We receive many calls every week from people that have fallen in a business establishment or on another person’s property and they have suffered injuries ranging from twisted ankles to broken bones and worse. They now face mounting medical bills, lost wages, and, all too often, permanent losses of bodily function as a result of their injury. They simply don’t know what to do or how to proceed.
Making a claim for injuries received on another’s property is fraught with legal challenges and pitfalls and is always best left to a competent legal professional. When making a claim for a slip and fall accident, many factors come into play. Many people believe that just because they fall on a business property that that business must pay their bills and compensation for their injury. This is simply not the case.
Know your legal rights.
Slip and fall injury cases are complex and challenging. Call Melbourne, Florida injury attorney Clay Morgan today for a FREE telephone consultation to discuss the specifics of your case: 321-951-3400.
Most business establishments carry insurance coverage that protects the business from accidents a patron might sustain on their property. Sometimes this coverage might provide some initial minor medical bill coverage to people that fall on their premises regardless of who is at fault for the accident; however this does not mean that they are responsible for your injury or required to compensate you for ongoing damage that may result from your fall. The law requires that a business owner use reasonable care to maintain their premises in a safe condition for invitees that come to the property and requires that the business owner warn those invitees of concealed perils that are or should have been known to the business owner and would not be known to the patron coming to the property.
As an example, if a patron enters a business establishment and is walking down a carpeted hallway and accidentally falls and breaks an arm or leg, there is no question the patron was damaged on the property by the fall — but is the business owner at fault, making him liable for damages? If there was no condition in that hallway that caused the fall, in other words nothing that produced the trip, then there is no negligence on the part of the business owner for the injury, and the patron would have no claim against the business. On the other hand, if there was a condition that caused the fall (such as a rip in the carpet, or a substance on the floor that was known to the business owner and caused the fall) then the business owner had a duty to protect the patron from that condition and the owner’s failure to warn or protect the patron from that condition allows that patron to make a claim for the damages suffered.
These cases can be very complicated. Something as simple as, “What constitutes notice to the business owner of a condition on his premise that is dangerous to you as a patron?” is subject to legal interpretation. Did the owner know that someone dropped water on their floor making it slippery? What if the water was dropped just moments before a patron slipped on it and it was impossible for the business owner to have known it was even there versus a situation where the business owner has stepped over the condition and failed to clean it up for hours? What if a patron falls on an obvious condition, like a parking lot bumper or the step leading into the building? All of these issues must be addressed in any legal analysis of a potential damage claim in a fall accident.
Your first and foremost question following a fall accident should always be, “do I need medical attention for my injury?” If you need medical attention, then go get it. Your first concern should always be to heal properly regardless of any claim or fault. After that, we suggest that you seek advice from a qualified professional as to your legal rights.