Have you ever considered how quickly a person can go from standing upright to unexpectedly falling and being flat on their back? It is quite literally a fraction of a second.
Almost all of us reading this have had an unexpected trip or fall at some point in our lives. If we were lucky, we dusted yourself off, felt a bit of embarrassment, and moved on. Alternatively, you may have suffered a traumatic injury, such as a broken bone or traumatic brain injury.
If you were unfortunate enough to not fall the correct way, you may be facing a long recuperation period, medical bills, and time off work.
And depending on the circumstances of your slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation, however, because Indiana has strict laws surrounding this case type, it is likely that you will need an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney to help you prove your case.
However, before we discuss the challenges of winning a slip and fall case, we should review the most common causes of a fall and injury.
Common causes of slip & fall injuries
Boulton Law Group has counseled and represented a number of victims throughout Indiana who were seriously injured due to a fall, and the majority of these accidents were a result of one of the following:
Weather in the Hoosier state is known for one thing: Unpredictability!
Between the ice and slush that comes with winter, and the standing water from summer or spring storms, Mother Nature regularly creates hazardous conditions for Indiana residents.
And while no one can be liable for bad weather on its own, property owners and others have a duty to address known hazards that are caused or heightened by inclement weather.
Unfortunately, we have talked with a number of victims who were injured in store parking lots, restaurant entryways, and sidewalks due to conditions exasperated or caused by bad weather.
There is no limit to the number of causes for a wet and hazardous floor surface.
Boulton Law Group has investigated a wide variety of slip and fall cases caused by a wet floor, including injuries that were initiated by factors such as dripping air conditioners, ceiling leaks, freshly mopped areas, etc.
No matter the cause, wet surfaces remain one of the biggest contributors to Indiana slip and fall lawsuits.
Unless cracks, holes, and/or uneven flooring is addressed, the potential for injury is high for unsuspecting guests, visitors, and pedestrians.
Damaged floor lawsuits can originate from any number of locations, including stores, factories, houses, restaurants, government facilities, etc.
Dangerous conditions on a stairway
These cases can be especially high-profile given the types of injuries that they can cause.
In addition to objects being improperly placed on stairs, a number of stairway lawsuits are the result of improperly installed or damaged handrails, as well as stairs that are damaged, poorly maintained, or improperly lit.
Unsecured or unguarded heights
There are a number of local building codes and ordinances that require property owners to have safety measures in place that help to ensure injuries are not caused by people falling from heights or elevated surfaces.
Injuries caused by railing insufficiencies, inadequate personnel/security, or improper fall barriers may be cause for an Indiana fall lawsuit.
Spilled food or drink
A large number of falls from spilled food and drink occur at restaurants, sporting events, concerts, bars, etc.
If it is proven that a manager or person of authority had knowledge of a spill but failed to address it in an adequate fashion and/or time, the facility may be found liable for the victim’s injuries.
In addition to the listed locations, we have also investigated injuries that occurred from a slip and fall at Costco and other superstores, such as Wal-Mart, Target, etc.
Negligent or improper security
When a public venue is overly crowded or disorderly, and the property doesn’t provide adequate security for the environment, the establishment may be liable for any resulting injuries.
For example, if a disturbance were to break out at a nightclub or concert venue, and there was not an appropriate level of security in place to handle the situation, it could result in innocent people being knocked to the ground and/or trampled.
The sad truth about Indiana Slip & Fall cases
Indiana’s hospital emergency rooms are visited every year by thousands of victims who suffer various injuries due to a fall, many through no fault of their own.
In fact, each day, approximately 40 victims – mostly the elderly – suffer a fatal injury due to a slip and fall.
Despite these facts, and the high number of slip and fall accidents that occur in Indiana, slip and fall cases remain highly complex, and pursuing compensation for your injuries can prove challenging.
Some of the reasons for this include:
- Victims fail to contact an experienced attorney to learn about their rights in such a case.
- Evidence can quickly disappear.
- Insurance companies may view these cases with more suspicion and/or a reluctance to settle.
- Indiana maintains strict laws regarding liability in slip and fall cases.
In short, Indiana’s slip and fall accidents are among the toughest case type in our state for a victim to try and pursue on their own.
Proving slip and fall liability in Indiana
To recover compensation for your slip and fall injuries in Indiana, your attorney must prove how the actions or inactions of the property owner, authority, those in a position of management, and/or staff were directly responsible for your injuries.
Without legal representation, you will likely have difficulties in proving how you had no reasonable means to avoid the accident that caused your injuries.
Additionally, to win your claim, it must also be proven that a property owner had reasonable knowledge that the potential trip and fall danger existed.
Evidence must also show that the defendant had an adequate and reasonable amount of time to address the dangerous condition, yet did not take employ measures to correct it.
Property owners in Indiana often utilize three defenses to liability:
1.) Open and Obvious Doctrine
Certain states allow property owners to claim the danger or defect that caused or contributed to the slip and fall injury was “open and obvious,” and therefore, the victim was on notice and should have avoided the danger.
However, Indiana courts do not accept the “open and obvious” doctrine as an absolute defense in premises liability lawsuits.
Instead, they have ruled that Indiana’s comparative fault and assumption of risk laws appropriately cover instances where a danger or defect is open and obvious.
2.) Assumption of Risk
Even though Indiana is a modified comparative fault state, defendants may use an assumption of risk defense in some circumstances.
3.) Comparative Fault
Indiana law does not allow slip and fall victims to recover compensation from a third party if they are found to be more than 50% at fault.
If it is proven that you are 50% or less at fault, you may pursue compensation, however, the damages will be reduced by the percentage of your responsibility.
Free legal advice for slip and fall accidents
Indiana slip and fall cases are among the most challenging in our state. For this reason, we strongly advise that you request a free case evaluation from an experienced Indiana slip and fall attorney.
Attorney Matt Boulton’s goal for his slip and fall clients is to prove their case by presenting evidence that clearly shows your injuries were not the sole result of your actions.
Boulton Law Group offers a Zero Fee Guarantee to all Indiana slip and fall victims. This means that you will never pay for an initial legal consultation, and the only time the firm receives money for its legal representation is if we make a recovery on your behalf.
To speak with attorney Boulton today, call 317-350-2680. If you prefer to write to us with the details of your slip and fall accident, please use our confidential contact form for an immediate review.
We look forward to hearing your story!
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.