Slip and Fall Lawyer Bronx NY Feiner & Lavy Law Firm
What to Do When Hurt in a Slip-and-Fall Accident
There’s an image in American popular culture of someone known as an “ambulance chaser” or “shyster” ginning up business by defrauding a poor businessperson out of a lot of money after someone fakes an injury. When it comes to the imagination of a clever writer, it can make for a good story. But real life isn’t fiction, and people being “rewarded” for a minor scratch isn’t what slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall injuries in the Bronx or elsewhere in NYC are about. Firms like Feiner & Lavy see the injuries suffered by victims of these accidents every day, and they’re not minor. There is a real pain, substantial changes in victims’ lives, frequent visits to doctors, loss of physical function, and, once the case is concluded, there can be years of physical therapy, psychological trauma, sleep issues, frequent doctor’s visits or subsequent medical procedures that can be costly to a person and exact a heavy emotional toll on a family. Our job isn’t to defraud a legitimate business that was responsible for a small tear in someone’s T-shirt; we are seeking just-and-fair compensation for someone who has been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident that is not their fault.
We’d like to tell you a story about a friend. She was shopping at a neighborhood grocery where she shopped for many years. She was an older woman, had a knee replacement and was a few pounds overweight, but was surprisingly athletic and never had a balance issue. As she walked down the aisle of the grocery store, there was a puddle that was caused by a leaky refrigerator that the store manager had put off fixing for weeks. Our friend did not see the puddle that had formed – water and ice are clear and they can be hard to see, especially in an area that’s not brightly lit. Our friend slipped, fell, and smacked her head hard. She woke up in a hospital bed two weeks later. She suffered internal bleeding in her brain that required surgery (the injury is called a hematoma, which occurs about 25-percent of the time in people with head injuries); her leg was severely broken in the fall and also required surgery to repair the damage. While she liked the store and the manager, she had been badly hurt in a slip-and-fall accident that was the direct result of a condition created due to the negligence of the store and its operators. It wasn’t intentional, but the store and its manager are responsible. After three months in the hospital and at a rehab facility, she could walk, but would now require a walker. Getting in and out of her prized car was a problem. Her house had stairs, which proved to be difficult barriers for entry. She would have to continue outpatient rehabilitation for many more months, she would need to sell her house and find a barrier-free living accommodation, and she would need to trade in her car for a model that was wasn’t so difficult to get in and out. If this person was still working, she would not have been able to continue her career.
What is just-and-fair compensation for the injuries she suffered? Monetary damages won’t restore our friend’s life – which was re-routed from one of travel and leisure to one of hospital stays, pain, rehab, and visits to doctors. Her full “enjoyment of life” cannot be restored, but courts have concluded that monetary damages are “as close as the law can come in its effort to right the wrong” and that the award is made “to compensate the victim, not to punish the wrongdoer.”
Damages are largely understood in two categories: physical pain and suffering; and psychological or mental pain and suffering. Physical pain and suffering are the results of accident-induced injuries, both the discomfort someone has felt to date and the detrimental physical effects and suffering that are likely to continue into the future due to someone else’s negligence. Mental pain and suffering are a consequence of those injuries and can include things like emotional distress, a loss of enjoyment of life, and a constant or near-constant state of fear, depression, anger and/or anxiety. This can also manifest itself as an accident-triggered sleep disorder, loss of appetite, or sexual dysfunction. The mental state of some victims of slip-and-fall accidents can be so bad that they can be classified as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Another complication in a potential case is establishing negligence. This can mean things like making sure that a victim didn’t ignore a clearly visible wet floor sign in a well-lit area, and proceeded to slip-and-fall while running across a recently mopped floor. That person may not be eligible for a claim. New York State Law instructs that damages are only recoverable when negligence is established. Negligence is important in determining if a victim is able to receive compensatory damages – or money received because you suffered harm or a loss due to the negligence of a responsible party. It’s not always clear cut: a judge or jury may determine that the responsible party’s negligence only accounts for 75-percent of a claim, meaning that a claim for $100,000 would be reduced to an award of $75,000. Loss and negligence need to be established, like in the situation involving our friend, for a case to result in a 100-percent successful conclusion.
Having the resolve and experience to assess and understand these claims is what makes an attorney successful with slip-and-fall claims. Understanding the complications ahead means that it is very important for you and your family to be represented by a great Bronx Slip and Fall Law Firm that is ready to take charge of your case. Even if your injuries aren’t as terrible as those suffered by our friend, you may be due to considerable compensation. At the very least, you should have your case evaluated by a respected Bronx Slip and Fall Lawyer.
A great Bronx Slip and Fall Attorney can immediately assess your situation and determine if you have a case where you could collect damages. One of the great things about a trip-and-fall case is that law firms will generally give you a free consultation and, if they believe you have a winnable case, they will accept the case on a contingent fee basis, meaning that you lay out no money and owe nothing if no damages are awarded.
