One of the most common reasons for premises liability accidents in Fort Smith Arkansas and throughout the nation is a simple slip and fall or trip and fall. While these accidents may seem minor, they can result in serious injury. Broken bones, bruises, head injuries, and serious sprains are some of the most common injuries that people experience in a slip and fall case. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in their 2009 report, there is a steady rise in the number of employees who are injured because of a slip and fall injury and missed workdays. In fact, falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.9 million visits to the emergency room each year.
If you have been injured as a result of a slip and fall accident in Fort Smith an experienced premises liability and slip and fall attorney may be able to help. To speak with an experienced Fayetteville, Arkansas personal injury attorney, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law at (479) 316-0438, or contact us online.
Do I Have To Prove Negligence For a Slip and Fall Case?
Most people have heard of or know someone who has slipped and fallen at a mall, store, bank, or business. No one intends for it to happen, and it only takes a second for you to lose your balance and find yourself on the ground. However, even though these accidents make take just a few seconds to happen, they often cause severe damage. However, just because you slipped and fell on someone’s property does not mean that you will automatically win a slip and fall case. However, if you are considering pursuing a case against a business or property owner because you have been injured on their property you will need to prove that the property owner was negligent. Most people are aware of the term negligence and have a general understanding of the term negligence and may even be able to think of what it means to be negligent. However, as you are probably aware, the law likes to take a simple term and make it a complicated process. Arkansas has a well-developed series of laws that define what it means to be negligent.
A negligence claim for any personal injury and for slip and fall accidents is based on the four following legal elements. In order to win a personal injury case, you as the victim must be able to show all four of the following by at least a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the facts are more likely than not the ones that the plaintiff presents.
- Duty– The first element of a personal injury or slip and fall case is a duty. There are different levels of duty that a person owes other people and there is a specific duty that a store or property owner owes. Additionally, individuals may have certain duties imposed on them by law, such as the duty to act as a reasonably prudent driver when operating a motor vehicle. Generally, people owe each other the duty to avoid causing injury to others. In order to prevail in any personal injury case, you will need to show that the property owner owed you a duty.
- Breach – This is the second element of any personal injury and slip and fall case. If you have been injured you will need to show that the defendant store or property owner breached their duty of care. There are a variety of factors that may lead to a breach of duty but one of the most common is for a store owner to neglect to clean up a spill on the floor.
- Causation – this is a tricky element in any personal injury or slip and fall case. You will have to prove that the defendant’s actions actually caused you to suffer the particular harm.
- Damages – This element is probably the most familiar element to a person. As the final element of negligence, you will have to prove that you actually suffered some form of damages that the court can compensate you for by finding in your favor.
Often you will see a store displaying one of the famous yellow signs with a picture of a man slipping as a means to avoid liability and to warn patrons that there is some substance on the floor that they should be aware of. However, often times people slip on water or other liquids that are left on the ground and there are no warning signs.
What Should I Do If I am Injured on Someone Else’s Property?
One of the most important things you can do for your case actually happens the moments after you slip and fall. Below are some suggestions that you should consider if you have slipped on someone’s property.
- Seek immediate medical attention – Surprisingly, people do not always seek immediate medical attention for their injuries. This can be a mix of not understanding the extent of their injuries and a mix of embarrassment. It is important for a person to seek immediate medical attention after a slip and fall because sometimes symptoms do not manifest themselves for weeks and months after.
- Take photographs of the scene and your injuries – Often times a store or property owner will clean up the scene of an accident immediately after it happens. While most store owners do this because they do not want to have a mess on their premises and do not want anyone else to be injured, some do this so that there will not be any evidence that there has been an accident on their property. When you have been injured as a result of a slip and fall accident it is wise to take pictures of the accident scene and your surroundings, as well as yourself.
- Gather and preserve other information or evidence – When you have been injured in a slip and fall case you should consider getting the contact information of the people who saw you fall. As mentioned above, often times a store will clean up the accident site almost immediately after so it can be hard for you to later prove that you slipped on a puddle of water or a slippery surface that was not properly cleaned. However, if there are people who see the accident, then you may be able to use their statements in court in the event that your photographs are not enough. Additionally, often stores will make a report of the accident, which can be a helpful tool when you are preparing your case.
- Preserve medical and expense records – As mentioned above, you should always consult a trained medical professional if you have been injured. If you do seek medical treatment it is important that you keep a record of all the expenses. This means that you should keep track of and have readily accessible, all doctors appointment receipts, all pharmacy receipts, and any other medical bills that you may incur as a result of your accident. Additionally, you should keep track of any time that you had to miss from work and any other expense that you have to pay as a result of your accident.
Rely on the Experience of Fort Smith Slip and Fall Accident Attorney Ken Kieklak
If you have suffered a slip and fall injury in Forth Smith, contact Ken Kieklak. We stand up for Arkansans who have suffered a catastrophic injury or wrongful death. To schedule your free and confidential consultation call (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.