Naperville Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers
A slip and fall injury is also known as a personal injury. They can result in minor injuries but this type of accident can also cause serious damage. Of course you take precautions if you know you are in an unsafe area, but sometimes the risk is unforeseen. Injuries from slip and fall can result in loss of mobility, wages, high medical bills, and even death.
Common Types of Slip and Fall Injuries
One type of slip and fall injury that many people experience is the tearing of ligaments and tendons. Ligaments are tissue that connect your bones to your body. Tendons attach the muscle to the bone. Tearing either of these can cause excruciating pain. They can take months or even longer to heal depending on the extent of the damage. The areas of the body that are most susceptible to injury as the result of a slip and fall are the knees, wrists, and ankles. Often surgery is required to repair them, and some people suffer permanent disabilities even with surgery.
Head injuries are another result of slip and fall accidents. When your head strikes something hard such as the ground, it can cause a number of injuries. Symptoms can occur immediately after hitting your head or they can develop slowly. This is why it is extremely important to go to the hospital. You may feel fine but there can be bleeding in the brain or the layers that surround the brain. Severe head injuries can cause cognition, memory, and mobility problems for the rest of your life.
Many times a slip and fall can cause broken arms, hips, or the pelvis. The recovery time for these types of injuries can be lengthy particularly if the person is elderly. This can affect their ability to remain self-sufficient. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) over 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling. They also estimate over $31 billion is spent on medical care for fall injuries yearly.
Slip and fall accidents often result in injuries to the spine, back, and neck. Even if you catch yourself before you actually fall, injury to the neck and back can occur. Additionally broken bones in the hands, wrists, or ankles can be the result of trying to keep yourself from falling. When you fall on your back your spine can suffer injuries such as chipped vertebrae or nerve damage.
What is the Legal Recourse for Victims of Slip and Fall Accidents?
Sometimes when people slip and fall they are hesitant to report the accident. This is a mistake. Not only can you have injuries that may develop over time but the situation is not remedied. This can cause someone else to be injured. In addition, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. The first thing you should do is report the accident and go to the hospital because you can have injuries that are not immediately visible. If you do not seek medical attention right away, it can be argued that you contributed to your injuries by not getting medical help. This can affect the compensation that you could receive.
In order to receive compensation for your injuries, you will have to prove negligence. This is when an experienced personal injury lawyer can help. They ascertain whether the responsible party failed to act in a “reasonable” way. The following questions are used to decide if the owner or the property or their employee acted reasonably.
- Was the hazard present for a prolonged period of time?
- Did they have time to correct the hazard and failed to do so?
- Did the property owner cause the hazard?
- Was it likely that this hazard could cause someone to slip and fall?
- Did they routinely check for hazards?
- Could they have provided signs that warned of the hazard?
- Did other factors such as poor lighting contribute to the hazardous condition?
You will also have to prove that your carelessness did not cause the accident. If you ignored warning signs or were in an area where you were not supposed to be, it is difficult to prove negligence on the part of the property owner. If you were distracted by something such as your cellphone and not paying attention, this can be shown to be careless behavior.
Property owners and their representatives are going to try to prove the accident was your fault so it is best to talk to an attorney sooner rather than later. The less you say, the better off you are, because even innocent remarks can be used to shift the blame of the accident.
What Type of Compensation can the Victim of a Slip and Fall Get?
Property owners typically have insurance to cover accidents on their property. A representative of the insurance company may offer you an amount to settle your claim to keep from going to court. You should allow an attorney to negotiate a settlement. If you have missed work and are having a hard time paying bills due to the accident, it can be tempting to accept the offer. It is very likely you are not being offered an amount that will cover your losses. Insurance companies try to settle for the least amount.
Compensation will depend on the extent of your injuries and the problems you are currently having and ones the injuries will cause in the future. Your medical bills, the amount of pay lost to missed work, and pain and suffering will be considered. Pain and suffering varies from person to person. It usually includes mental distress, your ability to do every day activities, and pain that you are suffering from due to the injury.
If your injury has caused permanent damage, you will be unable to work. The compensation for a permanent disability is going to be far more than compensation for a temporary disability. Likewise, if your injury is going to require ongoing care for a prolonged time, compensation should cover the medical costs of the treatment and your loss of income for this period of time as well as pain and suffering.
Insurance companies are not required to pay you for pain and suffering, but many include an amount for this especially if they know you are prepared to go to court. The insurance company will look at the evidence. If they feel that you are likely to win if the case goes to court, they are more likely to award a fair settlement. They will also consider the cost of a trial plus what a jury might award versus just settling your claim.