Most people do not expect to slip and fall in a store, restaurant, or parking lot. However, if property owners and businesses fail to keep their premises safe, customers and guests can get hurt.
Slip and fall injuries raise serious questions about who may be liable for damages, making the guidance of an experienced civil attorney essential. A dedicated South Bend slip and fall lawyer could hold the responsible parties accountable by securing compensation for you.
What Causes Falling Accidents?
Even the most careful person can lose their footing on a poorly maintained surface or dimly lit walkway. Other typical causes of slip and fall accidents include:
- Debris and other obstructions on floors, sidewalks, or parking lots
- Poor lighting in hallways, entrances, and stairwells
- Uncleared snow or ice
- Slippery floors due to water, cleaners, chemicals, or spills
- Broken steps
- Faulty construction of walkways or stairs
- Building code violations
Property owners are responsible for maintaining their premises and keeping them free of dangerous conditions. If they do not, an injured party may have a claim for damages. An experienced attorney familiar with slip and fall accidents could assist a plaintiff in preparing and filing a lawsuit in South Bend civil court within the state’s two-year personal injury statute of limitations.
Proving Liability for Tripping Hazards
If a person falls on someone else’s property, it is essential to identify who caused the accident. In some cases, the person who failed to correct the hazard is to blame. For example, if a store employee notices water on the floor and does not promptly clean it up, they may be responsible for a customer’s injuries. However, the store manager and owner may also be held liable, as they bear ultimate responsibility for keeping the property and establishment safe for customers and guests.
There are exceptions to a property owner’s liability. Indiana follows the “open and obvious rule,” which means that people invited to a property are expected to exercise due care while on the premises. For instance, suppose someone asks friends to their home, marks an area of the house as off-limits due to ongoing construction, and advises the guests as they arrive not to enter that area of the home. If an invitee accesses that area notwithstanding the warnings and injures themselves, they likely do not have a claim against the property owner.
A violation of the “open and obvious” rule could result in the denial of an injured party’s damages claim. Accordingly, a plaintiff is well-served by consulting a seasoned South Bend attorney to discuss the specifics of the slip and fall accident.
Compensation Available in South Bend
Slipping and falling can be severe, causing physical and emotional harm as well as missed time from work. Under the legal theory of premises liability, a property owner may be responsible for the visitor’s injuries. Examples of recoverable economic and non-economic damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Prescription costs
- Insurance copays
- Medical equipment and assistive devices
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of companionship
Many plaintiffs cannot immediately understand how significantly their injury can impact their personal and social lives. For example, a person who regularly plays competitive tennis and suffers damage to their arm in a fall may be unable to continue to play the sport. With the help of a capable South Bend attorney, someone injured by tripping and falling may recover compensation for this “loss of enjoyment of life.”
Get Legal Help from a Qualified Slip and Fall Attorney in South Bend
Slip and fall injuries happen in various locations and for different reasons. Typically, a negligent business or property owner is to blame.
If you suffered an injury in a fall on someone else’s property, a seasoned South Bend slip and fall lawyer could assist you. Many factors influence a successful slip and fall claim, and a knowledgeable attorney could assess your case and help determine the likelihood of a successful outcome. Call today to get started.