Slip and fall accidents can result in broken bones, head injuries, sprains, lacerations, and other injuries leading to significant medical expenses and/or time missed from work. When negligence creates unsafe conditions that cause an injury, both Kansas and Missouri law entitle you to file a claim to receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, these claims can be challenging to resolve without an attorney’s assistance.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are common in a wide range of businesses—including grocery stores, gyms, hotels, movie theaters, restaurants, retail stores, apartment complexes, and office buildings. Regardless of the location, however, most of these accidents can be attributed to one or more of the following:
- Store merchandise or items left in walkaways
- Wet floors without warning signs
- Slippery floors from spilled cleaning chemicals or cooking oil
- Poor lighting
- Loose or damaged floorboards or mats
- Missing or damaged handrails on stairs
- Cracked or uneven concrete driveways or sidewalks
- Potholes in parking lots
Liability for Damages
A property owner, tenant, manager, or maintenance company can be liable for your damages if they knew of the unsafe condition and did not take timely steps to resolve the issue. There is a legal duty of care to take reasonable precautions to protect others from injury.
The defendant may try to argue that your negligence contributed to your injuries, especially if there is evidence you were engaged in horseplay or not paying attention to your surroundings. You can still receive compensation if you are partially at fault, but your total recovery will be reduced to reflect your role in causing the accident.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
After a slip and fall accident, there are several steps you should take to protect your legal rights.
- File a report with the property owner or store manager. If you don’t report the accident, the insurance company will deny it even occurred. File a report immediately and request a copy for your records.
- Seek a complete medical evaluation. Do not assume your injuries are minor and will heal on their own. Concussions are just one example of a slip and fall injury that might not present immediate symptoms but can have lasting consequences. A medical evaluation is also necessary to link your injuries to the accident.
- Get pictures of the scene. You might not be able to do this yourself because of your injuries, but consider asking a friend or family member to take photos of the area where the accident occurred from a variety of different angles. Photos showing poor maintenance are especially helpful since these problems will likely be corrected as soon as the property owner realizes the risk of a lawsuit.
- Collect contact information from witnesses. If anyone witnessed your accident, get their name and full contact information.
- Keep your clothing and shoes. What you were wearing at the time of the accident can be significant evidence in your case. Torn or blood-stained clothing supports the seriousness of your injuries. Additionally, insurance companies often try to argue that slip and falls are caused by inappropriate footwear or pants or skirts that are too long—having your outfit readily available shows that you were appropriately dressed at the time of the accident.
Legal Representation Is Essential
Shortly after the accident, you may be contacted by an insurance adjuster requesting information or offering a settlement. Do not discuss the accident or accept a settlement until you’ve spoken with an experienced personal injury attorney. The insurance adjuster is looking for a way to minimize the company’s liability for your injuries. Your words will be misinterpreted, or you’ll be pushed into accepting an offer before you fully understand the extent of your damages.
When you choose to work with the attorneys at Fletcher Law Office, you can trust that we’re committed to advocating for your interests and will work tirelessly to maximize your available compensation. Contact us today to request a free, no-obligation initial consultation.