Slip and fall accidents occur regularly at home, at work, and when people are out and about; older adults are especially vulnerable to slip and fall accidents. Fortunately, most who fall can get up, brush off their bodies, and go on about their day. Sometimes slip and fall accidents do not end so well. Those who fall suffer serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries that require medical treatment, hospitalization, and more.
If you, your child, or another loved one has suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, you could receive compensation for losses related to your injuries if another party’s negligence led to the accident. West Virginia property owners have a legal obligation to maintain safety on their property for any visitors. Negligent property owners who do not comply open themselves to financial liability when they do not fix dangerous conditions or remove hazards that could lead to a slip and fall accident.
West Virginia law permits you to take legal action against a negligent property owner if you suffer injuries due to their negligence. Compensation does not undo your injury or physical pain, but it can ease the financial stress that often comes with a serious slip and fall injury if you prevail in your claim. Contact the dedicated West Virginia slip and fall injury lawyers at Wagoner Desai online or call (304) 470-2056 to discuss the circumstances of your slip and fall accident, your injuries, and learn more about how we can help.
Many Hazards Lead to West Virginia Slip and Fall Accidents
Various scenarios and dangerous situations put visitors at risk for a slip and fall or trip and fall accident that could lead to serious bodily harm.
Some examples of hazards and dangerous conditions that sometimes lead to slip and fall accidents include:
- Old, worn, and loose floor coverings, including hardwood, tile, and carpeting
- Unsafe stairs with loose handrails, loose steps, or rotting wood
- Wet products and spills including water, food, floor cleaners, floor wax, and engine fluids
- Dry products and spills including powders, hay, sawdust, soil, and sand
- Uncleared snow, ice, and debris in driveways, parking lots, and in front of businesses and residences
- Sidewalks, walking paths, parking lots, and driveways with cracks, potholes, and other walking hazards
Recovering Losses After a West Virginia Slip and Fall Accident
After suffering injuries in a slip and fall accident, victims typically initiate an injury claim with the property owner’s homeowners’ insurance or commercial insurance policy to receive compensation for injuries. Sometimes victims settle, and other times filing a slip and fall lawsuit is necessary to reach a settlement or go to trial.
If you prevail in your slip and fall accident claim, you could recover the following damages related to your injuries:
- Medical expenses including ambulance ride, emergency room treatment, hospital stay, diagnostic imaging, surgery, aftercare, and prescriptions
- Estimated future medical expenses if your slip and fall injuries are permanent and require continued treatment
- Expenses for rehabilitation including specialized treatment with a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, a mental health professional, and others who help injured people cope with their injuries on all levels
- Costs for assistive devices like crutches, wheelchairs, and walkers
- Lost wages due to time away from work from a slip and fall accident and injuries
- Lost future income when slip and fall accident injuries prevent a patient from returning to work
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of consortium with a spouse
- Punitive damages when West Virginia property owners demonstrate extreme recklessness
If a loved one died from fatal injuries from a slip and fall accident, West Virginia law permits eligible surviving family members to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a negligent property owner to seek compensation for damages related to the loss of a loved one. Family members can recover some damages listed above and might receive compensation for funeral and burial expenses and damage to family relationships.
Insurance Companies Do Not Want to Pay Your West Virginia Slip and Fall Accident Claim
Once you choose to take action against a negligent property owner for your slip and fall accident injuries, you can expect their insurance company will take every measure possible to find grounds to deny or devalue your claim. An experienced slip and fall attorney knows how to fight against insurance company strategies, some of which push ethical boundaries.
Examples of tactics an insurance company might use against you include:
- Downplaying your slip and fall accident injuries
- Arguing you had preexisting injuries
- Claiming that some distraction (cell phone, friend, etc.) led to your fall
- Claiming you were in a prohibited area or you were trespassing
- Arguing the owner warned you of the hazard that caused your injuries
- Arguing that you fell over your own feet and no dangerous condition existed
- Arguing that others would have seen the hazard, avoided it, and not suffered any injuries
Skilled slip and fall lawyers understand insurance company strategies to avoid financial liability for their policyholders and often anticipate particular tactics for a claim. Your attorney can investigate the circumstances of your slip and fall accident, gather evidence, and search for other cases of property owner neglect to support your claim. This provides you with the best chances of receiving the maximum compensation for your injuries.
West Virginia Slip and Fall Frequently Asked Questions
West Virginians visit each other’s homes, places of business, and other properties with the expectation that the conditions they encounter there will not put them in danger. Property owners may face legal liability for injuries caused by slip and fall accidents on their premises if they failed to fix a dangerous property condition or to warn visitors about it.
At Wagoner Desai, our job is to help our clients heal from their injuries and to move forward with their lives after a West Virginia slip and fall accident. Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from clients and potential clients about slip and fall claims.
