Slip and Fall cases offer many unique challenges. Even if the facts show that the owner owes you compensation, in reality, you will likely face multiple challenges every move you make. Taking your time to recover is essential, and that’s one of the key reasons why you should work with a Rochester slip and fall lawyer. Moreover, you increase your chances of receiving the maximum amount of compensation possible.
At Cellino Law firm, we’re committed to helping our clients with the following after a slip and fall accident:
- Protecting your rights in case the property owners or manager try to blame you for the accident
- Consulting with the top professionals in Rochester to value your case
- Confronting the insurance company when they deny or devalue your claim
- Investigating the circumstances surrounding your case carefully to establish the root cause
Our highly skilled personal injury lawyers in Rochester, NY will go ahead and build a strong case on your behalf, backed by strong evidence. Before we start negotiating your case with the property owner or the insurance company, we’ll make sure that we’ve collected compelling evidence, along with the testimony of witnesses and professionals in order to leverage a good settlement amount. In case the offer you receive is unsatisfactory, our professional fall accidents lawyers won’t be afraid to take the case to trial.
Your chances of receiving a higher compensation amount are much better when you have a personal injury attorney in Rochester, NY by your side. Get in touch with Cellino Law firm today to learn more about your legal options. We offer initial consultations free of charge.
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What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?
Research has shown that over a million people go to the emergency room every year across the U.S. due to fall-related injuries. Obviously, just like any other form of accident, there are those who get minor injuries like cuts and bruises, while others get more serious injuries like broken hips, concussions, head injuries, broken bones, and spinal cord damage. Some of these slip and fall cases could be fatal.
The good thing about falling on another person’s property is that you might be eligible for compensation according to the laws in Rochester, NY. It doesn’t matter the place or location – it could be private property, public property, home, or even business premises such as a store or a restaurant – you can take legal action following the slip and fall accident. But what actions should you take?
Seek Prompt Medical Attention
The first thing that you should do is seek immediate medical attention following a slip and fall accident. This is important not only to have your injuries checked out so that you can receive the required treatment but also to get official medical records, which will be used when filing for compensation. The medical records will come in handy when demonstrating the extent of your injuries and the damage incurred. There are a few serious injuries like traumatic brain injury that will have immediate symptoms. Moreover, keep in mind that timely diagnosis and prompt medical care may save your life.
Report the Accident as Soon as It Happens
It’s important to alert the person or company in charge of the property or the premises immediately. For instance, if a slip and fall accident occurs in a restaurant, be sure to inform the owner or the manager immediately. If the accident happened in a rental apartment, let the landlord know. Who you inform about the accident should make a formal accident report, which you should obtain a copy of. In case you have to move from the scene of the accident for medical treatment, ensure that you call back later and request a copy of the accident report.
Minimize What You Say and Don’t Share Details of the Incident
Following the accident, be careful of what you say, regardless of who you’re dealing with. Avoid arguing, getting emotional, casting blame, admitting guilt, or explaining how you slipped and fell. Keep in mind that anything you say can and may be used against you later on when calculating your compensation claim. Don’t let the situation escalate into an argument. All you need to do is to report the issue in a straightforward way.
Collect Contact Information of Witnesses
In case there are any witnesses, it’s essential that you take their names and contact information. The goal is to have a way to contact the witnesses whenever you need them to back up your version of the story in case the property owner chooses to provide a different version of the story.
Take Photos and/or Videos
Ensure that you take as many photos of the accident as possible. Keep in mind that the images should be well detailed, showing the area where you slipped and fell. Remember to take photos or videos of everything else that’s relevant to the accident, including the scene, factors that contributed to the accident, and other elements. It’s wise to make sure that the images have timestamps on them as it’s paramount when filing for compensation.
Preserve Everything You Were Wearing
Don’t wash the shoes or clothes that you were wearing when the accident happened. This is because it’s important evidence that demonstrates that the accident actually happened and that it was due to negligence.
