If you or someone you love has been a victim of a slip and fall injury on another party’s premises, please don’t hesitate to contact Attorney Jason Hutzler at (602) 730-4530.
Do You Need a Phoenix Slip and Fall Attorney?
If you were injured on a wet floor or some other hazard that caused you to slip or trip and fall, an experienced Phoenix slip and fall attorney from Hutzler Law, PLLC can seek compensation for the financial and emotional costs of your injury.
Hiring an attorney to assist you with your claim doesn’t mean you give away control over the claim. In reality, you will remain responsible for making all the important decisions about your case, including the decision to accept a settlement or file a lawsuit.
One of our commitments is to provide you with the guidance you need to understand the decisions you must make and the potential impacts those decisions will have on your claim. When you hire an experienced Phoenix slip and fall lawyer, we help you to make informed choices that serve your needs.
We also take the time to learn more about you and the impact that your accident had on your life, so we can tailor our advice to your goals. Unlike the insurance companies of the store, restaurant, apartment building, or another place whose negligence injured you, our Phoenix personal injury lawyers will always treat you as an individual, not a case file.
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Hutzler Law understands just how damaging a slip and fall accident can be for the victims and their families. Speak with us today to learn your rights!
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in Phoenix
The monsoon season in Arizona lasts from June to September. While there is no guarantee that any monsoon will affect Phoenix, there is a greater chance of torrential downpours in summer. While the rain is welcome, it can make for slippery surfaces in commercial businesses, private residences, or even on public properties, increasing the risk of slip-and-fall accidents.
As the National Floor Safety Institute explains, slip and fall accidents account for around one million emergency department visits each year. Slip and fall accidents are of particular concern for elderly people, who can be unsteady on their feet due to declines in strength and vision, making it more difficult to see and avoid obstacles in walkways.
Each year in the U.S., one out of every three people over 65 will suffer a fall; many of those individuals are repeat fallers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, individuals aged 65 and over account for 11 percent of the population in Phoenix.
Customers tracking monsoonal moisture into stores through water on their shoes is a common cause of slip-and-fall accidents in Phoenix
However, many other property hazards can result in a slip-and-fall accident, including:
- Other types of liquid, debris, or clutter in walkways.
- Obstacles such as electrical cords extended through walkways.
- Improperly designed or damaged staircases.
- Poor lighting, particularly in stairwells.
- Worn, torn, or loose flooring materials.
- Cracks in concrete paths or potholes in parking lots.
Common Injuries Caused by a Slip and Fall Accident
One of the most severe types of injuries to be suffered in a slip and fall is also one of the most common types of serious injuries suffered by the elderly: a broken hip. Falling is the second leading cause of death for individuals 65 and over, and the risk of suffering a hip injury from a fall after 65 increases with every decade of life. For example, people over 65 are 10 to 15 times more likely to suffer a hip fracture after a fall than those aged 65.
Other slip and fall injuries include:
- Catastrophic injuries, such as spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries, can leave an individual with permanent disabilities and make it impossible for them to earn an income.
- Other broken bones. Another common bone fracture to be experienced in a slip-and-fall accident occurs in the arms or wrists due to the individual’s instinctual response to falling, which is to outstretch the arms.
- Soft tissue injuries, including damage to knee tendons.
- Internal injuries from the individual’s body falling violently against other objects.
- Cuts, lacerations, and bruises.
The Impacts of a Slip and Fall on the Sufferer’s Life
Being injured in a slip and fall accident can impact every facet of the sufferer’s life, including causing them to miss work or even suffer permanent injuries due to the accident that makes them no longer able to perform job duties.
For the elderly, fall injuries are responsible for up to 40 percent of nursing home admissions, as many individuals can no longer live independently after the injury. Slip and fall injuries can also result in a loss of mobility and chronic pain, each of which can lead to pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment.
Seeking Compensation After a Phoenix Slip and Fall Accident
Slip and fall accidents are the most common type of premises liability claim. Premises liability refers to the legal responsibility of those who own or control property to ensure that the property is free of hazards that can cause injuries to visitors. Those injured will seek compensation from the at-fault party’s homeowner’s, renter’s, or commercial liability insurance policy.
Hiring an Attorney for Your Phoenix Slip and Fall Claim
After being injured in a slip and fall accident, one of the most important things a claimant can do to protect their right to the maximum compensation available for their claim is to seek the assistance of an experienced slip and fall accident attorney.
Many claimants attempt to navigate the process on their own, despite the insurance company’s tactics to reduce or eliminate their claims. However, the formalities of the court process and the lack of understanding about the evidence needed to prove a slip-and-fall case are more than frequently overwhelming — especially when one has suffered injuries that require intensive recovery time. Identifying elements of negligence or fault in a personal injury case requires investigation and evidence to support the victim’s claim; these, too, can be nearly impossible tasks for an injured person.
