Slip and falls accidents are prevalent. Fortunately, many people in Arkansas lose their balance and injure nothing but their pride. However, it is possible to experience a severe or debilitating injury from a seemingly innocent fall. If your slip and fall accident was because someone failed to maintain their property or warn you of a known hazard, you could have the grounds of a personal injury claim.
Slip and fall accidents might be common, but their resulting injuries could still be devastating. Falling at the wrong angle or hitting a hard surface in a particular way could result in a serious fracture or traumatic head injury. If you are severely injured, you could be facing lost income and mounting medical bills. When your injury is the result of another’s negligence, they should be held financially liable for your losses.
Many slip and fall claims fall into the category of premises liability cases. A personal injury lawsuit will arise when a property owner, manager, or landlord fails to maintain or repair the property, creating an unreasonable hazard. If you were injured because you lost your balance, contact our Arkansas slip and fall injury lawyer to help determine if the property owner, manager, or landlord should be held accountable. Our law firm is dedicated to assisting injured individuals and their families. Call (479) 316-0438 to schedule a free appointment.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in Arkansas
Slip and fall accidents are a frequent reason people are hurt in Arkansas. Below, we discuss some of the typical negligent conduct that leads to slip and fall injuries.
Whenever a surface is wet or muddy, it could become dangerously slippery. Often, these slippery surfaces appear just inside the entrance of a business or building, especially if it is raining and peoples’ shoes are wet or they are carrying dripping umbrellas. While the property owner or manager has no control over the weather, they know the dangerous conditions that occur because of the rain. If a property owner fails to mitigate the risk, such as placing non-slip matting near the entrance or posting a “slippery surface” sign, they could be held liable for any injuries.
Slippery surfaces are caused by more than inclement weather. Someone is often injured because they slipped on a spill in a factory, grocery store, or another place of business. A property owner has an obligation to ensure the aisles and public spaces in their building are free of unreasonable hazards. This means that they must monitor and clean up any spills that occur. For instance, if a jar breaks and spills in a supermarket, the manager should promptly address the spill, either closing off the area or cleaning it up. If the floor is allowed to remain in a dangerous slippery condition, the property owner could be held accountable.
Falls are a common problem in parking lots, especially if a car is leaking oil or if people drop their goods. If these spills are not attended to, people could fall and suffer everything from a broken bone to a traumatic head injury.
Uneven surfaces are a common cause of slip and fall accidents. These dangerous conditions include cracked pavements, torn carpets, uneven stairs, or floors with holes or depressions. Additionally, there could be debris or items on the floor that create a hazard, such as an electrical cord drawn across a hallway.
Building managers and owners work to maintain their property. Part of this process is waxing tiled floors to clean them and provide a bright, reflective surface. People come across waxed floors everywhere, from building lobbies to the aisle in department stores. Freshly waxed surfaces are slippery and present a danger to those traversing them. If a building owner or manager is going to wax the floors of a property while it is open to the public, they need to provide adequate warnings.
While it might not come to mind immediately, many slip and fall accidents result from medical neglect. Patients in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals often have difficulty standing or walking independently. Depending on a person’s age and condition, balance might also be a challenge. Many older adults and hospital patients are injured in slip and fall accidents because of the inattentiveness or purposefully neglect of those charged with their health and safety.
There are times where something that would not typically pose a risk does because the area is poorly lit. If someone cannot see where they are going, they could easily lose their footing or trip over an object they could not see. Many times, slip and fall accidents occur in dimly lit stairways. A property owner or manager should ensure that public areas have adequate lighting to avoid accidents.
Poor Weather Conditions
Arkansas weather can be unpredictable at times. Violent storms could result in flooded surfaces and downed tree limbs. These conditions present dangerous hazards to people. Property owners have an obligation to keep their sidewalks and other thoroughfares free of unreasonable dangers. Just because mother nature created the problem does not relieve property owners of their responsibilities.
What to do if You are Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident in Arkansas
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, there are some things you can do that will help you if you decide to file a personal injury claim. The first thing you should do is seek immediate medical treatment if necessary. Unfortunately, many falls end with severe injuries.
If you can do so without hurting yourself, you should take the following steps. First, report the accident to the business or property owner. Complete an accident report if that is the business’ protocol. If not, take detailed notes of what occurred, including the names of any store managers, employees, or witnesses who were aware of the accident.
Nearly every cellphone has a camera these days, so use it to your advantage. You should take numerous and good photographs of the scene of the accident. If there is an uneven surface or spill, be sure to take a picture from several angles. Do not forget to take photos of your injuries.
