During the late winter and early spring, black ice patches are an issue in New York and elsewhere. These thin, translucent ice patches are much slicker, and much harder to see, than white ice.
Furthermore, black ice usually hangs around even when the sun comes out and the temperature rises.
These hazards aren’t just hard to see. Their patterns are hard to predict, for both victims and property owners.
Indoor falls are not a seasonal issue. Hazards like wet spots on floors, uneven walkways, loose handrails, and walkway debris are a danger twelve months a year. Property owners have a duty of care in New York to keep indoor and outdoor areas safe and free from fall hazards.
Fall victims are entitled to substantial compensation. However, many victims unintentionally hurt their cases by doing, or not doing, certain things.
So, knowing what to do after a slip-and-fall accident could be the difference between fair compensation for your serious injuries and settling for less.
Many people fall inside or outside of grocery stores, shopping malls, and other retail establishments.
Make a note of the precise location of the fall. If you are unable to do so yourself, ask a friend or family member to return to the scene of the crime. The precise location usually determines the responsible party.
Assume Terry falls inside a shopping mall. Usually, the individual stores are responsible for the floors inside their stores as well as the common areas immediately in front of their stores.
The shopping mall owner, or perhaps a management company, is responsible for escalators, most interior walkways, and other common areas.
Or, assume Paul falls outside a shopping mall.
Roughly the same rules apply. Individual stores are usually responsible for the common areas, including the parking area, directly in front of their establishments. A third party is usually responsible for common areas.
What does this responsibility entail? Most people are invitees in New York.
These individuals have general or specific permission to be on the property. And, their presence benefits the owner, either financially or non-financially. The benefit need not be significant.
Even if a shopper spends no money, the foot traffic benefits the owner.
If the victim was an invitee, the owner has a duty of reasonable care. The owner must ensure the property is free from black ice patches and other hazards. Additionally, the owner must conduct frequent safety inspections.
Immediately after a fall, most people are hurt badly. So, they don’t feel like saying anything to anyone. But hospital conversations and social media posts could be a problem.
Do not give details to non-doctors, like receptionists or nurses. Insurance company lawyers could force these people to testify. If you said anything that could be construed as damaging, insurance company lawyers will twist your words.
Conversations with doctors are privileged. So, you can be open with your doctor.
Insurance adjusters often visit victims in hospitals. Most fall victims sustain head injuries. Therefore, they are not thinking clearly. So, don’t sign anything or even speak with an adjuster. Let your New York personal injury attorney handle these things.
On a similar note, limit social media posts. Friends and family only care about your medical status.
They probably don’t care about other details. If you post anything damaging, it could be used against you in court. Try to stick with “I’m going home tomorrow” and information like that.
See a Lawyer
Meeting with an attorney kills two birds with one stone. Lawyers connect victims with well-qualified doctors and begin preparing your case.
Most fall victims go to emergency rooms after such accidents. Falls are the leading cause of ER visits in the United States. Busy ER doctors aren’t always specialists or meant for long term care.
Head injuries and other fall injuries are difficult to diagnose. So, an attorney connects victims with doctors who focus on injury-related matters.
To obtain full compensation, attorneys must build negligence cases and refute insurance company defenses, like assumption of the risk and comparative fault. The more time a lawyer has to investigate the facts and research the law, the stronger your case is.
Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation.
For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC.