If you or someone you know has fallen and become injured in any way from any cause on another’s property, this is known in legal circles as a “Slip & Fall” case. An injured victim shouldn’t feel ashamed, embarrassed, or that the fall and resulting injury could only be “their fault.” In fact, most of these cases happen because of a business or property owner’s failure to keep the premises in a safe condition. After all, the reason this type of injury has a name is because it happens all to often. And when it does, having a skilled and experienced Lincoln slip and fall lawyer by your side can make all the difference in your recovery.
Slip, trip and fall injuries can result from virtually any surface. Uneven concrete, old fraying carpet, ice or snow, and defectively constructed stairs are just a few causes. Regardless of the cause, slip and fall injuries can be serious. Broken bones, organ damage, concussion, and other injuries are common. Some injuries like a cut or fractured arm are at once obvious, but others like traumatic brain injury may not be noticed until several months later.
Why Do Slip and Fall Accidents Happen?
People can fall, stumble, or trip for any number of reasons. Walking while on the phone, distracted by the kids, or carrying groceries, sometimes we just aren’t paying attention and lose our footing. Usually, we get up without injury and go on with our day. Yet other times, an unknown and dangerous condition causes injury to people through no fault of their own. It’s these types of situations which give rise to slip and fall cases.
We have all heard of the old banana peel on the ground in the produce section, just lying-in wait for an unsuspecting grocery shopper to slip on and become injured. But the reality is that slip and fall accidents, injuries, and resulting lawsuits are usually much more complicated.
Nebraska's Premises Liability Law
Typically, when a person is injured on another person’s business or property and seeks compensation, this legal area is known as premises liability. In Lincoln and Nebraska generally, to recover money in a premises liability case, the injured person’s legal team needs to prove:
- The business or landowner created, knew of, or should have known of a condition that created an unreasonable risk of harm to lawful visitors,
- The business or landowner should have expected that the condition would not be discovered or realized it to be dangerous by lawful visitors,
- That the business or landowner failed to use reasonable care to protect the lawful visitor from the dangerous condition,
- The dangerous condition caused the person’s injury.
Below, our experienced slip and fall lawyer in Lincoln, NE, analyzes the law in depth, from what is considered a premises to what actually is reasonable care.
Condition of the Premises
Dangerous conditions can exist in a wide variety of situations. Some common areas which often lead to slip and fall injuries are:
- Store entrances
- Slippery or wet surfaces
- Uneven or broken concrete
- Low clearances
These are just a few items that often contribute to slip and fall injury, but there are virtually innumerable situations which can lead to a lawful visitor’s injury on the premises of a business or other property. The key question to ask is: what specifically caused my injury? If the answer is something that seems dangerous but was unknown to you, you may have a case.
Business Owner’s awareness of the Condition
An injury caused by a dangerous condition on the premises is not enough for recovery. The condition must be dangerous and known or should have been known to the business owner or proprietor.
Let’s use our banana peel example to assist some understanding of the Nebraska legal principles at play:
- If the banana peel was dropped on the floor just 5 seconds before a person slipped on it and broke their arm, the store owner probably would not be liable, since store employees can not reasonably be expected to clean the floors every 5 seconds.
- If the peel had been laying on the floor for an hour, this probably would be enough time to demonstrate that the store “should have known” of the dangerous condition it created.
Failure to Use Reasonable Care
Business and property owners alike have a duty to take reasonable steps to keep the premises in a safe condition to prevent the risk of unreasonable harm from dangerous conditions they know or should be aware of. What is reasonable will always depend on the circumstances:
If the banana peel in our example was not cleared within a few hours, and it was shown that the store had a policy of cleaning the entire floor once per day, this fact likely could be used by a smart Lincoln slip and fall lawyer to show that the store owner failed to use reasonable care to protect lawful visitors on his property. After all, creating a store policy of cleaning floors, especially in a produce area where fruit can be loose on the ground, is a cheap and easy way of ensuring the floor remains free of dangerous slippery banana peels.
