Slip and fall accidents. Who hasn't slipped and fallen numerous times in life, usually with little injury to anything other than our pride? There are those unfortunate few among us, however, who have suffered more than just a minor scrape or some slight bruise, experiencing instead serious and, in some cases, even permanent injury. For those individuals, a slip and fall accident is no laughing matter. If the accident was arguably the fault of another, failure to fully preserve your rights may impact your ability to get the medical attention and financial compensation you deserve.
New Jersey Slip and Fall Accidents Lawyer
If you or a family member has been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.
I'm attorney Francis M. Smith, founder of The Law Office of Francis M. Smith, Esq.. You can call 908-233-5800 or contact my firm online for help. I provide personal, efficient services to help clients recover compensation for all kinds of injuries. I also offer free consultations!
Slip and fall (and trip and fall) accidents occur all over the United States. In states such as New Jersey that have extreme winter climate however, there is an increased risk of slip and fall accidents due to such factors as icy stairs, sidewalks or parking lots. Other areas that may pose a risk of slip or fall or trip and fall include:
If you are injured as a result of a slip and fall because of a condition or circumstance that could have been prevented, the property owner may be liable and the owner's insurance company legally responsible for damages. If, for example, you suffer injury as a result of slipping on an icy sidewalk that a business failed to clean within a reasonable time after a snowstorm, that property owner may be held liable for not only the costs associated with treatment of your injuries but for any income you lose as well as other damages - like the pain you go through due to the injury and treatment, your loss of ability to do the things you did before the accident - like work, participate in sports or other activities, take care of your home or care for your loved ones. With a serious injury, loss of enjoyment of life is also a consideration when it comes to damages to be compensated.
Of course, if the property owner or store operator has insurance that covers things like slip and fall accidents. Sometimes it seems the insurer is all too happy to work with you, eager to quickly reach a settlement. But be careful about what they really say. Usually, insurance carriers and the claims agents of self-insured businesses want to gather information - and then stop communicating once they have what they want.
Sometimes (though very seldom) they offer a small amount in settlement of all claims - if this happens it may be before you really know what the final outcome of your injury will be. Although a quick settlement may seem beneficial to you, it really isn't.
First, remember that the insurance company doesn't work for you. They are not your friends. What you perceive to be accommodation and cooperation is actually nothing more than an effort to minimize financial exposure. The sooner you can be persuaded to settle, the more likely it is that you will agree to accept a sum considerably less than fair or reasonable under the circumstances. When you accept less, the insurer pays less and its profits are maximized. Usually, an insurance carrier only wants information - maybe a statement in which they get admissions or limit your injuries - they may ask for a medical release to get all your medical records - or a release to be sent to your job if you have lost time from work. Cooperation along these lines almost never pays.
Remember too that some injuries don't present symptoms or plateau until long after the date of accident. What does that mean in the context of a slip and fall or trip and fall settlement? Simply this: You may not know the full extent of an injury until weeks and sometimes months after the accident occurred. (Some of my clients need medical treatment for years, and some will require treatment the rest of their lives, unfortunately.) If you (and your doctor) don't know the full severity of your injuries, how can you determine how much treatment is required, how much work you may have to miss and what the total costs will be when all is said and done? How then can you know what is a fair settlement? Remember, the insurance carrier's aim is to get you off the books as cheaply as possible (when they do pay) or just to get information which can help them later (when they do not pay).
So, no matter how tempting it may be to settle quickly in order to avoid the strain of financial uncertainty, doing so is almost always not in your best interest. Put another way, your short term gain may not fully compensate for your long term pain (and other losses!).
As much as the property owner's insurance claims representative may try to convince you that you don't need a lawyer to represent you because the insurer will see to your needs, failure to at least consult with a personal injury attorney about the facts of your case will not serve you well.
If you have the misfortune to be injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, we suggest that you review the following to determine whether you might be able to successfully seek recovery for damages:
- Where did the fall occur? Was the location dangerous in and of itself? Ask yourself if it's fair to find the owner responsible for your accident. Remember different rules of liability apply to different kinds of property - commercial versus residential. Are you equipped to know the strengths and weakness of your possible claim or case?
- Was a dangerous condition present? Did the property owner fail to remedy a potentially hazardous condition or, in the alternative, take some action or fail to take some action which allowed a dangerous condition to exist?
- Was a legal obligation or responsibility disregarded? For example, was a safety code or municipal ordinance relating to snow removal, building construction or property maintenance violated? Do you know the standards of care?
- Was the dangerous condition such that the property owner knew or should have known of its existence?
- Does the Modus Operandi of the business increase the risk of a dangerous condition occurring? In other words, is it the type of business where you would expect to hear "cleanup on aisle 3"? What are their own internal rules for taking care of dangerous conditions?
A slip and fall or trip and fall can happen to almost anyone, anywhere, anytime. Many times, it just causes momentary embarrassment. The results can be serious, if not catastrophic. Do everything you can to protect your rights because getting the best results is no accident.
Slip and Fall Accidents - An Overview
Fortunately, most slip and fall accidents are minor and cause little physical injury or other damage. However, when a serious injury (or, sadly, even death) occurs due to a slip and fall, you will be well-served to seek the advice, counsel and, if warranted, representation from an experienced personal injury attorney such as Francis M. Smith in Mountainside, New Jersey. Mr. Smith has the expertise to determine whether a cause of action exists for recovery of medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inability to engage in pre-accident activities, and other damages. <<Read More>>
NJ Slip and Fall Accidents on Snow or Ice
Winter becomes more challenging when the weather impacts our ability to get around. Icy roads, sidewalks and parking lots threaten our safety whenever we venture out, whether we're driving to work or simply walking to the corner store. Icy and snowy conditions are among the leading causes of slip and fall accidents. <<Read More>>
NJ Landowners Duty to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents
As many as 1 out of every 20 people in the United States seeks emergency medical treatment as a result of a slip and fall accident. "Slip and falls" (and "trip and fall accidents") account for a large share of personal injury lawsuits in this country, lawsuits that proceed under the theory that the defendant landowner (as well as the occupier or person responsible for condition of the premises) was negligent in some fashion. If you are the party injured as a result of a slip and fall accident and wish to prevail in an action for negligence, you must prove <<Read More>>
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
If you are injured as a result of a slip and fall accident, you may eligible for compensation for your injuries - the pain, suffering, loss of use of a body part (temporary or permanent), medical bills, lost wages, and the loss of your ability to engage in normal activities of daily living as you did before the accident. <<Read More>>
Liability of Retail Stores and Other Businesses
Once you've stepped into or onto the premises of a store owner or occupier, you are entitled to certain basic protections. Specifically, the landowner owes all customers a duty to make and keep the premises safe, even if you don't end up spending any money while there. If they fail to do so, the owner/occupier may be held liable for damages resulting from an injury you suffer as a result of that failure. <<Read More>>