“Victim blaming” is a phrase that’s entered our collective lexicon in recent years. It’s a useful shorthand for describing unfortunate individuals who wind up maligned or victimized by forces beyond their control. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that even when acting with the best of intentions and with the bounds of reasonable, responsible behavior, people can still end up suffering. We here at Malloy Law Offices are all too familiar with the ways in which victims of serious bodily harm can be blamed for their own injuries. One especially maligned group are victims of slip and fall injuries. Oftentimes we see these people blamed for their own misfortune, with their own “clumsiness” painted as the true culprit. The legal team at Malloy Law would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight: is it clumsiness? Or can you hire a slip and fall attorney?
You may have previously heard of “premises liability” law. This is the more official name for the category of personal injury law that slip and fall injuries are included under. Though that’s not the only kind of case that can be included under premises liability. In essence premises liability governs the conduct of property owners as it relates to guests on their property. For instance; let’s say you’ve invited someone over to your home, if they’re a guest on your property then you owe them a “duty of care.” In essence this means that if there’s a potential hazard that could lead to injury in your home, you should inform them of it. This includes things such as wet floors, icy driveways or sidewalks, and loose stairs in staircases.
For private citizens and homeowners, this duty of care is fairly simple. It’s fair to say that the majority of people would give reasonable warnings about any hazard that could threaten guests in their home. It’s just good hospitality. Though for property owned by larger entities such as businesses and government institutions, the duty of care is far further-reaching. If a grocery store operates from 6 AM to 6 PM every day, then that means that every customer that visits the store between those hours is owed a duty of care unless otherwise banned from entry. It should go without saying that non-consensual entry does not necessitate this duty of care. If the store in question bans a suspected shoplifter, and that suspected shoplifter slips and falls on store property, then there would be no basis for a personal injury lawsuit on their part.
So if you are on the premises with permission from the property owner, they’re obligated to inform you of any hazardous conditions which may be present in their facility. These may include:
If you have slipped and fallen and believe you have been harmed, the obvious first priority should be your health. Even if you believe you have only minor injuries, it is critical that you obtain qualified medical attention as soon as possible. This will not only provide you peace of mind, but it will also produce a tangible record of your injuries and how everything occurred.
You can begin the process towards obtaining compensation as soon as your accident occurs. Documentation and information collecting should be prioritized. You should try to obtain:
Under no circumstances should you leave the accident scene unless you require immediate medical assistance. If you leave the premises and later discover you’ve been harmed, insurance companies will refuse any claim you make since you can’t prove you were injured at the site in issue. You should also refrain from making any statements that minimize your injury or confess guilt for the incident. Witnesses who hear these statements may be used by insurance firms to downplay your injury.
There is ultimately no one-size fits all answer to determine what separates an unfortunate accident from legitimate negligence. Every individual slip and fall injury is going to be different. Each situation will be unique and present its own challenges to the law and to medical science. One thing, however, is for certain. These accidents happen every day to innocent people. Their pain and suffering is real. If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, you owe it to yourself to explore your legal options. Malloy Law Offices will review your case free of charge and furnish you with advice from the Beltway region’s premises liability experts. We have a slip and fall attorney waiting to assist you. Don’t let yourself be intimidated into admitting fault for your accident. Our team is standing by to fight for you. Contact us today to get started.