Though it may be a surprising statistic, falls are one of the most common causes of injury across the U.S. today. Slip and fall accidents alone account for over one million emergency room visits every year, while falls in general send over eight million people to the hospital emergency room. While the incidence of falls increases with age, people of all ages and walks of life are injured in falls every year.
These accidents and the injuries associated with them present a real danger, and everyone should take care to promote environments of safety and security. Sometimes, however, business and property owners fail to do so. In these cases, accidents can result, leaving victims to face serious injuries, physical and emotional recoveries, financial burdens, and more.
Slip and fall accident victims don’t have to face these consequences alone. Our experienced Delaware slip and fall accident lawyers represent individuals throughout who have suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident due to someone else’s carelessness. Our legal team works with every client to seek justice and pursue compensation for their injuries. While you are recovering, our team can help ease the burden by addressing your legal options to cover medical bills and other financial considerations. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, we may be able to help. Call our nearest office or take a moment to fill out our online contact form. You will hear back from one of our skilled lawyers who can help you learn more about your rights and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
What Is a Slip and Fall?
A slip and fall is the term that is used to describe an accident in which a person slips or trips and falls on someone else’s property and is injured. Slip and fall cases typically fall under the umbrella of cases known as premises liability. Premises liability cases involve injuries that occur on someone’s property.
These cases can stem from incidents at private homes, places of business, public property, or a combination of these, such as an apartment complex. When a property owner fails to maintain his property and that failure leads to an accident, the property owner may have been negligent and in most cases, can be held responsible.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are caused by a variety of reasons. They can occur as the result of weather conditions, property disrepair, poor lighting, flooring changes, moisture, poor building design, and more. In general, all of these causes can be addressed with proper care.
While changes in the weather can pop up quickly, such as snow or ice accumulation on a sidewalk, property owners should understand the nature of their property and what steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of everyone. Additionally, repairs to aging or damaged areas on the property should be done promptly to prevent accidents.
If the property owner is unable to address a premises liability concern in a timely manner, they do have a duty to notify anyone who may visit their property of any potential danger. Even a simple sign can prevent an accident and painful injury.
Other common causes of slip and fall cases in Delaware include:
- Wet surfaces, such as floors that have just been mopped
- Recently waxed floors
- Uneven surfaces, such as loose floorboards
- Clutter left on floors
- Poor workplace training methods
Common Injuries Associated with Slip and Fall Cases
While it may be easy to dismiss a slip and fall injury as a minor occurrence, falling can have serious and long-lasting health consequences. Common injuries associated with slip and fall accidents include:
- Head injuries.
- Shoulder injuries.
- Back injuries.
- Torn tendons or ligaments.
Some of these injuries can be difficult to resolve. Different types of head injuries, such as concussions or traumatic brain injuries, have been extensively researched, and experts agree the side effects can linger for weeks, months, or even years. Similarly, back and neck injuries can cause lasting and painful damage even with from what some would consider a soft fall. Broken bones, shoulder injuries, and soft tissue injuries can all potentially require surgery to fully repair.
Even if you aren’t sure if your injury is serious enough to pursue an injury lawsuit, call the experienced Delaware Slip And Fall Accident Lawyers office nearest you for a free, no-obligation consultation at 302.268.6918. Victims should not have to suffer the consequences of someone else’s negligence. Your injuries, however minor they may seem, could be eligible for compensation through the legal system.
Delaware’s Comparative Negligence Rules Can Affect a Slip and Fall Claim
The state of Delaware follows the rules of comparative negligence. Essentially, comparative negligence acknowledges that a victim may be partly to blame for an accident. The courts will examine the situation to determine how much fault each party holds. If the victim is more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, he would not be allowed to pursue a legal claim.
Additionally, if the victim is only partly responsible, the court would determine an appropriate percentage and any settlement would be reduced by that percentage. For example:
- If a person were to slip on an icy sidewalk or outside of a store, the court might determine the victim shared 10% of the blame.
- If the compensation amounted to $100,000, that settlement would be reduced by 10%, and the victim would receive $90,000.
A skilled attorney can help victims provide a thorough and compelling case to help them obtain the maximum amount of compensation.
Types of Compensation Available to Delaware Slip and Fall Victims
Delaware law allows accident victims to pursue compensation after an injury due to someone else’s negligence. This compensation is awarded to cover the costs associated with the injury and to keep the victim living their pre-injury lifestyle.
