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How to Know if You Have a Case in a Trip and Fall Accident


Let’s face it. Sometimes accidents happen, and we aren’t always aware of our surroundings. This is especially true when it comes to trip and fall accidents, which can be some of the sneakiest ways you can be injured. One minute you’re shopping in your favorite store, and the next minute you’re on the ground in pain. When you least expect it, you’re suddenly staring a pile of medical bills square in the face and wondering how you can move forward. This is where working with a personal injury lawyer in New York City comes in handy.

Having a personal injury lawyer on your side will help you determine the options you have in front of you. If you are injured in an accidental fall on someone else’s property, you still may be able to take legal action to help recover the costs of your expenses. The key is understanding whether or not you have a case and the steps you can take to find relief for your situation. It is also important to know what you can do to bolster your case so that your attorney can provide the best possible support throughout the process.

So You’ve Been Hurt in a Trip and Fall Accident … Now What?

The first order of business is defining what is considered a trip and fall accident in New York. As the name implies, these types of accidents take place when someone trips on either an obstacle—seen or unseen—and falls down, resulting in injury. Often, a person hurt in this type of accident slips on a wet floor or an uneven step.
From the moment you are hurt in a slip and fall accident, your first thought is to get medical attention right away to reduce pain and lessen the risk of further damage.

wet floor sign

While common accidents happen all the time and result in minimal injury, sometimes the injuries are severe enough to require medical attention and repeated trips to the doctor’s office for physical therapy or other rehabilitation. It is in these instances that it can be best to seek guidance from a personal injury lawyer. However, before you get to that point, it is necessary to make sure you have all the information you need that will help your lawyer assess your case.

  • Document the Scene – Take pictures to show what happened leading up to the accident. You want to make sure that you take photos of yourself, your injuries, and the scene from as many angles as possible. This is important because you will need to be able to prove that your injury was caused by hazardous conditions on someone else’s property. Your personal injury lawyer in New York City will visit the scene while helping with your case, but it is best to document what you can, immediately, before the conditions change.
  • Get Witness Statements – If there are any witnesses to the incident, get their contact information for follow-up. Your lawyer will need to be in contact with them in order to corroborate the facts.
  • File a Report – If you are hurt while at a commercial property, file an official report with management to spell out your version of events immediately. This puts your version into the record so that your lawyer can help establish your case and the court can determine fault. Make sure that you receive a copy of the report as well.

lawyer record file

Why Would You Want a Lawyer?

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and fall accidents account for more than one million hospital emergency room visits each year. Even with insurance, having to go to the emergency room for treatment can lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills.

One of the main reasons to seek assistance from a lawyer after a trip and fall accident is because he or she will be able to help you navigate the legal process to, hopefully, recover medical costs and win damages for all that you’ve been through. Since personal injury law is complex and certain scenarios can make things more complicated, having a lawyer on your side enables you to rely on a professional to contact insurance companies, negotiate settlements, and represent you in court.

Wooden gavel

Another reason why you want to hire a lawyer in New York City is that trip and fall cases can be difficult to win. In addition to being a sneaky way to injure yourself, these cases can also be sneaky when it comes to litigation. One wrong step can lead to a loss. It isn’t as simple as a scenario where you trip and fall in a department store and the judge automatically rules in your favor. In New York, you need to prove that four specific factors exist in your case: duty, notice, dangerous conditions, and damages.

Duty refers to the responsibility of the owner to maintain the premises of their property and address any issues that could potentially cause injury. Proving notice requires showing that the owner knew about the hazard ahead of time and didn’t act to rectify the situation. You will also need to show that dangerous conditions existed that caused the accident and injury, as well as the damages you suffered.

lawyer with Your Case

How Will Your Lawyer Help with Your Case?

The success or failure of your case lies in the details, which is where your personal injury lawyer in New York City comes in. Proving fault is essential. Your own recklessness or a disregard for your surroundings would leave your case dead in the water. Having a lawyer on your side will help ensure that you have someone who knows the ins and outs of New York personal injury law and can help you sort through the details to present the best possible case.

The first thing your lawyer will do is help determine whether or not you have a case to begin with. To do this, your attorney will have to establish a number of factors. These include that you had the legal right to be on the property where the trip and fall occurred, as well as the fact that your injuries are the direct result of the fall.

lawyer with laptop
As mentioned above, your lawyer will also work with you to address each of the four aspects that must be proven in order to have a successful case. This is where your past due diligence comes into play. By having photos from the scene, as well as a report on file and witnesses lined up, your lawyer will have a stronger chance of confirming the details and helping you move forward in negotiations.

One thing to remember is that trip and fall cases can get more complex as time goes by, and your lawyer will be there for you to help keep everything managed so that you do not make unnecessary mistakes along the way.

If you are involved in a trip and fall accident and believe you could have a case, it is a good idea to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The longer you wait to seek legal advice, the more likely it is that evidence can be lost or details are forgotten. You want to do everything you can to both bolster your case and win so that you can recover your losses.

To learn more about how to proceed with a personal injury claim in New York City and to work with professional lawyers who will put your best interests first, contact a representative at The Dearie Law Firm today by calling (212) 970-6500.