Syracuse Slip and Fall Attorney
108 West Jefferson Street,
Syracuse, NY 13202
Many people do not think twice about the possibility of a fall as they go about their day. They expect relatively clear walkways, a lack of slick surfaces and substances that can cause them to tumble, and handrails where they need them. Unfortunately, as you travel throughout Syracuse, you may find a number of businesses and even private property owners who do not properly maintain their flooring, clear away spills, or manage snow and ice. As a result, you may slip and fall, leaving you with devastating injuries.
A slip and fall injury claim can help compensate you for those damages and, in many cases, make it easier for you to cover the cost of medical treatment. However, many people struggle to deal with the insurance company and get the full compensation they may deserve for those often devastating injuries. At Finkelstein & Partners, we aim to help slip and fall accident victims recover the compensation they deserve. Contact us for your free consultation.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a slip and fall incident, contact the Syracuse slip and fall accident lawyers at Finkelstein & Partners for a free case evaluation. We have successfully represented many victims of slip and fall accidents in our over 60 years of experience, and we’re ready to help you too.
We treat our clients like family.
At Finkelstein & Partners, we focus on a family firm atmosphere, and we extend that consideration to our clients as well as to the members of our staff. We want to provide every client with the same comprehensive legal advice and support that we would offer our family members in a catastrophic accident. When you choose Finkelstein & Partners as your attorney, we want you to feel supported throughout your claim experience.
We have the resources needed to handle big, complicated slip and fall claims in Syracuse.
Sometimes, after a slip and fall, you may find yourself dealing with a big insurance company that seems to dedicate itself to reducing the compensation you can actually recover from your injuries.
At Finkelstein & Partners, we have the resources needed to take on those big names in insurance. We fight aggressively to help our clients get maximum results for injuries sustained in a Syracuse slip and fall accident. We provide each client with a team led by an attorney, who will help guide every stage of the claim process.
We offer a no-fee promise to our clients.
At Finkelstein & Partners, we start with a free consultation to review your claim and help you take a closer look at the compensation you might deserve for your injuries. Then, we take our clients on a contingent fee basis. You do not pay any legal fees unless we win. New York laws require us to note that clients will take responsibility for any costs incurred during the claim process.
Did you suffer serious injuries in a Syracuse slip and fall accident? Contact Finkelstein & Partners today to start pursuing the compensation you deserve.
Syracuse Slip and Fall Injuries? Learn About the Compensation You Can Expect.
At Finkelstein & Partners, we aim to help every client achieve maximum results for the injuries they may have sustained due to the negligence of another party. We want to make the claim process as smooth and simple as possible while still fighting to help our clients get much-needed results. Just how much compensation can you expect as part of a slip and fall claim?
That may depend on a number of factors.
- Who caused your accident?
- Does the liable party have an insurance policy covering the cost of your accident claim?
- What injuries did you sustain in your fall, and what did your recovery look like?
We cannot guarantee the compensation you will recover as part of a Syracuse slip and fall claim. However, we can help you conduct an extensive breakdown of the damages you sustained because of the accident so that you can include them as part of a comprehensive injury claim.
What did your medical bills look like after your Syracuse slip and fall?
Medical expenses serve two purposes after your Syracuse slip and fall. First, you have the right to claim compensation for the direct medical bills you suffered because of your fall, including everything from emergency medical care to physical or occupational therapy to help you recover after your accident.
Second, your medical expenses may help set the tone for your accident’s severity and injuries. If you had severe injuries from your accident, and the long road to recovery and other challenges that go along with that, you may have equally high medical bills. On the other hand, relatively minor injuries may have less substantial medical bills.
How much work did your Syracuse slip and fall cause you to miss, and how did that affect your income?
Slip and fall injuries can often make it hard for you to return to work. If you hit your head in an accident, you may have a brain injury that makes it very difficult for you to keep up with your job responsibilities, even if you spend most of your day behind a desk. Broken bones can make it hard for patients to handle an active job that keeps them on their feet through much of the day.
Talk to your lawyer about the time you missed at work because of your accident, from the time you missed immediately after the accident to any time you missed for follow-up appointments and procedures. Make sure you include any time you may have spent with limited hours as you struggled to juggle your recovery.
What did your suffering look like after your Syracuse slip and fall?
Many Syracuse slip and fall accident claims will include compensation for the pain and suffering you dealt with after the accident. Talk to your lawyer about the extent of your suffering, including physical pain and emotional anguish that may have gone along with the accident and your injuries.
Syracuse Slip and Fall Accidents: What You Need to Know
Slip and fall accidents across Syracuse may occur for many reasons.
- Snow and ice can pose a serious problem for Syracuse residents. As the snowiest city in the United States, Syracuse may face more than 127 inches of snow in an average year.
- Failure to clean up spills in a timely manner can put visitors to a shop in significant danger. If a business fails to take care of spills quickly, despite employees knowing about the problem, the business may bear liability for the incident.
- Tripping over items left scattered in walkways can seriously injure some guests.
- Elderly guests, in particular, may have trouble with cords and other seemingly minor obstacles in the area.
Any time you suffer injuries in a Syracuse slip and fall, working with an attorney can provide vital assistance that can help you fight for much-needed compensation.
You need to file before the statute of limitations runs out.
According to New York law, you have up to three years to file a compensation claim after a slip and fall accident. However, that does not mean that you should wait for time to run out. Instead, contact a lawyer as soon after your accident as possible to discuss how you can best fight for the compensation you may deserve.
Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries, even in young or otherwise healthy victims.
Slip and falls may cause a more serious hazard for elderly individuals, who may have poor balance and suffer more severe injury in a fall.
However, even young and healthy individuals can sustain severe injuries, including:
- Head injury
- Back and neck injury
- Broken bones
- Severe lacerations
Those injuries may require prompt and ongoing medical treatment.
Can I Settle With the Insurance Company Myself?
Injured individuals may negotiate with the insurance company on their own, but we don’t recommend it. Those who do settle without the help of an attorney almost always leave money on the table. Insurance companies are for-profit, and paying out claims cuts into those profits. Thus, the insurance company will find any reason to deny your claim. Barring that, it will pay you the least amount possible to make you go away
In some cases, slip and fall accidents can cause long-term or permanent injuries. In many of those cases, the injured individual has the right to collect enough compensation to cover medical expenses and other damages for as long as those disabilities last.
You are entitled to a fair and reasonable settlement or trial award. If the insurance company refuses a fair settlement, your attorney already has the information to litigate your case and further protect your rights.
Once you sign a settlement document, you cannot move forward with any other action, including litigation. If the settlement is not enough to cover additional surgeries and therapy, you could end up paying out of pocket or foregoing proper medical care. Even if you end up with permanent disabilities because of your injuries, there is no do-over. You are stuck with what you accepted from the insurance company.
Because the laws surrounding slip and fall accidents are complicated, it is better that you work with an attorney to make sure you recover maximum compensation. The insurance company has attorneys that know the laws and will try to make it seem as though the accident was your fault or that the property owner or retail establishment was not at fault if it cannot prove you were at fault.
Types of Slip and Fall Accidents in Syracuse
Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere at any time. Slippery floors and stairs, puddles of water, ice, snow, and uneven or damaged walkways are all examples of slip and fall accidents. You could even suffer injuries near a construction site if the workers leave something in the walkway.
It is up to the property owner—even a private property owner—to make the property safe for visitors. Property owners need to keep walkways clear and in good condition; construction workers must protect those walking by from getting injured by construction equipment and materials. Retail establishments must keep floors and walkways clear of obstructions and anything that could make the floor slippery.
Even if a retailer puts a “Wet Floor” sign up, depending on the circumstances, it might still have to pay damages if you slip and fall on a wet floor in the establishment. The determining factor is reasonableness. The property owner must ensure that his or her property is reasonably safe.
For example, in the case of a snowy sidewalk, you cannot expect a property owner to reasonably clear the sidewalk during a blizzard. Still, you would reasonably expect the property owner to clear the sidewalk within a couple of hours after the blizzard. If you can show that the property owner didn’t clear the snow and ice when he had reasonable time to do so, you have a pretty good chance of winning your case.
