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Gilbert Slip and Fall Lawyer

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Gilbert Slip and Fall Lawyer

Slips and falls are common types of accidents that can result in serious injuries or death. The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) reports an average of eight million people visit the emergency department each year because of injuries caused by falls of all types, and one million of those visits are caused by slips and falls. Falls are especially common among elderly adults. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one out of every four adults over the age of 65 falls each year, but less than 50% inform their doctors. While falls are especially dangerous for older adults, they can happen to anyone at any time. When people slip or trip and fall, they can be seriously injured.

If you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident while you were shopping in a store, visiting someone’s home, or walking elsewhere on property owned by another because of uncorrected, hazardous conditions that were present, the property owner might be liable to pay damages to you for your losses. Property owners have a legal duty to maintain their properties in reasonably safe conditions to prevent foreseeable injuries to people who are lawfully present on their premises.

A Gilbert slip and fall lawyer at the law firm of Lamber Goodnow can review what happened to you and honestly assess the merits of your potential claim. If we agree to accept your case, your Gilbert slip and fall attorney will carefully investigate your case, work to preserve evidence to support your claim, and negotiate on your behalf to try to secure maximal compensation to pay for your losses. We build every case for our clients as if it will be litigated at trial, which enables us to present our clients’ stories in a way that communicates to insurance companies the importance of settling fairly instead of risking a loss against us at a trial. Our thorough approach, experience, and litigation skills have helped us amass a highly successful track record on behalf of our clients.

Understanding Slip and Fall Claims in Gilbert

Slip and fall claims are tort cases involving the legal principle of premises liability. Under premises liability, owners of the property must reasonably maintain it to prevent lawful visitors from suffering foreseeable injuries. The legal duty owed to visitors differs based on the status of the visitor. For example, property owners owe the lowest duty to trespassers to not intentionally harm them. The duty a property owner owes to licensees and invitees is much higher, however.

An invitee is someone who enters another’s property for a business purpose, including shoppers in grocery stores and others. Invitees are there at the express invitation of the property owner for the owner’s benefit.

A licensee is someone who visits the property of another at the owner’s express or implied invitation as a social guest. For example, if you are invited to someone’s home for a party and are injured in a slip and fall accident while you are there because of a dangerous condition, you will be considered a licensee.

For invitees, property owners owe the highest legal duty. They must safely maintain their property, warn invitees of hazardous conditions, and prompt any dangerous condition they either know or should reasonably know about to keep invitees from suffering foreseeable injuries.

The duty property owners owe to licensees includes maintaining their property in a reasonably safe condition and warning them about any hidden dangerous conditions that could foreseeably injure them. For example, a homeowner who has covered a hole in the floor with a rug to hide it would have a duty to warn guests about the hole so that they don’t step on the rug and fall and injure themselves.

Dangers Commonly Involved in Slip and Fall Claims

While people can slip and fall because of many things, certain types of hazards are more frequently involved in slip and fall claims, including the following:

  • Uncleaned spills
  • Slick floors
  • Lack of warning signs
  • Unfilled parking lot potholes
  • Debris or objects
  • Poor lighting
  • Broken pavement
  • Broken tiles
  • Buckled sidewalks
  • Torn carpeting
  • Broken or missing stairs
  • Missing or broken handrails

Part of the duty owed by property owners is to regularly inspect the premises to find and correct hazardous conditions so that lawful visitors won’t suffer serious injuries in slips and falls.

Injuries in Gilbert Slip and Fall Cases

People suffer many different types of injuries in slips or trips and falls. The following are some of the types of injuries that are commonly involved in accident claims:

  • Hip fractures
  • Pelvic fractures
  • Ankle sprains
  • Ankle fractures
  • Wrist sprains
  • Wrist fractures
  • Knee injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Injuries to the spinal cord
  • TBIs
  • Arm fractures
  • Dislocated joints

Some types of injuries in slip and fall accidents might leave people with permanent disabilities, and others might result in death.

Negligence and Slip and Fall Lawsuits

Slip and fall lawsuits typically allege negligence causes of action. As a plaintiff, you will have the burden of proving your case by a preponderance of the evidence. Your burden will extend to each of the following elements:

  • Your status as a visitor on the property
  • The property owner’s legal duty owed to you
  • The property owner breached the legal duty
  • The property owner’s breach caused your fall and resulting injuries
  • Your injuries were of a foreseeable type that could be caused by the hazardous condition
  • You suffered calculable damages

If you prove some, but not all, of the elements, you will lose your case. A Gilbert slip and fall lawyer at Lamber Goodnow will thoroughly investigate your case and gather evidence to support each element and meet the burden of proof.

