Scottsdale Slip and Fall Lawyer
All people fall at some point in time. Because of how common slip and fall accidents are, some people think that they aren’t serious. Falls are actually very serious types of accidents, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that they are the leading cause of preventable deaths among older adults. However, falls are not just an issue for elderly people. Anyone can be seriously injured when they slip and fall no matter how old or young they might be.
Many people suffer serious injuries when they fall, including pelvic fractures, hip fractures wrist fractures, spinal cord injuries, sprains, strains, contusions, or traumatic brain injuries. When your slip and fall accident happened on the property of someone else because of a dangerous condition that was present, you might have the right to pursue compensation through a slip-and-fall injury lawsuit against the property owner. The Scottsdale slip and fall attorneys at Lamber Goodnow are prepared to handle your case. We can review what happened and help you understand whether you have a viable claim. If you do, we will fight for your right to recover compensation for your losses. We prepare every case carefully and complete in-depth investigations. Our thorough approach often results in substantial settlements and verdicts in favor of our clients.
Premises Liability Law in Scottsdale Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall cases involve a legal theory called premises liability. Under this principle, property owners and possessors have a legal duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition to reduce the risk that lawfully present visitors will suffer foreseeable injuries. The duty a property owner owes to visitors depends on their legal status. For trespassers, property owners owe the lowest duty of care. They don’t have to maintain the property in a safe condition to prevent trespassers from being injured. The only thing property owners have to do in regards to trespassers is to avoid intentionally injuring them by setting traps.
The duty that property owners owe to invitees and licensees is much higher. Invitees are people who are on the property at the express invitation of the property owner for the benefit of the owner. Some examples of invitees might include retail customers who are shopping in a grocery store. When invitees are present, property owners owe a duty of care to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition, promptly correct any hazardous conditions that they know or should know about, and warn invitees about the existence of hazards that could injure them.
Slip and fall accidents occur when the property owner has violated the duty of care by failing to properly inspect the property and discover dangers, failing to fix dangerous conditions that they know about or reasonably should know about, or failing to warn invitees about the existence of hazardous conditions.
Common Types of Conditions That Can Result in Slip And Fall Accidents
People can slip or trip and fall because of many different conditions. However, some of the most common types of conditions that result in slip and fall accidents in Scottsdale include the following:
- Slick floor surfaces
- Spills left on the floor
- Failure to post warning signs
- Debris or objects left in store aisles
- Unmarked, unfilled potholes in parking areas
- Broken pavement
- Buckled sidewalks
- Broken floor tiles
- Torn carpeting
- Inadequate lighting
- Missing handrails
- Broken steps
Property owners must inspect their properties to identify and fix these and other types of dangerous conditions to prevent visitors from suffering serious and foreseeable injuries.
Common Injuries in Scottsdale Slip and Fall Accidents
An average of one million people in the U.S. are treated in the emergency department for injuries sustained in slip and fall accidents. Some of the most common types of injuries that can occur in slip and fall accidents in Scottsdale include the following:
- Ankle strains and sprains
- Broken ankles
- Wrist fractures
- Wrist sprains and strains
- Hip and pelvic fractures
- Knee injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Joint dislocations
Depending on the types and severity of the injuries, a slip and fall accident victim might take months to recover or could potentially die.
Liability Determination in Slip and Falls
Just because you slipped and fell when you were on someone else’s property does not necessarily mean that you have a viable slip and fall claim. For example, if you were sending a text message while walking through a store and tripped and fell over an obviously placed display, you won’t have a valid claim even if you were seriously injured. You also won’t likely have a claim if you fell because you were behaving recklessly such as running through a crowded aisle and tripping and falling in the process.
By contrast, if you slipped and fell because of a dangerous condition the property owner knew about or should have known about but failed to fix or warn you about, you might have a viable slip and fall case. Determining liability in a slip and fall case is the most important step and requires a fact-specific analysis. Your Scottsdale slip and fall lawyer at Lamber Goodnow will carefully review the evidence, including any surveillance video, incident reports, witness statements, photographs, medical reports, and others. After reviewing the evidence and analyzing what happened, the attorney will then be able to provide you with an honest assessment of the legal merits of your claim.
What You Must Prove in a Slip and Fall Case
As the plaintiff in a slip and fall case, you will have the burden of proof to prove your claim. The required burden of proof in a premises liability case is a preponderance of the evidence. This means that you will need to present enough evidence to prove that each of the following elements more likely than not is true:
- You were lawfully present on the property.
