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Long Island Slip and Fall Attorney
Slip and fall accidents are extremely common in Long Island. They can occur in private homes, businesses, and even public property. Many people think slip and falls only result in minor injuries such as scrapes and cuts, but the injuries involved can be much more serious. Property owners have a responsibility to ensure their premises are safe for visitors. If you have been hurt due to a negligent property owner, you can file a claim for damages. Our experienced Long Island slip and fall attorneys can help you recover the fair settlement you deserve.
Common Injuries in Slip and Fall Accidents
Unfortunately, most of the injuries caused by slip and fall accidents are not minor. The most common injuries in slip and fall accidents include:
- Head injuries: Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The severity of a TBI can vary from a minor concussion to a major injury that results in lifelong seizures.
- Broken hips: According to the CDC, over 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by slip and fall accidents. Even more shocking is the fact that one out of five people die after breaking their hip, and senior citizens are at a much higher risk of dying from a hip fracture.
- Spinal cord injuries: Regardless of whether someone falls forward or backward during an accident, the impact can cause the vertebrae to move out of place. Not only is this type of injury incredibly painful, but it can also greatly limit a person’s mobility. Like TBIs, spinal cord injuries can range from being slightly painful to paralyzing. Neurological issues are also commonly associated with spinal cord injuries.
- Shoulder injuries: Shoulder injuries that result from a slip and fall accident often require surgery. Brachial plexus injuries and dislocated shoulders sometimes require physical therapy before they can fully heal.
Due to the fact that these injuries are so serious, it is critical to know what steps to take immediately following an accident.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
Here are some steps to take after a slip and fall accident:
Seek Medical Attention
The most important step to take after a slip and fall accident is to seek medical attention. You may know you need urgent care, particularly if you have broken a bone and cannot move on your own. However, injuries are not always so apparent.
For example, if you suffer from a concussion, you may not know it right away. A doctor will fully examine you and know the signs to look for so they can accurately diagnose your injury. Your health should always be your first priority after any accident, and the insurance company may also try to deny your claim if you did not see a doctor right away.
Determine Cause of Slip and Fall
After you have received medical attention, you should then start to determine what caused your slip and fall. You can start doing this while you are still at the scene of your accident. If you slipped on liquid inside of a restaurant, take pictures of the spill, your injuries, and anything else that is relevant. If there were eyewitnesses that saw you fall, also speak to them and ask for their names and contact information. All of this is important evidence for your claim.
Speak with Property Owner or Manager
If you do not require urgent medical care, you should also speak to the property owner, manager, or supervisor of the area where you fell. They may ask you to fill out an accident report or incident report. While you can fill this out, you should also make sure you receive a copy of the form.
Speak with an Attorney
It is important to note that the insurance company for the liable party may contact you soon after the accident. They may ask you for a recorded statement, or they may encourage you to sign a medical release. You should not comply with either request. A recorded statement can be used against you and a medical release gives the insurer the right to comb through your medical records looking for a pre-existing condition. Always speak with a slip and fall attorney immediately after your accident and direct the insurance company to your lawyer.
Comparative Fault in Slip and Fall Cases
Property owners, managers, supervisors, and tenants are all responsible for keeping their premises in a safe condition for other people to enter. Still, it is not always these individuals who are held fully liable for these accidents. Long Island, like the rest of New York, is governed by pure comparative fault laws. Under these laws, if it is found that you contributed to the accident that caused your injuries, any damages you are awarded are reduced.
Some of the most common defenses heard in slip and fall cases include:
- You were not allowed on that portion of the property, or visitors are not expected to be in that area
- You were not paying attention while walking, such as distracted walking
- Your footwear was unsafe or inappropriate for the weather conditions
- You ignored warning signs, cones, and other equipment intended to block off certain areas
- The hazardous condition should have been obvious to you
Of course, the above are just a few examples of the defenses that property owners use to shield themselves from liability. If they are successful with any defense they raise, you are assigned a percentage of fault. If you are then awarded damages, they are reduced by your same percentage of fault.
This is one reason it is so important to work with an experienced slip and fall attorney. An experienced lawyer will know how to refute these defenses so you obtain the maximum damages you need to recover from your injuries.
Get Legal Help Today
If you or a loved one has been hurt, our Long Island slip and fall attorneys at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. know how to recover the full compensation you deserve. Contact us today to request a free consultation.