If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident in Rhode Island, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Our attorneys here have successfully settled hundreds of these cases for our clients over the past 24 years and we charge no fee until you receive a settlement or award. Please call us toll free 24/7 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.
What Are Some Common Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries?
- Lack of lighting or poor lighting
- Slippery substances on walking surfaces (Ex: oil, grease, ice, snow)
- Failure to warn of or repair a dangerous/hazardous condition
- Inadequate or lack of safety features (Ex: handrails)
- Uneven or cracked walking surfaces
- Holes or other gaps in walking surfaces
Such conditions can be temporary or permanent. Permanent conditions are when the property owner knew of the condition or should have known about it. Temporary conditions are somewhat different. Timing matters in regards to how long the condition has existed. If the condition appeared right before the slip and fall occurred, then there may not have been enough time for the property owner to become aware of it and fix it. If the dangerous condition existed for a sufficient period of time, the owner should have had enough time to discover the dangerous condition. Property owners are responsible for fixing or repairing any dangerous or hazardous conditions on their premises.
What are common injuries resulting from slip and fall accidents?
These accidents can cause both minor and major injuries. Every year over 1,000,000 accidents are the result of slipping and falling. Injuries may include broken or fractured bones, spinal cord injuries, head and brain injuries, paralysis, permanent disability, and even death. If any injury or pain is apparent immediately after this type of accident, you should make sure it is included in the accident report. Do not hesitate to go to the emergency room or contact your primary care physician if you feel any pain or have suffered injury. It is important that all resulting injuries get documented in your medical records.
What is a “Slip and Fall” Injury?
The phrase is a generic term used by lawyers for an injury that occurs when someone slips, trips, or falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else's property. When walking conditions are anything other than what is anticipated, the probability of an accident is significantly increased. These accidents can occur at any time and in any place, such as a sidewalk, grocery store aisle, city park, or a friend’s house. There are four general categories:
- Trip and Fall — Foreign object in a normally clear walkway.
(Example: cardboard boxes in a grocery store aisle)
- Stump and Fall — An impediment or obstruction causes a person to stumble when walking.
(Example: stumbling on a misaligned sidewalk)
- Step and Fall — There is a hole, crack, or other foundational failure in the walking surface.
(Example: an uncovered manhole on a city sidewalk)
- Slip and Fall — Shoe sole fails to gain traction due to a slippery substance or surface.
(Example: slipping on spilled paint at the hardware store)
What to do after a slip and fall injury:
- Take pictures of the surface and area where you fell. It is important to document or record the condition of the floor at the time of your fall.
- Take pictures of any rugs, mats, or other safety items around the area. If there were not any safety items also take a photograph to show the lack of safety items.
- Take pictures of any warning signs that were in or near the area where you fell.
- Take pictures of any visible injury you have suffered as a result of the fall.
- Take pictures of your shoes and clothes immediately after the accident.
- If the item that you slipped on is non-perishable, save a sample in a safe place where it will not be lost. If the item is perishable (i.e. vegetables or fruit), try to preserve the item in a liquid chemical preservative or in a freezer.
- Look for potential witnesses to your slip and fall. Take their name, address, and telephone number. If you do not find any witnesses at the time of your fall, return to the accident site at the same time the accident occurred on a different day. Some people may have the habit of visiting the accident site daily.
- After initially speaking with witnesses, do not contact them again or take any statements. Give their contact information to your attorney so the attorney can contact them if necessary.
- If possible, do not leave the scene of the accident without filing an accident report with the manager, owner, employee, or other person. Make sure the accident report is filled out in your presence and that you receive your own copy of the completed report.
- Go to the emergency room or see your primary care physician immediately if you are in any pain whatsoever. Tell the doctor about every area of your body where you are experiencing pain.
- Do not wash your clothing from the accident. Do not wear them again, but save them and keep them where you will not lose them. Do not wear your shoes again, save them in a sealed plastic bag and keep them where you will not lose them.
