Do I Have a Valid Slip and Fall Claim?
Countless people slip and fall each year, and some of them suffer serious injuries in the process. At Karnas Law Firm, PLLC, we have extensive experience with premises liability claims. Arizona law requires that those who own or occupy property take certain steps to keep the property safe for visitors. These steps can include investigating the premises for hazards or warning the public of a defect that could send them tumbling.
After a slip and fall, you probably have many questions. Please contact a Yuma personal injury lawyer at Karnas Law today. Below, we analyze some of the important factors which determine whether you have a solid legal claim. We would gladly provide an individualized assessment of your case in a free consultation! Call today to schedule your free consult!
Your Reason for Being on the Property
The duties an owner/occupier owes you depend on the reason you are on the property. For example, a property owner owes you more care if you are invited onto the property to do business than if you are just a social guest.
Someone trespassing is owed even less care—unless they were a child drawn onto the property by an attractive nuisance. Common attractive nuisances are things that would draw a curious child onto the property to investigate, such as swimming pools, playground equipment, toys, abandoned appliances, and open sheds.
Your reason for being on the property is a major factor in most slip and fall cases. Generally, those who are injured in a business have the strongest cases because more is required of the property owner.
The Hazard that Caused You to Slip
Some hazards are created by the property owner. For example, a store might mop its floors during business hours. They should put up a sign telling customers to be careful. Other hazards occur naturally and remain hidden. These are important factors to consider.
If the hazard was very obvious, then there might not be a duty to warn you, or you could have been negligent for confronting the hazard anyway.
Proof of the Hazard
You will have a stronger claim if you can show the hazard actually existed. Some property owners are tempted to quickly repair their property and then claim you tripped over your own feet. Your claim is much stronger if you have proof, such as:
- Witnesses who can testify about the hazard
- Closed-caption TV
Your attorney can look for some of this evidence. However, you will strengthen a claim considerably if you can get a few pictures using your phone in the immediate aftermath of a fall.
The Severity of Your Injuries
A slip and fall claim should seek compensation for any losses you suffered from the fall. Many people suffer fractures, back injuries, head injuries, and other significant bodily injuries.
If you didn’t suffer any injury, then you can’t sue. It’s not enough to “almost” fall. You also need to tie your injury to the fall. You might have fallen on Tuesday and suffered a stroke on Friday. But you need to connect them to blame the stroke on your fall.
We highly recommend that anyone feeling pain after a slip and fall go to the hospital. This medical evidence can bolster a claim.
Your Own Carelessness
Arizona recognizes comparative negligence. Essentially, an injured victim could have been careless as well. Imagine someone walking into a store but looking at their phone. Because they are focused on the text message they are typing, they don’t see some spilled liquids in front of them, so they slip.
A defendant will argue your own negligence contributed to your injuries, so they shouldn’t be required to pay full compensation.
At Karnas Law, our Yuma premises liability lawyers always strive to minimize our client’s degree of fault. No property owner should get off the hook of paying compensation by blaming you. In fact, it’s unrealistic to expect people to walk while looking at their feet the whole time.
However, if you intentionally confront a hazard, you might have a harder time making a claim. For example, a pipe might have burst and caused water to freeze in a parking lot. Instead of walking around the recently formed ice rink, you stride across it to get to a store. This is the type of risky behavior that could defeat your claim.
Contact Us Today
Slip and fall cases are surprisingly complex. It takes considerable time and know-how to gather relevant evidence to use in a case. If you were hurt in a fall, contact Karnas Law Firm today.