Of all the different ways to hurt yourself, tripping and falling is one of the most common, and embarrassing. But that embarrassment you feel might be misplaced; the cause of a fall, especially one with serious injuries, often lies outside your control. This article explains how, when you slip and fall as a result of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you are entitled to personal injury compensation. It outlines:
You are walking along a hall in an unfamiliar office building, and suddenly your foot slips and flies out from under you. The next thing you know, you are waking up in a hospital with a concussion and a pile of medical bills.
In legal terms, accidents where you are harmed on someone else’s property because of their negligence are called “premises liability” accidents. But because so many of these involve tripping or slipping on uneven or slippery surfaces, they are often called “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” accidents.
Water, or some other liquid on the floor, is probably the most common cause of slip and fall accidents. Trip and fall accidents tend to be caused by obstacles, uneven flooring, or other debris.
In one single Mississippi grocery store, there could be a dozen possible risk factors, from leaking coolers and unmarked potholes on the sidewalk outside to merchandise left in a walkway.
And not all premises liability injuries involve a fall either. In one case against Walmart in Mississippi, a man was squeezing down an aisle overcrowded with boxes during the holiday season. His arm brushed a fire extinguisher whose bracket was upside down and, therefore, was not secure. It fell and broke his ankle.
The man might have thought it was his fault and responsibility, but careful research showed that not only was the blocked aisle a violation of the fire code, but that the extinguisher had been improperly mounted. As a result, they were, at least in part, to blame and could be made to pay a share of his medical expenses and time lost from work.
All kinds of injuries are possible, ranging from mild inconveniences to severe and life-altering impairments. Older individuals are also considerably more at risk, as their balance is worse and body more fragile.
Particularly common injuries that occur during falls in Mississippi include:
If you have been injured in a fall, there are a few easy steps you can take to improve your chances of a successful personal injury case.
Ultimately, only a personal injury attorney with significant experience in the field of premises liability will be able to tell you if you have a valid claim.
Premises liability cases tend to be looked down on due to their portrayal in certain (very much intentionally chosen) media presentations. But that does not mean your claim is invalid. As long as your fall was predominantly the fault of their negligence, you have a right to compensation.
This is especially easy to demonstrate when the cause of your fall was something out of place, deliberately not cleaned up, or known about and poorly signaled. People (including juries) can relate to that, which gives you strong leverage against the owner’s insurance.
Let us take an extreme hypothetical example to help make the distinction clear.
If you are walking across a neighbor’s yard and they have a big hole dug in it with a bunch of poisonous snakes at the bottom, and you walk up to it, see it, and fall in any way, that is not your neighbor’s fault. But if your neighbor covered it with something that looks like solid ground, and you walk over it and fall in, that is their fault for not warning you.
A more realistic example from a past case involved a housekeeper who stepped outside onto a doormat that was worn out and slick. They fell and broke their leg, and since the homeowner did not warn them, they had grounds to sue. A good attorney would tell them that and help them file.
If you contact an attorney and they say they are too busy, especially if this happens more than once, chances are your claim is weak or maybe even hopeless. An honest attorney will tell you to your face that this is the case, but many prefer to dodge the explanation by simply saying they are too busy.
There is not a single attorney in the state of Mississippi who would turn down a good personal injury case, regardless of how busy they are.
You can always try to work something out with the person independently, but if your injury is serious and expensive, it may be best to pursue them with a personal injury claim. This is what insurance is for. It will not be the friend or family member, but their insurance, which covers your medical bills.
If there is sufficient insurance available, you will be able to recover most or even all of the expenses and costs connected to the injury.
This will include:
Any needs or expenses related to your injury, like wheelchairs or even heating pads, count as damages. In short, they are all the costs required to get you back, as close as possible, to your pre-injury condition.
Slips and falls tend to be complicated and unclear in terms of blame; there are often multiple factors involved, including your own actions. Mississippi law, however, is clear. Personal injury claims are valid, even if you are partially at fault.
However, the amount of money you will be able to receive will be reduced by your portion of blame. So if you are 20% responsible for a fall whose injury claim is worth $50,000, you can only get a maximum of $40,000.
This does not mean, however, that you should let an insurance company tell you that you are to blame or determine the amount of blame without an attorney to stand up for your rights and perspective. For more information on Filing A Slip And Fall Injury Claim In Mississippi, an initial consultation is your next best step.