Many people hesitate to contact a slip-and-fall attorney because they fear that others will think that pursuing a claim for a slip-and-fall incident is just “easy money.” They may also worry that they simply can’t afford legal assistance. However, our lawyers work on a contingent fee basis, meaning you owe nothing for our legal team’s services unless they garner a negotiated settlement or a court award for you. An understanding slip-and-fall injury lawyer understands the impact that these accidents can have on victims and knows that these types of personal injury claims require personalized expertise in order to secure the best results.
When compensation is received, the attorney receives a percentage of it for their efforts. If the client does not receive compensation from their claim, the attorney does not either.
One of the most important aspects of a personal injury claim is the ability to prove through evidence and witness testimony that someone else was liable for the accident that caused the claimant’s injuries.
In the initial stages of your claim, a slip and fall attorney must determine all sources of liability and the insurance resources that the liable party has available to provide compensation. These sources could include insurance coverage from the property owners, other liable parties, and your own insurance company.
The elements that show liability in a slip-and-fall claim include:
- The claimant suffered an injury on the property.
- The at-fault party was legally tied to the property by title, lease, or other documents demonstrating that the property was under their legal control.
- There was a property hazard that the at-fault party knew or reasonably should have known about and negligently failed to repair or warn guests about through a prominently placed sign.
- The property hazard was the cause of the injury.
The evidence a slip and fall accident attorney will gather in support of their client’s claim includes:
- Photographs of the scene, including the hazard that caused the injury and visible signs of the injury itself.
- Testimony from eyewitnesses or experts who either saw the accident or can speak to how such an accident could occur and result in injuries.
- Previous official complaints were filed against the property owner or possessor from others who had suffered slip and fall injuries due to the same hazard.
- Surveillance video of how the accident occurred, if it occurred in a location such as a department store that engages in video surveillance or in a location that another area business or residence captured.
- The proof of an official complaint filed by the claimant with the company regarding the accident.
The Difficulties in Proving a Slip and Fall Claim
One of the most challenging aspects of a slip and fall claim to prove is that the property owner or possessor had constructive knowledge of the accident before it happened. This is particularly true if the accident occurred due to rainfall or other liquids on the floor, as the hazard must have been present long enough for the property owner/possessor or their employees to discover it.
Lack of knowledge of the hazard is a common defense used by insurance companies to shift liability to the victim rather than the at-fault party.
Other defenses that can minimize the liability of the property owner/possessor include:
- The open and obvious doctrine, which means a property owner/possessor is not liable for a slip and fall accident if the hazard was so clear that a reasonable person would have avoided it.
- Arguing that the claimant was responsible for their injuries, such as for not watching where they were walking or wearing the wrong shoes.
The knowledgeable slip-and-fall accident lawyers at Hutzler Law have witnessed and successfully retorted defenses such as these time and time again and will gladly do so for your claim, too.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the statute of limitations in Phoenix slip and fall claims, and why does it matter?
The statute of limitations refers to the statutory deadline that state lawmakers place on the ability of the claimant to file their claim as a lawsuit in court. In most slip-and-fall accident claims, the statute of limitations is two years from the accident. If you fail to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you cannot use the court to seek compensation. Because insurance companies offer settlements to avoid litigation, a claimant who has let the statute of limitations expire will generally not receive settlement offers either, as there is no longer a legal consequence if the insurance company fails to compensate the claim.
If my elderly parent was injured in a slip and fall at a nursing home, would I file a claim against the nursing home?
Yes. Nursing homes must provide regular property inspections to promptly repair or mitigate hazards that can cause injuries to guests, just as any other type of business. However, nursing homes also have additional responsibilities to their patients, including indicating an increased risk of falling in the resident’s care plan and providing staff and assistive devices designed to avoid such falls.
How is the value of a slip and fall claim calculated?
Like all types of personal injury claims, the claim’s value is not solely dependent on the monetary expenses the individual has incurred as a result of the accident. Other factors that can impact the claim’s value include how much insurance the at-fault party has available to compensate the claim, the severity of the injury, and the impacts of the injury on the claimant’s ability to live independently or earn an income.
The general formula that many attorneys use to value a claim includes:
- Adding all the out-of-pocket expenses together to derive a total economic damages claim.
- Calculating the non-economic damage claim.
- Adding the economic and non-economic damage totals together to create a total value of the claim.
Slip and fall accident attorneys generally wait for their client to reach maximum medical improvement before valuing the claim, as this represents the point when the claimant’s physician has determined they have made the fullest recovery possible for their condition, and you have a more accurate picture of the expenses and impacts of the injury.
How serious do my injuries need to be to file a slip and fall claim?
If your injury resulted in expenses, such as medical expenses, income loss, or even the cost of moving to a better-staffed nursing home to provide supervision for those at elevated falling risks, you can justify a claim.
Injured in a Phoenix Slip and Fall? We Can Help
Let an experienced Phoenix slip and fall attorney from Hutzler Law, PLLC explore your legal options with you and explain the process involved in seeking compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury.
Contact us at (602) 730-4530 for a free case evaluation.
Hutzler Law, PLLC – Phoenix Slip and Fall Lawyers
4323 N 12th St, Suite 101,
Phoenix, AZ 85014