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Phoenix Slip and Fall Lawyers

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Premises Liability

Slip and fall accidents can be traumatic – and you or your loved one may be in tremendous pain. Go with experienced lawyers who will hold negligent property owners accountable.

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Phoenix Slip and Fall Lawyers

Many people slip, trip, and fall each year in Phoenix and across the U.S. While slip and fall accidents are common, they can also be serious. According to the National Safety Council, falls are the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. behind accidental poisoning and motor vehicle collisions.[1] Slip and falls can result in serious injuries or fatalities.

Slip and fall accidents can cause fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other debilitating conditions. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident because of the negligent actions or omissions of someone else, you might be entitled to pursue compensation for your injuries and resulting losses. The Phoenix slip and fall lawyers at Lamber Goodnow have years of experience and have helped many accident victims recover fair compensation. We can review what happened in your case and explain whether you have a viable claim. If we agree to accept representation, our attorneys will fully investigate your case and work to recover maximal compensation on your behalf.

Premises-Liability-Fall-Accidents

What Is a Slip and Fall Case?

A slip and fall case is a type of accident that results from the negligence of a property owner. This type of claim falls under an area of tort law called premises liability law. Under this area of the law, property owners and operators owe a duty of care to people who are lawfully visiting their premises.

The legal duty owed to visitors differ based on the visitors’ status as licensees, invitees, or trespassers.[2] Property owners do not owe trespassers a duty of care beyond not setting traps to purposely injure them. Licensees are people who are present with the owner’s consent. For licensees, property owners owe a duty of care to prevent them from being injured by a hidden danger on the property. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees, who are people who are present on the property upon the express invitation of the property owner for the owner’s benefit.

For example, customers in a store are invitees. For an invitee, a property owner or operator owes a duty to reasonably maintain the property in a safe and hazard-free condition and to warn them about any hazardous conditions.[3] The owner must promptly correct hazards that the owner knows about or should know about to prevent injuries.

Slip and fall accidents involve the failure of an owner to meet the expected duty of care. For example, if you slip and fall at a store because the owner left a puddle of oil on the floor without cleaning it for an hour, the owner likely violated the duty of care and engaged in negligence.

Liability in a Slip and Fall Accident

While people can slip and fall at any time and any place, not every slip and fall will give rise to a legal claim. In some cases, a person might slip and fall because he or she was not paying attention. In that type of situation, the property owner wouldn’t be liable. However, in other cases, slip and fall accidents occur because of unsafe conditions present on the property of others. These types of incidents could have been prevented if the property owner had exercised reasonable care to keep the premises safe. If a property owner fails to appropriately react to a hazardous condition promptly, the owner might be liable to pay damages to someone who is injured as a result.

Determining liability in a slip and fall case is a critical first step in figuring out the viability of a claim. To make a liability determination, your attorney will review the evidence and evaluate it, including any incident reports, maintenance logs, inspection logs, eyewitness testimony, video, and your injuries. This type of analysis can help us determine whether your claim has legal merits and the responsible parties that should be named as defendants in your claim.

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents can happen because of a variety of different hazards, including the following:

  • Uncleaned spills
  • Slick floors
  • Debris left in aisles or on walkways
  • Broken pavement
  • Potholes in parking lots
  • Uneven sidewalks
  • Loose floor tiles
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Broken handrails or steps
  • Torn carpeting
  • Lack of warning signs

Injuries Caused by Slip and Fall Accidents

According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), eight million people visit the emergency department each year because of falls. Out of those, more than one million are caused by slip and fall accidents.[4]

Some of the most common injuries caused by slip and fall accidents include the following:

  • Hip fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Fractures of the arms, elbows, or wrists
  • Fractures of the legs or ankles
  • Joint injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Sprains and strains
  • Dislocations

What Happens if You Were Partially at Fault for a Slip and Fall Accident?

Insurance companies will typically try to blame victims for causing their slip and fall accidents and resulting injuries. If you are determined to be partially at fault, Arizona’s comparative negligence law will come into play.

Under A.R.S. § 12-2505, every person is responsible for his or her degree of negligence.[5] This means that while you won’t be barred from recovering damages in a slip and fall accident if you are partly to blame, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are awarded $200,000 but are found to be 40% at fault, your award will be reduced by 40% to $120,000.

When Must You File A Slip and Fall Lawsuit in Arizona?

