Accidents happen every day. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 39.5 million people visit the doctor and 24.5 million people visit the emergency room each year for accidental injuries.
In many situations, an accident is just that – and no one is to blame. But if you fall down because a property owner failed to fix hazardous conditions on their property, you may be able to file a slip and fall claim against them. Through this type of personal injury lawsuit, you can recover financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, reduced earning capacity, and more.
At Cap & Kudler, we represent people throughout Nevada who have been hurt in slip and fall accidents. With decades of combined experience, we know how to help our clients get the maximum compensation possible for their fall injuries. Our law firm handles all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you never pay a fee unless we recover money for you.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and falls can happen almost anywhere – including at a hotel, at restaurants, on a public street or sidewalk, or even at a friend or loved one’s home. There are certain conditions that make slip and fall accidents more likely, such as:
- Uneven pavement on sidewalks or in parking lots
- Wet floors
- Debris in the aisles or on the sidewalk
- Broken or crumbling tiles, floors, or concrete
- Loose, missing, or damaged handrails
- Holes in the ground
- Slippery floors or sidewalks
One common place where many people suffer falls is at the grocery store. Consider this scenario: you are walking down the aisle when your feet go out from under you. As you lay on the ground, you realize that someone spilled a bottle of oil on the floor – and no one cleaned it up or put up a wet floor sign to warn you of the danger. In this situation, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the store.
Falling due to a dangerous condition like a wet floor may result in serious injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Contusions (bruises)
- Spinal cord injury
- Neck and back injury
- Soft tissue tears and injuries
In some cases, a fall injury may even be fatal. If a loved one dies due to a slip and fall, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the property owner or occupier with the help of an experienced Las Vegas slip and fall attorney.
How to File a Slip and Fall Lawsuit
Under Nevada law, property owners and occupiers (tenants) have a legal duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. If they fail to do so, they may be held liable for any injuries that result in a premises liability lawsuit.
To win this type of fall case, you will need to prove five elements:
- The defendant is either the owner of the property or has control of the property where the accident happened;
- You (the plaintiff) were on the property with the consent of the defendant (you were not trespassing);
- A dangerous condition existed on the premises;
- The defendant caused, knew about, or should have known about the hazardous condition; and
- This dangerous condition caused you to suffer injuries.
If you can prove each of these elements, then you may be able to recover for your injuries.
Damages in a slip and fall case may include compensation economic, non-economic, and (in rare cases) punitive damages. Economic damages are meant to compensate an injury victim for their financial losses, such as lost wages, medical bills, and property damage. Non-economic damages address intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages are not usually available in personal injury cases (like slip and fall claims), which are based on a theory of negligence. However, if a court finds that a defendant acted in an intentional or reckless way, punitive damages – which are meant to penalize a defendant and deter others from engaging in similar conduct – may be awarded by a court.
The process of filing a slip and fall lawsuit usually starts with a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer, who will explain your rights and options for pursuing a claim. If you decide to hire the law firm, they will start to gather evidence – such as surveillance videos from the scene and property records – to prove your case.
Next, your slip and fall accident attorney will send a demand letter to the property owner’s insurance company. This letter outlines the facts of the case, the legal reason why they are insured is liable for your injuries, and then makes a demand for compensation. This typically starts the negotiation process, where your slip and fall lawyer and the insurance company will go back and forth until a settlement is achieved.
Importantly, most premises liability claims are covered by insurance, such as a homeowner’s insurance policy, a commercial general liability policy, or a renter’s insurance policy. This means that if you fall at a loved one’s house, you don’t have to worry that you will be suing your friend or family member. Instead, you’ll be seeking compensation from their insurance company – which is the reason why they pay premiums each year for insurance coverage.
The majority of premises liability cases settle outside of court. However, if the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement for your injuries, your personal injury attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit. At this point, your lawyer will still continue to negotiate with the insurer – but will be prepared to take your case to trial to win a verdict from a jury if necessary.
What If I Am Partially at Fault for the Fall?
If you were somewhat responsible for a slip and fall in Las Vegas, you can still recover compensation for your injuries – as long as you were 50% or less at fault. Under Nevada’s comparative negligence laws, injury victims can still recover for their losses if the defendant was 50% or more at fault. Under these laws, your total recovery will be reduced by the percentage that you were at fault for the accident.
A skilled Las Vegas slip and fall lawyer can help you determine if you may be able to seek compensation if you believe that you were partially to blame for your fall. For example, if you were looking at your phone while walking, and then fell on a slippery floor, you might bear some responsibility for failing to watch where you were going.
Can I Recover for a Slip and Fall If I Was Trespassing?
If you enter someone else’s land without their permission, you are considered a trespasser. Generally, property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers, and so you will not be able to file a slip and fall claim against their insurance company. However, there are certain situations where a property owner may be liable to injuries that a trespasser suffers in a slip and fall accident.
Specifically, if the owner deliberately hurt you or knew that you were on their land and faced danger, they could be held responsible. In addition, if a property owner has an “attractive nuisance” – something dangerous that is also attractive to kids, like a swimming pool – they must take steps to prevent children from accessing it. A seasoned personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you can file a lawsuit in this situation.
What Is a Typical Settlement for a Las Vegas Slip and Fall?
The value of any slip and fall case depends on the facts of the case. There are a number of factors that may affect the final settlement of this type of case, including the policy limits for the property owner’s insurance policy, the type of injury that you suffered, and whether you will recover fully from the injury. Generally, the more serious the injury, the higher the recovery will be.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, reach out to a Las Vegas slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible for a free case evaluation. There, you can get a rough estimate of your case value and learn more about your options for pursuing a claim.
Hurt in a Fall? We’re Here for You.
If you have been injured in a Las Vegas slip and fall accident, you may be facing a lot of physical pain, lost wages, emotional distress, and mounting bills. The prospect of filing a legal claim may seem overwhelming. Our law firm is here to help.
At Cap & Kudler, we are dedicated to helping people just like you who have been hurt in all types of accidents. Our team works hard to help you get the maximum compensation that you are entitled to under the law – and we’ll never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer, call us at 702-878-8778, or fill out our online contact form.