There are many common questions asked by people who are considering pursuing a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall injury case.
If I was to have a slip-and-fall accident, what would a great Bronx Slip-and-Fall Law Firm advise me to do?
Slip and fall accidents happen every day in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan…anywhere in NYC. As Slip-and-Fall Attorneys in the Bronx, we recommend that you take the following steps:
- If you slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall and believe that you may be injured, we recommend that you immediately call 911. This can mean nothing more than not feeling right after an accident. The initial shock and embarrassment of a fall can lead to someone scrambling to their feet and rushing away. Please have a policeman come and assess the situation and take down notes about your accident. Not all injuries are immediately apparent, especially soft tissue injuries. This could prove incredibly valuable if your injury emerges hours or a couple of days later.
- In addition, keep any and all records of the place, time and date of your fall, including photos of your personal injury, medical correspondence, medical receipts, X-rays, phone records, text messages, emails and any other proof that will assist your slip-and-fall lawyer in proving your slip-and-fall case. Try to be as detailed as possible with exactly what happened and take as many photos as you can.
- Keep notes of the date, time and place of the fall, and of any complaints you reported to the police and medical doctor. If a police officer or paramedic respond, please try to make a note of their names.
- Contact a Bronx Slip and Fall Law Firm and request a free slip-and-fall accident case evaluation.
How do I know if I have a Slip-and-Fall Case?
In order to determine whether you have a slip-and-fall case, your Bronx Slip-and-Fall Lawyer will have to look into the following:
- Slip-and-Fall Injury: Were you injured during the slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident? If so, you may have a slip-and-fall injury, which is the first step in pursuing this type of personal injury case.
- Slip-and-Fall Negligence: Is someone, such as a property owner, gas station or supermarket, at fault? Has someone been negligent or careless? Slip-and-fall negligence occurs after someone failed to perform a duty or maintain property safety in a manner in which a reasonable person would under the same circumstances. For example, a reasonable store employee who just mopped the floor is expected to put out a sign and warn shoppers that the floor may be slippery. Another example is a property owner who is expected to shovel a sidewalk within either four hours of the end of a daytime snowstorm or by 11 a.m. the next day if the snow stops overnight, and keep the sidewalk in front of his property in a clean-and-safe condition for pedestrians, helping to prevent a slip-and-fall injury or a trip-and-fall accident.
- Insurance Policies Covering Slip-and-Fall Injuries: A Bronx Slip-and-Fall Lawyer and probably every slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall attorney in NYC will need to verify that the property owner, such as a store, landlord, gas station or supermarket, have an insurance policy and that the policy covers slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents. As a general rule, most property insurance policies cover slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall injuries, but there may be exceptions.
The three conditions listed above are mandatory in each slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall case, and it is unlikely that an NYC slip-and-fall lawyer will pursue a case without a slip-and-fall injury, slip-and-fall negligence and an insurance policy that covers slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents.
Depending on where you fell, your slip-and-fall attorney in the Bronx may need to prove other things such as:
- Who caused the dangerous condition that led to your slip-and-fall injury or trip-and-fall injury?
- Was this person or company aware of the dangerous condition that caused your slip-and-fall injury or trip-and-fall injury?
- Would a reasonable person have prevented this condition, made repairs, or maintain the property in a different way to make it safer?
- Would a reasonable person put a sign, barrier, or warning to prevent slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents on the property?
Your slip-and-fall lawyer will also need to investigate your actions and possible negligence during the accident. A slip-and-fall victim may miss or ignore warning signs, act in an unreasonable or risky manner, or may not have been attentive enough to the surroundings and may have contributed to their accident. However, your own negligence during a slip- or trip-and-fall accident or trip-and-fall injury does not necessarily prevent you from recovering monetary damages. You may only be ruled responsible for a small percentage of the fault.
In New York State, all landlords and property managers and owners have a legal duty to keep their properties in a safe condition. Slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall injuries often occur when a property owner or manager fails to maintain a building, land, store, gas station, supermarket, or another type of property, creating dangerous conditions that can be causing bodily harm to slip-and-fall victims.
Yes. If you are hurt in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident in the Bronx or anywhere in NYC, you should immediately contact a slip-and-fall injury lawyer so he can evaluate your slip-and-fall injury claim. This could help you to recover damages based on your slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall injury.
What is a “slip and fall” lawyer?
A slip-and-fall lawyer is a personal injury attorney who has a specialization in representing victims who are injured in slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents.
How expensive is a Bronx Slip-and-Fall Attorney?
