Albany Slip and Fall Attorney
A broken hip, a fractured pelvis, a bruised tailbone—when you headed off to work, the grocery store, or your doctor’s office this morning, the last thing you expected was to hear any of these words from an emergency room doctor. Unfortunately, because of someone’s carelessness, you may find yourself a victim of a slip and fall accident in Albany.
If you suffered an injury in an icy parking lot, on a wet floor, or on a floor that was treated with too much wax, the slip and fall accident attorneys at Finkelstein & Partners can help. We are here to help victims who suffered an injury due to the negligence of another party.
A Proven Track Record of Resolving Albany Slip and Fall Cases
For more than six decades, Finkelstein & Partners has been helping clients secure compensation for injuries sustained in Albany slip and fall accidents.
Here are some recent results we have obtained for our clients:
- $1.25 million settlement: Workplace injury
- $975,000 settlement: Union telephone worker slipped on ice at work
- $210,000 settlement: Beacon apartment complex owner fails to clear ice
- $450,000 settlement: No cones while mopping
- $150,000 settlement: Slip and fall
- $50,000 settlement: Slip and fall caused by a dog attack
- $700,000 settlement: Gas terminal fails to remove ice
Past results speak to our commitment to ensuring that our clients are not financially devastated following a slip and fall accident caused by someone’s negligent behavior. While our past results do not mean that we will be as successful in the future, they do indicate our willingness to fight for the rights of a victim of slip and fall accidents.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Suffered by Slip and Fall Victims?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every five falls results in a serious injury. While the most vulnerable population is those who are older than 65, there are more than 800,000 people hospitalized annually due to injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident.
The most common injuries are:
- Head injuries – Concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and fractured skulls can cause life-long problems for a slip and fall victim. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
- Broken bones – Broken ankles, hips, and pelvic fractures are all common types of broken bones. However, damage to the spine, tailbone, and broken ribs can also come from a slip and fall accident.
- Emotional trauma – Even when a victim does not suffer a serious injury, they could face trauma that results in their avoiding certain situations to prevent falls. The irony of this is the more someone avoids being active, the higher the likelihood of a fall.
While not every fall victim suffers a serious injury, there are cases where victims suffer life-threatening injuries which result in death. When you or a loved one suffers an injury in a slip and fall accident, you should make sure medical care is immediate. This could be imperative, particularly because signs of trauma could be masked in the immediate aftermath of a fall.
Identifying the Parties Responsible for a Slip and Fall Accident
One of the most important things to remember about slip and fall claims is that they require proof of liability. To prove liability, one must establish who is responsible for the accident that resulted in the injury. In some cases, this may be easy—for example, if you slip and fall in a driveway, the homeowner is liable. However, in cases where you fall on a commercial property, such as at a mall, hotel, or in a building where your doctor’s office is, the responsibility for ensuring your safety may not be as straightforward.
Some responsible parties may include:
- Property owner – In the instance where the property owner is responsible for the maintenance including snow and ice removal, the property owner may face liability for your injuries. If the owner is the same as the occupier, this is the most common scenario. In the event the property owner is leasing the property, they can still be held responsible if they have a contractual obligation to maintain the property.
- Business owner – When you suffer a slip and fall accident inside a store, the store owner may be responsible for your injuries. The owner is responsible for making sure hazardous conditions are addressed as soon as they are identified to ensure the safety of those who enter their business.
- Person leasing property – Even when the landlord or owner of a property is responsible for maintaining a property, the person who is occupying the property may not be free from liability. For example, if you are entering the lobby of an office and the floor has a puddle of water from a leaking ceiling and there is no warning sign indicating a hazard, the person leasing that office should have seen the hazard and taken steps to mitigate the risk to anyone entering the office.
As you can see, sometimes establishing liability is a complicated issue. Remember, to prove negligence, there has to be a reasonable expectation someone was aware of the hazard. A store owner cannot be held responsible for a slip and fall accident that occurred because someone dropped and smashed a bottle of pickles in front of you, and you fell in the juice. In this example, the owner had no time to address the hazard and therefore is not responsible for your injuries. At Finkelstein & Partners, we have investigators who are experienced in reviewing the circumstances of a slip and fall accident.
What Compensation Can a Slip and Fall Victim Expect?
The first thing to keep in mind is that New York has statutes that limit one’s ability to collect for pain and suffering. However, there are economic damages for which a responsible party can face liability after you suffer an injury in a slip and fall case.
You might pursue compensation for:
- Medical care – Victims in Albany are entitled to be reimbursed for the care they receive for injuries suffered in a slip and fall accident. This care includes all treatment in the emergency room, necessary surgical procedures, medication to avoid infection or stop pain, follow-up care, and other treatments including tests that may be required to identify sources of pain. Keeping an accurate record of all medical treatments is necessary to be certain your out-of-pocket expenses are submitted as part of your claim.
- Home modifications – In some cases, a victim could suffer an injury that requires their home to be modified. For example, a victim who suffers a spinal cord injury, or a TBI can no longer climb a flight of stairs without assistance. If the home requires a ramp to ensure the safety of a slip and fall victim, the costs associated with the ramp may be included as part of the victim’s claim.
- Lost wages and other compensation – We know when you are out of work, you are losing more than a paycheck. You could be losing other valuable compensation as well including the use of a company vehicle, cell phone plans, and deposits to your profit-sharing account. In addition to ensuring you are made whole for the wages you lose during recovery, we fight hard to make sure you are reimbursed for lost vacation and personal days, fringe benefit losses, and loss of bonuses and overtime. If you are going to be out of work for an extended time, we will estimate your future lost wages as well.
You can seek other compensation as part of your slip and fall claim. Speak with your team at Finkelstein & Partners and make sure we know about all of your losses, including costs associated with replacing necessary services, such as daycare, that you provided before your accident.
Our Albany Slip And Fall Lawyers Answer Your Frequently Asked Questions
People slip, trip, and fall every day throughout Albany homes and businesses. They may just suffer a little embarrassment; however, what if the consequences are more severe? Some slip and fall accidents result in serious injuries, expensive medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.
Annually, falls lead to over 8 million hospital and emergency visits. These accidents often happen in homes, hotels, restaurants, and public buildings. Sometimes, no one is at fault for these accidents, but other times, a hazardous situation or someone’s negligence causes the fall and resulting injuries.
What is the law regarding slip and fall accidents?
When an individual slips, trips, or falls and suffers an injury on another person’s property, it is commonly referred to as a slip and fall accident. Generally, if you slip or trip due to another person’s negligence, that person is liable for any resulting injuries.
Usually, the responsible person or entity is a private property owner, a business owner, a government entity, or a transit company. Your attorney may identify other responsible parties, such as someone who performed maintenance on the property.
What is the law in New York regarding slip and fall accidents?
These accidents generally occur on another person’s property, such as a private home or business establishment. Therefore, many slip and fall cases are premises liability claims. The theory of premises liability means that a property owner or caretaker owes a “duty of care” to others who suffer an injury on the property.
One of the key issues in such cases concerns why the injured person was on the property. Someone on another’s property typically falls into one of three categories: invitee, licensee, and trespasser. That person’s right to be on the property determines what level of care they should receive from the person responsible for the property.
Invitees are considered guests and, therefore, should receive the highest duty of care from the landholder. A licensee has consent to come on the property, primarily for the benefit of the licensee. This may be a repairman or utility worker. The property owner owes licensees some duty of care. The property owner owes trespassers little or no duty of care because they have no permission to be on the premises.
An important exception exists regarding child trespassers. The attractive nuisance doctrine says that a property owner may be legally responsible if the injured child was trespassing on a property due to the temptation of a particular object or condition.
The idea is to protect children who trespass without fully understanding the dangers. Instead, they may see the property or object as something fun or attractive. Common examples include trampolines, swimming pools, abandoned appliances, and other hazardous attractions. Attractive nuisance cases are often complex.
If you are injured due to a hazardous condition on another person’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses.
To obtain compensation in a slip and fall case, you must prove:
- You were lawfully on the property (i.e., that the owner invited you or hired you to work on the property), or if not lawfully on the property that the owner knew you were trespassing on the property;
- That the owner of the property was negligent in dealing with the unsafe condition—that is, that the owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition on the property and failed to repair it (or if repaired, it was repaired in a way that did not fix it or made the condition worse), rope it off, or warn of the condition;
- The negligence caused your injury.
For example, to prevail in a lawsuit based on a dangerous sidewalk, you must prove that the liable party was aware of the dangerous conditions of the sidewalk, but did not take action to repair or warn others about them. The injured person must also prove that the hazardous sidewalk was a substantial factor in causing their injury.
What are the common causes of slip and fall accidents?
Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of unintentional injuries. Approximately 50 percent of all accidental deaths in the home result from a slip and fall. However, these accidents can and do happen anywhere. People fall on sidewalks, playgrounds, shopping malls, and wherever they happen to be. In an Albany winter, ice and snow can cause many slip and fall accidents.
All kinds of conditions contribute to slip/trip and fall accidents. The National Safety Council reports that most falls that occur in the home take place on even surfaces, in crowded areas, in doorways, or on stairs, ramps, and ladders. In work settings or public areas, they often happen in parking lots or sidewalks. Slippery floors or falls from work equipment are other common scenarios.
Slip and falls often happen in areas with:
- Poor lighting along walking paths or in parking lots
- Poorly constructed stairways, or stairs without railings
- Cluttered walkways
- Unmarked hazards
- Uneven floors or surfaces
- Loose carpeting
- Slippery floor surfaces
- Loose or broken sidewalks
What injuries are commonly sustained in falls?
A wide variety of injuries can occur. Some of the most common types of slip and fall injuries are traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can mean anything from a mild concussion to catastrophic brain damage. These are not always immediately visible, so it is always good to seek medical attention after a fall.
Slip and fall accidents cause a great many spinal cord injuries. These are often severe, possibly life-threatening, and require immediate medical attention. No matter what caused the accident, a fall can result in serious injuries.
Common injuries caused by falls also include:
- Broken bones. Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5 percent of all people who fall. Older adults are especially prone to hip injuries after a fall.
- Neck injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Torn ligaments in the wrist, foot, or leg
- Lacerations and scarring
- Nerve damage
How do you prove fault in a slip and fall accident?
We commonly refer to slip and fall incidents as accidents. However, they are often the result of another’s negligence. Negligence is also known as a liability. It may refer to an act, or a failure to act.
Premises liability cases often involve a property owner who fails to repair a dangerous condition, such as a slippery floor or loose carpeting, or for failing to warn others that a dangerous condition exists, such as construction.
The injured person would need to prove that a responsible person, such as the property owner or an employee of the business, was aware of the hazard or should have been aware of it. It is important to gather as much documentation and evidence as possible soon after the incident because sometimes it is difficult to locate later.
Evidence may include:
- Incident reports or police reports filled out at the accident scene
- Medical records
- Witness statements who saw the accident or were aware of the hazard
- Pictures or videos. Video cameras on the premises or in the area may have recorded the slip and fall.
- Any correspondence or records, such as emails, repair, hazard notices, or similar proof that the other party knew about the danger.
After a slip and fall accident, you should be cautious about making statements about the accident to other parties or insurance representatives. Avoid posting comments or photos on social media, which could become a problem in legal proceedings. It is best to consult an attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
What compensation might you receive?
In addition to proving fault for your slip-and-fall accident, an essential part of filing a premises liability claim is proving that you suffered harm as a result.
The court may award compensation, known as damages, such as:
- Medical expenses, including emergency medical care, current and ongoing medical treatments, therapy, rehabilitation, and more.
- Current and future lost wages. This may include compensation if the injured person cannot return to work permanently.
- Pain and suffering. This includes physical discomfort, emotional distress, mental trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Punitive damages. These are only awarded in some cases where the defendant demonstrated an egregious disregard for the safety of others.
Evidence such as medical records, bills, pay stubs, expert testimony, and other testimony regarding the devastating impact of your injuries supports your damage claim.
Can you get workers’ compensation benefits for a slip and fall injury?
The risk of falls is especially high in the construction industry, which accounts for 33.5 percent of all construction deaths. As a result, there are many laws and regulations requiring employers to make workplaces safe, provide protective equipment, and train employees on safety matters. For example, a New York law passed in 2017 required construction workers to attend at least 40 hours of safety training.
If your injury happens on your work site or while performing work-related duties or tasks, you may be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, you may file a third-party claim against a negligent party who was not part of the employee-employer relationship. One important difference between the two types of claims is that damages for a third-party lawsuit include pain and suffering.
Will your case go to trial?
Relatively soon after a slip and fall accident, the other party’s insurance company may contact you and make an offer. Although it may be tempting to resolve the matter quickly, keep in mind that the insurance company’s goal is to achieve a quick and inexpensive settlement.
You may not have all of the information about the extent of your injuries and losses. Therefore, you should not accept or sign a release or other documents until you have consulted a premises liability attorney. Accepting an offer of settlement may prevent you from pursuing a legal claim in the future.
Sometimes people are nervous about going to court and may even hesitate to take legal action. Going to trial can indeed take a great deal of time and resources. However, statistics show that only 4 percent of civil cases go to trial. Most settle out of court by mutual agreement between the parties before or during the trial.
What should you do after a slip and fall accident in Albany?