To speak free of charge with an experienced attorney who can answer your specific questions about a slip and fall that left you or a loved one injured, contact us right away so we can get started on your case.
I fell and got hurt on someone else’s property. Do I have a good West Virginia slip and fall case?
You may. The best way to know for sure is to speak to the team at Wagoner Desai right away.
As a general matter, there’s a good chance you have a slip and fall case under West Virginia law if you fell and got hurt because of a dangerous, preventable condition on someone else’s property that you think someone connected to the property (the owner, the leaseholder, the property manager, an employee, etc.) really should have either fixed or warned you about.
Also, to avoid any confusion, you may have a slip and fall case even if you did not technically slip before you fell. Any fall on someone else’s residential, commercial, or public property, whether it’s preceded by a slip, a trip, a stumble, or any other loss of balance, can lead to you having a slip and fall claim, so long as it happened because of the type of dangerous property condition we described above, and you suffered injuries as a result.
What should I do after a slip and fall accident in West Virginia?
The steps you take after getting hurt in a slip and fall accident can affect your legal rights.
It can help to:
- Report the accident: Tell someone connected to the property what happened as soon as you can. Try not to lay blame for now, if possible. Just describe what happened to someone who seems to have a connection to the location where you fell. This helps to ensure that someone other than you can confirm that you reported the accident and that a dangerous property condition existed.
- Go to the doctor: Falls can cause serious harm. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, over one million people visit the emergency room every year for slip and fall-related injuries. Even if you feel fine in the moments after your fall, go to the doctor right away to get screened for the full range of potential injuries, especially ones that may not show immediate symptoms, such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord trauma.
- Do not accept in-kind payments from the property owner/manager. Employees at businesses where slip and falls occur may—with the best of intentions—try to make things right by offering you a free meal, complimentary stay, or discounted purchase. Say “no, thank you” to these offers, as they could affect your legal rights.
- Contact a skilled slip and fall attorney right away: Even seemingly minor injuries can cause substantial pain and financial stress. You need experienced lawyers like the team at Wagoner Desai on your side right away to collect evidence before it goes missing and to get started seeking every dollar of compensation you deserve.
How much is my West Virginia slip and fall case worth?
There’s nothing wrong with thinking about money after an accident. You should not have to bear the financial burden of injuries caused by someone else’s wrongful decisions or actions.
The value of your case depends on:
- The severity of your injuries and your health outlook;
- The financial impact of your injuries (did you miss time from work?);
- The strength of the evidence and your lawyer’s legal arguments;
- The amount of money the liable party has available to pay your claim; and
- The willingness of both parties to settle.
As a general matter, the damages you may have the right to receive can include:
- Medical and other out-of-pocket costs related to your slip and fall injuries;
- Past and future wages you lost because of your slip and fall injuries;
- Pain, suffering, and other personal hardship caused by your slip and fall injuries; and
- In some cases, punitive damages.
The team at Wagoner Desai works closely with our clients to evaluate the full range of harm they have suffered in a slip and fall incident, to ensure that any action we take on their behalf aims to recover the maximum compensation available under West Virginia law.
How long do I have to file a West Virginia slip and fall case?
While you don’t have to make a claim the day of your injury, the sooner you can speak to an experienced West Virginia slip and fall attorney, the better. In most cases, the law requires you to take legal action in two years of your slip and fall accident, but that is an outside time-limit. The most advantageous time for a lawyer to get started working on your case is as soon as possible.
How much does a West Virginia slip and fall attorney cost?
Many people avoid talking to an attorney out of concern over cost. But, financial worries should never prevent you from seeking the justice you deserve.
At Wagoner Desai, we offer a free initial consultation, and our attorneys virtually always represent slip and fall clients on a contingency basis, meaning we only get paid if our clients get paid—no money up-front, no huge legal bills.
Injured in a West Virginia slip and fall accident? Contact Wagoner Desai
Don’t wait to get the legal help you need after suffering injuries in a West Virginia slip and fall accident. Contact Wagoner Desai at (304) 470-2056 or fill out our online contact form to get a free initial consultation with an experienced slip and fall attorney.
Injured in a West Virginia Slip and Fall Accident? Contact Wagoner Desai Today
The skilled legal team at Wagoner Desai has represented clients throughout West Virginia with various types of injuries from our office in Morgantown. We understand the challenges you might face in the aftermath of a slip and fall accident. We can guide you through the insurance claims process, handle the details of your claim, and file a slip and fall lawsuit while you focus on healing from your injuries and coping with the struggles they bring. Contact us today online or at (304) 470-2056 for a free consultation to discuss your slip and fall accident and learn about the best path forward for your circumstances.
Wagoner Desai, PLLC
265 High Street 3rd Floor, Citizens Bank Building
Morgantown, WV 26505
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