We can’t with certainty say all, but the vast majority of slip-and-fall lawyers in the Bronx and NYC work on a contingent fee, meaning they don’t get paid unless you get paid. This is one of the reasons that a Bronx Slip-and-Fall Attorney is not going to pursue a case if they don’t think there’s an opportunity to collect damages.
Once they agree to pursue a case, the typical slip-and-fall attorney will take about one-third or 33% of the damages collected if the case is won or settled. This should all be explained by your Bronx Slip-and-Fall Lawyer at the outset of your case review when you are preparing to sign a retainer agreement. This will also explain how expenses are deducted from the settlement: some firms deduct from the total settlement; some apply it only to the victim’s portion; some will cap the expenses. This depends on the law firm’s policies. You should be comfortable with the people and the retainer agreement before signing.
According to the New York City Bar Association, when a lawyer works on a contingent basis in a personal injury case, such as a slip-and-fall, there is no upfront payment of legal fees or an hourly rate charged, and the only payment the personal injury lawyer is to receive is contingent on recovering monetary damages for you, the client. Your slip-and-fall lawyer works in exchange for a percentage that will be deducted from the recovery after the attorney deducts certain “fees and disbursements” from the settlement.
How do I know which injuries are eligible for compensation following a slip-and-fall accident?
Settlements for slip-and-fall injuries generally include, but are not limited to:
- The monetary award for bodily harm.
- The monetary award for emotional and psychological injuries.
- Reimbursement of medical expenses.
- Compensation for loss of wages and earning capacity.
What are the common types of slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents?
Slip-and-fall accidents often happen and cause injury in the following scenarios:
- trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall at or on the perimeter of a construction site.
- slip-and-fall on a wet floor in a store, restaurant or building entryway.
- trip-and-fall due to an uneven sidewalk or defective driveway.
- trip-and-fall on a defective or broken ramp.
- trip-and-fall on a defective or broken staircase.
- slip-and-fall on snow or ice.
- slip-and-fall on a recently polished or mopped floor or due to dropped food items, like grapes.
- slip-and-fall due to clutter or merchandise blocking a floor.
- slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall due to insufficient lighting.
- slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall due to a gap or hole in a walkway.
- trip-and-fall due to an open or defective cellar door grate.
- trip-and-fall due to an errant electrical cord.
What are some typical injuries suffered from slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents?
The injuries in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident can vary from accident-to-accident and from victim-to-victim. Typical injuries may include:
- broken bones, whether more minor fractures or severe breaks, occurring in the hands, wrists, arms, legs, feet, knees, ankles, hips, ribs or shoulders;
- injuries to the head, including brain injuries, a fractured skull, broken nose, broken jaw, broken cheekbone and cracked or lost teeth;
- back, neck and spinal injuries, including whiplash, herniated discs in your back and neck, severe muscles spasms, loss of movement due to nerve injuries;
- soft tissue injuries, such as torn ligaments or tendons, and torn muscles;
- disfiguring injuries to your face, hands or legs, possibly including amputation due to the severity of an injury;
- psychological injuries can include developing sleeping disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, perpetual nervousness, fear, anger, and anxiety.
How many people are injured in slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents in New York each year?
There are no reliable statistics for the number of people injured in slip-and-fall accidents in the Bronx or NYC every year, but the National Floor Safety Institute reports that slip-and-fall accidents account for more than a million emergency-room visits a year. Further, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of people fall each year. These CDC statistics show that more than one-in-four older people will fall each year and many will result in injuries that are serious and costly. The CDC research demonstrates that one-out-of-five falls cause a serious injury, such as a head injury or broken bones.
New York is the biggest city in the United States of America, and it has tens of thousands of retail establishments – such as convenience, food, department, hardware and clothing stores – restaurants and gas stations, thousands office and residential buildings, plus countless active construction sites. Unfortunately, many of these places are not maintained in a clean-and-safe condition, causing slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall injuries to thousands of Bronx and NYC residents each year.
I had a slip-and-fall accident several months ago. The store or building manager has promised to take care of my injury, but time has passed. Am I still eligible to pursue a claim?
The most direct answer is that you have three years in which to file a claim. This is governed by New York State’s Statute of Limitations. While it is possible to ask a court for more time, those appeals are rarely won, with the exception of cases involving someone who was a minor at the time of the incident or a bodily injury that was discovered to have been caused by an accident years earlier. There are also special stipulations, such as the requirement that a person who wishes to file a claim against the City of New York must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the date of an accident.
Why should you hire Feiner & Lavy PC?
With more than 80 years of combined experience in New York City slip-and-fall cases, Feiner & Lavy is well-grounded and has a broad range of resources available to be used for you to seek damages. We pride ourselves on our level of determination and will not stop until our clients’ cases are resolved with the highest possible payout.