Get in Touch With an Attorney
As soon as the accident occurs, you should contact a Rochester premises liability lawyer. Your premises liability lawyer will help you to collect proof before it disappears. Further, they will make sure that you don’t answer questions that are not necessary to the injuries or the accident, or the questions that might affect your compensation claim. It’s also important to consult an attorney before you sign anything or start negotiations with the insurance companies. Remember that insurance companies are just like any other business and that they are always looking to minimize their expenditures or expenses to increase their profits. As such, they will be trying to give out as little amounts in compensation as possible.
What Are the Foundations of a Successful Rochester Slip and Fall Claim?
For slip and fall compensation claims to be successful, the victim has to provide proof showing the following:
- The respondent was negligent, and this negligence directly led to the fall accident
- The respondent didn’t observe or fulfill the basic safety conditions or measures
- The slip and fall was the exact cause of your injuries and the losses you’ve suffered
For the reasons outlined above, it’s imperative that you review the circumstances of your accident. If the accident was caused by the landlord’s negligence and you can prove it, then you have grounds for a claim.
Evaluating whether the premises’ owner failed to observe the basic safety actions or measures is what determines negligence. It’s the duty of the owner of the property to inspect the premises and take proper safety measures to correct any dangerous conditions or situations before inviting other people into the space. In case the owner fails to correct a dangerous condition, they should explicitly warn people of them.
Conversely, anyone who invites people into their homes, such as neighbors, friends, colleagues, etc. has the responsibility of correcting any dangerous conditions or warning the guests about the existing condition. For homeowners though, there’s the benefit of not having to inspect their premises.
If you want your claim to be successful, you have to provide evidence that shows the respondent failed to observe the basic obligations. Proof might include things like maintenance records, dangerous condition photos, and/or witness testimony. The key advantage of hiring a professional personal injury lawyer in Rochester is that they can obtain expert witnesses who can explain to the jury or court how the fall happened because of the respondent’s negligence.
Which Places Do Slip And Fall Accidents Happen?
Anyone can slip and fall anywhere across Rochester or any other city or state across the country, especially when the people responsible fail to uphold the safe public areas. Fall accidents usually happen in the following areas:
- Snowy or icy walkways or parking lots
- Carpets that aren’t properly tacked down
- Unmarked wet floor
- Poorly lit steps or staircases
- Scaffolding on construction sites
Many people tend to blame themselves for the slip and fall accident, while the actual liability falls on the property owner, manager, or the person responsible for maintaining the specific area, which basically means that their negligence led to the accident and the resulting injuries.
Slip and Fall Statistics
According to the CDC, over one million people seek medical attention because of slip and fall accident-related injuries in the U.S. The report also states that fall accidents cause over 17,000 deaths per year. While there are many reasons why slip and fall accidents happen, some tend to be more serious than others.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents?
According to the Floor Safety Institute, falls are responsible for over one million ER visits every year. Many people usually sustain a bone fracture, head trauma, bruises, and lacerations following the accident. The leading cause of fall injuries is dangerous walking surfaces. Nonetheless, there are a lot more dangerous conditions that are known to cause a person to fall.
Many fall accidents are caused by the following conditions:
Slippery, Uneven, or Wet Surfaces
As it’s widely known, a wet surface significantly impacts traction. Things like a recently mopped floor, spills, or a waxed floor can easily cause a person to slip and fall. Moreover, things like loose floorboards, torn carpets, and unanchored mats and rugs are potential hazards that can cause fall accidents.
When it comes to outdoor potential hazards, things like snow, ice, and rain are known to create avenues for dangerous environments. Other factors like defective or uneven surfaces may also make a person fall.
These include things like toys, clutter, boxes, open drawers, power cords, tools, equipment, shoes, etc. the list is virtually endless.
