Can I Sue For a Slip & Fall Injury in Alabama? - Sara Williams ESQ

Can I Sue For a Slip & Fall Injury in Alabama?

December 29, 2021

Slip and fall accidents can be devastating with life-altering consequences. Learn whether you can sue for a slip and fall in Alabama, the causes, and more.

Slip and fall accidents are quite common, and they can happen at any time and anywhere. For example, you can slip and fall on private property, commercial property, apartment complexes, and even at work. There is a risk of lawful visitors and licenses suffering slip and fall accidents anywhere there is an unsafe condition. 

The effects of a slip and fall accident vary from minor to severe. In some cases, a fall-related injury may cause death. According to the World Health Organization, falls are the second leading cause of unintentional deaths worldwide. With such life-impacting consequences, it’s no wonder that Alabama law allows victims of slip and fall accidents to get financial compensation from an at-fault property owner.  

This article discusses whether victims can sue for a slip and fall accident in Alabama. If you or a loved one suffered an injury from a slip and fall accident, contact Sara Williams immediately. As a renowned personal injury lawyer, she has the knowledge to help you get the compensation you deserve. 

What Are the Most Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents? 

Slip and fall accidents affect people of all ages, from children to older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in four older adults aged 65 and older will fall each year. Among older Americans, falls are the number one cause of injuries and death from injury.

So, what are the causes of these accidents?

Wet and Uneven Floors 

Wet floors, slippery floors, and uneven flooring are some of the dangerous conditions you can encounter on a property. Usually, they encompass:

  • Uneven pavement and surfaces without warning signs 
  • Loose flooring, rugs, or mats
  • Recently waxed or polished floors
  • Liquid spills, bulging, worn, or broken carpeting
  • Potholes on sidewalks or business parking lots, etc

Commercial and private property owners have to use reasonable care to eliminate these hazards. They can do this by using non-skid flooring materials, for example, and putting up warning notices for wet and uneven floors. If they fail to do this, an injured victim can hold the property owners responsible.

Environmental Conditions 

Environmental conditions are also causes of slip and fall accidents. Common examples include:

  • Debris or trash on the floor
  • Wire cords running across a walkway
  • Poor lighting 
  • Bright lighting that glares on shining surfaces
  • Open cabinet and drawers, etc.

Unsafe Ladders and Stairs 

When you use unsafe stairs or ladders, you might slip and fall. Hazardous conditions that might cause slip and fall accidents are: 

  • Lack of handrails or failure to use available ones
  • Rushing while taking stairs
  • Not securing ladder while in use
  • Debris or trash on stairs, etc.

Improper Safety Practices 

One common job accident is slip and fall, and it is due to improper safety practices. People prone to on-the-job slip and fall accidents include: 

  • Custodial staff, like housekeepers
  • Construction industry workers 
  • Manual laborers 
  • Factory workers
  • Chefs and kitchen staff

What Injury Will You Sustain in a Slip and Fall Accident? 

A slip and fall accident victim could suffer from minor injuries to severe wounds that might lead to a permanent disability. Some of the common injuries suffered by injury victims are:

  • Broken Bones
  • Head injury, including traumatic brain injuries 
  • Soft tissue injuries 
  • Herniated disc 
  • Hip fractures 
  • Sprained wrists or ankles 
  • Cut and abrasions
  • Back and spinal cord injuries 
  • Shoulder or neck injury
  • Knee damage

Immediately after the accident, you should seek medical care for your wounds. Your medical treatment record serves as evidence when pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. It would contain your treatment history from the injury date and how much you spent. 

Can You Sue for a Slip and Fall Accident Injury? 

The short version of the answer to this question is yes. Following a slip and fall accident that leaves you with bodily injuries, you can file an injury lawsuit against the property owner who failed to fix their premises’ dangerous condition. Unfortunately, while this sounds simple enough, taking legal action against a negligent premises owner is not always easy. 

