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Según el Instituto Nacional de Seguridad del Piso, slips and falls are responsible for 8 million hospital emergency room visits yearly. The resulting injuries leave you with lifelong complications and scars. Fortunately, you can seek compensation when such injuries are due to negligence. This article answers some of the most common questions about slip and fall lawsuits.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Not all slips and falls can be compensated under the law. You should consult a slip and fall lawyer about the merits of your case. Generally, your claim is only valid when there is proof of negligence. Below are the common causes of slips and falls.
Spills are the most common cause of slips and falls. Spilled liquids reduce the traction on the floor. The reduced grip makes it hard to maintain your footing when walking or running. Certain fluids such as oil and soapy water are notoriously slippery. However, even plain water can be a slipping hazard on a tiled floor. When necessary, the property owner should put up the proper signage to warn people of the risk of slipping.
Structural and Surface Defects
Poor design and construction can cause slips and falls. Most cases handled by slip and fall lawyers happen on slippery floors and stairways. The size, width, and height of the steps are supposed to be uniform. The ideal flooring should not be slippery when wet. Other structural safety code violations that slip and fall lawyers look for include uneven surfaces, electrical cords, and loose flooring.
Weather conditions such as snow and rainfall significantly increase the risk of slipping or tripping. The wet, muddy, and icy surfaces make it easier to slip and fall. Unfortunately, there isn’t much anyone can do about the weather. However, slip and fall lawyers can hold property owners accountable for low maintenance.
For instance, icy patches and water pools should be removed immediately. If the repairs take time, the proper warning signs should be installed. The rules are slightly different if you suffer an injury in a public place such as a sidewalk. Only an experienced slip and fall lawyer can help get compensation from the city or local government.
Poor lighting compromises critical faculties such as depth perception, vision, and coordination. The body relies on your vision to judge distances and balance. When an area is poorly lit, it is possible to misjudge distance. One wrong step and you could suffer serious injuries. You can help your case by taking a photo of the poorly lit stairway. It will help your slip and fall lawyer prove your case.
New Jersey Slip and Fall Laws
Slip and fall lawyers will advise whether to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Most slip and fall cases are filed under insurance claims since they are easier to settle. However, personal injury lawsuits are another route, especially when the injuries are significant. In either case, three crucial slip and fall laws will come into play.
Estatuto de limitaciones
Like most legal matters, there is an expiration date on your slip and fall lawsuits. The estatuto de limitaciones for personal injuries in New Jersey is two years. If you wait beyond two years, you automatically forfeit your right to any compensation. This period is even shorter if the case is against the city. However, an experienced slip and fall lawyer can still file past the deadline under exceptional circumstances.
Proof of Negligence
Not all slips and falls are someone else’s fault. The first thing a slip and fall lawyer will look for is proof of negligence. In this context, negligence refers to actions or omissions that result in unsafe conditions. The owner of the property can only be held liable if your claim meets certain conditions. The slip and fall lawyer must prove the following liability conditions;
- The owner of the property was responsible for the unsafe conditions.
- The liable party was aware of the hazards but failed to take steps to remedy the situation.
- The condition was one that any reasonable person would have known existed.
Contributory negligence is a common defense in personal injury lawsuits. The accused can argue that you are partly to blame. Contributory negligence implies that the affected person’s actions contributed to the accident or injury. Your slip and fall lawyer will know how to counter this argument. Under section 2A:15-5.1 of the New Jersey statutes, contributory negligence doesn’t bar you from getting compensation. However, this is only true if your share of the blame doesn’t exceed half.
Contributory negligence applies whether the case goes to trial or is settled. Common arguments include:
- The hazards should have been clear to you.
- There was signage warning you of the dangers such as “slippery floor.”
- Your choice of footwear was inappropriate for the conditions.
How Much Compensation Can I get for Slips and Falls?
Due to their vast experience, slip and fall lawyers can give you a rough idea of what to expect. The exact settlement varies considerably depending on the specifics of the case. However, the compensation is often categorized into the following groups.
Slips and falls cause different injuries ranging from bone fractures to traumatic brain injuries. Such injuries can limit mobility or even cause permanent disability. For the affected persons, the priority is to get better. Your current and future medical bills can give some insight into how much your case is worth. As a rule, your settlement should be able to cover your current and future medical bills. However, your slip and fall lawyer can demand more.
Dolor y sufrimiento
Pain and suffering refer to the psychological effects of an injury. Pain covers both the physical and emotional pains caused by the injury. On the other hand, suffering refers to the mental anguish you may suffer even after being healed. For instance, a slip and fall injury may cause you to walk with a limp for the rest of your life.
Since it’s non-economic damage, calculating it can be tricky. Generally, slip and fall lawyers multiply the economic damages by a factor to determine the cost of pain and suffering. Factors considered include disability, change in lifestyle, and impact on economic and social life.
Severe injuries like spinal damage often require a long recovery process. Lost wages cover your pay for the entire duration you are unable to work. However, you must verify the amount you earn. If you are employed, your employer may have to provide confirmation. Those who are self-employed can use other documents like tax returns.
In addition to lost wages, your slip and fall attorney also seeks compensation for earning capacity loss. Some injuries may mean you can never go back to your previous job. For instance, you may no longer be able to lift heavy objects. The amount is supposed to cover the cost of training in a different field or lost earnings due to a lower station.
Contact a New Jersey Slip and Fall Attorney
Personal injury claims can get complicated. Having a reliable slip and fall attorney can make a big difference. In addition to negotiating for a higher settlement, your slip and fall attorney will help you collect and organize all the evidence. Don’t suffer in silence. Consult a New Jersey slip and fall attorney today.