Icy sidewalks are treacherous. One wrong step and you could fall, possibly getting injured or worse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cold weather claims twice as many lives as heat each year. Slip and fall accidents are among the most common types of cold-weather injuries.
Luckily, most falls do not result in death. However, even minor injuries caused by an icy sidewalk spill can lead to high medical bills and missed work. If your medical insurance doesn’t cover the cost of your care or you have lost income due to a fall, you may be entitled to compensation from the property owner.
Although you do not legally need a lawyer when seeking compensation, personal injury attorneys fill vital roles after a slip and fall accident. Scheduling a no-obligation case evaluation can help you determine if you want to file a legal claim. Remember, it is always your right to obtain legal counsel.
Reasons To Hire an Injury Attorney After a Slip and Fall Injury
If you are weighing whether or not to hire an attorney for your slip and fall accident, it may help to consider some of the reasons lawyers help. It is essential to understand the reasons behind hiring a lawyer before you make a decision.
To File a Lawsuit Against a Property Owner
While you are not required to hire a lawyer to file a lawsuit, it is usually in your best interest. Personal injury attorneys know the ins and outs of the process and can ensure that the proper documents are filed in a timely manner. This is important because cases must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.
Jason Stone Injury Lawyers understands that you are already facing considerable expenses and that your injuries may have prevented you from working while you recovered. That’s why the Stone Cold Guarantee is so important. If you don’t get paid after filing your claim, then neither do we. Additionally, your initial consultation is completely free, so there are no upfront costs or obligations, just information you can use to decide how to proceed.
To Negotiate a Favorable Settlement With an Insurance Company
Insurance companies have experienced attorneys fighting for them; you should have the same. The team at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers is well-versed in negotiation tactics and how to get the most favorable settlement possible from insurance companies.
During the negotiation process, our attorneys handle all communication between you and the insurer. That includes submitting medical bills and other claims. We also keep detailed records of all communication, so you don’t have to worry about it. Instead, you can focus your attention and energy on recovering from your injuries.
To Investigate Your Slip and Fall Accident
What appears to be a straightforward case of clumsiness may actually be much more complicated. The team at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers will work to uncover the details of your accident so you can get the compensation you deserve. By reviewing facts and talking to those involved, we help accident victims with several investigative processes. A few of the steps we might take include the following:
- Interviewing witnesses
- Photographing the accident scene
- Obtaining and reviewing nearby surveillance footage
- Compiling a detailed account of the accident and contributing factors
Determining Responsibility for Maintaining Sidewalks
People commonly assume that all sidewalks are public property, and many times they are. However, that is not always the case. In many situations, private residential property and business owners are responsible for the upkeep of any sidewalks in front of their locations. Additionally, homeowners’ associations bear this responsibility in some neighborhoods.
Who is responsible for snow and ice removal will play a large part in determining liability for your accident and how you can recover damages. For example, if it is a municipality, there may be a specific process you must use to file a claim. No matter whose sidewalk you were injured on, you will most likely need to prove negligence on the owner’s part during your claim process.
Proving Property Owner Negligence
Proving owner negligence is one of a personal injury attorney’s most important roles. Property owners have a duty of care to maintain publicly accessible areas in a safe manner. They may be considered negligent when they fail to fulfill this duty, such as by not shoveling snow or putting ice melt products down.
Negligence can manifest in several ways, but it generally does not require a sidewalk to be cleared immediately after a snow or ice event. Instead, property owners have a reasonable amount of time to undertake snow removal and deicing procedures, which may be up to several days. However, individual actions may affect that. For example, if a homeowner invites others over for a party the day after a snowstorm, they will likely be expected to clear any snow from the sidewalk and walkways.
Liability in Slip and Fall Accidents
Liability in a personal injury case usually hinges on negligence. If no one was negligent, then you will not be able to prove liability. Negligence can take a couple of forms. These typically include either failure to maintain a property or to provide a warning about existing hazards. Both can apply in the case of an icy sidewalk.
For example, if the sidewalk outside of a store is covered in snow, you may misstep and place your foot on the curb’s edge, resulting in a fall. In this case, the failure to remove snow despite the store being open could be considered negligence.
Let’s look at another example. A store opens after clearing their parking lot and sidewalk. However, the stream of snow-covered shoes leaves puddles in the tiled entry. This is very slippery. You slip on a puddle and fall when you walk across the entrance. The failure to provide a warning about wet conditions, such as placing a wet floor sign, could be considered negligence on the store’s part.
While examples are helpful, the best way to see if negligence was involved in your accident is to have the team at Jason Stone Injury lawyers conduct a case review. The evaluation is completely free, and the Stone Cold Guarantee backs our legal services.
Time Limits for Filing a Claim
Most personal injury claims must be made in a timely manner. The applicable statute of limitations for making your case will determine if you can take legal action. The statute of limitations can be as short as 30 days in some cases, although up to two years is more common.
If you are suing a municipality, you may face additional restrictions. These can include taking specific steps to submit medical bills or request compensation.
Get Experienced Legal Help for Your Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries. In addition to medical bills, you may also face a loss of income and long-term disability. While you do not have to hire an attorney to represent you after a slip and fall accident, it is often in your best interest. Personal injury attorneys fight on your behalf to get the most favorable settle meant possible.
If you are unsure about hiring an attorney, a free case evaluation by the team at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers may help you decide. Contact us today to schedule your no-obligation case review.