Businesses are typically responsible for both the inside and outside conditions of their properties. If you were injured from a fall on an unmarked wet floor, icy or uneven sidewalk, improperly maintained staircase, or in a poorly lit area, you may be entitled to compensation.
When you have sustained injuries on business property, it’s important to alert the business right away. You should be prepared to briefly explain how the injury occurred, but refrain from placing blame on the business or yourself until you’ve talked through the details of the event with a lawyer. The worst thing you can do is to implicate that the accident was your fault, say you’re okay when you’re not, or downplay your injuries as insignificant. Often times you can explain the situation immediately after the incident to an employee, manager, or other person in charge. However, if you fall on ice on a day that the business is closed, you may have to wait until they are open again to let them know. It’s best not to delay your notice to the business as there is a ten day deadline in which you have to give a written account of the location, account, and extent of the injury. Failure to give written notice within the ten day window may result in the court denying your case, which means you will have lost your chance at compensation.
Within that ten day window, you will also want to contact a lawyer who can help you through the entire process. MG Law in Ottawa, Ontario offers a free initial consultation and review of your case so you don’t have to worry about spending money just asking for help. They will even meet you at your home or the hospital you’re recovering at if you are unable to get yourself to their office. Additionally, MG Law employs staff members who are fluent in Russian, Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, Kurdish, English, and French to better assist people in their native tongue. Personal comfort with your lawyer is important when dealing with a lawsuit, as they will be your advocate through the process. The best thing you can do is choose one you trust.
Once you have secured counsel, your lawyer will want to review the case to establish liability for the injury. Liability determines who is at fault for the accident. For the business to be at fault there needs to be proven negligence. If the sidewalks were icy, but no salt was present, this could be a sign of negligence. If the floor was wet or greasy, but there was no sign altering patrons, this can also be an indication of negligence. Your lawyer will also help you determine whether the specific business or the property landlord (if the business space is leased) is responsible for the negligent conditions that caused your accident. No detail is too insignificant to leave out of your account, and it may even help you win your case. Your lawyer will help you in gathering photographs of where the incident occurred, video surveillance, any maintenance records on file, witness statements from employees or patrons who observed the accident, and any other documentation specifically pertaining to your case that will aid in determining liability.
Slip and fall injuries can range from minor to severe. If your injuries required medical attention, such as a fracture, broken bone, concussion, brain injury, spinal injury, or soft tissue injury, detailed medical records are essential for full compensation. If even just a small part of you thinks your injuries warrant medical attention, it’s important to see a doctor right away. Through the doctor’s diagnoses and medical records, you will have proof of the extent of the injuries you sustained immediately after the accident before they have had a chance to heal. Some injuries appear later, such as deep bruising, pulled muscles, or neck and/or back issues. It’s important to seek medical attention as soon as you show any signs of injury, even if it appears days after the accident.
Once the other party has been found at fault for your slip and fall injuries, you will at least be awarded compensation to cover your present and future medical bills related to the incident. Pain and suffering damages may also be taken into account if your injuries require long term care or will permanently affect your daily activities. The longer it takes to recover from your injury, the more you will likely be awarded for pain and suffering. Incidental expenses such as gasoline for getting to your various doctor appointments may also be covered if you obtain proper documentation.
If you had to take time off of work because of your injuries, whether you were in the hospital for an extended period of time or had to visit a doctor’s office, you also may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages. You can verify your lost wages with pay stubs and a written verification from your employer as to how much time you missed and your typical wages for that time period. If you were injured so severely that you are no longer able to perform your job as before, you can also claim “lost earning capacity”. A vocational rehabilitation expert will perform an evaluation on your injuries, your occupation, and outlook for future work opportunities to prove you can no longer function at your job, will go down in pay grade, or need to be trained in another field. This type of compensation will either cover your training to do a different job or cover the difference between your past income and your future projected income potential.
A slip or fall not only results in physical injury, but can also add emotional trauma by having to endure the whole legal process regarding your case. However, having a lawyer by your side who can help you win the compensation you deserve will make it all worth it in the end. Not only will you cover your medical bills and other expenses by going to court, but you could also help prevent the same fate happening to another helpless victim.