Did you know that slip and fall accidents result in over 1 million hospital visits each year?
Slip and fall accidents are among the most common premises liability claims in the US. Whether you or a loved one have recently slipped and fallen on icy pavement, a wet floor, a cracked sidewalk, or the result of a property owner’s negligence, the time to act is now!
In this article, we’ll inform you on what to do after a slip and fall accident should you or a loved one ever need to recover damages. Read on to find out ‒ or if you have recently slipped and fallen due to negligence, contact us today to schedule a consultation with a premises liability attorney.
Get Medical Attention
Even if your injuries seem minor, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Symptoms don’t always appear right after an injury ‒ sometimes not for a few days or weeks.
By getting checked out right away, your physician will be able to detect injuries like contusions, concussions, internal bleeding, fractured bones, or traumatic brain injuries. The sooner you address serious injuries, the better the outcome.
Even if you don’t require medical treatment, you may be unable to work. Your doctor may recommend staying off your feet for a short period. In this case, you’ll need a physician to document the injury. Without this documentation, it will be difficult to file a claim to compensate for lost wages.
That’s not all. The longer you wait to have a medical evaluation, the harder it will be to prove that your injuries resulted from the accident.
Gather Evidence at the Scene
You’re going to need evidence to support your injury claim. Unless your injuries prevent you from doing so, take photos and video of the scene where the slip and fall took place. Specifically, you should document evidence of any contributing conditions, such as a wet floor with no warning sign, uneven pavement, or any other obstacle.
Make sure you take photos from different angles. Take photos of yourself to prove you weren’t wearing anything that may have contributed to the slip. Capture the scene as best and as detailed as you can and take all potential factors into account, including:
- Poor lighting
- Uneven surface
- Broken stairs/railings apart
- Damaged carpeting & tile
- Icy pavement
- Wet floors
Gather the contact information of any witnesses who saw the slip and fall occur. Obtain surveillance footage from a nearby business if the slip occurred in the camera’s direct line of vision.
Determine the Property Owner
Under premises liability law in North Carolina, negligent owners are responsible for injuries sustained on their properties. By law, property owners must fulfill a duty of reasonable care to maintain the safety of their properties. Failure to do so makes them liable for other people’s injuries.
North Carolina law protects anyone injured who is legally on the premises at the time of the accident. The law does not protect those who are injured while trespassing or in a non-permitted area.
Where is the exact location of the slip and fall accident? Did it occur on privately or publicly owned property? Knowing the appropriate legal action to take can be confusing. That’s where a premises liability attorney can help.
Understanding Pure Contributory Negligence in North Carolina
Because of North Carolina’s Pure Contributory Negligence standard, slip and fall victims can only recover damages if the court determines that they did not contribute to the injury in any way. Plaintiffs who contribute to their slip and fall accidents will have a difficult time trying to recover damages.
Here are some situations that qualify as Pure Contributory Negligence:
- A plaintiff was visibly in a rush & not being careful of where they were going.
- Texting on a mobile device while walking.
- A plaintiff ignored caution signs or disobeyed no running rules that were visible.
- Wearing unsafe shoes.
If any of these were factors in your slip and fall accident, we recommend consulting with an attorney right away. We’ll help you navigate your unique case and all the factors contributing to it.
Other Considerations in Slip & Fall Accidents
Proving the defendant’s negligence is key to a successful outcome in your injury claim. Here are the other components that can support your case and help you secure the most recovery:
- You were lawfully on the owner’s property at the time of the slip & fall.
- A dangerous condition was present & your injury was a direct result of that.
- The property owner knew of the danger, as well as the potential for injuries. They did not take reasonable action to correct the condition or prevent injury.
- Your injuries have resulted in lost wages, medical bills, prescription medications, doctor/hospital visits, and/or the need for specialized treatment and/or mobility devices.
Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. For example, if you’re suddenly unable to care for your family or struggle to sleep as the result of your injuries, for example, you can make a case for pain and suffering.
How Soon Should You File a Claim?
You should file an injury claim as soon as possible. In North Carolina, you have up to three years from the date of the slip and fall to file a claim ‒ but the sooner you file, the better the outcome will be.
Consult with a Premises Liability Lawyer
Navigating premises liability law can be difficult ‒ especially in North Carolina. The attorneys at Cotton Law Firm are here to stand by you and fight for the compensation you deserve!
Were you or a loved one recently injured in a slip and fall accident in or near Durham, Fayetteville, or Lumberton, NC? Do you have questions regarding slip and fall accidents and how to file an injury claim? Contact the Cotton Law Firm today. We look forward to speaking with you.