A slip and fall accident can leave you with serious, long-lasting injuries. In fact, falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury and death for North Carolinians of all ages.
If you or someone you love was the victim of a slip and fall in Durham, and you are worrying about what to do next, you should contact a North Carolina slip and fall attorney at the Law Offices of Naomi Ellis, PLLC to discuss your legal options. We provide one-on-one compassionate representation to each client. You should not have to bear the physical, emotional, and financial burden of your injuries alone. We can help.
Proving a Slip and Fall Lawsuit
Sometimes slip and fall claims can be resolved by simply filing a claim with the property owner’s insurance company. However, these claims are often contested, and victims will need to turn to a North Carolina slip and fall attorney to file a civil lawsuit. While there is no legal requirement that you hire an attorney, your chance of success will greatly increase with the help of a seasoned professional.
In a slip and fall lawsuit, the plaintiff has the burden of proof and must establish four essential elements of their claim.
1. Ownership of the Property
You must first determine who owned or controlled the property, which can be more complicated than you might initially think and can include individuals beyond the titled owner. Sometimes the appropriate defendant is someone who leased, managed, operated, lived on, or otherwise controlled the property where the accident happened. Sometimes this is immediately apparent; other times, it takes some digging. An experienced North Carolina slip and fall lawyer can help you identify the proper parties.
2. Defendant Owed a Duty of Care
After identifying the correct defendant, you must prove that they owed you a duty of care, which depends in large part on why you were on the property and whether you had permission to be there. The type of visitor you are will determine the applicable duty of care.
A visitor can be categorized as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.
- Invitees are owed the highest duty of care and are expected or have been asked to be on the property (e.g., a customer at a grocery store).
- Licensees are people permitted to use or occupy a property for a specific reason and purpose (e.g., a friend that visits your house).
- Trespassers do not have permission to be on the property and are owed the least care.
Identifying which category you fall under can be difficult, but a slip and fall lawyer can help.
3. Defendant Breached Their Duty of Care
Next, you must show that the defendant breached their duty of care by failing to adequately maintain the property and keep it safe. Generally, the defendant must keep their property free of potential hazards that are known, or should be known, to the defendant.
4. Defendant’s Breach Caused Plaintiff’s Injury
Finally, if you can prove the three elements above, you must lastly establish that the defendant’s breach was the cause of your injuries. Specifically, you must show the defendant’s action or failure to act caused the accident and your resulting injuries.
Our experienced North Carolina slip and fall attorney can help you determine if you have a valid claim and how to proceed.
Slip and Fall Compensation
If someone’s negligence or actions caused your slip and fall, they may be liable to you for damages. You will be entitled to damages if you successfully prove your case in court or reach a settlement. In addition to reimbursement for past medical expenses and future medical costs, a slip and fall plaintiff can seek damages for, among other things:
- Lost income, including anticipated lost income if you will be unable to return to work in the same capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Every case has its own set of facts and circumstances that will influence the damages you can expect, including the severity of your injuries and the circumstances of your accident.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Incidents
While there are numerous potential causes of a slip and fall accident, there are a few common causes that we routinely see. Many times, the cause of a fall is not an obvious spill on the floor but something much more obscure.
Common causes of slip and fall accidents include the following:
- Wet floors
- Freshly or heavily waxed floors
- Uneven flooring
- Unsafe stairs or broken handrails
- Poor lighting
- Torn or unsecured carpets or rugs
- Debris, clutter, or wires obstructing walkways
- Unmarked stairs or decline
- Ice or snow
- Lack of warning about a known hazard
It is important to remember this list is not exhaustive. No matter the cause of your slip and fall, you may be entitled to compensation, and we can help.
Injuries Resulting from a Slip and Fall
Slip and fall accidents can lead to a variety of serious injuries and possibly even several injuries simultaneously. Slip and fall injuries can be complex and life-altering, and can include:
- Multiple compound fractures
- Other traumatic brain injuries
- Wrist sprains and breaks
- Joint injuries
- Hand injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Hip fractures
- Chronic pain
Some injuries may require only minimal treatment, while others will necessitate considerable medical treatment and can lead to mounting bills and time lost from work. Our North Carolina slip and fall lawyer can assist you if you sustained serious injuries in a slip and fall accident.
North Carolina Slip and Fall Attorneys
You may be entitled to recover compensation if you were hurt by a slip and fall. At the Law Offices of Naomi Ellis, PLLC, we are a boutique law firm concentrating our practice on helping victims of serious injuries. We have the resources and one-on-one attention you need to get the results you deserve. Contact us for a free initial consultation to discuss your claim.