Slip and Fall Accidents on Government Property

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Slip and Fall Accidents on Government Property

Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere, but most people think of these mishaps as taking place at a grocery store, restaurant, or a neighbor's home and other types of private property. When an injury occurs on someone else's property, you can sometimes sue for compensation for the damages you suffer. But what about slip-and-fall accidents on government property?

Slip and fall cases are often complex to navigate, but sustaining an injury on government property introduces extra layers of complexities to an already difficult situation. Some of these are strict and shortened deadlines to file a lawsuit and caps on the amount of compensation you can recover.  

The good news is that you will likely be able to hold the government accountable if you can demonstrate negligence by using premises liability law. However, to be successful, we strongly recommend that you work with a capable Morgan and Morgan personal injury lawyer with expertise in this sort of litigation. Otherwise, you may lose your right to recover damages by making a mistake in timing or not following the rigid requirements for making a claim for slip and fall accidents on government property.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • What Is Premises Liability Law?

    Premises liability law deals with the possible accountability property owners may face when individuals are injured due to unsafe conditions that exist on their property. This law applies to almost any kind of premises, including those owned by the government. Here are some examples of the type of accidents that might lead to a premises liability claim on government property:

    • Slip and fall on icy unsalted post office steps
    • A student falls in a high school cafeteria because a malfunctioning freezer is leaking water
    • An individual trips over a pile of books left on the library floor
    • A leak has sprung at a local park, making the basketball court wet and leading to a slip and fall accident
    • A public sidewalk is broken apart by tree roots making an uneven pathway that leads to a trip and fall
    • Improper pavers that are inherently slippery are installed outside a courthouse which becomes unreasonably slippery after a rain leading to accidents
  • How Can I Prove a Premises Liability Claim?

    Laws vary by state and may differ depending on if you were injured on a property held, owned, leased, or occupied by the government at the federal, state, or local level. The key factor is that the entity must have been negligent, and this negligence was the primary factor for your injury. Suing the government is quite complicated, and part of the reason is figuring out who has control over the property.

    Making a mistake and filing against the state when the local municipality controls the property could earn you a quick case dismissal. Although you can research this yourself by calling around, you should be forewarned that simply because a receptionist says the county owns and operates the property you were injured on doesn't make it so.

    When it comes to the government and legal liability, it could be peeling away onion layers to find the entity that has actual legal responsibility. That's why we recommend working with Morgan and Morgan's slip and fall accident lawyers. They take on the burden of figuring out all the small things that will make a massive difference in your ability to recover damages.

  • Was the Government Negligent in the Use or Maintenance of the Property?

    To hold a government entity responsible for your injury, you must demonstrate they were negligent in the oversight or management of the property. They may be held accountable for your subsequent harm if you're successful. All property owners have a legal duty of care that applies to the safety of visitors.

    Duty of care - All property owners are obligated to keep their premises free from apparent hazards and must take action within a reasonable timeframe to discover and fix potential threats to visitor safety.  

    Breach of duty - After the duty of care is established, the next step is to demonstrate that the government entity breached its duty of care toward you. This is done by showing the government did or didn't do something that a reasonable person would or wouldn't have done under similar circumstances. For example, a reasonable person would not install indoor floor tile that is slippery when wet in an outdoor courtyard.

    Damages - The last step to proving negligence is to establish that, but for failure on their behalf, you would not have slipped and fallen on government property, which caused your injuries and expenses. The harm you suffered must have been reasonably predictable, considering the existing hazard on the property. For example, it's foreseeable that broken concrete on a staircase at the park could lead to an injury. Your Morgan and Morgan lawyer will work with you to come up with a fair amount to ask for as a settlement.

    Historically, most premises liability law was based on the person's status when injured. For example, was an invitation implied, like when you visit a public library? The invitation is implied because it's a public space. However, if you were a trespasser, meaning on the property without an invitation or consent, you would likely be unsuccessful in suing. Now, more states are opting to use the principles of ordinary negligence when it comes to premises liability.

