Slip and fall accidents can happen when least expected and result in serious harm to a victim. One out of five falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These types of accidents can not only hurt you physically but also financially.
Medical costs for fall injuries are $31 billion annually, with hospital costs accounting for two-thirds of the total. Our attorneys can assist victims of slip and fall accidents in filing a lawsuit for compensation. Compensation can help with all the bills and expenses you are burdened with. Whether the trip occurred in a grocery store, shopping mall, or office building, we can work with you to determine if you have a viable lawsuit.
Highlighted Slip & Fall: Parking Lots
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, unintentional falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries across all age groups 25 and up. Each year, more than 800,000 people are hospitalized due to a fall injury. Parking lots and sidewalks that are not maintained and repaired when necessary can become hazards for unsuspecting guests. Victims can suffer long-term injuries such as hip fractures and head injuries. In fact, the majority of traumatic brain injuries are caused by falls.
Property owners and businesses have a duty to keep their parking lots reasonably safe and to warn guests of any dangers. This requires regular inspections, the cleaning up of hazards, and repairs/maintenance when necessary. Common reasons for parking lot slip and fall injuries include: accidents occur include:
- Pavement defects
- Poor lighting
- Wheel stops
In many cases, multiple parties could be found negligent in slip & fall accidents. Responsible parties may include:
- Lot owner
- Businesses that use the lot
- Apartment complex owners
- The government
Elements of a Slip and Fall Lawsuit
Under Kentucky law, a person injured in a slip and fall accident must satisfy the following two elements to have a valid claim:
The owner had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition or should have reasonably known through the use of due care that the dangerous condition existed; and
The injured victim was unaware of the dangerous condition.
To prove that a property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition, your attorney may present evidence that the dangerous condition had existed for such a long period of time that it should have been discovered by the owner of the property if he or she had exercised reasonable care in inspecting the premises.
For instance, your lawyer may present evidence that a department store’s employees were in the immediate vicinity of the dangerous condition and should have noticed and removed the hazard. Your attorney may also present evidence that the store was understaffed, and therefore, the store owner failed to satisfy the duty to maintain a property free from hazards.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies for property owners frequently attempt to avoid liability by claiming that the victim could have somehow walked around the dangerous condition, but failed to do so. Soon after an accident, insurance companies have been known to ask victims leading questions so that they inadvertently make confessions that can be used to limit the insurance company’s liability if a lawsuit is filed.
For example, insurance companies often try to argue that the “open and obvious doctrine” applies by claiming that the injured person was not watching where he or she was walking or in some other way failed to exercise due care. Under the open and obvious doctrine, a property owner is not liable for injuries if the existence of the dangerous condition was obvious, yet the injured person voluntarily walked into it.
Before giving any statements to an insurance company, it is important that you first speak to a lawyer who can advise you of your rights under Kentucky law.