Slip and fall accidents are among the most common type of personal injury claims. Slip and falls are so common because there are several ways that a person may trip on a property hazard. Fortunately, a slip and fall victim can pursue a negligent property owner for compensation for their injuries. If you or a family member was injured in a slip and fall accident at the University of Arkansas, consult with an experienced Arkansas slip and fall lawyer today.
Slip and fall accidents are often used as humorous devices in old televisions shows and movies. However, when someone unexpectedly falls or loses their balance, they could suffer an extremely painful injury. Hitting the ground at the wrong angle or with too much force could fracture or shatter a bone. Head and back injuries are also common in slip and fall accidents. While you are entitled to seek financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, premise liability claims are usually more challenging than an ordinary injury case. You need a skilled attorney who is familiar with Arkansas liability laws.
Our University of Arkansas slip and fall lawyers are ready to help you seek compensation against a negligent property owner that is responsible for your injuries. To schedule a free legal consultation, call our law offices at (479) 316-0438. You can also contact the firm online.
Liability for Slip and Falls on University of Arkansas Campus
The University of Arkansas is one of the largest educational institutions in the State of Arkansas. With a sprawling campus in Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas must always ensure that their campus is kept safe for students, faculty, and visitors. As the University of Arkansas typically enrolls over 20,000 students a year, avoiding the possibility of a serious slip and fall accident is important.
Slip and fall accidents occur when a person trips over some property defect and suffers an injury. When a person suffers an injury due to a slip and fall, it is important to understand who can be held liable for their injury if they wish to pursue a lawsuit.
A property owner is responsible for ensuring that their property is safe for visitors. This means that a property owner should correct or alert people to any property defects that could injure individuals present on the property. For example, if the university was aware that some stairwell handrails on the campus were unstable, they should take steps to correct the issue or warn students and others of the defect. Other common property hazards that could lead to a slip and fall accident include:
- Poorly lit areas of campus (e.g., parking lot, stairwell)
- Areas containing cracked pavements or sidewalks
- Unplowed snow or ice
- Construction areas on campus
Additionally, there are some cases where a property owner may owe a duty to a trespasser on their premises. Under these circumstances, a property owner is expected to avoid acting recklessly to avoid an injury to a trespasser.
To learn more about the types of injuries that are common in slip and fall accidents, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Arkansas personal injury attorney.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall accidents can lead to a number of injuries for a victim. While some of these injuries will likely heal over time without any major medical treatment, some injuries could substantially impact a victim’s life. The following is a list of serious slip and fall injuries that could require extensive medical treatment.
Hand and Wrist Injuries
When falling, it is a natural reaction for a person to outstretch their arm and hand in an attempt to catch themselves. However, if a person is unsuccessful in breaking their fall in this manner, they could easily end up with a serious hand or wrist injury. Some victims may suffer bone fractures in their arms, which would require medical attention and would take several weeks to heal properly.
Back injuries often occur in a slip and fall when a victim tripped while traversing an unstable stairwell. Back injuries are dangerous because they could cause harm to a person’s spinal cord and will likely limit the mobility of the victim.
In some cases, a victim could land on their hip after tripping over a property defect. A fractured hip or another type of hip injury could mean that a victim would require surgery to address the injury. This would leave the victim with excessive medical bills and the inability to work and enjoy certain activities.
Another common injury that occurs when someone losses their footing is a broken ankle or leg. The damage is usually not from the fall itself but from the pressure exerted on the foot and ankle when your footing is displaced. Even though there is only a slight movement, the force generated if the angle is just right could easily fracture an ankle or leg. It is not uncommon for an injured victim to require an extended hospital stay hardware to hold their shattered foot together after a seemingly slight stumble.
Cuts and Abrasions
When you fall to the ground or down a flight of steps, you are liable to suffer a series of cuts and abrasions all over your body. These injuries could be deep lacerations that lead to scarring or infections. If you fall on broken glass or sharp pieces of debris, these lacerations could be more severe.
There are other types of injuries that may occur due to a slip and fall, like a head injury. Our firm can help you pursue compensation for any of the above injuries or another type of injury sustained during a slip and fall.