Some examples of causes of slip and fall accidents include:
- Wet, snowy, and icy walkways
- Obstructions in walkways
- Poor lighting
- Damaged floors and carpets
- No handrails or improperly installed handrails
- Uneven pavement and sidewalks
- Uneven steps, such as where one or more steps are shorter or taller than the others
- Broken steps and broken handrails
- Wet floors, whether from rain or spills
- Missing warning signs
- Warning signs that are not clear or that are not placed where patrons can see them
Documenting Your Slip and Fall Accident
If possible, you should always take photos of what caused you to slip and fall. A wet floor could be dry by the time someone investigates the case. Store managers could clean up a mess as soon as you leave. Property owners could clean their sidewalks, or the snow could melt before someone investigates the accident scene.
Your photos could go a long way in helping to prove your case, so be sure to take plenty of photos from different angles, including the angle from which you were approaching the dangerous spot. If possible, retracing your steps on video is often helpful.
Slip and Fall Injuries
The injuries you could suffer from a slip and fall vary widely from minor injuries to catastrophic injuries.
Injuries could include:
- Bumps, bruises, scrapes, cuts, and scratches.
- Burns if you fall against something hot or fall into an open fire, such as a fire in a fire pit.
- Road rash.
- Strains and sprains, especially on your wrists, if you try to break your fall.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries, including mild concussions, severe concussions, and penetrating brain injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries, including paralysis.
- Internal injuries.
- Wrongful death.
Any open wound, whether it is one you suffered in the accident or a wound resulting from surgery to repair an injury you suffered in a slip and fall, can become infected. Those with underlying conditions, such as diabetes or immunodeficiency, or those who are on certain medications, such as chemotherapy, have a higher risk of developing an infection in an open wound because of a slower recovery time.
Although you have medical records documenting your injuries and your recovery, those records do not document your emotional well-being after an accident.
Keeping a diary of how your injuries are healing, the development of secondary injuries, and your attitude and emotional well-being each day could have two benefits:
- In reading your notes, you could see a pattern you might not have otherwise noticed, such as the development of occupational or cognitive problems; and
- You will have something to look back on when the defendant, via his or her attorney, asks you about certain aspects of your recovery and mental health after a slip and fall.
Sometimes when injuries take longer to heal or when doctors tell patients that their injuries caused long-term or permanent disabilities, the patient could become anxious or depressed. Should you have to see a psychiatrist or other mental health professional because of newly caused emotional issues, the defendant might be liable for those therapy sessions, just as he or she would be liable for physical therapy and occupational therapy.
If the insurance company refuses to come to a fair and reasonable settlement and you decide to litigate, these notes could also help you and your attorney make a case for pain and suffering, including emotional distress if your injuries prevent you from working or if doctors expect your injuries to become long-term or permanent disabilities.
Filing a Case
After a slip and fall accident, you should contact a Syracuse slip and fall attorney as soon as possible. You have a limited amount of time to file a claim, and the amount of time goes by quickly. By the time you investigate a case and attempt settlement negotiations, a good amount of time will have already passed.
For a slip and fall with injuries, you have up to three years to file a court case. If the slip and fall accident resulted in the wrongful death of a loved one, you have two years to file a court case.
Recoverable Damages in a Syracuse Slip and Fall Accident
You might recover compensatory damages in the form of economic damages and non-economic damages after a slip and fall accident in New York. Economic damages have a monetary value while non-economic damages do not.
Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic damages include:
- Past medical expenses for those incurred in the slip and fall accident and before a settlement or trial award.
- Future medical expenses for those incurred in the slip and fall accident but continue after a settlement or trial award.
- Past lost wages for those lost because of injuries you suffered in a slip and fall accident.
- Future lost wages for those you expect to lose after a settlement or trial award. If you go back to work, but your injuries do not allow you to do your usual job or earn your usual salary, you might recover partial future lost wages.
- Replacement or repair of damaged personal property, such as a computer that might have suffered damage when you fell.
- Funeral, burial, and cremation expenses if you lost a loved one because of a slip and fall accident.
Sometimes referred to as general damages, non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, which includes emotional distress for those injured in a slip and fall accident.
- Emotional distress for those who lost a loved one because of a slip and fall accident.
- Loss of quality of life.
- Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy family events and outings.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Loss of use of a body part, such as a hand.
- Loss of use of a bodily function, such as your eyesight.
- Inconvenience if you need to hire someone to do your usual chores, such as grocery shopping, lawn maintenance, and home maintenance and repair.
