Articles Posted in Slip and Fall Accidents

Evidence-Blog-scaledUnder New York law, victims carry the burden of proof in lawsuits. In other words, to hold the other party responsible for your damages, you must first prove that their negligence caused your injuries. This means that you will need to present evidence to support your claims. As a general rule, the more evidence your attorney has to support your claim, the better the result you can expect. However, collecting evidence can be overwhelming, especially if you need help knowing where to start. The first few hours and days after an accident are often the most significant regarding the assembly and preservation of proof. When evidence remains uncollected or preserved for too long, it can easily get lost, forgotten, or destroyed.

Types Of Evidence Used In Personal Injury Lawsuits 

The outcome of a case is highly contingent on the quality of your evidence. Inadequate evidence can dramatically decrease settlement offers or even lose the case altogether. Since insurance adjusters and jurors did not witness the accident, your attorney must use evidence to tell your side of the story. Jed Dietrich, Esq. recommends collecting the following evidence:

SUMMONS-scaledAfter being injured in an accident, knowing what to expect when pursuing your claim brings you peace of mind. Some of our most frequently asked questions are about the summons. At the beginning of a lawsuit, a summons and complaint are two legal documents served to all defendants. The summons informs the defendant of the plaintiff’s commencement of the legal action and demands that they answer the complaint. The complaint is a written document detailing the plaintiff’s reasons for pursuing the lawsuit. It states the plaintiff’s claims against the defendant and the damages they seek compensation for. 

Serving A Summons  

New York State law forbids any party to the legal action from serving the summons. The person who serves the summons must be at least 18 years old. Process servers are typically used to serve these legal documents. The three methods of delivering a summons are:

Snow-and-Ice-SF-Blog-scaledCold weather conditions typically hit the Buffalo area in November and linger until late March. During this time, ice often accumulates in parking lots, building entrances, stairs, sidewalks, and other outdoor surfaces. Ice can cause highly slippery conditions, making fall-related accidents common during the brutal Western New York winters.

Icy Hot Spots

Unfortunately, it is often challenging to detect ice-related threats. For example, a homeowner might shovel a sidewalk full of snow only to uncover a patch of black ice. Since black ice is transparent, it remains disguised by the surface below it. Victims may encounter these hazardous icy conditions outside offices, malls, grocery stores, hospitals, apartment buildings, and private homes. Temperatures usually warm up during the day and melt the snow, and freezing nights cause melted snow to freeze and turn into ice. Ice tends to form very quickly, especially in shaded areas of buildings, parking garages, gutters, and trees, where rain and melting snow do not evaporate. 

The-5-Most-Common-Accidents-scaledAlthough the last thing anyone wants is to be the victim of an accident, mishaps are part of life. To better safeguard you and your loved ones, it is imperative to be aware of the most prevalent types of accidents. Below, the Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s team of personal injury lawyers has listed the most frequently occurring accidents along with crucial tips to avoid them: 

  1. Car Crashes: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 42,915 victims suffered fatal collisions last year. The most significant annual percentage increase in reporting history. Most car accidents are caused by distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, and weather conditions. You can avoid severe collisions by always driving prudently and defensively, staying focused on the road, adapting to changing driving conditions, and never getting behind the wheel while under the influence.
  2. Slip and Fall Accidents: In a recent year alone, fall-related accidents accounted for more than eight million emergency room visits. Most fall injuries occur at ground level and commonly result in broken bones, such as hip or wrist fractures. You can avoid most falls by taking your time, wearing appropriate footwear, and staying attentive. Slips are more likely to take place when you rush, ignore where you are stepping, or wear the wrong type of shoes. 

Statute-of-Limitations-scaledSuppose that you, or a family member, have been injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence or recklessness. You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. Pursuing a case against the responsible party could be your only means to recover compensation. However, you only have a limited time to file your claim. The deadline is known as the statute of limitations (SOL). The statute of limitations, like a countdown, can significantly impact when or even if you can pursue your case. Regardless of the strength of your claim, when the statute of limitations runs out, your case will be considered time-barred. Meaning the defendant can assert that the statute of limitations has run out and ask the court to dismiss the lawsuit on that basis alone.

The Purpose Of The Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations are laws that establish a maximum duration from the date of the incident that a victim must commence legal proceedings. These laws are based on the principle of fairness and apply to criminal and civil cases. Over time, evidence is improperly preserved, memories tend to fade, and witnesses start to disappear. People move on with their lives and do not expect to be sued for accidents long ago. Some crimes, such as murder in the 1st degree and treason, are so horrendous that they cannot be time-barred. 

