Slip and fall accidents are much like car crashes in that they often happen unexpectedly and result in serious injuries. Not only can an incident like this leave an injured person with significant pain, but also substantial medical bills and lost wages.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident, you may be considering filing a lawsuit against the Lexington property owner where your serious injury occurred. But how do you know if you have a case? Can a Lexington slip-and-fall lawyer help you? If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall accident in Kentucky, it’s essential to seek medical treatment first.
After your personal injuries have been addressed, you’ll want to reach out to a fall injury attorney. Read on where our slip and fall lawyers will give you an overview of how to seek compensation for your sustained injuries in Lexington, KY. In addition, we’ll cover the statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits once a slip, trip, and fall accident occurs.
How Often Do Fall Injuries Happen in Kentucky?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that one in four older adults (those classified as being 65 or over) report at least one fall annually in the United States. CDC data shows that these falls and ones involving other populations affect 28% of our population annually—an amount that equates to 36 million residents.
If the national fall rates sound concerning to you, then the fact that Kentucky ones are worse won’t help you. CDC statistics show that 30.6% of our state’s older adults experience at least one fall annually.
Although many slip and fall accidents involve senior citizens or the elderly, they’re not the only population vulnerable to getting hurt in these types of incidents. The overall fall percentage in Kentucky is estimated to be as high as 33.9%.
How Debilitating Are Slip and Fall Incidents?
Over a third of those falls result in hospital visits. Many fall victims admitted to the hospital are left with broken bones, shoulder injuries, or other impairment that limits their activities. Other patients end up receiving traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or other diagnoses that require a lifetime of medical attention.
Broken bones often require surgery to insert a pin or set them back in place. Bone fractures, TBIs, and spinal cord injuries may make it necessary for patients to undergo rehabilitation to restore some functionality and autonomy they enjoyed pre-accident.
Our Kentucky legal system allows victims to file fall injury claims to recover damages such as medical bills and lost wages. Fall attorneys like our founding lawyer at Peterson Law Office can provide you with a free case evaluation to go over rights injury victims have to take legal action against and recover damages from negligent property owners in Lexington, KY.
Where Do Lexington Slip and Fall Injuries Normally Occur?
There are many different places where falls can occur. However, the most common types of falls reported in Kentucky happen at:
- Grocery stores: Store managers are responsible for ensuring spills get cleaned up, and aisles are clear of debris. Custodial staff must also leave signs warning of wet floors or other potential hazards.
- Hotels and motels: There shouldn’t be any objects left in the hallways or common areas that could cause someone to trip. It’s not uncommon for visitors to slip and fall on chipped or unnecessarily slippery tiles, or frayed or rolled carpets or mats, resulting in their injuries.
- Restaurants: Like grocery stores, food establishments must have an employee that’s responsible for cleaning up any spills that occur to ensure no one gets hurt in a slip and fall accident.
- Private residences: If you are inviting someone into your home, you have a responsibility to make sure there are no hazards that could put your visitors at an unreasonable risk of suffering a slip and fall.
What Are the Primary Causes of Slip and Falls?
Some of the most common reasons for slips and falls on commercial or private property result from:
- Obstructed walkways
- Faulty handrails
- Wet floors
- Uneven flooring
Lexington property owners generally have a legal duty or responsibility to keep their premises safe for invitees and licensees, but not for trespassers. Slip and fall lawyers like the one in our law office offer injured parties a free consultation to evaluate whether they have valid fall claims to file with an insurance company.
How Do You Prove Liability in a Slip and Fall Claim?
Proving a slip and fall claim can be complex because you must show that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous property condition and did nothing to fix it.
To do this, you will need to collect evidence that demonstrates that:
- Dangerous conditions existed long enough on someone else’s property that the property owner should have known about it and had time to fix it.
- The property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous state of the property.
- A property owner did not take reasonable steps to fix or warn people about the dangerous circumstances.
- The dangerous condition caused your injuries, and you would not have been injured had it not been for it.
Proving your injuries didn’t exist before getting hurt on someone else’s property will be crucial. Some property owners will try to say your injuries are pre-existing as you were hurt on your own or on some other person’s property.