- Excessive scarring.
Syracuse Slip and Fall Accident FAQs
Did you know that slip and fall accidents are among the most common causes of personal injury in New York? The very nature of slip and fall accidents means they can happen at any time, any place. In most cases, these accidents come without warning. A slip and fall accident can cause anything from a minor bruise to the ego to a life-threatening brain injury. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, the law may entitle you to certain financial damages. To learn more about your legal rights, contact an experienced slip and fall accident attorney. Here are some of the most commonly asked slip and fall accident questions:
What is a slip and fall accident?
By definition, slip and fall accidents happen on someone else’s property. But the term “slip and fall” is somewhat misleading. When we use the term slip and fall, it includes trip and fall, step and fall, and of course, slip and fall accidents. Legally, however, it comes down to whether someone else caused your accident through action or inaction.
Not sure if you have a case? The best way to find out is to talk to an experienced slip and fall attorney.
Here are just a few examples of where slip and fall accidents happen:
- Grocery stores: Retail stores, like the Walmart Supercenter in East Syracuse, are one of the most common locations for slip and fall accidents. When you enter a store, the managers of that location have a duty to ensure all areas of the property are free of any hazards. While it may be impossible to monitor the whole store at once, at minimum, the store staff should do regular safety checks. Common causes of accidents at retail venues include liquid spills, slippery entryways, and improperly stored inventory.
- Parking lots: Yes, a property owner’s duty of care extends to the parking lot. Parking lot injuries happen all the time. Injuries can occur because of uneven sidewalks, loose gravel, hidden or unmarked steps, debris, or ice.
- Private residences: When most people think of slip and fall accidents, they think of commercial property owners. However, private property owners have a duty to their guests as well. If you suffer an injury at a friend’s house, their homeowner’s insurance may cover the cost of your injuries. Common causes of private residence injuries include ice, loose hoses or tools in the walkway, broken steps, uneven sidewalks or driveways.
- Amusement parks: Amusement parks like Sky Zone Trampoline Park, Get Air Trampoline Park, and Sylvan Beach Amusement Park are full of hazards. From loose electrical cords to slippery surfaces, injuries happen at these venues all the time.
What should I do after a Syracuse slip and fall accident?
Nobody plans for accidents—that is of course, except for insurance companies. Insurance companies deal with accident claims every day. They know what to expect when their client comes to them and they are waiting for you to make a mistake. It is unfortunate, but everything you say or do after an accident can affect your slip and fall case. The good news is, you can protect yourself and your rights after an accident.
Here’s how you can do this:
- Take pictures of the scene: Before you talk to the manager—before you leave the store—you need to take pictures of where the accident happened. The issue is, if you wait until after you report the accident, the manager or property owner may clean up the area or hide any hazards. Pictures can provide evidence in a slip and fall claim and help you prove your case.
- Report the accident: There are two reasons you need to report the accident. One, it helps establish your claim and lets the owner know you sustained an injury. Two, it allows the owner to remedy the situation to prevent further injury. If you are at a place of business, ask to speak to the manager on duty and get a copy of any written report. If you are at someone’s home, let the homeowner know what happened.
- Go to the doctor: The purpose of a personal injury claim is to recover damages for your injuries after an accident. If you do not go to the doctor, there is no proof of your injuries. When you go to the doctor, the doctor can take note of any symptoms you have and prescribe further treatment. Be honest about how you feel. You should never downplay or hide your symptoms. At the same time, do not exaggerate or play up your symptoms.
- Contact a Syracuse slip and fall attorney: While your case may seem straightforward, it is always a good idea to talk to an experienced attorney after a slip and fall accident. Corporations usually have expensive attorneys and aggressive insurance companies. They will look for ways to pay you less. An experienced attorney can help you fight for what you deserve.
How do property owners try to get out of paying for slip and fall accidents?
In the legal realm, slip and fall accidents fall into the premises liability category. Premises liability laws require all property owners to keep their land and building safe and free of certain dangers. But, that does not stop owners (and their insurance companies) from trying to find excuses to get out of paying. These attempts are often futile and do nothing but drag out litigation. Nonetheless, they come up time and time again.
