Slip & Fall Accidents
A slip and fall accident is a type of personal injury claim that resides under the umbrella of “premises liability” claims. A premises liability lawsuit typically results from an injury caused by an unsafe or defective condition on someone else’s property. Often, the hazardous circumstances are due to property neglect or a lack of maintenance on the part of the property owner.
If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, Personal Injury Attorney David Tapalian can help. With over two decades of dedicated experience, he can help pursue action against a negligent property owner and seek rightful compensation for your slip, trip, or fall injuries.
Property owners are legally obligated to provide reasonable care and maintenance of their property to ensure it is free from dangerous conditions. When a property owner fails to do so, therefore breaching their duty of care to those entering upon the property, and someone is hurt, a premises liability claim may ensue against the property owner.
Premises liability claims can include slips, trips, falls, parking lot injuries, poor security, falling objects, swimming pool accidents, and other types of incidents that result in injury from inadequate maintenance or defective conditions.
If you’ve been hurt on the property of another person or business in a Providence slip and fall accident, consult a qualified slip and fall lawyer experienced with premises liability law in Rhode Island.Elements of Negligence in a Slip & Fall Accident
In order to pursue a successful slip and fall claim, the injured person, the plaintiff, must be able to prove negligence on the part of the property owner, the defendant. Using the elements of negligence as they pertain to premises liability claims, a hypothetical example is simplified below.
Duty of care- Did the owner owe the customer a duty of care?
- As a business open to the community, Acme Market owes its customers a duty of care when they come to shop for groceries. This duty of care includes maintaining a certain level of safety for customers by keeping their facility properly maintained and in safe condition.
Breach- Did the owner breach this duty of care?
- Acme employee Joe is unpacking boxes of soda bottles to put on display. Joe accidentally drops one of the bottles, resulting in a wet puddle of soda all over the floor in front of the display. Realizing how long it will take to clean up the mess, Joe doesn’t want to miss his lunch break and decides to leave the spill cleanup until after he eats lunch.
- Acme, as Joe’s employer, breached this duty of care by knowingly allowing a wet, and potentially dangerous, spill to remain on the floor.
Causal Connection- Can the cause of the accident be directly connected to the “defect”?
- Smith, a customer of Acme, is shopping the aisles when she sees a display of her favorite soda on sale. As she nears the display, she slips on the puddle of soda left by Joe. She falls and hits her elbow on the tile floor and bumps her head on the metal display shelf.
- As a result of the puddle on the floor, Mrs. Smith fell and was hurt. If not for the neglected spill, it is highly unlikely that Mrs. Smith would have fallen.
Damages- Did the injured incur any loss or damage as a result of the accident?
- Smith suffered a broken elbow and head concussion as a result of her fall in the market. These injuries required medical attention and time spent away from work for recovery as well as rehabilitative therapy.
- Injuries from the fall resulted in monetary damages including medical bills, lost wages, and physical therapy visits. In addition, her attorney may also choose to seek compensation for her the pain and suffering she incurred as a result of the accident.
A wide variety of circumstances can result in a slip and fall injury; frequent causes include:
- broken steps
- ice, snow, rain
- defective sidewalk pavement
- broken handrails
- wet spills, wet floor surfaces
- cracked tile or flooring
- curled up rugs or mats
- stray cords or wires
- poor lighting
Anyone who suffers an injury due to tripping, slipping, or falling because of an unsafe condition may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, ongoing treatment and lost wages. Property owners are legally required to provide safe conditions and owe a duty of care to those legally entering upon the property. If the property owner could have avoided your injury by practicing reasonable care, such as repairing a broken handrail or cleaning up a wet spill after it occurs, you stand a good chance at recovering damages for your injuries. A Providence slip and fall attorney experienced with slip and fall injuries can assess your accident and determine your eligibility to file a successful claim and hold a neglectful property owner responsible for your injuries.
In order to have an effective slip and fall claim, your attorney must successfully prove that the property owner knew, or should have reasonably known, that the condition of the premises was unsafe and/or dangerous and failed to take the proper steps to remedy the situation.
For example, you walk into the local drugstore and trip and fall over a mat at the front entry way, resulting in a broken arm. The edges of the mat are frayed and curled up and previous customers have complained to the manager about this very same mat. Yet, the mat remains at the front entry.
Alternatively, let’s say you are walking in an established neighborhood with very old trees. In front of one house, there is a piece of buckled up sidewalk, caused by the tree’s roots growing underneath, pushing the concrete up. If you trip over that sidewalk and get hurt, the property owner may be held liable for your injuries. If the injuries are serious, damages may be awarded as a result.Why Should You Hire an Injury Attorney After a Slip & Fall Accident?
Tripping on a slippery floor or a broken sidewalk are just two of many examples of a situation that can lead to a slip & fall lawsuit. Loose carpet, wet floors, icy parking lots, poorly lit stairwells, or stairs with no railing, broken steps, or faulty equipment can all lead to a premises liability claim. Any unsafe condition that the owner of the premises could have, or should have, avoided may be categorized as a premises liability lawsuit.
When you are seriously hurt in a RI slip and fall accident, it’s important to seek help from a lawyer experienced with premises liability claims. Tapalian Law is a personal injury firm well versed in helping those hurt as a result of slip and falls, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of accidents.Contact a Providence Slip and Fall Lawyer
Premises liability claims, including slip and fall injuries, can be complex and difficult to prove. Lawyers for the defendant will often argue that the plaintiff was hurt as a result of their own carelessness, or they were distracted, in order to lessen the responsibility of the property owner. Therefore, its critical to have skilled legal representation on your side to defend your rights.
Tapalian Law offers a free consultation to explain your legal rights in RI or MA and help you make an informed decision about your situation. It’s crucial to seek legal advice as soon as possible after getting hurt and submit a legal claim before the deadline imposed by the statute of limitations.
If you or a loved one has been injured, don’t delay. Contact Tapalian Law today at 401-552-5000 for a free legal consultation at our RI or MA offices in Providence, Warwick, and Seekonk, as well as offices in Florida. There is never a fee or any costs unless we are successful.FAQ
I Fell and Hurt Myself at a Store (or Other Public Space). What Should I do After a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you fell and got hurt in a public place, such as a grocery store, the most important thing to do is seek immediate medical attention after a Rhode Island slip and fall accident. Slip and fall accidents are some of the toughest cases in which to prove the liability of the store. First and foremost, we must prove notice; meaning that the store had notice of the defect and had an opportunity to make appropriate amends. After the incident, if medically able file a claim with the store immediately. Photographic evidence is key in order to prove your claim that the store was negligent in not maintaining a safe condition which caused your RI or MA slip and fall accident. You, or a friend or family member, should photograph exactly where you fell, what you fell on, and the surrounding area where the fall took place. Then, seek out the advice of an experienced slip and fall attorney serving Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Can I Sue a Property Owner if I Was Hurt on Their Property?
If you were injured as a result of a defective or unsafe condition on someone else’s property and the owner was aware of, or should have reasonably been aware of, the condition, you may have a valid legal claim for compensation. Property owners are legally required to maintain their premises to avoid dangerous situations.