Accidents happen, and unfortunately “slip-and-fall” accidents are one of the leading types of personal injury cases in the United States. They account for approximately eight million visits to the emergency room each year, and many more such injuries go unreported.
Common Sites of Slip-and-Fall Accidents
These types of accidents can happen virtually anywhere, on both private and public property. Common sites where these injuries are sustained include:
- Parking lots
- Moving walkways
- Grocery stores
- Office buildings
People often slip and fall when walking surfaces are uneven, cracked, or wet from spills, being cleaned, or iced.
Types of Slip-and-Fall Injuries
A spectrum of injuries can be sustained in slip-and-fall cases, ranging from bruising to permanent disability. The most common types of injuries that we see are:
- Back injuries
- Knee injuries
- Torn ligaments
- Head trauma
It is vital that you seek immediate medical treatment after your injury—even if you are not in acute pain.
Like injuries sustained in car accidents, it can take time for pain from a slip-and-fall accident to manifest due to adrenaline temporarily blocking sensation. You do not want the injury to worsen due to lack of proper, timely medical intervention. Not addressing an injury quickly enough could lead to further disability down the line.
Showing willingness to seek medical attention will also help your case by demonstrating that you are truly hurt or in pain and are not faking an injury.
Who Is Responsible?
To determine who is responsible for your slip-and-fall accident, you must ask who created the unsafe conditions that resulted in your pain and suffering. A property owner or governmental entity may be responsible.
- Property Owner: A property owner may own any type of business, such as a retail store or restaurant, or may be a homeowner. For example, if you slip and fall on a wet floor at the grocery store, the grocery store is responsible. They should have cleaned up the spill or been more cautious by placing signs on the floor indicating that it was wet.
- Governmental Entity: A governmental entity can be at the city, county, or state level. If the city owns a sidewalk that you slip and fall on, the city is at fault for its negligence. It is the city’s responsibility to maintain sidewalks so that they have an even, clean surface free of cracks, debris, excessive water, and ice. It is unfair to you if the city did not ensure your safety by neglecting to properly upkeep these frequent sites of foot traffic.
How Soon Should I File?
According to Section 413.140 of the Kentucky statute of limitations, you have only one year after the date of a slip-and-fall incident to file a claim. If you do not file a claim within a year from the date you were injured, it is unlikely that your case will go to court.
The reason behind a statute of limitations deadline is that critical evidence may be time sensitive. For instance, your memory of what occurred when you sustained an injury in a slip-and-fall might fade with time.
A year is not a long time to file a claim, especially when you are dealing with the aftermath of an injury. Therefore, it is prudent to retain the representation of an attorney who can guide you through the process of filing a claim as soon as possible after experiencing a slip-and-fall.
We Are Here to Help
To receive compensation for your injury, you need to file a personal injury claim. This process can feel complex—especially when you are in pain or not feeling well—and it is wise to secure the help of an attorney. At the Law Office of Pamela C. Bratcher, we are skilled in handling personal injury cases, like slip-and-falls, in Kentucky and are available to advise you regarding your options to receive rightful compensation.
What Is the Process for Filing a Slip-and-Fall Claim?
When you retain our representation, our knowledgeable legal team will investigate your case. We will collect all documentation pertinent to your accident. If necessary, our attorney may elicit the help of experts to determine what the conditions were like at the site where you sustained a slip-and-fall injury.
Our attorney will also guide you regarding making statements about the accident. For example, if the defendant’s insurance company were to contact you for information, you would be advised to direct their questions to your attorney. Here’s how else we can help:
- Deposition: You may be required to complete a deposition, or an oral testimony of what occurred during your slip-and-fall accident. Depositions are important for gathering information to strengthen your case and are completed outside of a court.
- Medical Information: In slip-and-fall claims, it is common for doctors or other medical professionals who have assessed the extent of your injuries from the incident to also provide information to your attorney. The information they provide could be in the form of written documentation—such as reports, medical records, and recommendations for your future medical treatment—or verbal documentation—such as through a deposition.
- Independent Medical Evaluation: Sometimes insurance companies request the claimant—meaning you, the injured party—to complete an independent medical evaluation (IME). The purpose of the IME is for a third party, independent medical professional to document their objective opinion regarding the extent of your slip-and-fall injury. The IME serves as another piece of evidence that you were truly hurt in a slip-and-fall.
- Mediation: A case can require mediation, which is when both parties negotiate with each other in the presence of a mediator, or neutral third party. Our attorney would represent you during mediation. Mediations typically occur toward the end of the settlement process.
Securing the representation of an attorney helps build the value of your case. A qualified attorney with years of experience handling slip-and-fall claims will know what steps to take to build your case, and how to efficiently carry them out.
Will I Go to Trial?
There are multiple directions that your slip-and-fall claim could take.
- Settled Outside of Court: If the insurance company of the party responsible for your slip-and-fall injury offers a fair amount of compensation, then your case can be settled outside of court.
- Settled In Court: If the settlement amount offered is deemed insufficient by you and your attorney, you can go to court. When a case goes to court, your attorney will represent you, the plaintiff (injured party), to the judge and jury. The defendant (party responsible for your slip-and-fall injury) will also present a defense. After careful consideration of both parties’ arguments and evidence, the jury will come to a verdict.
- Verdict Is in Your Favor: If the jury gives a verdict in your favor, they will also determine how much compensation in damages you will be awarded.
- Verdict Is in Your Favor but Appealed: If the defense appeals the case and requests reconsideration of the ruling, the process will take longer.
Each slip-and-fall situation is unique, and the length of the settlement process varies by case. When you enlist the help of an attorney well-versed in slip-and-fall claims, they can review all potential outcomes of your case and advise you on the best course of action.
Contact Us Today
When it comes to slip-and-fall injuries in Kentucky, time is of the essence. Remember, you have only one year from the date of your slip-and-fall accident to file a claim.
The Law Office of Pamela C. Bratcher recognizes that slip-and-fall accidents significantly affect a person’s ability to work and enjoy life, and it is our mission to make the legal process as smooth as possible for you. Since 1988, our compassionate, reputable team has been committed to ensuring our clients understand all legal options available to them in the pursuit of justice and compensation.
Call us at (270) 977-8910 to schedule your consultation today.