This is a leader when it comes to potential hazards that make people fall in buildings or staircases. In fact, it’s one of the factors that create an environment for high probabilities of falling accidents. Poor lighting can be a great potential danger even on non-hazardous environments or surfaces.
Absence of Safety Features
The elderly people are much more likely to use a railing to avoid falling. As such, installing rails that are not at a proper height, lacking rails altogether, or loose handrails can cause a person to slip and fall. Speed bumps and wheel stops are other potential hazards for falling. Such features should not be installed directly on a pathway, and in case they are, they should be marked with bright colors.
In case a floor is opened or dug for construction purposes, it should be covered well while not in use and use signs to indicate a warning. This should also include permanent grates and floor openings, which should be covered well to avoid tripping people.
Poorly Designed or Constructed Stairways
Handrails are not the only culprits that can make people fall. There are other features such as the stairs that can cause fall accidents. Keep in mind that all buildings have to meet the stipulated state and county building codes. For instance, stairs have to meet certain height and depth minimum measurements, of which the difference in height and depth between each stair shouldn’t vary greatly.
The New York building code requires that all property owners must maintain curbs, elevators, escalators, and other building features based on acceptable standards.
Remember that falls can happen almost anywhere. As such, if you spend much of your time at work, a fall accident can happen there too. Actually, according to statistics, many falls happen while at work. Work-related falls tend to be significantly more dangerous, especially in risky industries such as construction. Work-related falls are quite common and have actually become a leading cause of lost time. Many workers fail to attend work because of fall-related injuries in comparison to other reasons.
Moreover, fall-related accidents account for many Workers’ Compensation requests, with 12% to 15% of the requests directly relating to fall injuries. Research has shown that this number increases with age. Conversely, work-related falls are usually fatal, according to the Bureau of Labor. Their 2017 report shows that in 2017, 31 workers died following a work-related fall.
Fortunately, a worker might be eligible to get Workers’ Compensation Benefits provided the injuries occurred while they were at work. This is because almost all employers are required by law to provide this coverage to their employees. The injured employee will ideally receive compensation for the medical bills, lost wages, along with disability benefits in exchange for their ability or right to sue the employer if an accident occurs. With this coverage, it won’t matter who the person responsible for the fault is – the worker will receive compensation regardless.
However, it’s wise to keep in mind that there’s usually a limit to the amount the worker can receive, and the allowable time period. You might also have to work with a doctor that the insurer provides. Of course, the insurer will try to drive the value of your claim as low as possible. For this reason, it’s best to obtain the services of a personal injury lawyer in Rochester New York who is well familiar with the Workers’ Compensation Law.
As a person ages, they face challenges even for seemingly trivial tasks like standing up. Statistics from the New York State Department of Health show that many elderly people living in the State die because of fall-related accidents every year, and thousands get injured.
Between the years 2005 and 2014, it was reported that 900,000 elderly people living in NY were rushed to the hospital due to fall-related injuries. From these, 8,000 succumbed to the injuries and lost their lives. 111,046 people in New York over the age of 65 went to the emergency room due to fall-related injuries in 2014 alone. Out of these, 52,310 were seriously injured, while 1,203 succumbed to their injuries.
Who Is Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident in Rochester, New York?
Homeowners and property owners alike have the responsibility of keeping their premises safe for guests and visitors. In case a property owner fails to correct any safety issues, they can be held liable for injuries in case a fall occurs. The safety condition to inspect regularly will depend on why the guests are on the premises. For instance, if the guest is there for business purposes, the owner has to inspect the property often and fix any issues that might present a safety hazard.
If you’re simply visiting a friend, then the homeowner doesn’t really have to inspect their home for potential safety hazards as often. However, if there are any safety concerns in the property, they should inform the guests in advance. A property owner can be held liable if they knew that you’d likely visit their property.