Arizona’s statute of limitations for slip and fall cases is found at A.R.S. § 12-542. Under this statute, an injury claim must be filed no later than two years after your accident and injury.[6] In a slip and fall accident that results in wrongful death, the claim must be filed within two years of your loved one’s death.

While two years might initially seem like you have plenty of time, it can go by quickly when you are contending with recovering from your injuries. The best approach is to consult an attorney at Lamber Goodnow as soon as possible after your accident. When you do so, your lawyer will have more time to gather the evidence before it can be lost and build the strongest possible case of liability against the property owner.

For example, many stores have surveillance cameras that record video. Some stores record over the video after a set time. If you wait too long, critical video evidence of your accident could be lost. An attorney can file a motion to preserve important evidence in your case to prevent it from being lost or spoliated.

What Are Some Common Defenses to Slip and Fall Claims?

Several common defenses might be raised in your slip and fall case. Some of the most common defenses property owners raise include the following:

  • Open and obvious hazard
  • No notice of the dangerous condition
  • Comparative neglience

In Arizona, defendants in slip and fall claims can raise a defense that the danger was open and obvious. Just like property owners have a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition, lawful visitors have a duty to avoid dangers that are open and obvious to prevent themselves from being injured. When a dangerous condition is so open and obvious that you should have taken steps to avoid it, the property owner doesn’t have a duty to protect you from it or to warn you about it unless it is unreasonably dangerous.

Some property owners will argue that they didn’t know about a dangerous condition and could not reasonably have known about it. For example, if milk was spilled by another customer in a grocery store aisle, the store might argue that it wasn’t aware of the spill and could not reasonably have known about it. This type of defense can be overcome by showing that the spill existed for a long enough time that it should reasonably have been discovered through routine inspections.

Comparative negligence is also commonly raised as a defense. As previously discussed, comparative negligence can be used to greatly reduce your recovery. Your attorney will work to show the property owner’s liability and disprove that you were at fault for your accident.

What Should You Do After a Phoenix Slip and Fall Accident?

No one plans to be injured in a slip and fall accident. When you are unexpectedly injured in this type of incident, you might not know what to do. Here are some steps to take to preserve your ability to recover compensation for your losses.

1. Report Your Accident

The first thing you should do is report your accident to the manager. The manager should write an incident report about what occurred. You will want to get a copy of it.

2. Document the Scene

If you can, take photos of the scene where your accident occurred, including the condition that caused you to fall. Make sure to photograph any visible injuries, and ask for the names of eyewitnesses who saw what happened. Get their emails and phone numbers so your attorney can contact them later.

3. Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Even if you do not think your injuries are serious, you should still see a doctor immediately. Certain injuries might be more severe than you realize, and others can have delayed symptoms. Seeking immediate medical attention can help you to recover faster while also helping to support your personal injury case.

4. Avoid Accepting Blame

Many accident victims apologize. You should not apologize or accept any fault for your accident. Be careful with what you say when you report your accident and when you talk to others about it.

5. Don’t Post on Social Media

Another issue people have with slip and fall claims arises with their social media posts. Defense lawyers commonly comb through victims’ social media pages to try to find evidence of malingering. Don’t post anything about your accident, and avoid posting photos that could be taken out of context. If you can, you should stop posting on social media altogether while your case is pending.

6. Document Everything

As soon as you can, write down everything you remember about what happened in the moments leading up to your accident, during it, and after it. Be as detailed as possible. Memories can quickly fade, so it is best for you to write down everything you recall as soon as you can after your accident. You should also keep a pain journal to document how your injuries impact you in your daily life.

Contact Our Phoenix Slip and Fall Lawyers

After you have sought medical care, you should contact a slip and fall attorney at Lamber Goodnow. Our experienced slip and fall lawyers can provide you with an honest assessment of your case and help you understand your legal options. If we accept your case, we will work hard to help you obtain justice for your losses and injuries. Our attorneys offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t have to pay anything until and unless we recover compensation for you. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about your case and the potential legal remedies that might be available.

References

[1] https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/all-injuries/deaths-by-demographics/top-10-preventable-injuries/#_ga=2.122076491.1398270655.1655163771-1132228632.1653320751
[2] Wickham v. Hopkins, 226 Ariz. 468 (App. 2011).
[3] Nicoletti v. Westcor, Inc., 131 Ariz. 140 (1982).
[4] https://nfsi.org/nfsi-research/quick-facts/
[5] A.R.S. § 12-2505.
[6] A.R.S. § 12-542.

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