When you visit a store, a restaurant, a hotel, someone else's home, or any other property, you have a right to expect that the premises will be free of dangerous conditions, including hazards that might cause you to suffer a slip or trip and fall accident.
The law requires property owners, occupiers, and businesses to keep their premises reasonably safe for visitors. When slip or trip hazards like snow and ice, spilled water, broken flooring, or loose wires or cords are left for unsuspecting visitors to fall on, a property owner, occupier, or business owner may be required to compensate the victim.
If you have been injured in a fall on someone else's property, turn to the Vermont slip, trip and fall accident lawyers of Lynch Legal Services, PLLC. You shouldn't have to bear the financial burdens of your medical treatment or lost income due to missed work. We recognize that hiring a lawyer may seem like too much, and you may not want to create conflict over a simple fall. But serious injuries can negatively impact your financial well-being and future. Sometimes it takes a lawyer to fight for fair compensation.
With more than 30 years of experience, attorney David Lynch has the experience to help you no matter the circumstances of your slip and fall or trip and fall accident. His practice is focused on helping people understand their rights and feel comfortable and confident in seeking the recovery due to them. When you choose our firm to help you with your case, you can rest assured that you will owe us no fees unless and until we win your case.
Contact our firm in Williston, VT today for a free case evaluation to discuss your accident with a knowledgeable, compassionate personal injury attorney.
If you've had a slip or trip and fall on someone else's property, you might wonder whether you have a legal claim for your injuries. To prove a slip and fall or trip and fall claim in Vermont, you must show that the fall occurred due to the negligence of the property owner, occupier, or business owner where your fall took place.
Property owners and business operators owe all lawful visitors to their properties a duty to undertake reasonable steps to keep their premises free of dangerous conditions, such as slipping or tripping hazards, or to warn visitors of hazards on the premises. In a slip and fall or trip and fall claim, you must first prove that you were lawfully on the premises when the fall occurred. Property owners, occupiers, and businesses do not owe the same duty of care to persons not lawfully on their property (trespassers).
You must further prove that the hazardous condition that caused your fall represented a condition that the defendant had a responsibility to fix or clean up, that the condition was either created by the property owner or occupier or business operator, or that the condition existed long enough that the owner or occupier or operator reasonably should have discovered it and cleaned it up, repaired it, or placed warning signs.
For example, if you suffer a slip and fall in a grocery store, you can prove your claim by showing that you slipped on a puddle caused by a leaking freezer display case. Or if you slipped on liquids or foods spilled by another customer, you must show that the spill sat on the floor long enough that reasonable maintenance or safety checks would have discovered the spill. If a customer spills liquid or food and you slip on it only a moment later, the store might argue that it did not have a reasonable opportunity to discover the spill and clean it up before you slipped on it.
If the property or business owner argues that you were partially responsible for the accident, you may have to prove that the hazard that caused your fall was not obvious, or that you were forced to walk over the hazard and exercised reasonable care - such as having to walk across a patch of ice located directly in front of the entrance to a building.
A Vermont slip and fall attorney from Lynch Legal Services, PLLC can help you confidently pursue the financial compensation you need and deserve for your injuries by:
- Investigating your trip or slip and fall accident to recover evidence we can use in your case, including incident reports, accident scene photos, surveillance footage, and your medical records
- Working with accident reconstruction and engineering experts when necessary to obtain a persuasive opinion as to how your fall was caused by omissions or oversights by the owner or operator of the business where your fall occurred
- Collaborating with medical, vocational, and financial experts to determine the full extent of your past, ongoing, and future damages, so that the compensation we secure for you provides you with all the resources you need to make a full recovery
- Filing your claim with the appropriate insurance companies, and dealing with adjusters to process your claim, so that you can keep focused on your treatment and recovery
- Negotiating with the insurers for a fair and full settlement of your damages
- Filing your claim in court, if that's what it takes to give you the best chance at the compensation you deserve, and advocating on your behalf during court hearing and at trial
We believe that when you've been hurt through no fault of your own, you deserve compensation for your losses. Our firm strives to provide no-pressure, client-focused service to help you make a full financial as well as physical recovery from your accident.