Here are three defenses defendants often use to try to avoid liability:
- “I was not aware of the hazard”: To most property owners, this makes perfect sense. If they were not aware of the danger, how are they responsible for it? This one may be used when a person slips at a grocery store because of a spill or at a private residence because of ice. When a person or entity invites guests to their property, they have to ensure the property is safe before the guests arrive and that it stays that way for the duration of the stay. This may mean a store does hourly safety walks around the store or the homeowner checks their front steps during freezing temperatures.
- “I put up warning signs”: We have all gone into a store and seen those big yellow cones warning, “slippery when wet.” But that does not necessarily relinquish them from any further responsibility. The store still must correct and monitor the situation. In some cases, they may need to take extra precautions. For example, if a store’s entryway is always wet because of rain, they should probably invest in non-slip rugs.
- “It was their fault!”: Too many times, defendants try to blame the victim. Remember, the law requires property owners to keep their land safe. Even if you were not where you were supposed to be in a certain area or you were not paying attention, the owner may hold legal liability.
What if I did not have permission to be on the person’s property when I was injured?
Basso v. Miller requires the law to treat all visitors the same when it comes to premises liability. This means property owners have the same duty to invited guests as they do trespassers. However, to have a premises liability case, you must prove the defendant had a duty of care. This standard can be harder to meet if you are an uninvited guest.
However, there are two main exceptions:
- Prior knowledge of trespassers: If the property owner did not know you were on their land, it is hard to prove they had a duty of care. However, if the owner knew that you or other persons visited their land, they have a legal duty to warn of potential dangers.
- Attractive nuisance: The attractive nuisance doctrine states that a property owner may have legal liability for a minor’s injuries if the injuries were from a hazardous condition or object that is likely to attract children. For example, if a property owner puts a trampoline in their front yard, there should be a reasonable expectation that it may attract children. Therefore, if a child enters the property and gets hurt on or on the way to the trampoline, the property owner may be liable for that child’s injuries.
Cases that involve an uninvited guest can be harder to prove. An experienced slip and fall attorney can help you determine whether you have a case.
How much time do I have to sue the other party for damages?
After an accident, the law only allows you so much time to recover damages. In New York, the statute of limitations for slip and fall accidents is three years from the date of the accident.
While this may seem like a long time, there are a few reasons why you should not wait too long to open a case.
- You delay payment: Ultimately, the longer you wait to pursue your slip and fall case, the longer it will take for the insurance company to issue a payment. Once you notify the insurance company of your claim, they have to review the evidence, determine how much they will pay, and negotiate with your attorney. During all this time, your medical bills will continue to accrue. The sooner you open a case, the sooner you can try to recover the funds you need to pay for your costs.
- You risk your credibility: There are a variety of reasons why you might wait to initiate a personal injury case. But regardless of your reasons, the insurance company will question why you waited so long if your injuries are actually as bad as you claim.
- Your attorney needs time: The more time your attorney has to prepare your case, the better chance they have to achieve your desired outcome. If you wait until the last minute, your attorney will not have enough time to properly review the evidence and build the strongest case.
Get the Answers You Need
After a slip and fall accident, take care of yourself. One of the best ways to do this is to understand your rights and get the answers you need. In some circumstances, the law may entitle you to financial damages after an injury. If you have more questions or need help with your case, contact an experienced Syracuse slip and fall attorney.
How Can I Afford a Slip and Fall Lawyer at Finkelstein & Partners if I’m Not Working?
A slip and fall attorney can help investigate your case, including helping you obtain the necessary medical records required to prove your injuries. The attorney can also help you prove liability, find witnesses, and can find out who shares in the liability.
In some cases, more than one person could share the responsibility for your injuries. If that is the case, your attorney will start settlement negotiations with all parties involved. If you move to litigation because the defendants refuse to come to a reasonable settlement, the attorney already has most of the information you need and can file a lawsuit against the appropriate parties on your behalf.
Did You Suffer Injuries in a Slip and Fall Accident in Syracuse?
We take cases on a contingency basis. That means all of the work we put into your case is free unless you win. Your initial case evaluation is always free, and you never pay unless we win your case. If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident in Syracuse, working with a slip and fall accident lawyer can make it easier for you to put together a comprehensive, compelling claim that will help you pursue the compensation you may deserve. Contact Finkelstein & Partners today at (315) 453-3053 to discuss your right to compensation.