Q: I slipped and fell, I’m seriously injured, what should I do?
DN: This is a broad subject, “Slip and Fall” cases are often categorically referred to as “Premises Liability.” However, it depends on the circumstances of where you fell. Often times falls occur in Markets or on slippery surfaces in Shopping Centers, in Apartment Buildings or sidewalks, it can be just about any place. Clients call us with regard to bus falls. These usually involve the injured victim not taking proper precautions and holding on to the safety rails and sitting in their seat. This is all verified by video tapes which are used to defend these cases and I would guess that 90% of all bus fall cases are defensible. The injured victim has placed themselves at risk for not properly maintaining control of their person. Video tapes and Surveillance tapes are fundamentally a good source of establishing the claim, however, often times the Plaintiff was not holding on or for some other reason their negligence added to their fall.
Act Fast. We take a very aggressive approach to handling Premises Liability cases. It just so happened that we received a call from a prospective client last Monday that was shopping for an Attorney that could handle his wife’s case. His wife was seriously injured and suffered a Commuted fracture in a fall on some wet paint in her apartment building. Liability was good since it was the Apartment Manager who painted the decking minutes before and left no barricade or warning signs to prevent tenants from doing exactly what the client tenant did, which was walk down the stairs, step in the paint, fall and suffer a serious injury. Our client’s spouse, a Medical Doctor, really held our feet to the fire. We were left to secure a surgeon for the Prospective Client which we did immediately and set up an appointment the very next day. On Tuesday we were out visiting the accident scene taking photographs, measurements, samples of paint, interviewing witnesses, etc. This approach is critical on these cases, evidence slips away very quickly, witnesses move, etc. The client met in our office Thursday, and was very happy that we acted so promptly in carrying out the investigation and setting up the surgery which was performed on Saturday. There is still much to be done on this case. At the next step we will bring in our Trial Expert who will in fact testify as to the nature of the paint and we will actually do a demonstration before a Jury with ‘drying time’ based on an estimate of how long it was on the deck, where our client slipped. A friction analysis test will put this case together.
As you can see, it takes an awful lot of work to prepare these cases and each case is significantly different. However, if you build on what you’ve learned from prior cases it makes a big difference. The fact that we’ve handled over 8,000 cases in the past 30 years gives us an advantage of developing and ‘honing’ our skills. Other factors in the investigation involve taking pictures photographs of the entire building, walk ways, stairs, etc and of course particularly this area on which the Plaintiff fell. All of this is part of the preparation. This allows the expert to arrive on the scene and follow up on our initial investigation and what we have discovered thus far so we are all set to go. Here is a case likely to be worth somewhere between $500,000.00 and $1.5 million dollars. But its not worth anything unless the ‘Right’ Law Firm is Representing you. Their case was handled the right way. The client a Sophisticated Professional knew it but it takes experience, staffing and coordination we step up to the plate, having handled close to a thousand of these “Slip and Fall” cases over the past 30 years. Any obstacle or facts uncovered in our investigation which would have prevented us from a successful resolution of the case we would know in the beginning, we would have immediately informed the client and withdrawn. However, this is an example of how to handle a Premises Liability case, fast and without any hesitation. If your Attorney isn’t at the scene of the accident within 12 hours of the accident “Eliminate ” this Firm. “YOU CAN ONLY BE A WINNER BY CHOOSING A WINNER.”