Besides homeowners and business owners, government agencies and landlords can be held liable for your fall injuries. Therefore, it’s crucial to identify the persons that might be responsible for the accident when it happened. The New York law allows you to seek compensation from those responsible. At Cellino law, we can help you investigate the circumstances surrounding your case, identify the person responsible, and find out what caused the accident.
Can I Receive Compensation If I Am Blamed for the Slip and Fall Accident?
When it comes to compensation, New York law allows for comparative negligence. For this reason, it’s possible to get compensation, even when the other party blames you. Comparative negligence means that both parties share the blame. In such a case, just because you share blame doesn’t mean that you won’t receive compensation. Liability will ideally be assigned to everyone based on how much they contributed to the accident.
If a victim is partly responsible for the accident, this will affect the compensation amount they can receive. The amount the victim will receive will be lowered based on the percentage the person is at fault. For instance, if you are 20% at fault, the amount will be lowered by 20%.
If you were involved in an accident and the property owner is trying to shift blame to you, avoid wasting time and get in touch with one of our lawyers today. At Cellino law, we believe that every victim deserves the right protection and fair compensation. Overall, the less fault is assigned to you, the more the amount you can receive.
What Is the Value of My Slip and Fall Case?
Slip and fall cases are unique, with every case being different from the next. This is because every case has its own set of unique circumstances and facts, which play a major role in determining the average value of the case. Still, our experienced attorneys can offer you an estimate of a fair settlement amount using factors such as:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Any loss of earnings and/or future earning capacity because of the injuries incurred
- The extent of non-economic damages like physical and emotional suffering and punitive damages
- The extent and nature of the personal injuries suffered
The lawyers at Cellino Law will work their best to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Where needed, our team can obtain the assistance of a life care planner and an economist to get the value of some factors that could affect the outcome of your compensation claim.
What Are the Most Common Injuries In a Slip and Fall Accident?
As mentioned earlier, slip and fall accidents often cause injury. While the injuries are minor most of the time, they can be serious and even fatal sometimes. Plus, the severity of the injuries will depend on the environment, age, and how the fall happens. When a worker falls while at work, it could affect their productivity, not to mention impact their health.
Simply understanding the common injuries that often happen following a slip and fall accident can place a person in a better position to communicate with both the attorney and the doctor. Better communication will help to build room for better and effective treatment programs, while also helping the lawyer to prepare well for the compensation claim.
Some of the common forms of injuries include:
A bone typically breaks when pressure is applied to a specific place that it can not handle. One way of exerting this kind of pressure is by falling. Therefore, a fall accident can cause ankle, hip, and wrist fractures that might resemble most forms of broken bones. Generally speaking, the older a person is, the higher the likelihood of them breaking a bone following a fall accident.
Still, at the time of the injury, age, and health status won’t matter as much from a legal standpoint. It doesn’t matter whether you have fragile bones – you will still have the same rights of seeking financial compensation as any other person.
Bruises and Cuts
These are the most common injuries in fall accidents and can either be internal or external. While such injuries might not seem serious to the naked eyes, disfigurement is quite serious under New York injury law. As such, following the accident, it’s wise to take pictures of the cuts and bruises for the purposes of documentation.
The brain can be traumatized by injuries sustained in a fall. This mostly occurs when the head hits the ground first or a jolt without a direct impact. Head injuries can be quite dangerous and usually lead to complications that are sometimes life-threatening. This is much truer in cases where the injuries are left untreated. For brain trauma-related injuries, it’s always wise to work with a specialist to evaluate the injury.
Spine and Nerve Damage
Both the spine and the nervous systems are fragile. Nerve and spine damage can happen through cuts or stretching. While the nerves and spine might be permanently damaged, which will most likely affect all aspects of your life, including earning capacity.
Shoulder Dislocations and Muscle Strain
These are another pretty common kinds of fall injuries. They usually happen when a person is trying to reach for something and fall in the process. In some cases, when this type of injury occurs, it will require surgical treatment, and the person might have to start a long-term prognosis for them to fully recover.
