According to Injury Facts®, falls accounted for 21% of preventable deaths and 33% of nonfatal injuries in the United States in 2020. Commercial and residential property owners in Rochester and throughout New York State have a duty of care to ensure their property is free of dangerous conditions that could cause harm.
Where do Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents Happen?
This type of accident can occur anywhere, including on private, public, commercial, or residential property. They can happen on the job, at a store, at a public or private pool, at school, or walking through a parking lot, for example. In short, these types of accidents can happen anywhere, at any time. When there is an intentional, or even unintentional, neglect of safety conditions the property owner may be responsible for your injuries.
Conditions that contribute to slip and fall injuries include:
- Icy parking lots and sidewalks
- Exposed wires or hoses
- Uneven surfaces, such as buckled concrete or broken tile
- Exposed holes, including potholes
- Stairs that are loose, uneven or in disrepair
- Steps that are poorly marked
- Unstable railings
- Loose, torn, or buckled carpeting
- Wet, dirty, or littered floors
- Poorly lit stairways, walkways, or sidewalks
Do You Have a Slip and Fall Liability Claim?
It is important to understand that not every injury will give rise to a claim. The injury must be directly related to the negligence of another. New York State Law sets forth that if you are injured while legally on another person’s property, the party who controls the property may be liable for injuries if they have neglected their duty of care by not maintaining the property in a reasonably safe condition. This does not mean that the property has to be perfect. Rather, the property owner must act reasonably under the circumstances. For example, a property owner does not have a duty to clear snow and ice during a storm, even though the icy conditions may pose a danger. Instead, the property owner should clear the snow and ice within a reasonable amount of time after the storm ends. What is reasonable will depend upon many factors including the amount of snow and ice that has fallen and the time of day when the storm ended. Properly evaluating whether the facts and circumstances of each situation might give rise to a claim calls for an experienced personal injury attorney.
Determining who is responsible for a dangerous property can also be complex because the controlling party is not always the property owner. It may be a tenant, property manager, or on-site construction company. Lacy Katzen LLP’s personal injury attorneys will review the circumstances of the incident and the nature of the injuries to determine if you have a slip and fall case. If liability can be established, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering related to your injury. The following factors should be considered in a slip and fall claim:
- Were you on the property lawfully?
- Did the controlling party cause or create an unsafe condition resulting in the injury?
- Was the controlling party aware of a hazardous condition, yet failed to address the situation?
- Were reasonable steps taken to maintain the property?
- Did the person who was injured have any fault in the situation? Failing to take reasonable steps toward your own safety will be considered. For example, you have an obligation to watch where you are going and to take reasonable steps to avoid obviously dangerous conditions if possible.
What to Do After a Slip, Trip and Fall Accident in the Rochester Area
If you are able to do so, report the incident to the owner or controlling party right away. Be sure to be courteous and avoid any confrontation. If you are injured, seek immediate medical attention. Injuries that appear mild at the outset may be more serious than you realize. Be sure to tell the provider how, where and when you were injured.
After receiving medical care, please take the following steps:
- It is very important to document the scene with photos. Have someone take photos of the hazardous conditions that caused your injury.
- If possible, gather contact information from any witnesses to the incident. Don’t assume a property manager will document witnesses that could help establish their fault.
- Limit who you talk to about the accident and your injuries. Do not speak to any investigator representing the property owner or their insurance company; they represent the other side. Do not provide a recorded or signed statement. After reporting the incident to the property owner, further communications should occur through your personal injury attorney.
- Retain all items of clothing you wore at the time of the incident, including footwear; this may prove to be evidence later.
- Follow the advice of your medical provider. Get all recommended treatment and follow restrictions. Doing too much or returning to work too soon is not only potentially bad for your health it could also undermine your claim.
Contact a Rochester Attorney for a Slip and Fall Consultation
For over 72 years, the attorneys at Lacy Katzen LLP have been helping people in Rochester and the surrounding communities who have been injured due to the negligence of others. If you have suffered a serious injury in a slip, trip or fall incident, please contact the personal injury attorneys at Lacy Katzen LLP for a free consultation.