Slip and Fall Lawyer in Fayetteville, NC
A person who slips or trips and falls can suffer serious or even fatal injuries. Slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of injury and death among the elderly. People at any age can fall and be injured if they encounter an unforeseen hazard such as a slippery floor or sidewalk.
Property owners who fail to correct or warn about slip and fall hazards on their premises may be held responsible for the pain, suffering, and monetary losses of people who are hurt because of their negligence.
North Carolina premises liability law assigns property owners a legal duty to ensure that their properties are safe for visitors. When a Fayetteville property owner fails to keep their property safe – such as when a grocery store fails to promptly clean up a spill or an office building’s management ignores tracked-in rain and mud, they may be liable for personal injuries that result from falls on their premises.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property in Cumberland County, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Contact the experienced Fayetteville slip and fall accident lawyers at Hardison & Cochran at 800-434-8399 today or through our online contact form for a free consultation about your case. We’ll respond to you within 24 hours.
What is a Slip and Fall Case in North Carolina?
Property owners in North Carolina have a general legal duty to ensure that their buildings and grounds are safe for visitors. This particularly applies to business owners who open their properties to the general public, such as retail stores, restaurants, and theaters.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property in Fayetteville, you may be able to pursue an injury claim against the owner or others responsible for the property. A claim would have to show that:
- You were a legal visitor to the property
- A hazard existed on the property that the owner knew about or should have known about
- The property owner failed to correct or adequately warn visitors about the hazard and therefore breached their duty to you
- The property owner’s breach of duty led to the fall that resulted in your injuries
- Your injuries resulted in losses that can be mitigated by paying compensation to you.
Property owners, often through hired management or staff, are expected to eliminate a hazard in a reasonable amount of time or to warn visitors adequately warn of the danger. For example, after a spill occurs in a grocery store, the staff is allowed time for the spill to be reported and for someone to clean it up. If a hazard cannot be eliminated right away, the property owner must post a warning, such as a sign or a fence or barricade.
Defenses to a North Carolina Slip and Fall Claim
There are several defenses that a property owner might assert in a slip and fall case. Your claim that the property owner’s negligence led to your injuries must pass certain tests about “reasonable” expectations.
If your claim was to go to court, the defense might try to raise a question in jurors’ minds about whether the property owner had a reasonable amount of time to correct the slip and fall hazard. The defense is likely to argue that you should have noticed and avoided the hazard and that you contributed to your own injuries.
North Carolina personal injury law adheres to a doctrine of strict contributory negligence. Under North Carolina law, the injured person is not entitled to compensation for slip-and-fall injuries if their own conduct contributed in any way to the accident that caused their injuries.
You are likely to be unable to recover compensation for a slip and fall injury if it can be shown that you:
- Trespassed or were on the property without authorization
- Approached a hazardous location that a reasonable person would have avoided, such as by climbing over a railing or fence
- Ignored a hazard warning that a reasonable person would have heeded
- Encountered the hazard, slipped and fell because you were not paying attention
- Slipped and fell because of your own actions, such as because you were carrying multiple objects or wearing shoes with slippery soles
- Slipped and fell due to your own impairment, such as intoxication
In accidents involving children who are too young to understand trespassing and/or the potential danger of a given situation, the standard is different. The question becomes whether the property owner took reasonable steps to secure the property.
If you have questions about whether you have a valid slip-and-fall accident claim, it is best to consult an attorney. Our slip and fall lawyers can discuss the circumstances of the accident with you in a free initial consultation.
Where and Why Do Slip and Fall Accidents Happen?
You can slip and fall and be injured almost anywhere. Among the numerous locations where fall injuries occur are:
- Retail stores, including grocery stores, boutiques, hardware stores, drug stores, big box” stores, malls and other shopping centers
- Bars, clubs, and restaurants, including fast-food, family, and fine dining restaurants
- Hotels, motels, inns, condos, and other rental or resort properties
- Airports, train stations, bus stations, and other public transportation facilities
- Public performance venues, such as theaters, arenas, and stadiums
- Parks, playgrounds, and swimming pools, including public venues and commercial amusement parks
- Schools and daycare centers
- Workplaces, including construction sites, factory floors, garages, repair shops, offices, parking decks, lobbies, and other public areas of office buildings
- Nursing homes and other residential care facilities where the elderly and infirm are vulnerable to serious injury in slip-and-fall accidents
- Private homes, where homeowners have responsibility for the safety of their visitors.
Some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents include:
- Wet and slippery floors
- Cracked or uneven flooring
- Slippery flooring materials, such as certain stone or glass
- Torn carpeting
- Loose tiles or area rugs
- Torn or loose floor mats
- Electrical cords and wires
- Trash- or debris-cluttered walkways
- Broken handrails
- Loose or broken stair treads
- Malfunctioning escalators and elevators
- Uneven sidewalks, stepping stones, and other walking surfaces
- Potholes, ditches, trenches
- Snow and ice
- Inadequate lighting.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Falls are the No. 1 cause of injuries and death from injury among older Americans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. Each year, more than one in four older adults aged 65 and older will fall. Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for children up to age 19, according to the CDC.
When someone falls, they are likely to reach out to catch themselves. This often leads to hand, wrist, elbow, and forearm injuries, particularly broken arms. In older people, hip fractures are a very common slip and fall injury. A broken hip may lead to a steady decline and premature death if the individual who falls is 65 years old or older.
Additional injuries often suffered in slip and fall accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injury, including paralysis
- Internal organ injuries (particularly after falls from heights)
- Damaged knees, including torn ACLs (anterior cruciate ligaments)
- Shoulder dislocations
- Strains and sprains, particularly to the lower back and ankles
- Pinched nerves
- Cuts and bruises
Slip and fall injuries may require hospitalization for medical treatment followed by weeks or months of rehabilitation. Your ability to work for a living may be adversely affected. You may experience loss of income and chronic pain or other disability.
Slip and Fall Settlements: How Much Compensation Can You Receive?
By pursuing a personal injury claim after a slip and fall accident, you may be able to recover compensation for the economic and non-economic losses you have suffered. In the majority of slip and fall cases, you will turn to the at-fault party’s business or homeowner’s insurance coverage to pay for your losses.
The types of compensation you may seek include money for your:
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses related to the injury, such as for a disabling injury
- Lost income, including future losses due to diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial expenses after a fatal slip and fall accident
- Loss of the care and companionship of a loved one
As your slip and fall attorneys, we would calculate the full extent of your losses and present a demand letter to the appropriate insurance company. If the insurer did not offer an appropriate settlement, we would file a formal slip and fall lawsuit and be ready to present a persuasive case for you in court.
Contact Our Fayetteville Slip and Fall Lawyers Today
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident on another property owner’s premises, an experienced slip and fall attorney from Hardison & Cochran can help you. You may be able to recover compensation to help with medical bills, lost wages, your pain and suffering, and more.
Call the experienced Fayetteville slip and fall lawyers at Hardison & Cochran today or fill out our online contact form.