Law Offices of Christopher C. Thaens, PC

Personal Injury, Accident Lawyer, and Litigation Attorney


Trip or Slip and Fall Injuries

A slip and fall injury, or a trip and fall injury are common, with thousands of claims per year. Unfortunately, many victims suffer serious, life-altering injuries that occasionally result in wrongful death. Defects in sidewalks, unlit stairwells, wet floors, and construction site defects can often lead to catastrophic injuries. In the event of a slip and fall accident, consult a New York slip and fall lawyer, and trip and fall lawyer Chris Thaens in order to determine whether you are owed damages for the negligence of a property or business owner.

The Devastating Impact of Falls
Trip and fall and slip and fall accidents result in serious injuries and lasting harm. In fact, a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study on the costs associated with injuries sustained in 2005 revealed that falls were responsible for 20 percent ($81,200,000,000) of the total cost of healthcare treatment for injured individuals. This astronomical figure shows just how dangerous trip and fall accidents can be — especially to young children and elderly adults, who are far more likely to be hurt.

Chris Thaens trip and slip and fall personal injury attorney can help you understand the law. There are many factors to consider, such as previous complaints about an existing hazard, determining negligence of a business or property owner, and determining negligence, if any, of the individual injured. These are only a few of the factors that Chris and his personal injury firm will analyze when investigating your case.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a slip and fall injury and don’t know what to do or if you still have a question that has not been answered, call Chris Thaens for a free consultation.

General Information
There are several types of slip and fall accidents including slippery surface falls, lobby accidents, stairway accidents, fall from a terrace or balcony, parking ramp falls, sidewalk falls and bathtub and shower falls, to name a few.

A property owner, or the operator such as a store or other business, has an obligation to keep their property in a safe condition for those invited onto the property or store or facility. If it can be proven that a property owner was negligent and knew or should have known about the dangerous or defective condition that caused a trip and fall or slip and fall, you may be able to be compensated for your injuries.

To make a successful claim for a fall accident, the claimant has the burden of proving:

It is important to review the circumstances of the fall. If the property owner’s negligence was a cause of your fall injuries and you can prove it, then you may have a claim.

Property owners who invite guests to commercial spaces (such as stores and restaurants) have an obligation to inspect their properties regularly and either correct dangerous conditions or warn patrons of them.

Property owners who invite casual guests such as friends and neighbors into their homes also have an obligation to warn of dangers or correct them. However, they do not need to inspect their premises.

To make a claim, you will need some proof that the defendant failed to live up to these obligations. The evidence could include such things as maintenance records, photos showing dangerous conditions or witness testimony about hazards.

A NYC personal injury attorney can also tap into a network of expert witnesses who can explain to a jury how the fall was the result of the defendant’s negligence.

Fall on Ice and Snow
Property owners and operators and managers have an obligation to make sure their property, including parking lots and sidewalks, are maintained and that all snow and ice is removed to avoid possible safety hazards. There is also the proper use of salt and sand to lessen the chances of falls.

Property owners are allowed a “reasonable” amount of time to remove the snow and ice after a storm. For example, if you fall on a snowy sidewalk in the middle of a snowstorm, sometimes the property owner may not be held liable since the storm was in progress. This argument can be countered, however, if the property owner or manager made efforts to clean the sidewalk during the storm.

If conditions on the property cause an unnatural build-up of ice or snow, the property owner may be liable for your slip and fall accident. For example:

If ice accumulated on the roof, then melts and drips off because of a clogged drain, then refreezes on the ground; or If a parking lot causes melting ice to form puddles and then refreezes into ice patches. In addition, if a property owner provides snow or ice removal, they must stay on top of it and provide regular maintenance, to keep the property safe.

What is Reasonable? Could the Property Owner or Manager have Prevented the Fall?
Was there something the property owner “should have known” was dangerous? Did the property owner use reasonable care to keep the property safe? Did the property owner use their common sense? A judge and jury will certainly take the answers to these questions into consideration.

If the property owner is careful in their efforts to keep the property safe and clean, they most likely have shown “reasonable” care. Here are some initial questions you can ask yourself to help determine if a property or business owner may be liable for your injuries:

If the answer to one or more of these questions were in your favor, you may have a claim for compensation.

Gathering Evidence
A picture is worth a thousand words. Take photos. Take photographs of the scene of the accident, your clothing and shoes and any bruising, cuts, scrapes or required stitches or casts to document your injury.

If someone witnesses your fall, try to get their name, address, and telephone number.

Accident Report
If you suffer injuries in a store, whether a department store or grocery store, make sure you file an accident report. You can do this by asking for the manager. They will then document your version of the accident. This will prove to be valuable in representing you for your injuries. Unless you are unable, make sure you obtain a copy of the accident report before you leave.

Although your medical records will document your injuries, photographs and statements will prove valuable before a jury.

Fall Down Stairs
As a slip and fall lawyer, Chris has worked on many accident cases, which have occurred as a result of defective or broken stairs.

Property owners have the responsibility to make sure all steps have the same rise and depth, with visible edges. Also, stairs must be kept free of debris or other obstacles, which could cause an accident.

A property owner is also responsible for making sure all stairwells are well lit, with sturdy handrails on both sides. We all have a responsibility to be careful and watch where we are going, however, a property owner needs to show reasonable care.

