Slip-and-fall accidents that result in serious injuries are more common than many people realize. Recent data from the National Safety Council (NSC) shows that nearly 9 million individuals in the United States visit the emergency room due to injuries sustained in slips, trips, and falls on a yearly basis.
Over the last 7 years, the lawyers of Edelman & Thompson have won more jury verdicts in Kansas City area courts than any other law firm. With five offices in the Kansas City area, and a large staff of attorneys who specialize in personal injury claims including slip-and-fall cases, we have the resources to take on big corporations and insurance companies.
We’ve recovered over $500 million for clients like you, and we’re ready to represent you if you’ve been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property. Contact our firm to schedule a consultation today by calling us or filling out an online contact form. Once scheduled, you can come to us, or if your injuries prevent you from traveling, we’ll come to your home or hospital room to discuss your legal options.
How Our Lawyers Can Help After a Slip and Fall
Owners and lessors of property have a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent injuries which occur on their premises. This can include the duty to take steps to ensure that floors, walkways, stairs, parking lots, and other areas that see foot traffic are kept free and clear of dangers and defects. It can also include a duty to warn their patrons of dangers on the property such as by placing a “wet floor” sign in areas where the business proprietor is mopping or cleaning.
When someone is hurt on their property, the owner may attempt to avoid liability by claiming that they were unaware of the hazardous condition. Under the law, however, a plaintiff need only show that the responsible party should have been aware of the danger yet failed to remedy it or warn the customer.
If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you should contact experienced legal counsel immediately. At Edelman & Thompson, we believe that it is important to put the responsible party or parties on notice immediately of the claim, and ensure that all evidence is properly preserved and retained. For example, the premises may have a video surveillance camera which recorded video or photographs of the scene and/or the fall. Oftentimes the videotape is recorded over and erased automatically by the system after a certain period of time has passed. By placing the responsible party on notice immediately, we can make sure that such evidence is not destroyed or altered.
When you hire us, we will immediately begin a thorough investigation of your case. We’ll collect the necessary evidence, obtain the documentation of your injuries, identify the parties responsible for your accident, and determine the various forms of compensation you might be entitled to.
We’ll work to seek a fair settlement from the responsible party and their insurance company, and if they refuse to offer you fair compensation for your claim, we’ll take them to court. It is our goal to make sure that you do not have to pay out of pocket for an accident that was not your fault. Our track record of successful verdicts and settlements speaks to this commitment on behalf of our clients.
Types of Injuries Common in Slip-and-Fall Cases
The injuries resulting from slip and falls can be severe and sometimes fatal. Common injuries suffered in slip-and-fall accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Sprains and strains
- Spinal cord injury (SCI)
- Serious contusions
- Broken bones, including hips or pelvis
- Severe nerve damage
Many of these injuries require emergency attention, visits to specialists, medical equipment, rehabilitative therapy, and other treatments. Injuries such as TBIs and SCIs often come with long-lasting or even permanent impairments and can affect a victim’s ability to ever return to their job or even perform basic daily activities on their own. Older adults are particularly at risk for serious injuries in falls, especially broken hips.
Common Causes of Slip-and-Fall Accidents
In many situations, slip-and-fall accidents happen because of hazards on another party’s property. Unfortunately, hazards regularly cause slip and falls in stores, hotels, schools, common areas, workplaces, or even residential properties. The following are some examples of property owner negligence that may result in a slip and fall:
- Improperly maintained or broken stairs
- Step-downs with no warning
- Failure to warn visitors of potential hazards that cannot be immediately addressed (for example, a spill in a grocery store aisle. Until it can be cleaned thoroughly, signage should warn others of the hazard.)
- Electric cords that are not properly secured to the wall
- Allowing debris or objects to remain in walkways
- Torn or overly worn carpeting
- Uneven, worn, or otherwise slippery flooring surfaces
- Insufficient lighting or railings in stairwells or hallways
If any of these or other conditions caused your slip and fall accident, you should always make note of the conditions and take photos if possible. You should seek medical attention for your injuries and contact one of our experienced lawyers to discuss your situation as soon as possible
Types of Compensation Available for Slip-and-Fall Injuries
The compensation you may receive in slip-and-fall cases comes in the form of damages. The specific types of damages you could recover will depend on the injuries you have suffered. You could be eligible for compensation for:
- Medical expenses. Repayment of accident-related medical expenses is one of the most common types of damages sought in a slip-and-fall claim. All types of slips and falls can result in severe injuries that require extensive treatment, including emergency trauma care, time in the hospital, surgical procedures, appointments with specialists, various forms of rehabilitative therapy, and home healthcare. In addition to the costs that you have already incurred due to your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for the estimated medical costs you will incur in the future if your injuries require additional medical care.
