If you were recently injured in a “slip and fall” accident you may not even be aware that you could potentially be entitled to compensation for your injuries. In fact, you may not even realize that your situation qualifies as a “slip and fall” accident. If so, you are not alone. A significant percentage of slip and fall victims are unaware of their status as the victim of a potentially compensable personal injury accident. This is one of the many reasons why it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced Tennessee personal injury lawyer any time you suffer an injury that was caused, or might have been caused, by another party’s negligence.
What Is Negligence?
Most personal injury lawsuits require the victim to prove negligence on the part of the defendant in order to be entitled to damages (compensation) for his/her injuries. Negligence is a legal concept that can be equated with fault or responsibility. To prove negligence, a victim was prove four elements:
- Duty of care – the defendant must have owed a legal duty of care to the victim. A legal duty of care means that the defendant was legally obligated to do everything a reasonable person would do to prevent harm from befalling the victim. For example, courts have long held that the owner of a business that is open to the public owes a duty of care to everyone who enters the business.
- Breach of duty – the defendant must have done, or failed to do, something that amounted to a breach of the duty of care owed to the victim. Failing to clean up a liquid spill in the middle of a retail store in a timely manner, for instance, would likely be considered a breach of the duty of care.
- Causation — the breach of the duty of care must have caused, or contributed to, the injuries suffered by the victim.
- Damages – the victim must have suffered actual injuries as a result of the defendant’s actions or inaction.
What Qualifies as a “Slip and Fall” Accident?
In legal terms, a slip and fall accident occurs when someone slips, trips, stumbles, or falls while on the property of another party and suffers injuries. For a victim to be entitled to damages for a slip and fall injury another party’s negligence must have played a part in the “accident” that caused the injuries. Although a slip and fall accident can occur under a wide variety of circumstances, some common scenarios include:
- Slipping at the supermarket on liquid left in the aisle after a spill
- Tripping over boxes or other obstacles left in the aisle at a retail store.
- Falling on an ice covered sidewalk
- Stumbling over trash left in a garage or parking lot
Why Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
One of the primary reasons why consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is the simple fact that victims often don’t know they are victims. Only an experienced attorney can evaluate the facts and circumstances surrounding your slip and fall injuries and tell you if your case has merit. If it does, you are definitely better off with an experienced attorney on your side to ensure that the responsible party accepts responsibility for your injuries. Not surprisingly, many defendants resist admitting to negligence on their part.
Once negligence has been established though, it is customary to try and reach an out of court settlement. The value of a slip and fall case is determined using several factors, including the degree to which the defendant is at fault and the severity of the victim’s injuries. Trying to negotiate a settlement without a personal injury attorney on your side often means undervaluing your case and settling for far less than the case is worth or overvaluing the case and not being able to reach a settlement. Either way, the need for an experienced Tennessee personal injury attorney is apparent.
Finally, if an out of court settlement is not reached, your slip and fall case will end up in a trial. At that point, an attorney’s assistance is critical. Because you never know in the beginning of a case whether or not the case will settle it is best to have an attorney on board from the beginning so that if the case does proceed to trial the attorney is already familiar with the facts and circumstances of the case and will have been preparing for the possibility of trial all along.
If you believe you are the victim of a Tennessee slip and fall personal injury accident, it is in your best interest to consult with the experienced Tennessee personal injury accident attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.