This is another pretty common form of injury in slip and fall accidents. Since the knee is a combination of bones and ligaments, it takes significantly longer to heal when someone hurts their MCL or ACL. Besides ligament tear, the person can also dislocate their patella, in which case a knee reconstruction procedure might be needed.
Sprained Ankles or Wrists
When a person falls, it’s quite easy to get wrist and ankle sprains. This is because when a person is falling, they might attempt to place their arms out to cushion the fall. Basically, sprains are ligament tear and can be very painful. Since ligaments don’t receive a lot of blood, the healing process might require a lot of time. While many sprains won’t seem serious initially, they certainly affect the quality of life. In other words, the person might become unable to perform everyday tasks like buttoning a shirt, cooking, walking, etc.
What Is the Statute Of Limitation for Slip and Fall Injury Cases?
Don’t lose your compensation claim just because you failed to acknowledge the statute of limitations. It’s imperative to contact an attorney immediately following a fall accident. The statute of limitations can be defined as the time the law allows you to file a claim, from the day of the accident. In case a person doesn’t acknowledge this allowed time as provided by law, the case could be lost forever, and the victim might never be able to file a claim. In New York, the statute of limitations is three years for a slip and fall accident.
Keep in mind that the statute of limitations will vary based on the type of case. For instance, when filing a compensation lawsuit against the municipality or other government agencies, the claim has to be filed within 90 days, and the allowed statute of limitations according to the law is one year and 90 days.
Must the Accident Report Be Filed at the Time of the Fall?
Evidently, slip and fall accidents caused by the negligence of another person can entitle you to financial compensation. As such, an accident report might help to establish the facts surrounding your case, though it’s not always required. However, the process of filing an accident report is slightly different based on the location, in terms of the business property, government property, or private residence.
How to Complete an Accident Report
In order to complete an accident report in an accurate and timely manner, be sure to follow the guidelines outlined below. Where possible, the report should be made the same day.
Claim Against a Business
Slip and fall accidents that occur in a business or store should be reported immediately to the manager or the responsible person (e.g. an on-duty employee). It’s likely that many business premises will have an accident reporting form, which is available through the business’s or company’s insurer.
Claims Against a Government Entity
Claims made against a government, state, city, or federal state often have strict deadlines. For example, in Rochester, a person has to submit an injury claim form within 90 days following the accident. Keep in mind that the function of the note is to indicate you intended to file a suit against them. As such, if you want to buy yourself some time, you should submit a notice of intention to file for a claim. This will essentially extend the deadline for filing and serving a claim to 2 years from the date of the accident.
The notice of intention has to contain the same information as the claim, aside from specifying the losses. With the help of a lawyer from Cellino Law, you’ll get all the help you need to ensure you comply with all the notice requirements, which will avoid claims risks. Let us deal with the bureaucracy details on your behalf while you focus on making a full recovery.
Claims Against Homeowners and Landlords
In case the slip and fall accident occurs within a rented or a managed property, an accident report form might be available. Nonetheless, it’s quite highly likely that a private homeowner won’t have such an accident report form readily available. In any case, you can collect records showing what exactly happened, making sure that you have included information such as:
- A thorough description of the injury
- The name, contact, address, and remarks of any witnesses
- A thorough description of the accident scene
- Environmental information including things like the lighting conditions, surface conditions, and the weather
- The time and location of the accident
Get in Touch With a Rochester Slip and Fall Lawyer
Cellino Law’s highly skilled personal injury lawyers in Rochester will go ahead and build a strong case on your behalf, backed by strong evidence. Before our Rochester personal injury firm starts negotiating your case with the property owner or the insurance company, we’ll make sure that we’ve collected compelling evidence, along with the testimony of witnesses and professionals in order to leverage a good settlement amount. In case the offer you receive is unsatisfactory, our professional lawyers won’t be afraid to take the case to trial.