Everyone has heard of a “slip and fall,” or of a “trip and fall.” The typical factual scenario is when someone is at a store, and they fall on or over something that causes them injury. Some folks have a negative reaction to these claims. My guess is that they have never fallen on or over something that cause them injury. It could be that they’ve fallen and suffered injury, but were just too embarrassed to notify the management. The truth is that unintended falls happen every day inside or within business establishments, and in my experience, the majority of those could have been prevented had someone working there simply done their job
If a business is going to open its doors and sell merchandise to members of the general public, then it must make sure that the premises is reasonably safe, or to give you sufficient warning of a dangerous condition so that you can avoid it. That’s the law. This applies equally to business owners of grocery stores, restaurants, shopping malls, hair salons, etc. And when you think about it, it’s not too much to ask of a business owner to reasonably clean up spilled merchandise, or to repair their leaky refrigerated coolers or to put up a sign if something is slick or being repaired. If a business invites you inside their store to spend your money, then they need to make sure you will not be unreasonably injured in the process. If the business employees responsible for making sure a business premises is safe are more concerned with their snack break or checking their cellphone, then that business needs to be held accountable if you suffer an injury that prevents you from performing your job
As I mentioned above, some folks have a negative reaction to these injury claims. I understand that. We have all heard of situations where folks have faked falls and injuries and been caught on tape, etc. Fakers are like bad lawyers, bad doctors and crooked politicians – they are going to exist and be out there, you just have to avoid them and recognize that they are NOT representative of everyone. I certainly have no interest in representing a faker, and usually, a faker can be smelled out pretty quick.
But I can say this – fall cases
are some of the most difficult cases to prove and win. This surprises people, but it is true. The business owner is not responsible for an injury just because it occurred on their property. In order to win a case, the injured person must prove that the business owner was negligent in some manner that led to the fall and injury. Even if you can show that the business owner was negligent and caused your fall, the insurance company defending the business has MANY defenses that they can and will assert to shift the blame. For example, the insurance company will make you feel embarrassed or ashamed that you “allowed yourself to be injured”
in the first place. They will do their best to focus on what you could have done better to avoid the injury. Some of these defenses have merit under certain circumstances, but most, in my experience, are a tricky way to make an honest and injured person look untruthful, silly or irresponsible.
Calling my office as soon as possible after a fall injury is your best bet to determine whether you have a valid and legitimate claim. You need to take as many pictures as possible to document exactly what the scene looked like at the time of your injury, and preserve all evidence that you can. Take names of employees and make sure to place the business on notice of your injury before leaving. If you require an ambulance – then call one. Be extra careful for the telephone call you will receive soon after your fall from an insurance company asking you for a statement. Even if they do not actually ask you for a “statement,” you ARE being recorded, and anything you say CAN and WILL be used against you later, so be careful and call my office before getting too deep with an insurance company you believe is going to “do the right thing.”