Slips, trips, and falls result in more than just bumps and bruises. Falls are a leading cause of serious injuries and deaths around the U.S. Slip and falls can easily be fatal if they involve drops from heights, downstairs, or injuries to the head and brain. Falls are a primary cause of death in those ages 65 and older. If you suffered injuries in a recent slip and fall in Bridgeport, find out who may be liable for your damages. Talk to the Bridgeport slip and fall injury lawyers at Harlow, Friedman & Adams, P.C.
Strengthen Your Slip and Fall Case With an Attorney
When you go up against a property owner, business owner, landlord, employer, or the government in a slip and fall accident claim, the odds are high the defendant will come prepared with an attorney. The only way to even the score is to hire a lawyer of your own. Our Bridgeport premises liability attorneys can investigate your case, predict potential defenses, and build a strong case supporting your claim. Even if you believe you were partially at fault for your accident, you could still be eligible for compensation. The right attorney can navigate tricky potential defense strategies.
Harlow, Friedman & Adams, P.C. has enough experience in premises liability to know all the most common defense tactics property owners may use against a plaintiff. We know the outcome of a case depends on how well the plaintiff can prove the defendant’s fault and negligence. We can help you prepare for your settlement negotiation or trial in Connecticut, including information on possible defenses to expect. We’ll gather evidence to help strengthen your case and refute defenses we believe the defendant may use against you.
Don’t go into a slip and fall accident claim alone. Partner with our attorneys for your best odds of securing top results. No matter what path your claim takes, we can move forward with a smart, proven legal strategy. Contact us to learn more about a specific slip and fall claim in Bridgeport.
Who Is Liable?
More than eight million hospital visits involve fall-related injuries every year. Who is liable for these injuries? “Liability” refers to the legal responsibility of one party to another for an accident, injuries, and damages. It is the obligation the at-fault party owes to the victim(s). To prove someone else’s liability for your slip and fall, you must identify the proximate cause of your accident. It may be a property hazard, a negligent person, or a combination of elements. Once you understand the proximate cause, you can accurately assess who may be liable for your damages. Defendants may include:
- Property owner. Most slip and fall accidents take the form of premises liability claims. It is the property owner’s duty to prevent property hazards such as icy pavement, uneven curbs, loose carpeting, wet or greasy floors, obstacles in the aisle, inadequate lighting, and anything else that makes the walking surface unreasonably dangerous for visitors. Failure to do so, resulting in a visitor’s slip and fall, may be grounds for a claim and you should consult with a premise liability attorney.
- Employer. If your slip and fall occurred in the workplace, your employer may be to blame for the failure to adequately train employees, enact safety protocols, and/or equip you with slip and fall protection such as non-slip shoes. Workplace slip and falls often come down to employer negligence such as broken safety standards and violations according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
- The government. If you slipped and fell on property owned by the local, state, or federal government, you may have a case against the government. There are very strict requirements for filing a claim against the government in Connecticut. The Brien McMahon Federal Building is the courthouse in Bridgeport that hears federal cases. You have a limited time to file a claim against the government. You may also need to have a lawyer sign off on the merits of your slip and fall claim to file. Act sooner rather than later.
Defenses to Slip and Fall Accidents
As the plaintiff of a slip and fall accident claim, you bear the burden to prove your case. This means it’s up to you to prove the defendant’s fault and legal responsibility for causing the slip and fall. The defendant, in turn, will have the chance to rebut your claims with defenses and evidence of his/her own. Knowing the most common defenses to slip and fall accident claims can help you prepare for what the defendant might say in your claim. Our lawyers can help you build counterclaims for the following possible defenses:
- The plaintiff wasn’t using reasonable care. The most common defense tactic is to allege that the plaintiff could have avoided the slip and fall hazard had he/she been paying attention. The defendant may try to prove that another customer or property visitor would have seen the hazard and avoided it under similar circumstances, showing that the plaintiff wasn’t using due care while walking.
- The defendant could not have reasonably known about the defect. A defendant will often dispute the assertion that he or she knew or reasonably should have known about the slip and fall defect before the accident. This defense may work if the defendant has evidence that he/she inspected the property regularly, or that another property owner also would not have noticed the hazard.
- The defendant did what another reasonable owner would have done. Negligence in a premises liability claim generally comes down to one question: “Would a reasonable and prudent property owner have done something differently?” The defendant will work to convince the judge and jury that the answer is no. The defense may hire expert key witnesses to attest to the fact that the owner fulfilled his/her duties.
Connecticut is a comparative negligence state. A judge and/or jury will listen to both sides of the case and assign liability as it sees fit. If the courts assign a percentage of fault to the plaintiff, the plaintiff will receive a compensation award reduced by the equivalent of his/her fault. For example, if the court assigns 10% of the fault for a slip and fall with the plaintiff for texting and walking, the plaintiff would receive $90,000 of a $100,000 judgment. Combating common slip and fall defenses can reduce your odds of taking fault for the accident and maximize recovery
There is often more than one defendant in personal injury claims. A Bridgeport personal injury lawyer can investigate your slip and fall and help you identify those who caused or contributed to your accident. Then, your lawyer can help you contact the party’s insurance company to enter into settlement negotiations. If these efforts do not culminate in an amount that your injuries deserve, our trial lawyers can take your claim to the civil courts. We will take whatever route necessary to achieve your individual case goals. To find out more about your recent slip and fall in Bridgeport, contact our team.