In Norwich, there is a duty to keep any premises safe and free from hazards to visitors, whether you are a business owner, a property manager, or a private person. Hazards, like a slick parking lot or a dark walkway, may lead to injury. Compound the likelihood of injury if this is a publicly accessible area, like the shared sidewalk in front of apartments or a regularly visited retail establishment. If a person, through no fault of their own, slips and falls, they may hurt themselves thoroughly. This slip and fall may result in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, in medical damages and money from missed work. This does not even take into account the extensive personal and emotional damages that may occur from a seemingly simple slip and fall.
Who Is Responsible in a Slip and Fall?
The owner of a property or business may be held legally responsible for extensive injuries from slip and falls due to a concept called premises liability. Premises liability is a type of negligence. Negligence is a legal standard that holds responsible parties to a certain duty of care because without doing so, substantial harm could happen to many people. Simply put, negligence is when someone—in this case, the owner—had a duty to do something—in this case, keep the premises safe—and did not do so, resulting in damages. Seems simple enough, however, laws and parties vary from state to state. In Norwich, it’s important to find an attorney who knows the local laws and trends like the legal team at Polito & Harrington.
How Does a Slip and Fall Injury Happen?
There are a variety of ways that a slip and fall may occur. In Norwich, a common slip and fall accident occurs due wet or slippery floors. It is the owner’s duty to keep the premises safe, and slippery conditions due to extreme weather is a common thing in this part of the country. This means that the owner must address these conditions on a regular basis. If he does not, he may be held liable for any slip and fall injuries.
Of course, other conditions can create a slip and fall injury. Hazards in homes, businesses, and outdoor walkways include:
- Stairways that are broken or in disrepair
- Poorly-lit parking lots with blind spots
- Unmarked wet spots or changes in the sidewalk without signage
- Unswept or unkempt walkways full of garbage, debris or snow
- Slick carpets or walkways with loose carpet samples
If you or a loved one recognizes one or more of these conditions related to a slip and fall, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call Polito & Harrington for a free consultation.
After I Slip and Fall, What Do I Do?
First, see your treating and trusted physician or go to the emergency room. Make sure that the physician has a history with you and a good rapport whenever possible. He or she will be honest with you about the extent of injuries that you may or may not have. Even if your injuries do not seem extensive, it’s always good to call an experienced attorney because there may be something there beyond the immediately obvious injuries.
Second, if an insurance company gets involved, seek an attorney immediately. Generally, an insurance company may come calling, especially if the owner is a business. An insurance company will represent the premises owner and will likely try to settle the matter immediately. Its duty is to minimize its damages as quickly and for as little as possible while admitting no liability. This means that any initial offer is going to be the lowest that it’s willing to pay (or likely lower!).
An insurance company will also open an investigation immediately. This means that it is already sniffing for reasons not to pay you. It’s unfair, because insurers are well-versed in slip and fall claims, whereas the injured is often at a disadvantage. That’s why if an insurance company contacts you about a premises liability slip and fall, seek an experienced attorney immediately.
When You Slip and Fall, Don’t Hesitate to Take Action
In a typical slip and fall case, time is of the essence. In Norwich, just like most of Connecticut, seasons change with wind and snow, and store owners may clean up a hazard quickly. This may substantially alter or even destroy the scene of the accident and this can make proving conditions very difficult down the line. In addition, there may have been witnesses, such as other customers or an employee. However, after too much time, these witnesses can become forgetful. Days turn into weeks turn into months and memories get very foggy over time. Worse, people move on to new opportunities and may not leave forwarding information. All in all, it is important to act diligently and act quickly when a substantial injury has occurred. Some steps include:
- Take photographs of the scene in as close condition as it was the day the accident occurred.
- Get immediate medical attention from a trusted provider.
- Get follow-up visits from this trusted provider and if possible, a statement on the record.
- Retain all copies of medical records in an organized manner, like in a binder or better yet, electronic records. Make sure to have not only records but also bills. Bills should be organized chronologically from dates of service. No need to save duplicates!
- Gather any witnesses that saw the incident. Be sure to start a list, including names and addresses of these people. Call them monthly to make sure that they haven’t moved or changed phones.
- If possible, gather recorded statements. Most cell phones have a recording device attached and can gather at least an idea of what happened. It’s best to record these as close to the incident as possible.
A skilled attorney can help with this process.
Call Polito & Harrington Today for Experienced and Productive Attorneys
For Norwich, Connecticut slip and fall accidents, it’s important to turn to lawyers who you can trust to get you the most comprehensive compensation for your injuries. Polito & Harrington in Norwich, Connecticut, has the depth of service and practice to handle every type of slip and fall, from the most basic to the most complex. Call (860) 447-3300 or contact us online today for your free consultation and let our experience and guidance take it from there.