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Slip and fall injury-related cases are among the most common personal injury lawsuits that our firm handles. Because of the complicated chain of events between the initial incident and the lawsuit itself, however, many of our clients find themselves daunted by the prospect of filing their claims; they do not know where to begin, which deadlines to respect, and how to argue their case in court. Our firm has two decades of experience in advocating for our clients during personal injury cases, and our videos below will help you figure out your next steps after your own injury.
Slip and Fall on a Residential Property
I’m often asked by clients, “What’s important to know if I’m injured?” or “What if I slip and fall on another person’s property?” First, be sure to gather any evidence you can, and do it sooner rather than later. Witnesses forget. Evidence is lost. The contributing condition may be repaired or replaced. Taking pictures, making sure that you get witness statements, and collecting evidence are all very important. Reach out to counsel sooner rather than later too, so that they can immediately begin their efforts toward gathering that all-important evidence for you. Especially in a slip and fall case, that evidence gathering can make or break your case.
Slip and Fall Injury on Property Owned by a Municipality
In one case, a client was at a local park, and because the park was not maintained well, my client tripped and fell, sustaining an injury. This park was owned by a municipality, and my client thus had certain time constraints to bring a claim. Whenever there is an injury that is caused by the condition of a municipal or state property, such as a public space or a vehicle owned by the county, the time-frame to bring a claim is shorter.
In cases such as this, law requires victims of the accident to bring a Notice of Claim, or an intention to file a claim, within 90 days of the date of the injury or the occurrence that caused the injury. If you find yourself in a situation in which you know that the injury was caused by the actions of a municipal worker or was sustained on property owned by a municipality, you must consult with an attorney immediately. Once you have informed an attorney of the incident that resulted in your injury, he or she can take the necessary steps to preserve your claim.
Injured While Trespassing on Private Property
Trespassing cases can be interesting because the fact that someone is trespassing doesn’t mean the property owner is off the hook – especially in cases where a hidden danger exists on the property. For instance, there may be an uncovered hole on a person’s property – and not only is it 10 feet deep, it’s not readily visible. If a person walking through the property falls into it, the landowner may be responsible for that person’s injuries because of that hidden danger.
I have friends who own property out in the country and, when they ask me for advice about these kinds of things. I say, “You just have to make sure your property is reasonably maintained. In other words, if you see something that’s really out of the ordinary – like a hole – you must try to do something about it. Just because someone’s trespassing on your property, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you, as the property owner, are totally off the hook.” Of course, there can be variations to that scenario. Maybe that injured trespasser was a repeat trespasser, so we get into the facts and circumstances of each case. Every case is different, but don’t presume that, just because the injured person was trespassing, the landowner is not responsible.
Notifying the Property Owner After a Slip and Fall Injury
Often, clients want to know if a property owner must be notified before a claim can be brought against them. Although the answer to that question is yes, I would caution you to remember that, in many situations, it’s best not to notify the property owner right away. It’s more important to reach out to an attorney first so that they can hire an investigator, perhaps send someone out to the property to take pictures, get statements, and speak to other people who may have been injured by that same dangerous condition. If you notify the property owner before taking those steps, they may get rid of some evidence or repair the condition that caused you to fall, and you can’t recreate that condition. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s important to reach out to counsel first and have them take the appropriate steps, including notifying the property owner.