Trip and fall (or slip and fall) accidents are the reason for one of the most frequent types of personal injury claims. Trip and fall incidents usually happen when a property owner or business owner does not maintain a clean and safe premises. Objects or substances in areas where patrons are allowed can create hazardous conditions that lead to injuries from a fall. In apartment buildings and other for-rent environments, the management company or property owner can be held liable when a visitor or renter experiences a trip and fall accident.
It is the responsibility of the injured person and their lawyers to establish proof for insurance or in court that the property owner was negligent or reckless. A qualified Tulsa trip and fall accident attorney will guide the victim through the complicated process of filing a personal injury claim to seek reimbursement for medical expenses, property damage, and other costs resulting from the fall.
Trip and fall accidents are classified as personal injury claims and attempt to seek compensation after a person is harmed while on someone else’s property. These claims usually fall under the category of premises liability cases. This means the owner of the premises can be held legally accountable for injuries and damage that occur as a result of the trip and fall accident.
Serious injuries often result from these occurrences. Often, the victim is unable to prevent the fall or take action to prevent injury. Elements that can increase the risk of a trip and fall accident include:
In instances where a person trips on a walkway, stairs, or parking lot outside the building, a case can still be pursued against the property owner. Trip and fall accidents can occur due to weather conditions or holes in the ground or pavement. When this happens on public property, the plaintiff may pursue not only the property owner but also any government entity which is responsible for maintenance of the area, as covered under Oklahoma Statutes Section 76, Title 10.1 when a landowner allows public recreational use of their property.
It may seem simple when a person trips and falls on an object left in a grocery store aisle, but winning a trip and fall accident lawsuit is more difficult than it appears. The plaintiff must present proof outlining the property owner’s duty of care for customers, as well as proof of negligence in maintaining that care. Ensuring these conditions are met to the satisfaction of a judge and jury can be challenging.
Trip and fall accident claims are complex and hard to pursue. The property owner may oppose a claim to their insurance or a lawsuit by arguing that the victim should have been more careful.
The opposing counsel will investigate the plaintiff for any actions the victim took that could have contributed to the fall. This means it is critical to choose an experienced trip and fall accident lawyer who has spent significant time litigating these types of cases.
A personal injury case for a Tulsa trip and fall accident will likely fall under premises liability. Premises liability is a legal concept that is frequently invoked in cases where the injuries were caused by defective or dangerous situations on another person’s property. It is possible to file premises liability claims against property owners, government agencies, or the owners of personal property (such as a boat).
In each case, the amount of compensation will vary, as will the laws governing the entity that is sued. Three common types of defendants are owners of these types of property:
Another important factor in successfully recovering compensation is the status of the accident victim, such as whether a person is invited or licensed to be on a property or whether they are trespassing. Someone who is an invitee has been invited onto the property as a guest or enters the premises for a specific purpose, such as a party. A licensee is a person who is on the property for a business purpose, such as a contractor or customer. Both of these individuals are owed a different and specific duty of care under Oklahoma law. When someone is trespassing, they are not owed any duty of care.
One of the most critical factors to a trip and fall accident claim is determining whether the hazardous condition was temporary or permanent. When a condition is temporary, such as a puddle of water on the floor or ice on a sidewalk, it can be difficult to prove the liability depending on the length of time the jeopardy existed.
Proving that the property owner is at fault can be especially challenging if the victim cannot determine what precipitated the fall and resulting injuries. When a trip and fall accident happens, many people are injured or at least stunned from the fall. It can be difficult to gather their wits and look for the cause, take photos, or locate witnesses if they first need medical treatment. Property owners who wish to avoid a lawsuit could remove evidence, such as cleaning up a spill, by the time a victim returns to gather proof.
Trip and fall accident lawsuits fall under an area of litigation called negligence law. In cases where a property owner was not found negligent, there is no liability, and a personal injury claim would be denied. To successfully pursue a trip and fall accident case, the plaintiff and their attorney must adequately demonstrate that one of the following conditions is true:
The first step is for the plaintiff to prove the property owner’s culpability and that the property owner has a legal duty of care to others. Once this is established, the victim must then present proof of injuries suffered from the trip and fall and also show proof that the injuries were not caused by any other factor or incident.
Putting together the evidence for these conditions is time-consuming, complicated, and usually requires special knowledge. This is where a skilled trip and fall accident attorney and their legal team are the most helpful in a case. They will demand records of cleaning and maintenance logs, employee training files, and discipline records to prove whether employees were maintaining the property correctly. Showing negligence to keep the area safe for visitors will be key in proving the hazardous conditions are what caused the trip and fall accident.
There are a number of sources of evidence that can be used to show liability to an insurance company or court. These include:
There can be many damages associated with a trip and fall accident. The victim may suffer economic damages, such as hospital bills, therapy costs, property loss, or loss of income. Additionally, there are many non-economic damages that can be pursued, such as mental anguish, loss of mobility, loss of companionship, and psychological trauma. A qualified trip and fall accident attorney and their colleagues will be able to guide a victim in determining an accurate, fair, and appropriate amount of compensation to seek.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence on their property, entrust your case to the experienced Tulsa trip and fall accident attorneys at the law offices of Graves McLain. They will work aggressively to seek justice for you. For a free consultation to discuss your case, contact them today online or by phone at 918-359-6600.
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