FALLS AND THE LAW

THE CRITICAL FACTS OF SLIP AND FALL LAW

  1. Who – Is Responsible?
  2. Where – Did the injury happen?
  3. When – Did the accident occur?
  4. How – Was the Fall Caused?

What is Slip and Fall Law? 

Clients often call our office and ask for a quote “slip and fall” attorney and sometimes their injury is more product liability related or related to other areas of the law such as workers compensation.  The law of “slip and fall” refers to the liability of a property owner to an individual who falls and suffers an injury due to a dangerous condition on their property. It is a part of personal injury law and these cases are governed by basic rules of negligence like many other areas of the law.

There are several things to keep in mind when you are involved in a slip and fall: accident

Who is liable?

If the accident occurs on private property, the state law of the state where the accident happened usually controls.  An exception is if the accident happens on government property, federal law will control. There are a lot of nuances to slip and fall law and it is critical that you retain an attorney immediately. Owners are not automatically liable for injuries to persons who are injured on their property. Violations of local building codes and ordinances can often be relevant when someone is involved in a slip and fall accident.  Even though the legal jargon of “slip and fall” is generally used, this area of law covers any type of accident that happens as a result of an unsafe condition under your foot on an owners premises. It can be a stumble, a twist, an injury from stepping in a hole, uneven footing, or many various movements that can occur to the human body as a result of a defect on an owner’s property. Common causes of slip and falls can include food or debris on the ground, cracks in the surface such as the asphalt on the sidewalk, miscellaneous objects laying about that are trip hazards, snow or ice, broken or missed placed floor tiles, steps that are in violation of code, in disrepair, or uneven, potholes in parking lots, misplaced sprinkler heads, or almost anything that you can think of that causes a trip hazard that is in violation of code or in disrepair on the property.

Although this may seem like an obvious question it is often the most difficult part and slip and fall law.  To determine who is liable it is important to identify the responsible parties immediately. It may be the owner of the premises, it may be a contractor who is working on the premises, it may be a past contractor who created the negligent condition, or any number of factual scenarios to give rise to liability to the responsible party.  That is why it is critical to hire an attorney immediately so that responsible parties can be identified in order to allow them to recover for medical bills and suffering for their injuries. An attorney can find out who was in control or ownership of the accident site, who was a property manager, business owner, landlord, independently insured tenant, or company or person responisble for the maintenance of the premises. In many cases involving slip and fall on private property there can be multiple liable parties or parties that will point the finger at one another as to who had actual control over the premises at the time of the injury.

Often times, if it cannot be determined from the facts, identifying  all of the liable parties is critical. If there is any kind of uncertainty, attorneys will name what is known in the law as “John Doe defendants”. This is a defendant that their negligence or their participation in the events that were the cause of injury is known but there specific identity is not known at the time suit must be filed. Once the responsible party has been brought to light through the litigation and discovery process, the attorney will amend the pleadings to add the name of the known entity to replace the John Doe defendant.  Attorneys can use a lot of different tools to locate all of the responsible parties to recover damages for your injury from a fall type accident.

Falls on Public Property vs Private Property

If you’ve ever been to a park or  any type of government or public facility you may have noticed a trip hazard such as broken sidewalks, overspray from sprinklers, or any number of hazardous conditions. Many states have what is called “Sovereign Immunity.”   In Nevada, our statutes governing this area can be found at section 41 of the Nevada Revised Statutes. There is generally a limitation on damages against the State of Nevada at $100,000. The Cities and State entities will generally refute liability for injuries and if there is a material change in the area you may not be able to prove liability for your injury by the time your case gets to court. An attorney will put the entity on notice immediately and advise  that they cannot change, modify, or alter the location of the injury until the attorney has had the opportunity to have the area inspected by the appropriate expert. The burden lies with you, the injured party to prove the landlord or property owner is liable for the injuries. Many clients are surprised by this fact. I think it is the public perception that when someone falls on private property or public property that they are entitled to recover for your injury. Call our office immediately if you are injured on someone’s premises, including the state.

When did the accident happen?

In Nevada it is critical to understand that you have two years from the date of the slip and fall to bring a claim against the property owner. However, two years is as an extraordinary period of time and you do not have two years to collect the appropriate evidence including  having the site inspected where the accident occurred. Although you legally have two years to bring the claim, you still need certain evidence to win a slip and fall case. That is why it is of critical importance to contact an attorney. Contact the Law Offices Of Laura Payne-Hunt today if you or a loved

 one has been injured in a slip and fall accident. The landowner needs to be identified and notified immediately and advised not to alter the scene until it can be inspected.   You will need the appropriate expert to quickly inspect the scene. This is a critical element in any slip and fall case. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident contact our office today.


Proving the Defendant is Liable and How the Accident Happened

The last piece of the puzzle of a slip and fall claim is to prove how the accident happened and how the landowner is liable. People often think the landowner is automatically liable if they fell on their property. But as mentioned earlier, this is not the case. The plaintive, a.k.a. the injured victim has the duty to prove that the landowner was negligent and that he failed to act in a reasonable manner under the circumstances. An example is when the store creates a hazardous condition such as mopping floors that become wet and slick, it is important that they act reasonably to place signs in the area so that guests know that area needs to be avoided. If the store owner mops the area and fails to put any signs or notices of the hazardous condition, they can be liable for the injuries of an unsuspecting guest who falls. That being said, it is not always that obvious and there may be denial involved by the landlord.  It is upon the victim’s shoulders to prove that the area was mopped before the fall. This is why it’s so important to obtain an attorney. An attorney can file suit, take depositions of employees that were there, obtain surveillance video and immediately notify the landowner not to destroy any evidence such as video and store logs.

When handling a slip and fall claim, an attorney will gather testimony from persons, witnesses or employees that were involved; attorneys can also use subpoenas to obtain documents from the landowner such as employment records to see who was there, surveillance video, store sweep logs to show what actions were taken to maintain store or not maintain the store at certain times and various other evidence to assist injured victims in proving their claim against the landowner.

If you have a question about a slip and fall injury, any injury on someone’s property of any kind and/or any questions regarding any personal injury, whether from a car accident or a slip and fall or any combination of injuries, please don’t hesitate to call The Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC, and Henderson Injury Attorneys for over 13 years. Please call our office if you or if a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence. If you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices today. At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to. Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

          At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury Henderson offices. The Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.