Often called “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” accidents, premises liability cases arise when someone is injured on someone else's property, whether it is public or private. These cases usually derive from a combination of the most basic everyday activities such as walking, and the negligence of a business or property owner.
Falls can occur due to:
- Untreated snow or ice
- Wet or slippery floors
- Cluttered aisles
- Dangerous merchandise displays
- Broken or uneven pavement
- Poorly maintained stairs
- Bad lighting
- And more
Falls can lead to serious and catastrophic injuries, expensive surgeries, hospital stays, lengthy physical rehabilitation, permanent disability and even death. Many people are not aware that these can be the most difficult cases to prove. The towns, business owners, property owners and landlords in Connecticut have a legal responsibility to make sure the property under their control is maintained, repaired, and made safe for all those who use it. There are varying standards of care that apply depending on where a fall takes place and what the property owner's duty is to the person who has been injured.
If you are hurt due to a owner or maintainer's failure to create or fix a dangerous condition, it is important to know that they can be fully responsible for your medical expenses, lost wages, permanent limitations, and the resulting pain and troubles that may be with you for the rest of your life.
The initial investigation is critical in these cases, as photographs, videotapes, surveillance films, and witness statements need to be identified and preserved. Identifying the property owner or owners is of immense importance, as there are certain notice requirements that need to be satisfied.
What Should I Do If I'm Hurt in a Fall?
There are some important steps to take if you have sustained an injury from taking a fall. First, do not rush away from the scene. A person who has tripped and fallen is often embarrassed; they get up, look around to make sure no one has seen them, and then they hurry away. By the time they return to report their injury, the floor has been cleaned or repaired and there are no witnesses to be found.
If you do not rush away from the place where you have fallen, you give yourself the chance to look around and see what caused your fall. Stating that it was “something on the floor” is usually not helpful. You want to know what it is, where it seems to have come from, what color it is, and what the area around you looks like. It can be very helpful to take a picture of the area in which you fell. There is nothing more helpful than a picture to show just where you are and what caused you to trip or slip and fall. If you can't take a picture, then maybe someone else can.
Try to identify witnesses. We are embarrassed when we fall, and there is often immediate pain to cope with. However, obtaining the names of witnesses who may have seen what occurred can be very helpful to your case. Those who come to help you are usually willing to leave their name, address and phone number. Hurrying away from a store after a fall and reporting it later can cause the store's insurance carrier to be suspicious that you are making things up. Let the store's employees know what happened so an investigation can be done.
One very important step is to get medical attention right away. If you do not rush away from the place where you fall, or you at least report the event promptly, then help yourself in the most important way possible. This allows you the best chance of getting quick medical care. Driving yourself to an emergency room with a badly sprained or broken ankle, torn knee ligaments, an excruciating headache, or a dislocated shoulder is difficult and dangerous. If you have any doubts about the extent of your injury or your ability to get to a doctor quickly, it is best to let the store make the arrangements. Ambulance personnel can begin caring for you right away.
Key steps following a slip and fall situation:
- Do not rush away from the scene
- Take a picture of the are area in which you fell
- Identify witnesses
- Get medical attention right away
To learn more about slip and fall accident cases and other beneficial information related to personal injury cases in Connecticut, I encourage you to download our pocket guide for free via this link: Book PDF