  • What Are The Deadlines for Filing a Claim Against a Government Entity?

    All states have statutes of limitations for filing a legal action for slip and fall accidents and other forms of personal injury. However, this timeframe is drastically shortened when it comes to slip-and-fall accidents on government property. In some instances, you may have as few as a couple of weeks to report an injury to protect your right to sue. On top of this restriction, you may need to file a formal notice to the government entity.

    Whenever you're harmed on someone else's property, it's important to report the injury to the property owner, get the contact information of any witnesses, document the accident by any means possible, seek medical help right away, and contact Morgan and Morgan to preserve your rights to recover compensation.

    Suppose a loved one was seriously injured on government property. In that case, it's essential to get in touch with us quickly. We can submit paperwork on your loved one's behalf even if we have to visit them in the hospital to get the ball rolling.

  • What Are The Damage Caps for Slip-and-Fall Accidents on Government Property?

    Unfortunately, the amount you can recover even for a severe injury is capped when it comes to government entities. Damage caps vary dramatically, but many are under $100,000, and punitive damages may be prohibited.

  • How to Provide Formal Notice to a Government Entity?

    When filing a claim against the government, you have strict deadlines and rigid requirements, including providing a formal notice within the required timeframe. Before any legal action can be initiated, you must submit a formal notice of injury to the right institution. The exact requirements may vary, but generally, you'll need to have the following information ready:

    • Name
    • Address
    • Date of injury
    • A specific and short statement on how the injury occurred
    • A proclamation in which you assert the government entity was negligent
    • A description of injuries accompanied by medical bills and financial losses incurred to date

    The formal notice must be given to the appropriate government authority before filing a legal claim, and they must have sufficient time to respond before going forward. It's important to note that you must not only file the notice with the appropriate office but you must also file a claim against the right government entity, which, as stated previously, can be tricky. For example, if you slipped and fell at the city courthouse, you might think the city is the appropriate party. However, the city may lease the building from the federal government. Depending on the contract, the government might be responsible for maintenance and, therefore, would be the right party to sue, not the city. 

  • What Immediate Action Should Be Taken After a Slip and Fall Accident on Government Property?

    Documenting the scene is incredibly important. Take pictures or videos of the area where you slipped if you can. It may reveal a defect or hazardous condition that led to your fall, which could be cleared up later. The conditions at the time of the accident could change. For example, a loose handrail could be fixed, or a sunny spell could melt away a negligent accumulation of ice on the steps.  

    Try to collect the contact information of any witnesses, take pictures of your injuries, and preserve the clothing and footwear you were wearing at the time of the incident. Get your injuries checked out by a physician as soon as you can. Medical records are of paramount importance in any personal injury claim. Without it, you won't have much of a claim. Additionally, you never know when an injury could be more serious than you suspect. Some injuries can surface hours or days later and worsen over time if left untreated.

    Be specific when you talk to your doctor about the pain you're experiencing, and don't try to be tough. If you make a statement like, "it's not so bad," your treating physician might note that the patient is experiencing "mild discomfort," which will reflect in the amount of compensation you may receive. Be sure to tell your doctor how the injury came about, as this will be included in your medical records.

  • Contact Morgan and Morgan for Your Injury on Government Property

    We understand how aggravating and painful it can be to get injured through negligence. If there's one place where we should be safe, it should be on property that our tax dollars go to support. Even so, it's even more frustrating to learn about all the hoops you'll be required to jump through to get compensated for their negligence. The good news is that Morgan and Morgan can take over the procedural steps while you recover. Having the burden of legal responsibilities lifted from your shoulders can help during the healing process. While suing the government is never a straightforward action, with our experience in such matters, the likelihood of a successful claim is improved dramatically.

    Contact us today for a free case evaluation. You may be eligible to recover compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost income, rehabilitative care, and pain and suffering.

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