Who is Liable?
For a property owner to be held legally responsible for your injuries, one of the following must be true:

If you tripped and were injured as a result of your fall, you may be able to receive compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills and other losses.

The experienced New York City premise liability lawyer Chris Thaens can help you get full and fair compensation if you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident in New York City. Call us today or use our online contact form for a free consultation and claim evaluation.

Some of the common types of slip and fall and trip and fall accidents in New York City include:

In a situation where a person is injured in a slip and fall, the property owner may be liable if, he or she caused the unsafe condition, such as spilling liquid and not mopping it up. Elements include if the person or entity knew about the dangerous condition but did not take steps to correct it; the person or entity should have known about the hazard because a reasonable person taking care of the property would have discovered and corrected the dangerous condition.

More than a million people each year visit emergency rooms in the United States because of falls. Some fall victims have minor injuries like cuts or bruises, while others break hips, suffer concussions or even damage their spinal cord. Falls can even be fatal.

If you are hurt in a fall on someone else’s property in New York City, the law may give you the right to make a claim against the person or company that owns or controls the property.

Whether you fell on public property, in a private home or in a business such as a store or restaurant, there are some important actions to take after a fall accident:

Get medical help right away. You should see a doctor or go to a hospital immediately after a fall. Not only do you need to get your injuries checked out and treated, but you also need medical records showing the extent of the damage and injuries caused by the fall. Some major injuries (for example, a traumatic brain injury) show few immediate symptoms. Timely medical care and diagnosis could save your life. Evidence of the extent of your injuries will also be valuable when you pursue a fall injury claim.

You need to alert the person or company in charge of the property, or the business or store, as soon as the accident happens. This means telling the homeowner whose house you were in, calling the landlord or alerting the manager at a business. If the injury happened at a business or in an apartment, the storeowner or landlord should make a formal accident report, and you should ask for a copy. If you need to leave the accident scene for medical treatment, be sure to call back later to get an accident report. Be careful what you say after the accident. Whether you are dealing with a homeowner, a landlord or a business manager, you should avoid getting emotional, casting blame, admitting guilt or arguing about how and why you fell. You don’t want to say anything that could be used to undermine your potential claim for compensation. You also don’t want the situation to escalate into an argument. Simply report the facts of your injury in a straightforward way.

Get witness contact information. You should obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident. These witnesses can back up your story if the property owner or manager tells a different version of events in an effort to escape or evade liability for your fall injuries. Take pictures. Be sure to take detailed photographs of the location where you fell, as well as any conditions that contributed to causing the fall (a broken tile or puddle of spilled liquid, for example). Try to ensure the pictures are time-stamped so it is clear exactly what the conditions were at the time of your accident.

Keep and preserve the clothes and shoes you were wearing. Call Chris Thaens. You should contact a New York slip and fall attorney as soon as you can after you have suffered a fall injury or other accident caused by negligence. A NYC premises liability attorney can help you to get started gathering evidence before it disappears, and can also make sure you don’t answer questions unnecessarily or say anything that you should not. It is especially important to consult with an attorney before you sign anything or negotiate with the insurance company that covers the property owner. Insurers focus on their own profits rather than on providing you full and fair compensation for your injuries.

If you have been injured in a fall on someone else’s property, New York law may entitle you to compensation if your accident was caused by negligent maintenance or failure to correct or warn about a hazard. It is essential to understand whether your accident gives rise to a fall injury case, as you must take action to obtain compensation for your losses.

Determining whether you have a valid fall case requires an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident, as well as an understanding of negligence laws in New York.

You may make a claim against a property owner whose negligence caused your fall. Other situations include:

When you contact Chris Thaens, a slip and fall attorney in New York to make your claim, you must prove liability by a preponderance of the evidence. If you present sufficient evidence the defendant is liable, you may be awarded compensation in a jury trial.

Many slip and fall cases are resolved out of court, which means a negotiated settlement is reached between the defendant (or insurance company) and the victim. The settlement should provide full and fair compensation. You should not accept a settlement or sign paperwork until an attorney has reviewed the documents to ensure you are being adequately compensated for all your losses.

Whether you settle a case or pursue it in court, Law Offices of Christopher C. Thaens, P.C., can help every step of the way.

Filing a lawsuit may be necessary to obtain compensation when a property owner causes fall injuries by negligently failing to maintain a property. To file a claim in New York, you must file your action in the appropriate court. This is something often handled by Chris as your slip and fall lawyer in New York.

It is essential to state the facts of what occurred and to provide legal grounds for your claim. In a slip and fall case, you must assert that you suffered fall injuries because the property owner, renter or other responsible party unreasonably failed to correct hazardous conditions or failed to warn about them.

You must be able to prove the allegations made in your complaint when your case goes to court. If you have insufficient evidence of any aspects of your slip and fall claim, the defendant could get the case dismissed or prevail and be found not liable in a civil trial.

Begin gathering evidence as soon as possible after your fall, including medical records, witness statements and photos from the area where the accident took place.

Many cases are settled out of court. A settlement may be possible in a slip and fall case if the defendant or defendant’s insurance makes a reasonable offer that you believe is fair compensation for your losses. You must ensure the compensation is sufficient, as you cannot change your mind after settling.

You do not need to delay filing a civil suit because of settlement negotiations, as negotiations can continue up to the time when the jury delivers its verdict. It is common for a defendant and plaintiff in a slip and fall case to continue negotiations even as a civil lawsuit moves forward in court.