Arkansas Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Lawsuits
When considering filing a lawsuit against another party, you should be aware of the filing deadlines put in place by the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations determines when a claimant must file a lawsuit for a particular type of claim.
In Arkansas, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is three years from the date of the accident. If a claimant fails to file their lawsuit within this timeframe, the opposing party can request that the court bar the claim.
Three years is a lengthy amount of time to file a lawsuit. However, there are various reasons to bring your claim to an attorney as soon as possible. For example, any witnesses needed to prove your case will have a clear memory if the case is filed as soon as possible.
If you are concerned about the statute of limitations in your case, you should speak with an experienced attorney today.
Damages Available if You Are Hurt in a Slip and Fall Accident at the University of Arkansas
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could be facing a mountain of medical bills, missed classes or work, as well as other unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. While there might be some sense of justice in filing a personal injury claim, the primary purpose is to recoup the money you have lost because of the injury. You also want to be compensated for the physical pain and suffering you endured. Fortunately, if the property owner or manager was at fault, you have the right to sue for damages.
Compensatory damages is the legal term used to describe the monetary losses associated with your injury. Damages come in two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages is the easiest of the two to understand and calculate. Any money you had to spend or lost could be recovered in a personal injury claim. This includes payments to doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare provides. Our office will collect billing statements, receipts for co-pays, and proof of any other payments you made to treat your injury. If you were unable to attend class, any unused or lost tuition payments could be requested. Furthermore, if you were working before the injury and missed time, your lost wages are also recoverable.
You can also seek compensation for more intangible harm, such as physical pain, emotional distress, and anxiety. Non-economic damages are more challenging to calculate but could make a significant portion of your total award. Our attorneys will work closely with you, your healthcare providers, family, and friends to evaluate how the injury has adversely impacted you.
Modified Comparative Negligence and Slip and Fall Accidents at the University of Arkansas
You might have fallen and been injured because the University of Arkansas, your landlord, or another property owner failed to address a dangerous hazard on their property. However, even if you are convinced the property owner was at fault, you will likely face allegations that you were partially responsible for your injuries.
Under Arkansas law, a jury or judge will be charged with determining if the plaintiff in a personal injury case, including those arising from slip and fall accidents, shared some fault for the incident or accident. Therefore, under Arkansas’ modified comparative negligence, a plaintiff’s compensation award will be reduced by their percentage of blame.
To illustrate this, assume someone slips and falls on a darkened staircase. After being presented with the facts and evidence, a jury determines that the property owner is 75% at fault because they failed to regularly inspect and address any dangerous issues with the stairwell. However, the jury decided that the defendant was aware that the stairwell was poorly lit and continued down. To be more specific, the jury found that the injured plaintiff’s behavior constituted 25% of the blame. Therefore, if the plaintiff were awarded $10,000 in damages, it would be reduced by 25% to $7,500.
Additionally, if a plaintiff’s conduct was determined to have contributed 50% or more to their injuries, they are not permitted to receive any compensation. Returning to the above example, imagine the plaintiff decided to run down the darkened stairwell. A jury could find that a plaintiff was 50% at fault for running down obviously dark stairs.
Because of the nature of slip and fall accidents, property owners have many defenses that could shift blame. For example, a common argument a defense attorney makes is that the danger was obvious or it was clearly marked.
People trip all the time, especially when they are distracted and not paying attention to their surroundings. A property owner might allege that you were not looking where you were going at the time of the accident – perhaps you were texting or otherwise engaged on your phone. Another position a property owner might take is that you were somewhere where you were not supposed to be.
While modified comparative negligence appears to be an issue with trials and juries, it also comes into play in settlement negotiations. An insurance company will factor in what a jury will likely find when calculating a settlement amount. If there is sufficient evidence to support that your conduct played a role in your injury, the offer will be reduced. This is another reason why, even if you were not planning on filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is critical to have an experience Arkansas slip and fall lawyer building your case.
Work With Our Experienced University of Arkansas Slip and Fall Attorneys
If you or a family member was the victim of a slip and fall on property owned by the University of Arkansas, contact an experienced Arkansas slip and fall attorney today. Personal injury lawyer Ken Kieklak possesses over 20 years of legal experience, and he would be proud to fight for you. To schedule a free case evaluation, contact Ken Kieklak at (479) 316-0438.