- Lost income. Many slip-and-fall victims are unable to return to work while they recover from their injuries or perhaps may never be able to perform their job duties again. You deserve to recover for all past lost wages, as well as the estimated amount of future earning potential you have lost due to your injuries. These earning calculations may take into consideration lost benefits, retirement savings, and more.
- Noneconomic damages. In addition to economic damages, some injured victims are able to receive significant compensation for intangible losses as well. These may include physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, permanent disfigurement or disability, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium if your injuries have affected your marital relationship.
- Punitive damages. In rare cases, a Kansas or Missouri court may award you punitive damages, which do not specifically compensate you for any losses. Instead, this type of damages applies when a party’s behavior is egregious, willful, or wanton. They are designed by tort law to punish the party and deter similar behavior.
- Personal property replacement. Did any of your personal items of value get damaged during your fall? If so, you could secure money to repair or replace those items.
What to Do After a Slip-and-Fall Accident
If you suffered serious injuries in a slip-and-fall accident because of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, you may be able to hold the property owner liable for your losses by filing a claim under premises liability law. To protect your claim, however, you should take the following steps:
- Report the incident. Following a fall, you should report the accident to the store manager, landlord, or other appropriate party. Filing an incident report can create a record of the fall, including the time, location, and other relevant details. As time passes, it may be difficult to accurately recall all of the circumstances surrounding your fall, so having a report can be extremely helpful. If you or the premises owner has completed an incident report, you should ask for a copy. Once you leave the premises following the fall, do not have any further contact with the property owner or their insurance carrier. A representative from the insurance company may contact you to provide a recorded statement. You should refrain from doing so. Instead, you should obtain legal counsel to represent you.
- Take photos of the area. If you are able, you should take as many photos as possible of the area where you fell. If dangerous conditions or hazards exist, you should not move them and instead take pictures so you can preserve an image of the condition or hazards to support your legal claims.
- Seek medical attention. If you have been injured you should seek medical attention just as you would with any injury. This is particularly important if you have hit your head in the process of a fall. Concussions, soft tissue injuries, breaks, and similarly painful bodily injuries can be difficult to identify on your own. If you do not receive a timely diagnosis, you may not receive the treatment which you need, and as a result may experience more severe complications.
- Document the impact of your accident. In the days and weeks after the fall, your pain may increase and you may experience additional physical limitations. It is always a good idea to take notes regarding your pain levels and the state of your injury so that you can express the full extent of your fall injuries and their effects on your life.
Time Limits for Bringing a Slip-and-Fall Case
The general rule is that injuries arising out of a fall on property must be filed in court within 2 years of the date of the injury in Kansas and 5 years in Missouri. As with many areas of the law, there are sometimes exceptions to these general rules. You should not wait before seeking out legal counsel. As stated above, it is important to retain counsel as soon as possible to ensure that all evidence is properly preserved.
The time limit for bringing a claim against a governmental entity can sometimes be subject to strict deadlines regarding notice. For example, in Kansas City, Missouri, it is required that an injured party provide the city with notice of the defect in a sidewalk or other public thoroughfare within 90 days of the date of the injury. Again, as with all time deadlines under the law, there can be exceptions. This is yet another reason why it is important to contact legal counsel immediately after sustaining the injury.
Call Our Kansas City Area Slip-and-Fall Attorneys Today
If you have suffered injuries on someone else’s property, the Kansas City slip-and-fall lawyers at Edelman & Thompson are here to help. We will listen to your story, investigate the accident, and assess the financial impact of your losses. We are prepared to negotiate with the responsible party’s insurance company or pursue a lawsuit if they refuse to offer you a fair settlement for your claim.
You owe us nothing until we obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf. If we are able to obtain a settlement or verdict for our clients, our fee is a percentage of that recovery. On most personal injury cases, our fee is 33 1/3% of any settlement — much less than the 40 or 50% charged by some other law firms. We are repaid for our out-of-pocket expenses only if we win your case, and charge nothing up front.
Call our office for a free consultation to find out how we can assist you in recovering for your losses.