this number tends to increase with age. On the other hand, according to data from the bureau of labor, work-related slip and fall accidents are often fatal. Their report from 2017 data shows that in the year, 31 workers lost their lives from a work-related fall accident.
Luckily, a worker could be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits so long as the injuries occurred while they were working. The reason behind this is that all employers are required by law to offer this coverage to all their employees. The victim employee can receive compensation for the earnings they lost, the medical bills, and disability benefits, along with an ability or a right to file a claim against the employer in case an accident occurs. With this coverage, it doesn’t matter who the person responsible for the accident is; the injured worker will receive the compensation.
It’s however, important to keep in mind that there’s usually a limit in place on the amount of compensation a worker can receive, and the allowed time period. You may also be compelled to work with the healthcare professional the insurer provides. Since the insurer might try to drive the value of your claim to as low as possible, you should ideally contact a personal injury lawyer from Queens that is well acquainted and experienced with Workers’ Compensation law.
Vulnerable Elder People
As we age, we start facing challenges even for the seemingly trivial tasks such as standing up. According to statistics from the New York Department of Health, many elderly people living in the State lose their lives because of slip and fall-related accidents per year, while thousands get injuries.
Between 2005 and 2014, 900,000 elderly people from New York were reportedly rushed to hospitals because of fall-related accidents. Of these, about 8,000 died from their injuries and lost their lives. In the year 2014 alone, 111,046 people in the state aged over 65 years visited the emergency room because of fall-related injuries. Of these, 52,310 were seriously injured and 1,203 lost their lives from their injuries.
Who is Liable for Your Injuries After a Slip and Fall Accident in Queens?
Property managers and Homeowners have the responsibility of keeping their properties safe for any visitors. When a property manager or owner doesn’t follow the stipulated guideline and correct any safety issues that might be present, they can be held liable for any fall injuries or accidents that occur. For example, if a guest visits the premises for business purposes, the owner is required to inspect the property regularly and fix any issues that could present a safety hazard.
In case you’re simply visiting a friend or family member, the homeowner isn’t really required to inspect their home regularly for safety hazards. Still, in case there are any pressing safety concerns in the property, they need to let the visitors know in advance. In the homeowner knew or expected a visitor on their property, they can be held liable.
Besides business owners and homeowners, property owners and government agencies can be held liable in case you suffer fall injuries. As such, it’s crucial to identify the people who might be responsible for the fall accident when it happened. According to New York law, you should seek compensation from the people who are responsible. With Cellino Law, our Queens premises liability lawyers will help you investigate your case, find out exactly what caused the accidents, and identify the person who is responsible.
What is the Value of My Slip and Fall Case?
When it comes to slip and fall cases are unique, every case will be very different from the next. That’s because each cause will have its own set of unique circumstances surrounding it, which plays a major role in establishing the value of the case. However, our professional lawyers at Cellino Law will calculate and provide you with a fair estimate amount, using factors like:
- The past and future hospital and medical expenses
- Any lost income and future working capacity caused by the injuries you suffered
- The nature and extent of personal injuries sustained
- The nature and extent of non-economic damages such as emotional suffering and whether there are punitive damages
Cellino Law is made up of attorneys who will work their best to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Where necessary, we can help you obtain the assistance of an economist and a life care planner to get the value of some of the factors that might affect the outcome of your compensation claim.
What are the Most Common Injuries From Slip and Fall Accidents?
As we mentioned before, fall accidents will often cause varying degrees of injuries. While the injuries are minor in most cases, they can be serious and also fatal in other cases. Moreover, the severity of the injuries is largely dependent on the age, environment, and the nature of the fall. If a worker falls while at work, the injuries could affect their productivity and impact their health.
Understanding the nature of these accidents and the common injuries that occur can essentially put a person at a better position to communicate your condition to both the doctor and your attorney. Effective communication will help create better and even more effective treatment programs, and also help your attorney to prepare well for your compensation claims.
Some of the common slip and fall accidents include:
A human bone breaks when too much pressure is applied in a specific area than it can handle. Falling is one of the ways this kind of pressure is exerted. As such, a fall accident can lead to hip, ankle, and wrist fractures, which can be quite painful and lower a person’s quality of life. In general, the older the person is, the higher their likelihood of breaking a bone after an accident.
At the time of the accident, the health status of a person and their age won’t matter much from a legal point of view. It doesn’t matter how fragile your bones are – you have the right to seek financial compensation from the negligent party as with any other person.
Cuts and Bruises
Bruises and cuts are some of the most common injuries in slip and fall accidents and might be external or internal. While such injuries typically don’t seem serious to the naked eye, disfigurement is usually regarded as serious according to Queens injury law. Following the accident, it’s recommended to take pictures and videos of the cuts and bruises that you suffer for documentation.
The injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident might include brain trauma. This usually happens in case you fall headfirst or jolt without a direct impact. Such an injury can be quite dangerous and may lead to complications that are sometimes life-threatening. This is especially true in cases where an injury is left untreated for a long time. In case you suffer a brain trauma-related injury, you should always consult with a specialist to assess the injury.
Muscle Strain and Shoulder Dislocations
These are also quite common injuries that commonly happen when a person is trying to reach out for something and falls in the process. In some cases, these injuries will require surgical treatment, and you might even have to start a long-term prognosis to recover fully.
Nerve and Spine Damage
Both the nervous systems and the spine are quite fragile. Spine and nerve damage injuries may happen through stretching and cuts. In case the nerves and spines may be permanently damaged, which will often affect various aspects of your life, including your earning capacity.
This is another injury quite common with slip and fall accidents. Since the knee is a combination of ligaments and bones, it will take much longer to heal. Aside from ligaments tear, you might also dislocate your patella, in which case you might have to undergo a knee reconstruction procedure.
Sprained Wrists or Ankles
When you fall, it’s easy to get ankle and wrist sprains. This is because when you’re falling, you might try to put your arm out in order to cushion your fall. Sprains are tears of the ligaments and can be very painful. Since the ligaments usually don’t receive a lot of blood, the healing process is usually lengthy. Although many sprains don’t seem serious at first, they will certainly affect the quality of your life. You might be unable to perform daily tasks like cooking, buttoning a shirt, walking, and others.
What is the Statute of Limitation in Slip and Fall Injury Cases in NY?
In general, it’s important to contact a lawyer immediately after the accident occurs. Keep in mind that the law allows you a limited amount of time to file a claim, from the day of the accident. Failure to acknowledge the statute of limitations could mean that your case is lost forever, and you will not be allowed to file a claim. For New York State, the statute of limitation stands at 3 years for slip and fall accidents.
The statute of limitations is usually based on the type of case. For instance, when filing a claim against a government agency, the statute of limitations allowed is one year and 90 days.
Must the Accident Report be Filed at the Time of the Fall?
Slip and fall accidents that are a result of another person’s negligence could entitle you to financial compensation. Therefore, an accident report could serve as evidence, though it’s not always necessary. Still, the process of filing an accident report is different depending on the location, along with factors such as whether it’s government property, business property, or a private residence.
Contact a Professional Queens Slip and Fall Lawyer Today
Cellino Law has a team of experienced personal injury attorneys in Queens, who will build a strong case on your behalf and back it with strong evidence. Before we start the negotiations process with the other party and their insurer, we’ll ensure we have compelling evidence and testimonies from experts and witnesses to leverage a high settlement amount. If the offer they give you isn’t satisfactory, our Queens personal injury firm won’t be afraid to take the case to trial.