Reasonable Person Standard
In Rhode Island and elsewhere, property owners must make “reasonable” efforts to keep their property safe and clean. The reasonable person standard is an objective standard that examines what a hypothetical person who exercises caution and restraint in their behavior would do in a given circumstance. For example, a homeowner is not likely to be liable to a guest who goes down the stairs in rollerblades and is injured. However, if a dangerous condition exists, a homeowner has a duty to fix it or warn guests of the condition’s existence.
Slip and fall at a residential property in RI?
If you or a loved one has been injured at a residential property in Rhode Island, you may want to speak with an attorney who is experienced with these types of claims. The parties responsible on residential properties are the owners of that property. If the property is rented, the landlord may be responsible if the incident occurred in an area where the landlord had control and was required to maintain. The owner of the property is responsible for general maintenance, including repairing or eliminating any dangerous conditions. Typically, homeowner’s insurance will provide coverage if any party is injured on the insured property.
A homeowner may not always be at fault for accidents on a residential property, however. They may not be liable to trespassers and unwanted guests (i.e. burglars) because those persons are not invited guests on the property. However, children are an exception to the rule because children are unable to perceive danger in the same way as adults. For example, a homeowner would be at fault if a child trespassed on their property to use the homeowner’s pool, and was injured. Homeowners may also avoid fault depending on the guest’s behavior. The behavior of the homeowner and guests are measured by the standard of a reasonable person.
Slip and fall at a commercial property in RI?
If you or a loved one has been injured at a commercial property in Rhode Island, you may want to speak with an attorney who has experience handling these claims.
Multiple parties may be responsible for accidents occurring on commercial properties. The owner, renter, or managing company of the premises may all be found at fault. Commercial properties include stores, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. With commercial properties, a party can be at fault because they caused the condition, they knew about the condition and did nothing about it, or they should have known about the condition had they taken reasonable care of the property.
Business owners/renters owe a certain duty of care to the public. All members of the public are invited guests onto the premises of a business. Business owners have duties and obligations to the public that their business is safe and defect free.
Slip and fall at a governmental property in RI?
If you or a loved one has been injured on government property in Rhode Island, you may want to speak with an attorney who is familiar with such claims.
Incidents on government property, such as a city sidewalk or public park are different from the more traditional claims. Cases against local, state, or federal governments are covered by the Federal Tort Claims Act or similar state tort claims acts. Usually a claim against the government is time sensitive, meaning a claim or notice to file a lawsuit must be made within a certain period of time. The time limit may be as short as 60 days from the time of the accident in which you sustained your injury.
The government has more legal protection from this type of liability when compared to home or business owners. The government must have been aware of the dangerous condition in order to be held liable for your injuries whereas homeowners and business owners do not have to be aware of the dangerous condition and can still be held liable. In addition, governments often have some form of immunity, which makes it harder to hold them responsible. Because of these complex issues, you need to contact an attorney who is experienced in such matters.
Slip and fall on workplace property in RI?
These accidents are one of the leading causes of workplace injuries. In fact, they make up 16.4% of all work-related injuries. However, most workplace injuries are governed by workers’ compensation or workplace injury laws. Typically, you cannot sue your employer for injuries occurring in the workplace, and are only entitled to recover under the workers’ compensation plan. If a third party is responsible for the dangerous or hazardous condition at your workplace, you may have a claim against the third party.
If you have been injured in an incident at your workplace, the Law Offices of d’Oliveira and Associates can help you determine whether you have a case against your employer. Give us a call for a free consultation and remember you pay no legal fees unless a settlement is obtained on your behalf.
Why do I need a slip and fall attorney?
You need a qualified attorney to help you pursue your claim. As an injured party, you are entitled to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The general perception is that people who are injured in these types of accidents are clumsy or careless, and their injuries are their own fault. In fact, quite the opposite is true; most of these incidents are the result of someone else’s negligence.
Be sure to think about what you were doing at the time you sustained your injury so that you can explain to all relevant parties that you were being careful and the accident did not result from unreasonable behavior.
Why Are We Successful? – Our Qualifications
Our slip and fall attorneys here have successfully handled many different types of these cases for over the past 24 years. With our help, you can receive monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, among other losses..
Please contact d'Oliveira & Associates toll free or fill out a contact form on this page for your free legal consultation.