Saying a  defective condition on property caused your accident, and the resulting injury doesn’t mean that you’ll win your personal injury claim. There are elements of negligence that the law expects an injured person to prove before receiving compensation. These elements are a duty of care, breach, causation, and damages. 

Duty of Care

A duty of care exists between a property owner and the lawful visitors. The law expects the owner to keep the property safe at all times. For example, a business owner must ensure slippery floors do not injure customers by placing a notice for them to avoid that area. If they failed to do this, they would have breached the duty of care, creating a legal liability. Note that a lawful visitor enters a premise with the owner’s express permission, like a social guest.  

Breach of Duty

A breach is an act performed by the premises owner that goes against the duty of care. Here, the law looks at what a “reasonable person” would have done in the same circumstances. Thus, suppose there’s a defective staircase in an apartment building, and the owner fails to fix it or give actual notice of the risk it poses, they would have breached their duty of care. Again, this is because of the presumption that another person facing the same situation would have placed a warning. 

Causation

Next, the injury victim must show that the slip and fall accident caused the injury they suffered. What the law looks at here is the proximate cause. So, suppose you suffered a car accident where you sprained an arm. Then as you take the stairs after receiving treatment in a hospital, you slip and fall; you cannot blame the hospital for the sprain. The hospital will only be liable under premises liability if you can show that a bad railing or spilled liquid on the stairs caused your fall, which aggravated your injury. 

Damages

Damages mean that the slip and accident did not only injure you, but you also suffered some losses. Damages, here, cover economic and non-economic damages. The two include the following: 

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish or emotional distress
  • Personal expenses, etc.

What Evidence Do You Need in a Slip and Fall Accident Case? 

To get the best financial settlement in a slip and fall accident case, you need two things. One is an experienced licensed attorney, and the second is evidence. With the two, you stand a better choice of coming out on top during settlement discussions. Below is the list of evidence to win against the responsible party. 

  • Proof of injury from your medical provider
  • Proof of unsafe conditions, e.g., surveillance video footage or photographs 
  • Witnesses statements 
  • Incident reports, especially if the slip and fall accident occurred in a restaurant or a recreational park.

When Should You Sue for a Slip and Fall Accident Injury? 

After a slip and fall accident where it is apparent the premises owner is at fault, their insurance company may commence settlement negotiations immediately. They do this to keep you from seeking legal representation and getting a fair settlement. Also, the responsible party’s insurer may delay settling with you knowing that you have limited time to file an injury lawsuit. 

Thus, even if you want to pursue an insurance claim, file a lawsuit immediately after sustaining the injury. You can also file after commencing settlement negotiations but before you agree on a settlement amount. Remember that the Alabama Statute of Limitations gives you only two years to file a premises liability lawsuit. 

This law applies to slip and fall cases because it is a branch of premises liability claims. The time starts running from the injury date. A personal injury attorney can explain more about statutory time limits.  

Does Alabama’s Contributory Negligence Law Affect Your Slip and Fall Case?

It’s not uncommon for a commercial or private property owner to blame you for your slip and fall accident injury. For example, they can claim they posted a wet floor sign which you ignored. When they make such allegations, your lawyer must do everything to shoot it down and present evidence to the contrary. 

If they don’t, Alabama’s contributory negligence law comes into play. The law states that injury victims cannot get compensation if they contributed to the accident that caused their wound. The law is so strict that even if the victim’s fault is 1% and the fault party’s 99%, the victim will lose their compensation. Thus, if you contributed to your slip and fall accident, your claim would fail, and you’ll get zero compensation. 

Let Sara Williams Help You!

The importance of having legal representation when pursuing financial compensation for an injury cannot be over-emphasized. Sara Williams understands the impact accident injuries have and will fight to get you the maximum compensation. With years of experience representing injury victims and a deep understanding of Alabama personal injury laws, she is your best option to protect your right and get what you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free case review. 

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