A slip and fall accident can happen in a matter of seconds. If you’ve been injured on someone’s property or in a public place, it’s likely you’re dealing with medical bills, time off work, and pain and suffering. Fortunately for accident victims, personal injury law allows injured parties to seek compensation when they’re hurt as a result of negligence. A Morgantown slip and fall accident lawyer from DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC can help you file a claim and receive the monetary award you need to get your life back in order.
Slip and fall cases can become complicated, especially if you know the home or business owner. Our attorneys understand how sensitive legal matters can be, which is why we’re dedicated to making the process as easy as possible for you. We’ll handle the legal aspects of your claim, so you have more time to focus on your recovery. Let’s take a look at how often people slip and fall.
How Common are Slip and Fall Accidents?
Falls are a common occurrence. Fortunately, many falls do not result in injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, one out of every five falls results in a serious injury. Examples of serious injuries include broken bones and head injuries. Risk factors that make it more likely for someone to fall include lower body weakness, vitamin D deficiency, vision problems, poor footwear, and hazards like clutter or broken steps. When hazards are the result of a fall, there may be grounds for a premises liability case.
Falls are even more dangerous for older adults. It’s estimated that 300,000 older people are hospitalized annually for hip fractures resulting from slip and fall accidents. One-quarter of all older adults fall annually, but less than half tell their doctor, which means incidents often go unreported. If you have a loved one who has fallen in their nursing home or on someone’s property as a result of a dangerous condition, it’s important to not only seek medical attention but to seek legal representation.
Getting in touch with a lawyer is important because falling is expensive – often more expensive than people realize. In 2015, the total medical costs for falls equaled more than $50 billion. The majority of those costs were shouldered by Medicare and Medicaid, but victims are often left with hefty bills to deal with on their own.
When Dangerous Premises Lead to Slip and Fall Injuries
Homeowners are required to ensure their property is kept in a safe condition. If there are hazards present, they must inform visitors of the potential danger so accidents can be avoided. The most common slip and fall claims we see are the result of loss of traction, loss of balance, stumbling over an obstructed surface, and tripping over a foreign object. Loss of traction or balance is likely to occur when sidewalks aren’t maintained in the winter. If carpets are torn or steps are broken, it’s easy for someone to stumble or trip.
Slip and falls accident don’t always happen in the home. Sometimes they can happen in the workplace or in a public space. Workers in fields like construction and food service are more likely to fall because of the inherent risks associated with their jobs. If those running the construction site are negligent, a worker could be transporting materials and not see a hazard in their path. Restaurant employees are at risk when spilled drink and food result in slippery floors. Falls can also happen in places like banks and grocery stores if the floors aren’t properly maintained.
No matter where someone is, they can become a victim of a slip and fall accident if the floor is slippery or uneven, the surface is cracked, or if they’re not warned about a dangerous condition. No matter what condition resulted in a fall, you have the right to file a claim and seek compensation for your injuries and losses. You improve your chances of receiving full and fair compensation when you work with a slip and fall accident attorney.
Premises Liability in West Virginia
Laws regarding slip and fall claims are established at the state level. In West Virginia, applicable laws are listed under West Virginia Code §55-7-28. Under the statute, property owners possess no duty of care to protect visitors against dangers that are open and obvious. For a danger to be considered open and obvious, it should be such an apparent hazard that the visitor knows to protect themselves against.
Once you understand the laws that affect your claim, you’ll need to work on building a case that supports you falling as a result of negligence. Your lawyer will have access to resources that support your claim, which will include the following elements:
- Why you were visiting the property
- How the property is typically used
- Whether the hazard was open and obvious
- Whether the accident was foreseeable
- Whether the owner informed you of the potential danger
Let’s look at an example where someone falls on a broken stair. If a visitor is invited to a property that is used as someone’s primary dwelling and the owner makes no remarks regarding any dangers, it’s assumed the property is safe. If a broken step is covered by a carpet and the visitor falls, sustaining a head injury, it’s likely the owner owed them a duty of care and can be deemed legally responsible for the accident.
No matter what event led to your injuries, our lawyers can work to prove you were unaware of any potential harm and should have been informed about the danger.
Discuss Your Options with a Morgantown Attorney
If you’ve recently fallen, you may not be thinking about filing a claim to seek compensation for your injuries, but you should be. If negligence played a roll in your accident, you have every right to seek a monetary award to cover your losses.
A Morgantown slip and fall accident lawyer can explain your legal rights and options to you through a free case evaluation, so you have a better idea of how to proceed. If you’re ready to meet with us, reach out today.