What to Look for in a Slip and Fall Lawyer
If you have been hurt as the result of a slip and fall injury, you may have questions about who you can sue, and how to pay for the medical treatment that you incurred. If this sounds like you, contact the attorneys at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. to answer any questions you may have about your claim.
What Is a Slip and Fall Accident?
In order to prove a slip-and-fall accident, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant created the hazardous condition that caused the accident, or the defendant had notice of the condition, and an opportunity to correct or effectively warn about the hazardous condition so as to prevent injury.
When selecting an attorney, it is critical to select a law firm that is thoroughly experienced with these types of cases and their nuances. “Slip and fall” accidents may sound simple enough, but there are rules in statutes and case law that affect how a case develops, and ultimately ends.
For instance, in the definition above, what constitutes “notice”? Your attorney must know what notice is, and what types of notices there are. “Actual notice” is the notice that you were probably thinking of – the defendant actually knew about the condition that caused the slip-and-fall. For example, the manager of a grocery store is alerted by one of the store associates that a customer dropped and spilled a gallon of milk resulting in a large puddle. That would constitute actual notice.
But what about “constructive notice”? To constitute constructive notice, a defect must be visible and apparent, and it must exist for a sufficient length of time prior to the accident to permit the defendant’s employees to discover and remedy it. For example, a grocery store manager is not told about the dropped gallon of milk, but he hears a customer drop a liquid item and hears it crash onto the floor. While he was not actually told that there was a spill, there are pieces of circumstantial evidence that may prove that he should have known. When selecting an attorney, be sure to retain counsel that has handled the type of slip and fall case you have.
For example, falls due to rain or snow tracked into a store. Falls due to a chronic leak in an apartment ceiling. Falls due to snow or ice on a sidewalk or walkway, and so on. Each of these case types, and the many other types of slip and fall presentations, share similar considerations yet also have unique characteristics that call for different types of investigation, different types of notices to be served, and very different case prosecution strategies.
Where Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?
Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere. The most common places where slip and fall accidents occur are:
- Grocery stores
- Stores, restaurants and bars
- Office buildings
- Environments altered by rain, snow, or sleet
- Apartment complexes
- Elevators or escalators
It is important to select an attorney who is willing to put your needs first. That entails developing a legal strategy that considers where the slip-and-fall occurred and recognizing that strategies will change based upon the location of the injury.
In developing your legal theory, your attorney should work with you to discuss how to best proceed with your claim. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney may be able to engage in a pre-litigation investigation by obtaining and analyzing evidence to be used in support of negotiating your claim, or for preparing for trial.
This type of investigation includes:
- Obtaining surveillance footage of the fall
- Taking witness statements and testimony
- Retaining expert witnesses and consulting them for their opinion and testimony
- Obtaining relevant records of slip-and-fall accidents on the same piece of property
- Securing maintenance records
- Taking professional photographs of the condition that caused the fall and the property where the fall occurred
- Obtaining certified police reports, to the extent available and applicable
Qualities of a Slip-And-Fall Attorney
Slip-and-fall accidents can result in serious or even catastrophic injuries. In seeking an attorney, accident victims should look for a firm that has the personnel (secretaries, paralegals, investigators), attorneys, and resources available to adequately investigate, analyze, negotiate, litigate, and, if indicated, try your case before a judge and jury. Your attorney should discuss the particulars and value of your case and thoroughly explain the process and the anticipated prosecution strategy that is thought to be the best course of action.
While experience and a record of excellent results are important, the way the lawyer speaks to you is also important. A case is like a journey and the relationship between client and attorney is a special one. You should feel that the lawyer listens to you, respects you and recognizes your dignity. You should feel that the lawyer, in addition to being technically excellent, is compassionate, dedicated and fiercely determined to obtain the best possible money recovery for you.
Call Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. for an Initial Consultation
If you have suffered an injury due to a slip-and-fall accident, contact the attorneys at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. today. Do not hesitate to call, as the timeframe for filing a personal injury lawsuit and other claim time deadlines are limited. The attorneys at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. are available to answer your questions, evaluate your case, and recommend the best course of action depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident. Call now for more information: 516 932 0400.