The first and most important step is to seek medical attention. Even if you think you have not been injured or that your injuries are minor, some symptoms do not become apparent until later. Delaying medical care is especially dangerous for head injuries. Approximately one out of four persons injured in a slip and fall accident does not report the incident or see a doctor, usually because they do not realize the full extent of their injuries.
As soon as you are able, report your slip and fall injury accident to the property owner or manager where it occurred. Keep a copy of your report for your records.
If possible, take photos of your injuries and the accident site. Note any hazards that exist. Also, there may be video cameras in the area, in which case you will want to obtain a copy of the appropriate footage as soon as possible.
Keep copies of all medical records, expenses, insurance company correspondence, and documentation of your lost wages. Record contact information for any witnesses.
Keep a journal. While it is fresh in your memory, write down the details of your accident and injuries. Include information such as weather, lighting conditions, or any other hazards—also, record information about your recovery process.
What is the statute of limitations for a slip and fall accident?
A statute of limitations is a law that determines the deadline for filing a lawsuit. For a slip and fall on the property of another, the deadline is three years.
In some circumstances, such as a claim against a governmental entity, the time limits may be different, so it is best to consult an Albany attorney without delay. A slip and fall accident can take place in seconds, but the consequences may last a lifetime. An experienced, dedicated Albany slip and fall attorney can explain your legal options and protect your rights.
Insurance Companies and Responsible Parties May Attempt to Deflect Liability
You may think your case is very straightforward, and you can just file a claim and wait for a check from the insurance company of the responsible party. What you probably will not be prepared for is the lengths the insurer is prepared to go to reduce their liability.
Insurers avoid liability through:
- Denial of claims – An outright denial of a slip and fall claim means you have to go through the steps of appealing a decision. Insurance companies will deny a claim with the expectation not everyone will go through the trouble of appealing their decision. This expectation sometimes pays off for them meaning they never payout on a slip and fall claim.
- Victim blaming – Another common tactic an insurer might use is claiming the victim of a slip and fall injury is responsible for the fall. The claim is often the victim should have been paying attention, they should have been aware of a slick spot, or they should have expected a slippery sidewalk following a snowstorm. While these may be factual arguments, they lose steam when you understand property owners owe a duty of care to the people who visit.
- Injury existed before fall – Another common tactic is claiming the fall did not cause the victim’s injury, but that it existed before the fall. Even if you had a previous problem with your back or neck and it was exacerbated due to a slip and fall accident, you still have the right to be compensated for the additional treatment you seek for your injury.
Victims are seldom prepared for the range of excuses an insurance company will give to avoid paying a claim. Before you file a claim it is always a good idea to speak with an experienced slip and fall attorney about your injury. Doing so can help protect your rights and make sure you know what to expect from the insurance adjuster.
Costs Versus Benefits of Hiring an Albany Slip and Fall Lawyer
The last thing on your mind when you are recovering from a slip and fall injury is spending money you do not have. You are concerned about your finances because you are bringing in less income, and your bills are piling up. We understand this—this is why our commitment is simple: You do not pay for legal fees until we are successful in obtaining a settlement on your behalf. You do not pay for any legal fees unless we can obtain a settlement.
At Finkelstein & Partners when we take on your slip and fall case, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means you are not obligated to pay our fee unless we are successful in obtaining a settlement on your behalf. Whether this means accepting an insurance company settlement, or taking the matter to court, our fees are not due until your case is resolved successfully. Discuss these fees with your legal team. We are happy to explain any costs associated with you as part of our transparency guarantee.
Victims of slip and fall accidents often ask if it is necessary to hire a personal injury lawyer to help them file a claim. Our answer is complicated: While you can file a claim on your own, you are going to be at the mercy of the insurance company. They will employ a range of tactics including attempting to get you to accept blame, tell you that a low-ball offer is the “best” offer you will get, and make an offer while asking you to sign a waiver of liability which means they do not have to pay for any future costs associated with your injury.
Do not fall into these well-designed traps by insurance companies. Remember, they hope you will not hire a lawyer because those who are not represented by competent legal talent often are unaware of their rights. The insurance company has a team of lawyers representing their interests—these interests are not in line with what is best for you and your family.
Call the Albany Slip and Fall Law Firm of Finkelstein & Partners Today
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident in New York, contact our offices today or call us at any time at (518) 452-2813 for a free case evaluation. We will make sure you know your rights and options. You should not have to bear the financial burden associated with a slip and fall injury at a mall, in a supermarket, your workplace, or any place when a property owner could have prevented your accident.
1707 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12205