Sometimes, the injury sustained in the slip and fall accident prevents a victim from working for some time. This can lead to mounting financial pressure for the victim and their family, as the loss of income can make it more difficult to keep up with the mounting medical bills associated with the accident and the typical household bills that accrue each month.
It is possible to recover compensation that covers:
- Lost wages (both now and in the future)
- Medical bills (both already accrued and in the future)
- Lost benefits
- Pain and suffering
Though it can be frustrating, accident victims typically must show the court why and how much of this compensation they deserve. Opposing lawyers and insurance companies for the property owner will often dispute these claims to protect their own bottom line.
Do I Have a Slip and Fall Case?
If your slip and fall accident in Delaware occurred because of a hazard or someone else's actions, you might have a case. You must have encountered an unsafe condition on a property that does not belong to you to qualify for legal action. The owner must have failed to act to allow this condition to continue, such as choosing not to clear the snow from the sidewalk in front of their home.
But this willfulness must rise to meet the legal definition. For instance, if the homeowner cleared some of the snow but didn't do a perfect job or your injury happened a few hours after the snowfall began, you probably won't have a case. However, if the homeowner let icy and dangerous conditions persist on the sidewalk for days following a storm without addressing them, you may have a slip and fall case.
Property owners need proper notice to take care of an issue. And if they post a warning giving you notice of a dangerous condition and you choose to ignore it, they are probably not liable.
About Delaware Premises Liability Law
Delaware slip and fall laws are fairly simple. According to premises liability regulations, homeowners can't knowingly create a dangerous or hazardous condition for passersby. If negligence by the property owner leads to an accident, the owner may be liable. Sometimes more than one party merits responsibility for the accident, too.
Negligence does require the property owner to be aware of the problem and choose not to do anything about it. Property owners must inspect the area and make any repairs they deem necessary so that people won't get hurt on their property.
Common Places Slip and Fall Accidents Occur
A slip and fall accident can happen anywhere, but there are places where you are more likely to have an accident, including:
- Poorly lit or pothole-ridden parking lots.
- Sidewalks with gaps between the slabs.
- Shops or restaurants with worn carpeting.
- Construction sites.
- Stairs with loose handrails.
What if the Company or Owner Is Claiming Negligent Customer?
Often, the property owner or company where the accident occurred will claim your negligence caused the accident, but their claims must meet a reasonable standard. For example, would it be reasonable to expect anyone to navigate around the object you tripped over? Often the answer is no, and the property owner will have a difficult time making the negligence claim.
It is not up to you to prove you moved with care on the day of the accident. But be wary of the property owner claiming you were acting irresponsible, such as running or roughhousing before the accident. Such a claim requires the assistance of slip and fall accident lawyers to ensure you don't take the blame for something that wasn't your fault.
Companies and owners frequently argue for accident victims' negligence. Ultimately, the court will decide whether you bore any negligence in the accident and adjust the amount you are awarded accordingly. But remember that you can still receive compensation even if you bore some responsibility for the mishap. For instance, if you are found 20% responsible for the accident and the damages in the case are set for $10,000 for pain and suffering and to cover medical bills and lost income, then you will receive $8,000.
Keep in mind that you must file a claim within two years to the day of your accident. Our slip and fall attorneys in Delaware can ensure you meet the state's statute of limitations.
How to File a Slip and Fall Personal Injury Claim
Our attorneys can walk you through the process of filing a slip and fall personal injury claim in Delaware. You will need to provide all the medical records from your case, as well as work with our investigators to get a full picture of what happened during the accident. Whether you slip and fall on a sidewalk or in a parking lot, with our guidance, you can file your suit and receive assistance as you recover from your injuries.
Our Experienced Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers Can Help
Our skilled Delaware slip and fall accident lawyers understand what it takes to be successful in these cases. We have helped many Delaware citizens protect their rights and overcome the tactics of opposing counsel and insurance companies. We know what to expect and work hard to help every client prepare a comprehensive and thorough case. Often, the outcome of these injury cases can affect a family for years to come, and our legal team takes the responsibility to provide effective representation very seriously.
Even if you aren’t sure if you have a case, don’t hesitate to reach out to our injury lawyers. Delaware accident victims have just two years from the date of the accident to pursue legal action. Take a moment to fill out our online contact form, or call one of our conveniently located Delaware offices today to learn more about your rights and how our lawyers may be able to help.
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