When you've suffered injuries in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident on somebody else's property, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation for the damages you have and will incur due to your injuries. Damages available in fall cases include:
- Costs of medical treatment, including ER and hospital bills, surgeries and other medical procedures, pain medication, physical therapy, and medical equipment like braces and crutches
- Personal care expenses, such as home health care services or home maintenance services you cannot perform yourself due to your injuries
- Lost wages for time you miss from work while recovering from your fall
- Lost earning capacity or potential, if your injuries leave you with disabilities that make you unable to work to your full, pre-accident capacity
- Pain and suffering, or the physical and emotional distress brought about due to your injuries
- Lost quality of life, which may be caused by physical disability or disfigurement, or by the inability to participate in activities you previously enjoyed
You may also be entitled to compensation for property damaged in your fall. For example, if your glasses or watch are damaged or broken when you slip or trip and fall, they could be replaced or repaired at no cost to you.
In Vermont, the statute of limitations places a time limit on filing a lawsuit to recover compensation for injuries and damages arising from a slip and fall or trip and fall accident.
Under the statute of limitations, you must file your suit within three years of the date of your accident (except for minors, in which case the statute of limitations begins to run on the minor's 18th birthday). Your lawsuit does not need to be resolved within that three-year period, only filed in court. Only very narrow exceptions can extend the deadline.
If you do not file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires on your slip or trip and fall claim, the court will have grounds to permanently dismiss your lawsuit and you will likely lose your right to pursue compensation.
Some of the most frequent causes of slip and fall and trip and fall accidents include:
- Snow and ice
- Water, oil, or other liquids or foods
- Mud, dirt, gravel, or plant matter
- Recently mopped or waxed floors
- Loose or torn carpeting or rugs
- Broken flooring, such as hardwood or tile
- Dangerous flooring surface transitions (stepping from carpet to hardwood floors)
- Uneven floors, such as half-steps
- Broken stairs, or missing or broken anti-slip mats or handrails
- Broken or uneven pavement or potholes
- Loose wires or cords across the floor
- Trash or debris on the ground
- Open furniture doors or drawers
Examples of places in Vermont where slip and fall and trip and fall accidents frequently occur include:
- Grocery stores and supermarkets
- Department stores
- Hardware stores
- Malls and shopping centers
- Bars and restaurants
- Recreational parks and amusement parks
- Ski resorts
- Swimming pools
- Apartment and townhome complexes
- Parking lots and parking garages and driveways
After you've suffered a slip and fall or trip and fall on someone else's property, take these steps:
- Notify the business, property owner, or occupier of your fall. Avoid any emotional interactions or accusations. You simply want to let the responsible party know that you've fallen on their premises. If your fall takes place in a commercial establishment, the business's staff may fill out an incident report about the fall. Ask for a copy of the report before you leave.
- If anybody witnesses your fall, try to get their name and contact information in case you later need to ask them for a statement about your accident.
- If possible, try to photograph the accident scene, including details such as whatever you believe may have caused you to fall, the lighting conditions, the weather conditions outside, the presence of any warning signs or other safety equipment, or anything that may have blocked or obstructed your view. You should also photograph and keep the clothing and footwear you were wearing at the time of your accident. If you suffered any visible injuries, you may want to photograph them as well.
- Get examined by a doctor. Even if you don't think you were seriously injured at first, it can take days or even weeks before you begin to feel pain or other symptoms of certain serious injuries. However, a doctor can examine you and diagnose injuries you suffered in your fall. Promptly identifying your injuries not only allows you to get treatment more quickly and improve your recovery, but also strengthens your claims that your injuries were caused in your fall.
- Schedule a free, no-pressure consultation with our firm to discuss your legal rights and your options for pursuing financial compensation for your injuries and damages.
When you've been hurt in a trip and fall or slip and fall accident on somebody else's property, you shouldn't have to suffer from financial consequences in addition to your physical injuries. Get a free and confidential consultation with a client-focused Vermont slip and fall attorney from Lynch Legal Services, PLLC today.