Whether you’re walking up and down the aisles of the grocery store, visiting an acquaintance, or making your way through a medical facility, an unexpected fall can cause serious harm and throw your upcoming days, weeks, and months off track. If you’ve been injured in a fall, you may be able to pursue an injury claim against the allegedly negligent party. A Columbia, MO slip and fall lawyer can help.
Trips and falls happen on public and private property. Your ability to take legal action and seek financial recovery depends on a number of factors, including state laws, evidence proving liability, your visitor status, and more. At Thomas Law Offices, our attorneys are well-versed in premises liability claims, and we’re prepared to help you get your life back in order.
Common Hazards That Cause Falls
When it comes to why and how people fall, there are a number of factors and circumstances that can result in serious harm. One of the most common is wet and uneven surfaces. Loose floorboards, moisture collection, torn carpeting, loose mats, parking lot potholes, and defective sidewalks can all result in someone slipping and falling.
Weather conditions can also result in trips and falls. If you’re walking in a location where you can see snow or wet surfaces, you must be mindful. If, however, a property owner failed to maintain the condition of their property and you slipped and fell on black ice, you may be able to hold them accountable.
No matter what type of hazard caused your fall, our attorney can look into your situation to determine if there are grounds for legal action.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall accidents result in millions of trips to the emergency room every year. Physical recovery can require extensive medical care and physical therapy. While injuries vary depending on the severity of the fall, the surroundings, and a person’s health and age, some injuries are more common than others, including the following:
- Soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries are often painful and can take a long time to heal. They’re not always easy to diagnose, as they don’t always show up on imaging, so it can be a bit of a guessing game when it comes to treatment and outlook.
- Broken bones. Depending on how you fall, you could try to catch yourself with your hands, fall to your knees, or slip backward. If you twist or land on a limb, you could be at risk of breaking a bone.
- Spinal cord injuries. The spine is a delicate structure made up of muscles, ligaments, tendons, and discs. If you fall on your back, you could throw something out of place or tear something. Minor spinal cord injuries can require medical devices like braces for stability. The most severe injuries cause a level of paralysis.
- Traumatic brain injuries. When someone falls and hits their head, there’s a risk for a TBI. While minor TBIs may result in concussions, the more severe injuries can have life-long or even fatal consequences.
- Knee injuries. If you slip and fall forward or twist as you’re falling, you could damage the collection of bone and ligaments that make up your knee. When ligaments are torn, recovery can take a long time and may require surgery.
Understanding the Slip and Fall Claim Process
If you choose to pursue an injury claim after a slip and fall, it’s important to have a general understanding of what to expect. From how long you have to file your claim to what your claim is reasonably worth, your attorney will keep you in the loop.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations refers to how long you have to take legal action after an accident. These vary by state and claim type, so it’s crucial to understand the time constraints you’re working under. According to Missouri Revised Statutes section 516.0120, you have five years from the incident’s date to get your lawsuit filed. If that timeframe passes and you try to pursue a claim, it will likely be dismissed without review, rendering you ineligible for any amount of compensation.
To prove liability for a slip and fall case, your lawyer will start by looking at who the potentially liable parties are and whether their negligent actions or inactions caused or failed to prevent your fall and injuries.
With a slip and fall, you generally have to prove that the property owner should have known about the danger and failed to fix it, or they caused the dangerous condition, and it was reasonably foreseeable that someone would get hurt.
Your lawyer will collect evidence like photographs or videos of the accident, witness statements, and medical records to build a strong claim. Once negligence has been proven, you can focus on what you’re owed.
Valuing Your Claim
Once your lawyer has a strong case for negligence, they will need to value your claim to determine the amount of compensation you’ll seek. Your financial losses can be both economic and noneconomic. Economic damages, like medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage, are calculable via receipts, statements, and bills. Noneconomic damages are harder to calculate because they are based on more personal losses like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
No matter the extent of your losses, your trip and fall lawyer will accurately value your claim to ensure you receive the funds you need to move forward comfortably.
Get Help From Thomas Law Offices
If you’ve been injured in a fall on someone’s property and believe they should be held accountable for your losses, Thomas Law Offices can help. When you schedule a free case evaluation with our Columbia, MO slip and fall lawyers, we’ll evaluate your situation, explain your legal rights and options, and help you determine how best to proceed based on your unique situation.
If you choose to file a personal injury claim, your attorney will be by your side the entire time, ensuring you’re on the best path to recovery. While many personal injury claims settle via negotiations, we won’t hesitate to take your case to court to get a verdict from a judge or jury in the event the opposing party is not willing to offer a fair settlement offer.
If you’d like to learn more about filing a slip and fall claim or you’ve like to get yours started, contact us today.