Determination of Liability

Following a slip and fall accident, both the property owner’s insurance company and your attorney will analyze the case to determine liability. The determination of liability is a key step in any slip and fall claim because it determines which party was responsible for causing the accident and for paying the resulting damages.

Just because you fell while you were on someone else’s property isn’t enough to prove that the property owner is liable. In some cases, a person might slip and fall because of their own negligence. For example, if you were running through a crowded store and fell after tripping over someone else’s foot, you likely won’t have a viable claim. If you fell over an object that was open and obvious because you were texting on your smartphone instead of watching where you were going, you likely won’t have a case.

By contrast, if a grocery store’s manager failed to conduct routine inspections and left a puddle of oil spilled in an aisle for an hour before you slipped and fell in it, the store will likely be held liable. In that situation, your attorney might gather the store’s inspection and maintenance logs to show that the employees failed to inspect the aisle and clean up the spill promptly.

Every slip and fall case has unique facts requiring an in-depth analysis for determining liability. Your attorney will work to preserve the evidence to support your claim. By analyzing the reports and evidence, your lawyer can determine liability and explain whether you have a valid claim.

Statute of Limitations in Slip and Fall Accidents

You need to know the statute of limitations that might apply in your slip and fall case. This law, found in ARS 12-542, sets a deadline for filing a slip and fall accident lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, your lawsuit will be time-barred, which means you won’t be able to pursue damages through the legal process.

For claims involving personal injuries, you have two years following the date of your accident to file a lawsuit. If your claim is for the wrongful death of a family member caused by a slip and fall, you have to file a lawsuit within two years of their date of death.

There is a different statute of limitations you must know if your fall happened in a public building or on public property maintained by the government. This statute of limitations is found at ARS 12-821.01. Under this statute, a claim against a governmental entity must be filed within six months of the accident.

FAQs: Gilbert Slip and Fall Claims

Most people who have suffered injuries or lost their family members in slips or trips and falls wonder about the steps they should take. The attorneys at Lamber Goodnow have included a few questions they often receive about slip and fall lawsuits below.

Q: When Should I Consult an Attorney?

A: While the statute of limitations for slip and fall lawsuits is two years, you shouldn’t wait until it has nearly expired before talking to a lawyer. You should consult a Gilbert slip and fall attorney at Lamber Goodnow about your case as soon as possible. Certain evidence can quickly be lost following a slip and fall accident. For example, many retail stores record over surveillance videos within a short time. If you retain a lawyer quickly, they can send a preservation letter to make sure the video of your accident is preserved. Similarly, witnesses who saw your accident might move or change phone numbers, making them difficult to find if you let too much time pass. Their memories of what happened also can fade if they are not quickly interviewed.

Q: What Should I Do If I Slip and Fall in a Store?

A: If you slip and fall in a store and are injured, do the following things:

  • Alert the manager or ask someone else to for you.
  • Take pictures of the area where you fell and what caused your fall.
  • Take pictures of any visible injuries.
  • Get the names, phone numbers, and other contact information for witnesses.
  • Ask the manager to write an incident report, and request a copy of it.
  • Go to the hospital, an urgent care center, or your doctor’s office immediately for an examination.
  • Don’t sign anything you are sent by the insurance company or agree to talk about what happened and your injuries.
  • Call Lamber Goodnow in Gilbert.

Q: What Can I Recover in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?

A: An attorney can’t tell you the likely value of your case without reviewing it. Multiple factors can influence the value of a slip and fall case, and there isn’t a set value that these types of claims are worth.

Slip and fall lawsuits typically seek compensatory damages to compensate victims for their economic and non-economic losses, including the following types:

  • Past/future medical expenses
  • Past/future wage losses
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Disfigurement/scarring
  • Disability
  • Loss of the enjoyment of life
  • Others

Punitive damages, which are awards meant to punish a defendant, are only available in rare cases. These types of damages are typically only ordered when a defendant’s actions were particularly outrageous. Most slip and fall cases won’t involve punitive damages. When they are available, they are paid in addition to an award of compensatory damages.

Q: What if I Was Partially at Fault?

A: If you and the property owner share fault, you will each be responsible for your share of the blame under ARS 12-2505, which is Arizona’s comparative negligence rule. Under this law, being partially at fault for causing your accident won’t bar you from recovering damages. However, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. For example, if a jury finds you were 15% at fault, your gross verdict will be reduced by 15%.


 

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