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How Long After a Slip and Fall Can You Sue?

How Long After a Slip and Fall Can You Sue?

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How Long After a Slip and Fall Can You Sue?

The consequences of a severe fall can impact a victim physically, emotionally, and financially for years to come. If you got hurt in a slip and fall and struggle to receive a fair payout from an insurer, you might have to file a lawsuit to recover what you deserve. However, the time for filing a lawsuit is generally limited. 

How long you can sue after a slip and fall will depend on the laws in your state and your case’s facts. Consider seeking legal help as soon as possible after your fall, as missing the deadline could prevent you from recovering awards for your medical bills and other damages. Our experienced slip and fall lawyers can advise you and ensure to file your case on time. Contact us today to find out more.

Should You File a Lawsuit After a Slip and Fall?

Most victims of slips and falls receive their settlements from an insurance company. However, some insurance companies refuse claims right away, hoping claimants will go away. Others minimize a claim or unreasonably delay a fair payout. In most of these instances, time is ticking away until victims get closer and closer to the deadline for filing a lawsuit, particularly in states with short timeframes for filing personal injury cases. 

Filing a lawsuit before the deadline runs out while still negotiating with an insurance company can be a good idea and provide you with leverage. Filing a suit could also provide motivation for an insurer to settle for a fair payout and give you an option to fall back on when the insurance refuses to settle. 

Time Available to Sue After a Slip and Fall

Your state’s statute of limitations generally determines the time you have available for filing a lawsuit. Each state has a different deadline. While in some states, slip and fall victims have only one year to file their case, in others, they could have up to six years to get their personal injury lawsuit started. 

Knowing Your State’s Deadline 

Knowing your state’s statute of limitations is crucial as you risk having your case thrown out when filing a claim after the statute of limitations has passed. Most victims consider filing a lawsuit only after they are unable to recover a fair settlement from an insurance company. However, consider that insurance companies can take months to assess your claim, and the statute of limitations in your state could be as short as a year or two.

The Time Limits Apply to Filing a Claim Only

It is important to note that the statutes merely issue a deadline for filing your lawsuit but not for settling the claim. Therefore, you may want to file a lawsuit even if you are in the middle of settlement negotiations with an insurance company. You would then still have the option of pursuing justice in court if the other side does not agree to a fair settlement. Letting the deadline pass means you are generally out of legal options. If you are not sure about your next best steps, consider consulting with our slip and fall lawyers, who can protect your legal rights.

Other Factors Determining the Timing of a Lawsuit 

There can be factors that could shorten or lengthen the time available for filing a lawsuit. For instance, if you have a case against the government or you were too badly injured to file a lawsuit, timeframes could vary. 

Suing the Government

In many states, claimants must first file a “notice to sue” with the government entity before they are able to file a lawsuit. The timeline for this notice can be as short as 30 or 60 days, depending on where you live. 

Being Too Incapacitated to File a Lawsuit

If the injured individual suffered a severe brain injury, they might be mentally incapacitated and unable to file a lawsuit. In these circumstances, the running of the clock could be stopped. 

The Defendant Left the State

If the defendant moves into another state or abroad after the incident, their time of absence may not count towards the statute of limitations. 

The Discovery Rule

In some states, the "discovery rule" can extend the deadline for filing a lawsuit. The time then only starts running from the day when the injured person knew (or should have known) that they suffered an injury. For example, if the victim was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury weeks or months after a slip and fall, the statute might start running down from the day of the diagnosis.  

Consider Seeking Legal Advice as Soon as Possible

Depending on the facts of your case, you might have to act quickly after getting injured or risk losing your rights to compensation. If you suffered severe injuries in a slip and fall, consider seeking legal advice as soon as possible. Every slip and fall case is unique, and several factors could come into play when determining how long you have for filing a lawsuit.

Morgan & Morgan knows how to deal with insurance companies and fight for what you need and deserve. Our lawyers could help you receive a fair settlement. Moreover, our seasoned personal injury attorneys can protect your rights throughout the legal process and ensure to keep your options open, which could include filing a lawsuit before your state’s deadline. 

What Qualifies as a Slip and Fall?

Not every accident results in a slip and fall legal case. However, you could have a claim if your slip and fall accident happened due to a dangerous condition on another’s property.  Property owners must keep their premises free of hazards and dangers to the general public and customers. If a property owner knew of a hazard or should have known, and failed to remove it, they could be liable for your damages. 