Slipped-Disc-Blog-scaledThe human spine comprises 33 vertebrae, each separated by a spongy member referred to as a disc. Each spinal disc contains a jellylike nucleus encased in a rubbery exterior called an annulus. These discs act as shock absorbers and cushions for the spine. Back injuries are often excruciating and can make it difficult for victims to move. One of the most common back injuries is a slipped disc, also called a bulging or herniated disc. As many as 2 percent of adults throughout the United States suffer from slipped discs each year. This type of injury occurs when a portion of the nucleus pushes out through a tear in the exterior. While any spine segment can suffer a slipped disc, most occur in the lower back. When left untreated, herniated discs can potentially cause permanent and life-altering complications. 

Common Causes Of Slipped Disc Injuries

Our discs gradually become more rigid and susceptible to ripping open and rupturing as we age. Consequently, many victims suffer herniated discs from excessive spinal rotation or improper lifting of heavy objects. During an accident, a victim’s body can also be subjected to violent forces that cause the delicate spinal discs to be badly damaged, strained, or thrown out of place. Spinal injuries also commonly result from devastating accidents. Personal injury accidents that frequently cause slipped discs include:

Concussion-Blog-2
A mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that affects the regular functioning of your brain is called a concussion. Although doctors may describe concussions as “mild” because they are not typically life-threatening, victims can still suffer severe effects from this brain injury. Adverse impacts are generally temporary but often include problems concentrating, trouble remembering, and difficulties with balance or coordination. Concussions can also create acute chemical changes in the brain and sometimes elongate or damage vital brain cells. While anyone can suffer a concussion, data suggests that young children and the elderly have the highest risk. 

The Most Common Causes Of Concussions

Concussions are often caused by a jolt, blow, or knock to the head or strike to the body that causes the victim’s brain to slam rapidly back and forth against the inner walls of the skull. Violent shaking of the head or upper body can also lead to a concussion. Any abrupt movement can cause a victim’s brain to twist or bounce around inside their head. Falls are by far the most prevalent cause of concussions. The unexpected acceleration or deceleration of the head resulting from personal injury accidents, such as car crashes, are likely to cause this type of head injury too. Concussions are widespread in contact sports, such as football, hockey, or soccer. According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions happen throughout the United States each year.  

Comparative-Negligence-Blog-scaledLiability in personal injury cases is often unclear and ambiguous. This is because a defendant may not be entirely responsible for the accident. It is not uncommon for plaintiffs to be partially at-fault too. Fortunately, victims may still be eligible to recover compensation for their damages even if they were partly to blame. When applying the legal doctrine of comparative negligence, also known as comparative fault, a plaintiff that contributed to their accident would still be awarded compensation for their damages. However, the total amount would be reduced based on their share of fault. Whether you have been hurt in a car crash, construction accident, slip and fall, or any other mishap, comparative negligence can significantly impact the compensation you obtain. 

Common Comparative Fault Claims

When a defendant can successfully demonstrate that the plaintiff shared some responsibility for an accident, they will not have to pay the full jury award. Consequently, comparative negligence is one of the most prevalent affirmative defenses raised in personal injury litigation. Some situations where plaintiffs might be considered comparatively negligent include:

Young-Woman-Testifies-In-Court-scaledSuppose you or a loved one have suffered devastating injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. In that case, you must understand all of the legal options available to recover damages. Although accident victims have the right to take their injury claims to court under New York law, most lawsuits get settled without going to trial. Contrary to what most people think, only about 3 percent of all cases go to court. 

When hospital bills and other expenses are piling up, and a victim is not getting paid because they cannot work, it can be highly tempting to take the insurance company’s first settlement offer. However, insurance adjusters often try to exploit victims by offering lowball settlements. Before accepting any offer, discussing your case with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer is imperative to ensure that you maximize your compensation.

Negotiations And Settlement Offers

DUTY-OF-CARE-scaledTo prove fault in most personal injury lawsuits, a plaintiff must show that the defendant was negligent. Victims have the burden of demonstrating four legal elements to prove negligence. The first element of negligence is the at-fault party’s duty of care. Typically, this is one of the easiest elements to prove because everyone has a basic obligation to avoid unnecessarily injuring others. The duty to act appropriately is relevant in almost every situation and is often assumed by being in another’s vicinity. In other words, you must implement the same degree of caution and consideration that a reasonable person would exercise given the same situation. Someone does not need to assume the duty of care to another party voluntarily. It can be imposed just by being in a specific place at a specific time.  

Breaching The Duty Of Care 

The defendant does not need to know you to owe you reasonable care. However, the duty can be based on the relationship of the parties. Additionally, according to New York law, those in certain positions or professions can be held to a higher standard of care to prevent harm. After determining that a defendant owed you a duty of care, you must show how they breached it. A breach arises when an individual’s actions or inactions fail to meet the appropriate standard of care. When a defendant is required to act a certain way and fails to do so, they may be regarded as having breached their duty. Depending on the circumstances, the standard can be breached in numerous ways. Some common examples of breaches include: 

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