If you were hurt because you fell on someone else’s property, or if something valuable was broken because you fell, you may be eligible for compensation by pursuing a “slip and fall” personal injury lawsuit. “Slip and fall” cases as they are known, fall under the category of premises liability law.
What Responsibilities Do Property Owners Have?
In North Carolina, property owners are expected to keep their property in a safe condition or to warn visitors about possibly dangerous situations. Stairs should have railings. Dark corners should be illuminated. Spills should be cleaned up promptly and marked clearly until they are cleared up; carpets and mats should lie flat on the floor and not be tripping hazards.
What Damages May Be Covered in a Slip and Fall Case?
If a property owner fails to meet their duty, and if you are injured as a result of that failure and suffer damages as a result, you may be eligible to receive compensation for the damages. Damages may include medical bills, lost work time, the cost of help required until you recover, long term disability, and/or pain and suffering.
If You Contributed to Your Injury…
North Carolina is a state that practices contributory negligence, so if you are partly at fault for the fall, it may be that you will receive no compensation at all. The defendant—the property owner—may try to prove that you contributed to your injury.
Your Responsibilities as a Visitor
Visitors are expected to use reasonable care when they move around. Reading your cell phone while walking down the stairs is never a good idea. Shoelaces should be tied. If a sloped sidewalk looks slippery, maybe it’s wiser to take the long way around. You must also be using the property normally; in the way it was intended.
You can’t sue because the light fixture fell off the ceiling when you jumped off the balcony onto the chandelier. When the sign says, “No Trespassing,” you’ll have trouble suing because you ripped your new jeans on the barbed wire fence.
What Does it Take to Win Slip and Fall Cases
In order to win a slip-and-fall case, property owners must have been aware of the hazard and had time to respond. Your falling on a snowy sidewalk in the middle of a snowstorm is unlikely to result in a successful claim; similarly, slipping on spilled water before the owner had time to get a mop or post a warning cone might not be a successful case. The defendant will not have to prove that he or she was not negligent; proving fault will be your attorney’s job.
What Information to Prepare for a Slip and Fall Case?
If you are injured, it may be helpful to have pictures of the scene at the time of the accident. Names and contact information for any witnesses will also be useful. Don’t delay seeking medical treatment, however. And, as soon as you are able, write down the details of everything that happened.
Is there a Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Cases?
You have three years to file a case for a slip-and-fall injury, and the clock starts on the day you fell. You may be able to stop the clock in some rare cases, but it’s better not to delay. If you think you may have a case, consult an attorney who understands premises liability law quickly so you can preserve all the rights that may be yours.
Injured on Rental Property? Notify Tenant and Landlord
If you are injured on rented property, you may need to give notice to both the tenant and the landlord. They will determine who was responsible for maintaining the part of the property where you were injured.
Injured at Work? It’s a Workers’ Compensation Issue
If you are injured at your own workplace, your claim falls under Workers’ Compensation laws rather than premises liability laws.
Keep Your Slip and Fall Injury Off of Social Media
Do not discuss your injury in public or on social media until you have consulted an attorney. What you say on Facebook can become evidence in your case.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer ASAP
If you think you may have the right to sue for a slip and fall injury, consult an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you understand your options, identify the legal consequences of your claim, and advise you about whether the seriousness of your claim is worth the challenges that could accompany filing a lawsuit.
Your casual friends may be telling you, “You should sue!” A real friend will tell you, “Talk with a lawyer.” Only your personal injury lawyer can listen to the facts of the case, in confidence, tell you what a lawsuit will involve, and guide you to the best decision for your specific situation.
Personal Injury Lawyers Offer Free Initial Consultation
Contact us if you believe you have a slip and fall personal injury case against a property owner. We are a full-service law firm experienced in personal injury lawsuits in central North Carolina. We are committed to our clients and committed to defending your rights. We welcome the opportunity to advise you, help you understand your rights, and go that extra mile to ensure that you get the best outcome for any possible case. Call (919) 928-5983 or fill in our contact us form.