Common Locations of Slips and Falls

Slips and falls can happen in many locations, including on public and private premises. However, some places have more hazards than others. Grocery stores and restaurants, for example, can cause falls due to frequent food spillages and slippery floors. Slips and falls can also occur in:  

  • Hotels and motels
  • Shopping malls and retail stores
  • Hospitals 
  • Nursing homes
  • Workplaces
  • Theme parks and fairs 
  • Construction sites 
  • Parking garages and parking lots 
  • Airports 

Causes of Slips and Falls

A property owner should maintain their premises adequately, including any inside areas and outside walkways. Not doing so could render them liable for a victim’s damages in the event of an accident. While there could be a multitude of causes of slips and falls, some of the most common include:

  • Wet and slippery floors
  • Debris on floors
  • Cluttered areas
  • Cracked sidewalks
  • Potholes
  • Inadequate or broken lighting
  • Missing steps or broken handrails
  • Loose floorboards
  • Ice and snow accumulations on walkways

Slip and Fall Injuries 

Falls can cause severe injuries, particularly in older individuals. Recovering from a slip-and-fall injury can require considerable medical and rehabilitation therapies. 

The victim could suffer a permanent disability or even die in a nasty fall. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults can be so severely impacted by a fall that their injuries could prevent them from living independently. Common slip and fall injuries can include, among others:

  • Cuts and abrasions
  • Head injuries such as traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Hip and other bone fractures
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Broken knees
  • Neck and shoulder injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries such as tears and sprains

Slips and falls, as well as impacting a victim’s health, can also be financially devastating and cause sky-high medical bills. If you or a loved one suffered severe injuries in a fall, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and other damages. Our determined slip and fall attorneys can advise you on whether you can still sue the responsible party and help you move forward with a claim. 

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  • Do I Qualify for Workers’ Comp if My Slip and Fall Injury Happened at Work?

    If you slipped and fell while at work or performing a work task, you could qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. The best thing to do is to report the accident to your employer or supervisor as soon as possible, seek medical help, and file a claim with the workers’ compensation authority in your state. 

    However, in some instances, you could also have a case against a property owner for damages. Your best next step after getting injured can be to schedule a free consultation with a slip and fall attorney to find out your next best steps for getting what you deserve. 

  • What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall?

    If you or a loved one suffered a slip and fall, you should immediately aim to protect your legal rights. Your best next steps after getting hurt can include:

    • Filing a fall accident report with the property owner
    • Asking witnesses for their contact details 
    • Taking videos and photographs of the accident surroundings and the hazardous condition 
    • Seeing a doctor immediately to record and treat your injuries 
    • Gathering evidence of your injuries and out-of-pocket expenses
    • Calling a slip and fall attorney

    Getting legal advice as soon as possible after getting hurt can be critical for receiving the compensation you need to put your life back together.

  • I Fell on Public Property; Can I File a Lawsuit?

    Premises law generally applies to both private and public property. Therefore, even if you got hurt on public property owned by the local government, you could file a lawsuit. However, the legal process of suing a public body can be complex. You might have to take some extra steps before initiating a lawsuit, such as filing a notice that you intend to sue the government. How long after a slip and fall you could sue can also vary. In some instances, it is impossible to sue local governments due to sovereign immunity protecting certain government bodies from lawsuits. 

  • Which Damages Could I Recover in a Slip and Fall Case?

    While there is no average settlement for a slip and fall case, the worth of your case will depend on the extent of your expenses and other factors, including the scope and permanence of your injuries. You could be entitled to awards for:

    • Loss of income
    • Medical bills
    • Pain and anguish
    • Mental distress
    • Disability
    • Loss of life enjoyment
    • Out-of-pocket expenses

    A personal injury lawyer from our firm can help determine your damages and inform you of what you could be entitled to. 

  • How Much Do Slip and Fall Lawyers Charge? 

    Most personal injury lawyers work on a “no-win-no-fee” basis and receive their fee as a percentage of your settlement when you win the slip and fall case. If you lose the case, you do not pay any attorney’s fees. However, some slip and fall lawyers charge upfront retainers or hourly fees to work on a case. Usually, firms that do not have adequate financial resources to fight lawsuits on a no-fee-no-win basis charge their clients upfront. 

    Morgan & Morgan never charge clients out-of-pocket attorney’s fees. We know that you have enough on your plate and don’t want you to worry about the financial consequences of hiring a lawyer. You only pay us if and when we win, and you receive compensation. 

  • Morgan & Morgan Has Your Back

    If you are struggling to get what you deserve after suffering a significant injury in a slip and fall, get in touch. We can inform you how long after a slip and fall you can sue. Our determined personal injury lawyers know the pain, anguish, and financial worries that victims of serious slips and falls have to endure. We have fought for countless injured victims and recovered $15 billion in settlements and trial verdicts to date. Let us help you too. 

    If someone else caused your slip and fall accident, they should pay for your damages. While compensation won’t restore your health, it can help with getting your life back on track and moving on from an upsetting and stressful time in your life. Get America’s largest personal injury firm on your side today. Contact us to determine for free whether you qualify for compensation.

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Last updated on May 31, 2023

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