I fell and was injured. now what?

You can get compensation for your injuries.  Slips, trips, and falls are claims or cases based on a person slipping (or tripping) and falling at a friend’s house, on the street, at the store, or anywhere. The case is based on a claim that the property owner or the owner of the premises was negligent in allowing some dangerous condition to exist that caused the slip/trip and fall.

Property owners generally have two basic defenses to liability in slip and fall claims:

(1) The first defense is that they were not negligent. For example, Carlos invited Luis and Daniel to a birthday party of Carlos’s 10-year-old son. Daniel was drunk and dropped a beer bottle on the porch. Two minutes later, Luis was running trying to catch his baby daughter, did not see the water/beer, slipped and fell. He broke his hip. Carlos may claim that the water/beer in which Luis slipped upon had been left on the floor only moments ago by Daniel, and that, in the exercise of due diligence, a typical owner of a house acting with reasonable care would not have had time to discover the danger and take steps to mitigate the danger.

(2) The second and more typical defense is that the person who was injured was at fault. For example, Carlos may claim that any reasonable guest, exercising due diligence for his or her own safety, would see water/beer on the floor, and take those steps necessary to avoid slipping on it.

Luis now wants to know whether he can sue Carlos or Daniel or both. He is worried because Carlos is his best friend and Daniel is his neighbor. Yes, he can. Carlos has a Homeowner’s insurance policy. Homeowner’s insurance pays damages for which Carlos become liable, up to the dollar amount of coverage that Carlos purchased. If damages exceed the amount of his coverage, or if he does not have any coverage, his personal assets could be at risk if he is sued and found to be responsible for causing Luis’ injuries. This is called premises liability.

Premises liability is the legal responsibility that property owners have for injuries that occur on their property due to slip (trip) and fall accidents. If a person slips, trips, or falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition, the property owner may be fully responsible. In general, property owners are held accountable for falls that result from ice, snow, or water, as well as abrupt changes in flooring, poor lighting, or a hidden hazard, such as a gap or hard to see hole in the ground.

In many instances, premises liability cases will allow damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses. Premises liability may also compensate surviving family members in the event of death.

Also, Daniel might have an insurance policy or personal assets which may be at risk if Luis decides to sue him. 

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about premises liability and potential liability for slips, trips, and falls. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with a case involving slip, trips, and falls.

I represent individuals in premises liability and accidents.  If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case and/or you are undocumented, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York13202. We are also in Buffalo and coming soon to ROCHESTER!!! Please look for my next article in the December edition.

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