If you do not require immediate medical attention, you should still see your doctor or go to an urgent care center or emergency room as soon as possible. Often, especially with soft tissue damage or head injuries, the injury’s severity is not readily apparent. Furthermore, it is crucial to start building a medical record to link your injuries to the accident. If you slip and fall and wait weeks to see a doctor, a defense attorney or insurance company will argue that an unrelated incident caused your injuries.
Proving Negligence in an Arkansas Slip and Fall Case
Property owners have an obligation to maintain their premises so they are reasonably safe for their visitors. However, to prevail in a slip and fall claim, you will have to prove that the property owner failed to comply with their obligations.
For example, an injured victim might have to demonstrate that a property owner failed to warn visitors of a dangerous condition or take steps to address a known hazard. If a property owner failed to regularly inspect their property or make repairs, their conduct could constitute negligence.
Simply having a dangerous condition on a property does not mean that the owner or property manager was negligent. Things break. A lightbulb could burn out or a sidewalk could crack through no fault of the property owner. Furthermore, it is not reasonable to expect a property owner to immediately repair or mitigate the potential risk the moment these conditions occur. Nonetheless, a property owner must be diligent in addressing and managing any possible hazards.
One of the challenges in slip and fall litigation is proving a connection between the hazard and the property owner’s conduct. For instance, if a store manager was informed of a spill and wet floor in their store and did not address the problem, either cleaning it up or posting a warning, they could be held liable for any injuries. However, proving that the store manager knew or should have known of the spill is difficult. Our experienced Arkansas slip and fall attorneys will have to prove that the condition existed for an unreasonable amount of time and that the manager should have known and addressed it before the accident.
Was the Property Owner or Manager Negligent?
Many types of conduct or inaction could constitute negligence. As stated above, if a property owner or manager could be negligent if they were aware of a dangerous condition and did not take any steps to address or mitigate the hazard. In some cases, there are situations where an owner, manager, or employee should have been aware of the danger. In other cases, the property owner, manager, or employee actually created the danger.
Challenges of Proving Negligence in Slip and Fall Cases
Slip and fall accidents present additional difficulties. When a person slips, there are usually walking along a smooth surface that does not present any noticeable danger. This is in contrast to someone who trips over an obvious obstacle. This small distinction adds another challenge in proving fault. Furthermore, timing is critical in a slip and fall case.
To prove negligence, an injured plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant knew or should have known about the dangerous condition. When the hazard is clear, such as a broken stair, demonstrating that the defendant should have known that a readily apparent hazard existed is not that challenging. However, if the surface was slippery because something leaked, then it might be harder to show that the condition existed long enough for the defendant to notice and address it.
Our Arkansas slip and fall attorneys will rely on witness testimony, accident reports, possible surveillance video, and your account to build a case. Additionally, our office will investigate the scene of the accident for possible physical evidence. As addressed earlier in this article, the steps you take immediately following an accident could prove invaluable in building a successful case.
Property Owner Defenses
When preparing your case, our Arkansas slip and fall lawyers will also have to consider the potential defenses that the defendant will raise. Some of the factors that we will question and address include what types of shoes you were wearing at the time of the fall, if you were aware of what you slipped on, and if you were paying attention to your surroundings before the fall. It is important to mitigate any actions you took that could have contributed to the accident.
How Much is My Arkansas Slip and Fall Claim Worth?
The value of slip and fall personal injury claims depends on the severity and nature of the injury. Some people lose their balance and suffer a few scratches, while others result in more serious injuries or permanent disabilities. Our experienced Arkansas slip and fall lawyers will thoroughly examine your case’s details to determine the estimated value of your claim. Understanding what your claim could be worth is vital information when deciding to accept an insurance settlement offer or pursue your claim in court.
Some things that our office will consider in evaluating your claim include your medical expenses, lost wages, and any income you will lose in the future if your earning capacity is limited because of the injury. In addition to your economic losses, we will also factor in your emotional pain, physical suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Contact Our Arkansas Slip and Fall Attorneys Today
Slip and fall accidents are often played for comedic effects. Unfortunately, these types of accidents often result in serious and sometimes permanent injuries. Because of the nature of the accidents, you could have a claim against several parties. It is crucial to have an experienced Arkansas slip and fall injury lawyer representing your interests. Call our law offices at (479) 316-0438 to review your case. Our consultations are free of charge.