Kentucky Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability Cases
When your attorney from our law firm evaluates your case, they will advise you that a statute of limitations, the deadline for filing a lawsuit, applies to premises liability cases much like any other personal injury lawsuit in Kentucky. In Kentucky, the statute of limitations for Lexington slip and fall accident cases is one year from the date of the incident.
Peterson Law Office often advises those that come to a free consultation or share an attorney client relationship with our law firm that they may forever lose their right to file a premises liability claim against the responsible party or their insurance company for injuries they suffered in a Kentucky slip and fall incident if they don’t do so before the statute of limitations expires.
There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule which may “toll” or pause the clock for the statute, giving you more time for your lawsuit. This is why our legal team at our law office is keen on recommending that prospective clients move quickly if they want to seek damages in their cases.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Our law office often warns prospective slip and fall victims that they need to be aware of another potential clause affecting their premises liability claim. In some states, if you are partially at fault for your Lexington slip and fall, it may affect how much you can receive in damages. This is known as comparative negligence, and Kentucky is a state that follows this rule.
Kentucky subscribes to the pure comparative negligence doctrine. Under this doctrine, a plaintiff’s settlement may be reduced by the amount of fault placed on them for the injury. So, if the plaintiff is found 20% responsible for the incident, they would only be entitled to 80% of the total awarded compensation.
Addressing Questions About Kentucky’s Pure Comparative Negligence Standard
But what are some examples of comparative negligence? Does it have to be something specific?
There are a few examples of when the comparative negligence doctrine could apply to a slip and fall case, including:
- The claimant was on part of the property where they weren’t supposed to be.
- The dangerous property zone should have been evident to the claimant because it was marked with cones or otherwise blocked off.
- The claimant wasn’t paying attention to where they were going.
During your free consultation, you can expect the lawyer from our law office with whom you’ve established an attorney client relationship to explain the comparative negligence standard and whether it applies to your case.
What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?
As we’ve seen, slip and fall injuries can happen anywhere, so it’s crucial to know how to handle the next steps. Knowing your rights will help protect you and keep negligent business and private land property owners from taking advantage of you. After an injury, you should follow these steps below to get started on your personal injury claim:
- Get medical attention: This is the most important thing you can do after a slip and fall accident. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and get checked out by a doctor. Some injuries, like concussions, may not show symptoms immediately. Keep documentation of your injuries and medical expenses.
- Gather evidence: If possible, take pictures of the slip and fall accident scene and get contact information for any witnesses who saw what happened. If you can’t, try to get someone else to do it for you. Again, the evidence will be necessary when it comes time to build your case.
- Contact a fall accident lawyer: An experienced Lexington slip and fall lawyer will be able to tell you whether you have a case and help you navigate the claims process if so.
You will want to bring all the information you’ve compiled to your initial free consultation with your Lexington slip and fall attorney, who will review the evidence and help you determine whether you have a strong case. Should your lawyer find you have a strong case, they will help you file your lawsuit and get the compensation you deserve.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
You must know what to do next if you’ve had a slip-and-fall accident. Remember, Kentucky has a one-year statute of limitations for filing an injury lawsuit. However, you can get compensation by following the steps above and working with a qualified Lexington slip and fall lawyer. A hard-working, experienced slip and fall attorney can benefit your case by:
- Determining and documenting: Fall attorneys work with clients to determine what caused their fall accidents and who is at fault. They will also document your injuries, current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and even your future lost income.
- Establishing liability: Your fall accident lawyer will then work to establish who can be held liable for your injuries. This will involve gathering evidence, talking to witnesses, and hiring medical experts if necessary.
- Finding medical care: If you don’t have health insurance or have severe injuries requiring a specialist’s care, your lawyer can help you find the medical care you need.
- Calculating your damages: Once your lawyer knows the extent of your injuries, they will calculate your damages.
- Representing you in court: If the insurance company doesn’t offer a fair settlement, your lawyer will take them to court and fight for you.
The bottom line is this: if you or someone you love has had a slip-and-fall accident in Kentucky, don’t wait to act. There are a lot of fall lawyers today to choose from, but don’t take your chances with just anyone.
Entrust your case to the competent hands of Peterson Law Office. Contact our firm’s personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to find out if you have a case and how to proceed with filing a lawsuit.