Rhode Island Slip and Fall Lawyer
Movies and TV shows often depict greedy, opportunistic plaintiffs who experience a minor fall and then try to sue later for excessive and extreme damages. Such tropes, however common, ignore the real danger that slip and fall hazards pose. Victims of an accidental fall can suffer serious injuries that would have been easily prevented with the exercise of ordinary and reasonable care.
Far from being selfish or dishonest, the victims of slip and fall accidents in public places need real, dedicated attorneys who understand the complex liability issues surrounding premises accidents.
Who’s responsible for a slip and fall?
Rhode Island courts, along with trial courts and juries across America, have long recognized that a business or other public venue has a duty to keep its floors and walkways safe. Unfortunately, many Rhode Island businesses ignore these basic responsibilities, leading to numerous hazards.
Common slip and fall accidents in grocery stores and other retail venues happen when a spill leaves water, oil, or other residue on a hard surface. The produce section may have a leak which causes water to pool under the racks, or a freezer might defrost unexpectedly and leave oily liquid on floor. It’s critical that the employees and management keep a close lookout for such hazards and remedy them immediately.
Rhode Island trip and fall attorneys often see cases where a business has left something unsafe on or near the floor, causing customers to trip. Debris or products that spill out into a walkways can be an unexpected hazard. Likewise, even something intended to improve safety, like a nonslip mat, can be dangerous if it is folded or bunched up.
During winter months, ice and snow accumulates quickly. Even though businesses typically are not expected to clear away snow while it is still falling, they should promptly salt and clear any publicly-accessible pathway once the precipitation stops. They should also be aware of areas where water may collect from other sources. A dripping or leaking drain can cause a pool to form outside doors, leading to the formation of ice during cold weather even if the skies are clear.
Still other hazards can be found when displays are planned poorly and obstruct a pathway. Disability access ordinances require clearance for walkers and wheelchairs on ramps, so managers who foolishly locate sales displays on those ramps can cause problems for anyone trying to navigate them. This is especially dangerous for senior citizens and disabled persons who depend on those ramps to safely enter or exit the store.
Injured in a slip and fall?
Whether the fall results from slipping, tripping, or another obstruction, the injuries can be dramatic. Broken bones and head trauma are common. Customers who would otherwise be healthy or even athletic may be powerless to avoid injury when they aren’t expecting a sudden fall.
In many accidents, the extent of injury is not immediately apparent. Sprains, strains, and whiplash can cause lifelong problems if untreated. If you slip and fall in a public place, make sure you get medical treatment immediately.
What to do before you call a lawyer
Immediately after a slip and fall, try to document everything. The top Rhode Island slip and fall lawyers understand that proving negligence can be challenging. Take photographs of the scene, the area where you slipped, and what caused the injury. Insist that the management fill out an incident report, and request a copy.
Do not sign any waiver of liability and do not speak directly with insurance adjusters or investigators. If there are witnesses, get their information. Try to figure out how long the hazard had been there and whether the employees might have known about it.
When you seek medical treatment, make it clear that your injuries resulted from the incident, and describe the incident in detail. This will help to strengthen your case if the insurance company later tries to claim that your injuries were pre-existing or that you fabricated your story of the event. Insurance companies do not want you to litigate to seek the full amount in damages. Their job is to get you to settle for as low an amount as possible. Consultations with the offices of Louis W. Grande are always confidential and free. We can review your claim and determine whether litigation or settlement is the best path forward.