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Who Can File a Slip and Fall Claim?

If you fell and suffered an injury on another person’s property due to their negligence, you may be entitled to file a slip and fall claim. There are also times when you can file a claim on behalf of another person, such as a minor or incapacitated individual.

Slips and falls can happen to people of all ages, every day, and more than a quarter of Americans aged over 65 fall each year. Some falls are caused by carelessness, ill-fitting footwear, or accidentally losing your balance, and no one else is at fault. However, if the conditions that led up to a fall could have been foreseen and preventative action should have been taken, you may be able to pursue compensation for the losses you have suffered.

Rather than wondering whether or not you or your family member has a case, talk to one of the premises liability attorneys at Kiley Law Group. Our dedicated legal team has years of experience in handling similar cases and has won over $1 billion for our clients. They would be happy to meet you for free to discuss your case and explain your legal options.

Call us at (888) 435-1321 to talk to a qualified slip and fall lawyer today. Or, if you prefer, complete our online contact form, and we will schedule a consultation at your convenience.

Filing a Claim on Your Own Behalf

To file a slip and fall claim, you must prove that someone else’s negligence directly caused your accident. Slip and fall lawsuits come under premises liability law, so to make a strong case, you must prove that the owner or occupier of the building knew about the hazard or should have known and failed to take action, which resulted in you getting hurt.

This is where it can get complicated. The person who occupies the building where you fell may not be the owner. The responsibilities of the landlord and tenant vary depending on the agreements in place between them. Both parties have a duty to keep the premises reasonably safe, and both parties may share liability for your accident in some cases. Therefore, identifying the ideal potential sources of damages usually requires the skills of an experienced premises liability attorney.

Causes of slip-and-fall accidents

To prove liability, your accident must have been caused by a hazardous condition that could have been addressed beforehand. This could include the following situations:

  • Uneven flooring
  • Torn or snagged carpeting
  • Loose rugs or other flooring materials
  • Wet or dusty floors
  • Untreated ice
  • Inadequate lighting

To demonstrate that the property owner was at fault, you must prove that he or she either knew about the hazard and did not take appropriate action or should have known about it. You must also demonstrate that the negligence was the cause of your injuries.

Personal liability

In some slip and fall cases, the victim may also share liability for contributing to the accident in some way. For example, if someone ignores warning signs or walks in a cordoned-off area, this choice makes it more likely that they will fall.

Massachusetts law follows the principle of modified comparative negligence. This means that if the victim’s negligence was less than 51 percent, he or she can file a claim for compensation. Whatever happened in your case, knowledgeable premises liability attorneys can listen to your story, review the evidence you bring with you, and weigh how likely it is to succeed. If you have a strong case, they may agree to represent you.

Common slip and fall injuries

Slip and fall injuries can range from minor traumas that heal quickly to catastrophic conditions that change people’s lives forever. The most common injuries are broken bones and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Broken bones can be very painful, and some cause long-term problems, such as nerve damage and ongoing pain. Complicated fractures, especially spinal fractures, may cause long-term conditions or disability. Traumatic brain injuries can also cause permanent disabilities and increase your chances of developing other serious health conditions.

To win a slip and fall case, you must prove that your injuries directly resulted from your accident. Seeking medical attention immediately and keeping accurate records may help to validate your claim. If you delay in seeking treatment, it may be harder to prove that your injuries were caused by your slip-and-fall accident, thereby detrimentally affecting your case.

Handling settlement offers

After a slip-and-fall accident, the liable party’s insurance company may try to settle the case quickly by offering you a small amount of compensation. Sadly, insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. Instead, they aim to pay as little as possible and close your case fast.

Before accepting any settlement offer, talk to a premises liability attorney and ask whether the offer is fair under the circumstances or if it seems too low. If you’re being short-changed, a tenacious attorney could help you to achieve a fair settlement that will give you financial stability moving forward.

Filing a Claim on Someone Else’s Behalf

As we’ve discussed, in most slip and fall cases, the injured person is personally able to hire a lawyer and file a claim. Yet, there are some instances in which an injured person may be unable to pursue a case on their own behalf. The good news is that there are legal options available that allow another person to seek damages on their behalf.

Minor child

Falls are a normal part of growing up, but sometimes the consequences can be serious. Stanford Medicine reports that over 2.2 million children aged 14 and under are treated in hospital each year for fall-related injuries. Even more devastating is the fact that around 100 children lose their lives due to falls every day.

If your child has been injured in a fall that was someone else’s fault, you have every right to pursue justice on their behalf. Premises liability lawyers can talk you through how to pursue your child’s claim for damages.

Under Massachusetts law, people under the age of 18 do not have the full legal right to enter into contracts, such as settlement agreements. Therefore, the court must review settlements of $10,000 or more. The parents of the injured child have to submit a petition to approve the settlement. The judge will also ensure that the minor will benefit from the proceeds of the settlement.

Incapacitated adults

Incapacitated adults are another group of people who require the assistance of a third party to seek justice. Under Massachusetts law, an incapacitated person is someone who has a diagnosed condition that prevents them from making or communicating decisions on health, safety, and care matters. An individual who was already incapacitated when they had their accident would require their guardian to act on their behalf.

Moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries sustained in fall accidents may cause a person to become incapacitated. According to the CDC, the five-year outcomes for people who have suffered TBIs are:

  • 30 percent get worse
  • 26 percent improve
  • 22 percent stay the same
  • 22 percent die

If a TBI has affected your loved one’s cognitive abilities, he or she may no longer have the capacity to personally pursue a lawsuit. If the injured person is considered to be incapacitated, a Massachusetts court may appoint a guardian. Again, the guardian of an incapacitated adult may be able to file a claim on his or her behalf.

Wrongful death

Tragically, some people’s injuries after a slip-and-fall accident are so severe that they pass away before taking legal action. If the following is true, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the person who has died:

  • The accident caused the person’s death
  • The accident was caused by negligence or the willful, wanton, or reckless actions of another person
  • Had the person survived, he or she could have claimed damages for the injuries

In Massachusetts, the executor or administrator of the deceased can pursue a wrongful death claim. This is often a close family member named in the deceased person’s will. Any claim must be started within 3 years of the date of death or the date the executor became aware of a basis for legal action.

We understand that no amount of money could ever bring your loved one back. However, fair compensation can give you some financial certainty as you begin to rebuild your life. When you hire Kiley Law Group, our dedicated lawyers will aggressively fight your wrongful death claim to try to secure the compensation you deserve.

What Slip and Fall Lawyers Can Do for You

Slip and fall claims can be overwhelming, and even more so if you’re representing another person. The experienced lawyers at Kiley Law Group are here to make your life easier. They can navigate the complicated world of proving liability and pursuing damages for you or your loved one. They can deal with the insurance companies to make sure they compensate you accordingly. Thus, you’ll be free to focus on what really matters – getting your life back on track.

It all starts with a conversation with one of our compassionate attorneys. They will listen carefully to your story, and they won’t charge a cent for the initial consultation. If we agree to represent you, we will work on a contingency basis, meaning that you pay nothing until we win your case.

Call Kiley Law Group at (888) 435-1321 or complete our contact form online for a free, personalized case evaluation.