Dangerous Condition Caused the Injury
So, the banana peel was left too long on the floor, eventually causing injury to some poor soul who slipped and broke an arm. However, if that person didn’t slip on the banana, but instead tripped over a huge sale sign and broke his arm running to get the final stock of discounted broccoli, there would likely be no slip and fall case to be had.
Why? Because the banana peel laying on the floor for hours – a dangerous condition which should have been cleaned up by the store employees, was not the cause of the person’s injury.
How to Document Your Injuries After a Slip, Trip and Fall
Should Hire an Attorney for My Case?
As we have seen above, slip and fall cases can be more complex than they appear at first blush. The specific facts and relevant law must be analyzed carefully to determine whether a strong case can be made for recovery. But the best slip and fall lawyer in Lincoln does much more.
- Medical Care – a good attorney will make sure that you seek medical treatment right away and that you continue to seek treatment until you reach maximum medical improvement as defined by your doctor. Your job is to concentrate on your recovery, while the lawyer takes care of your claim.
- Insurance – a slip & fall accident lawyer will also handle all those calls from the property owner’s insurance company. You need to concentrate on getting well, not worry about saying something while in pain that will be detrimental to your case. That’s what your lawyer is there for, they know how to handle those calls and will keep the insurance agent from pestering you.
- Legal Argument – your legal team will show the presence of all of the legal conditions discussed above and will gather evidence to support the claim. Then, they will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve through a settlement or in the courtroom if necessary.
If you have been seriously injured because of a businesses’ or person’s carelessness or negligence, the Lincoln slip and fall lawyers at Steffens Law Offices have extensive experience with slip and fall and premises liability cases, can ensure that you receive the best and most thorough medical care possible at the least cost. The Steffens Law Offices legal team also works on a contingency basis, which means that you don’t pay a dollar in attorney’s fees unless you win your case. And the Steffens Law Office guarantees in writing that you will always receive more of the settlement than the lawyers.
When Should I Call a Slip and Fall Attorney?
The best personal injury lawyers will want to be involved at the earliest stages of your case. Injured victims in slip and fall cases usually have never been involved in a personal injury case before, so they don’t understand the adversarial nature of the insurance company.
If another person’s property or business is at fault for your injury, there is a very high likelihood that an insurance company for the property or business will be doing everything it can to avoid paying you a settlement. Early in the case, the insurance company will try to call you and record a statement, then use your own words to argue that “you aren’t injured,” or that “you are less injured than you claim,” and our favorite, “the injury was your fault, not ours.” These tactics are as old as the banana peel lying on the floor and just as rotten.
Hiring the best slip and fall lawyer in Lincoln as early as possible will ensure that you do not fall prey to these dirty tricks.
How to Find the Best Slip & Fall Lawyer in Lincoln
- Talk to friends and family - Talk to the people you trust to make big decisions. If they recommend a lawyer, they are probably worth looking into. Look through their website and see if their practice areas include personal injury cases, specifically slip and falls. Then, look to see if they have any information about slip and fall cases and their success with these cases.
- Credentials - Check out their standing on the state bar website. Lawyers in Lincoln, Nebraska are licensed by the State Bar, and it’s simple to determine their reputation in the community, experience, and availability. If they aren’t in “good standing,” then they aren’t worth your time.
- Reviews - Look up the lawyer you are considering on legal review sites or check out their offices Google reviews and comments. Do they get stellar reviews? Are their clients satisfied with their services?
- Interview them - If you are willing, pick up the phone and give the legal team you’re considering a call to discuss your case and get a sense of their personality. If you have any trouble reaching them, it’s likely that they are not a good choice. If they can’t answer your questions or they don’t seem to know what you are talking about when you discuss your case, then don’t waste your time.
Contact Our Experienced Lincoln Slip and Fall Lawyer for a Free Consult
The attorneys at Steffens Law Offices are eager to aid you and will always speak to you about your case for free. You can rely on their advice and will be pleasantly surprised by their knowledge, experience, and willingness to help you in your time of need. Contact our office online or call our Lincoln slip and fall lawyer at (308) 872-8327 and let us help you get back on your feet. After you fall, we’re here to pick you back up!