An unexpected fall can have a significant impact on a person’s life. In addition to any injuries they sustain, they’ll also have to deal with treatment expenses and the possibility of taking time off work to recover. When someone else’s negligence contributes to a fall, the victim may be able to seek compensation with the help of a Wheeling slip and fall lawyer.
Homeowners and business owners are responsible for maintaining their property and ensuring potential hazards are handled before anyone gets hurt. When a property is neglected, it’s more likely a person will sustain injuries while visiting. West Virginia law allows premises liability victims to take action against the party that caused their injuries. Our attorneys are here to help with your claim and fight to ensure you have the means to recover.
How Do Slip and Fall Accidents Happen?
Fall accidents happen every single day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every five falls results in serious injury—which could involve a broken bone, head injury, or spinal cord trauma. It’s more likely for those 65 and older to fall. In fact, nearly three million older people are treated in emergency room departments for fall injuries on an annual basis. As a result, annual medical costs for slip and fall accidents is around $50 billion per year.
There are a number of hazards that create the climate for a slip and fall accident. Some of the most common we see include the following:
- Slippery floors. Wet floors can easily cause a fall if someone loses their footing. It’s important for homeowners to clean up spills quickly. Businesses should post warning signs to let people know they need to take extra precautions.
- Inadequate lighting. Insufficient lighting in parking lots, hallways, and staircases can make it impossible for visitors to see hazards like torn carpet or clutter.
- Damaged flooring and sidewalks. Loose floorboards, worn tiles, and frayed carpet create hazardous conditions. When sidewalks aren’t maintained and have gaps or cracks between segments, it’s easy for someone to fall.
- Clutter or debris. It’s important for walkways to be kept clean and clear. When a store leaves product in the middle of an aisle, a patron might not see it and fall.
- Loose or missing stairs. It’s important for stairs and handrails to be sturdy and complete. It’s easy for someone to fall when the steps aren’t maintained, or the handrail is loose.
- Potholes. Potholes in driveways or parking lots are dangerous. If a person doesn’t see the hole, they could take a hard fall and potentially hit their head.
- Snow and ice. Keeping up with the snow and ice can be a challenge in the wintertime, but property owners are responsible for ensuring it’s cleaned up as quickly as possible. Slippery or icy conditions can easily result in a fall.
No matter the circumstances that resulted in your fall, we’ll prove that it never should have happened in the first place.
Determining Liability for a Slip and Fall in Wheeling
Determining liability for a slip and fall isn’t always as easy as you may think. According to West Virginia Code §55-7-28, property owners owe no duty of care to protect others against dangers that are open, obvious, or reasonably apparent. This means that your Wheeling lawyer will need to prove that you did not know about the hazard that caused your fall.
To be legally responsible, your claim will also need to prove one of the following: 1) The owner of the premises caused the hazard; 2) The owner knew about the hazard and did nothing; 3) The owner should have known about the hazard and fixed it. To prove one or more of those elements, your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of the incident. They’ll make note of your injuries, document your memories of what happened, and consult any potential witnesses who are willing to provide information on what they saw.
Once your claim is built and you’ve proven you were wronged, your slip and fall lawyer will begin seeking compensation for your losses. Determining a monetary award can be challenging, but we’ll be sure to take every loss into consideration, so you have the best chances of making a full recovery.
Valuing a Slip and Fall Claim
Every slip and fall case is unique, which is why the valuation is different for every victim’s losses. When we start to determine those damages, we’ll look at how you’ve been impacted economically and non-economically.
Economic losses include medical bills, lost wages from time off work, property damage expenses, the cost of future care, and out-of-pocket expenses you’ve incurred as a result of the accident. Your medical bills will greatly depend on the extent of your injuries. It’s likely you’ll incur more medical debt if you broke a bone and needed surgery, than if you sprained your wrist and developed bruises and muscle pain. The compensation you can seek for lost wages will depend on the time you had to miss from work and when your doctor says you can return.
Noneconomic damages are harder to calculate, as they’re based on your subjective suffering. We’ll take into consideration the pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, and mental anxiety you’ve experienced because of your fall.
Get Legal Help in West Virginia Today
Overcoming a fall can be challenging, especially when you’re dealing with injuries and time away from work. That’s why working with a Wheeling slip and fall lawyer is an important factor in maximizing your chances of making a full recovery.
If you’re ready to take legal action on behalf of the party that caused your accident, get in touch with our office. We’ll begin with a free case review where we examine what you’ve been through and determine what the likelihood is of a successful outcome. Secure your future today.