- The property owner owed a duty of care to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition or warn you about hazardous conditions that could injure you.
- The property owner breached the duty of care.
- You suffered foreseeable injuries because of the type of hazard that was present and uncorrected.
- You suffered actual damages as a result of your accident and injuries.
If you don’t prove each one of these elements, you won’t win your case. To help you, your lawyer will thoroughly investigate your case, gather evidence, and work with investigators and experts if necessary.
What to Do if You Are Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident
If you slip or trip and fall on someone else’s property, you should take the following steps to preserve your rights:
1. Notify the manager or property owner about your accident.
2. Ask anyone who saw what happened for their names and contact information. Ask the witnesses if they will be willing to provide a recorded statement about what they saw, and record it with your smartphone.
3. Take photos of the area where you fell, including the dangerous condition that caused your fall.
4. Photograph your injuries.
5. Don’t accept blame or apologize to the manager for your accident.
6. Take note of any surveillance cameras that might be in the area.
7. Seek immediate medical attention even if you are unsure whether you have been injured.
8. Contact a Scottsdale slip and fall attorney at Lamber Goodnow.
FAQs: Scottsdale Slip and Fall Accidents
The attorneys at Lamber Goodnow in Scottsdale are often asked questions about slip and fall cases by people who have suffered injuries while visiting the property of others. Here are a few of the most common questions we receive to help you understand your potential claim.
Q: What Is a Slip and Fall Case Worth?
A: Many people wonder how much their slip and fall cases might be worth. However, there isn’t a specific amount that a slip and fall case is worth. Instead, the values of these types of claims vary from case to case based on multiple factors, including the severity of the injuries, the likelihood that the victim will fully recover, and others. An attorney can analyze your case and provide you with some estimates of what you might expect to receive in a fair settlement.
Some of the types of damages that you might recover in a slip and fall claim include the following:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Wage losses (past and future)
- Property damages
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of the ability to enjoy life
- Emotional trauma
These are compensatory damages because they are meant to compensate the plaintiffs for their losses. Another type of damages, punitive damages, is meant to punish defendants and deter the from engaging in similar conduct in the future. However, punitive damages are rarely available in slip and fall cases because they are generally only awarded in cases in which a defendant’s conduct was willful, wanton, or grossly negligent. An attorney at Lamber Goodnow can help you understand the damages that might be available in your case.
Q: When Should I Contact a Lawyer?
A: Slip and fall cases fall under personal injury law, and the personal injury statute of limitations is found in ARS § 12-542. Under this law, the deadline for filing a slip and fall lawsuit is two years after it happened. If you wait beyond this deadline to file a claim, the court will likely dismiss it as being time-barred.
If you slipped and fell because of a dangerous condition located on public property, the statute of limitations will be much shorter. For example, if you slipped and fell because of a dangerous condition on a city sidewalk and want to file a lawsuit against the City of Scottsdale, you must file your claim within 180 days under ARS § 12-821.01. This is because claims against governmental entities fall under the Arizona Tort Claims Act, which has different rules for governmental claims than other types.
The best approach is to contact a lawyer immediately after your accident. An attorney at Lamber Goodnow can work to gather the evidence before it can be lost. For example, store surveillance video is often recorded over after a short period. Hiring a lawyer quickly can help to ensure important evidence is preserved and can also allow your lawyer more time to build the strongest possible case.
Q: What if I Slipped and Fell at a Private Home?
A: It’s possible to file a slip and fall case against the owner of a private home when you were invited as a guest. In this type of situation, the homeowner has the duty to warn you about hidden dangers that could cause foreseeable injuries. For example, if the property owner tells you to grab a drink from the cooler in the garage, but fails to tell you about a broken step in the garage entrance from the home, you might have grounds to file a lawsuit. In that type of situation, the homeowner’s insurance policy should provide coverage to pay for your losses.
Q: What if I Fell While Visiting a Rental Property?
A: If you were invited by a tenant to visit their property, who might be liable will depend on where you fell. If you fell because of a dangerous condition in a common area that the landlord knew about or should have known about, you might have a claim against the landlord. If you fell in the tenant’s apartment because of a hidden danger the tenant didn’t warn you about, the tenant might be liable. An attorney can help to determine liability and who should be named as a defendant in your lawsuit.
Contact Lamber Goodnow
If you are dealing with injuries after slipping and falling on the property of someone else, you should contact the attorneys at Lamber Goodnow to learn about your potential rights. Call us to schedule a free consultation.