Accidents happen all the time. It’s surprisingly easy to slip or trip and fall when you’re not looking to see where you’re going. Usually, there’s no one to blame but yourself. However, there are situations in which a property owner can be held responsible if you get injured. You deserve to get compensation after a slip and fall that happened because of someone else’s negligence. A Montgomery personal injury lawyer will make that process easier for you. You can go the route of pursuing a settlement or you can file a personal injury lawsuit. In either case, you will need to prove that someone else was responsible for your injuries. Unless you can prove negligence in your case, you won’t be able to get compensation.
Proving Liability in a Slip and Fall Case
The first thing you will need to do, with your lawyer’s help, is to identify the potentially liable parties. Then, you need to prove that they caused or failed to prevent your accident. Typically, you’ll have to show that the property owner or their agent should have known about, and addressed, a hazard. This may be an uneven walkway, a spill, a loose carpet or another hazard.
One of the key considerations will be whether a reasonable person would have identified the situation as hazardous. Whether the defendant had ample time to fix the situation before the accident occurred will also be a factor. Another consideration is whether the property owner or an employee caused a situation that should be obviously dangerous. If you walked by just as a drink was spilled and you slipped, you may not have a strong case. However, if a worker spilled something hours ago but didn’t clean it up, you’re more likely to get compensation.
Questions Your Attorney Will Ask
In an effort to determine whether you can get compensation after a slip and fall, your Alabama personal injury lawyer will ask a number of questions. They’ll need to know:
- Whether the hazardous condition existed long enough that a reasonable person could have taken action
- Whether the property owner had a policy of checking for potential hazards. If so, is there a record that the usual procedure was following prior to your slip and fall accident?
- Whether the creation of the potential hazard was justified and whether that justification still existed when you slipped
- Whether preventative measures could have been taken to make conditions less dangerous
- Whether poor lighting or limited visibility was a factor in the accident
Key Considerations in Any Alabama Personal Injury Case
There are two things you need to be aware of: the statute of limitations and the contributory negligence principle. In Alabama, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is set out under Code of Alabama section 6-2-38. If you don’t get your case started before the deadline, the court is unlikely to hear it. Under certain circumstances, your attorney may be able to get the court to give you more time. However, this is a rare exception.
In addition to filing your lawsuit on time, you need to make sure you have a strong case against the defendant. Alabama follows the contributory negligence principle. If you were even one percent at fault for the accident, you’ll be barred from seeking compensation. This means the property owner is likely to argue that you were somewhat responsible for the accident. To get out of compensating you, they may argue that:
- You weren’t looking to see where you were going
- You ventured onto a part of the property where visitors aren’t supposed to go
- The hazard was cordoned off
- The hazard should have been obvious to you
- You weren’t wearing appropriate footwear
Even if your case doesn’t go to trial, the contributory negligence rule is likely to come up during settlement negotiations. If you’re found to be in any way at fault, you’re unlikely to get compensation even if you were badly hurt. That’s why it’s important to work closely with a personal injury accident lawyer. They’ll investigate and gather all the necessary evidence to build a strong case against the property owner.
Contact The Vance Law Firm to Discuss Compensation After a Slip and Fall
If you slipped and fell on someone else’s property, you may be able to claim compensation. However, you need to have solid proof against the at-fault party and you must file your claim on time. Contact our Alabama injury firm today to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Montgomery, AL. We’ll give you the professional legal advice and representation you need.