Common Questions about Slip and Fall Cases in Indiana
When you walk into a public place, like a grocery store or coffee shop, you assume that the ground is safe and that you won’t trip or slip and fall to the floor. However, slip and fall cases in Indiana are more common than one would think. Some property owners don’t maintain their premises in a reasonable manner, and those conditions lead to accidents and injuries. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall, call the Indianapolis Injury Lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at (317) 455-4043 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our team has successfully handled slip and fall cases in the past and helped victims like you recover the compensation they deserve.
What Constitutes a Slip and Fall Case in Indiana?
Slip and fall cases in Indiana arise when a person sustains an injury on property owned by another person as a result of the property owner’s negligence (or even greater culpability) or a dangerous condition. These injuries often occur because a property owner failed to clean up a liquid spill, repair torn carpeting or damaged flooring, or didn’t take the actions required to warn pedestrians of the potential hazard.
While scenarios like these may seem out of the ordinary, they occur more often than most would imagine. In fact, the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) reports that falls are the leading cause of visits to emergency rooms and estimate that one million people experience a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property each year.
How Serious are Slip and Fall Cases in Indiana?
The severity of a slip and fall case in Indiana depends upon a variety of factors, including the details surrounding fall as well as specific facts about the victim and their injuries. However, falls can be quite serious for the elderly. The NFSI reports that 87% of all broken bones in people over the age of 65 are caused by falls. Furthermore, falls are the second leading cause of brain injuries and spinal cord damage. Younger fall victims, on the other hand, may face different issues since the younger you are, the longer you may have to deal with any lingering problems or medical concerns resulting from your fall.
Most Common Injuries Resulting from a Slip and Fall
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
- Back and neck injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Bruises and contusions
Regardless of age, victims of a slip and fall bear the costs of their injury unless they can get compensation from the property owner at fault. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately $50 million is spent on medical expenses related to non-fatal falls, while $754 million is spent on fatal fall injuries for patients 65 and older. Given these costs, it’s crucial for victims to take action and protect their legal rights by contacting an Indiana slip and fall attorney as soon as possible. Time is of the essence when it comes to personal injury claims, as Indiana Code § 34-11-2-4 requires slip and fall cases in Indiana to be filed within two years from the date of the fall. If not, the injured person is forever barred from bringing an action to recover damages.
How Do You Prove Slip and Fall Cases in Indiana?
Given that most personal injury claims are rooted in negligence, an Indiana slip and fall lawyer’s main goal will be to prove the defendant’s negligence. In order to do so, they will first aim to establish that the property owner owed a duty to the plaintiff upon entry of the premises. When it comes to slip and fall cases in Indiana, in general, a property owner has a legal duty to discover and repair hazards that they’re aware of or hazards they should have found if they had performed reasonable inspection of the property. If the property’s hazard could cause harm to someone, the property owner must fix the hazard or warn people who come onto the property about the hazard.
Once a duty has been established, a personal injury lawyer will attempt to show that the property owner breached their duty. This means that the property owner that owed the duty failed to exercise reasonable care in fulfilling the duty. The definition of reasonable care will vary case-by-case, as every situation and type of duty is different. For example, in a situation where a property owner claims they had no idea about the hazard that caused the injury, the standard might be: Did the property owner perform reasonable inspection of their property?
Furthermore, it should be noted that a property owner’s duty to care depends heavily on the relationship between the owner and the injured person. In situations where the owner invites the injured person onto the property, the owner owes the invitee the highest level of care under the law. On the other hand, in situations where the injured person is trespassing on the property, the owner has a much lower standard of care to protect that person from injury.
To fully understand if you have a valid personal injury claim and how to succeed in your claim— schedule a free consultation with the Indianapolis Injury Lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our team has a wealth of experience in Indiana personal injury law and has successfully handled all kinds of personal injury cases. An Indiana slip and fall lawyer from our firm may be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve for the injuries you’ve sustained.
How Do You Prove Injuries and Damages in a Slip and Fall Case?
If a property owner is legally responsible for a slip and fall victim’s injuries, they may need to provide the victim with compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages may include lost income, property damage, medical costs, or future medical costs. Non-economic damages, however, may include compensation for pain and suffering or damage to quality of life. In some cases, the victim’s spouse may even be eligible to recover compensation for emotional distress and loss of consortium.
To prove medical damages, the victim will need to provide medical documentation – hospital bills, medical records, prognosis documentation, etc. – that clearly supports their personal injury claim in Indiana. If applicable, the victim should also include a doctor’s projected cost breakdown for future care. To prove loss of income, the victim will likely need to demonstrate that they were unable to work as a result of the injury, and therefore incurred economic losses. This can be shown by proof of disability from a doctor and proof of compensation before and after the injury. Typically, this is done by providing previous tax year’s W2 form, pay stubs, or wage verification from the victim’s employer.
Proving non-economic damages, like pain or suffering or loss of quality of life, is much more challenging than proving economic damages, but not impossible. An experienced Indiana slip and fall lawyer would seek to illustrate how the victim’s life has been dramatically altered due to the event that caused the injury. This can be done by providing testimony from family or friends, or mental health professionals who can attest to the victim’s mental state. Indiana law allows spouses to obtain compensation when a spouse has been injured in a crash, which is known as a “loss of consortium,” claim. To demonstrate a loss of consortium, an attorney may take testimony from the victim, their spouse, as well as family and friends to show that the emotional and intimate dynamics of the marital relationship were negatively impacted by the injury.
Indiana Comparative Fault Law
When considering the recovery of damages from a slip and fall case in Indiana, it’s important to remember that under Indiana comparative fault laws found in Indiana Code 34-51-2-6, a plaintiff (the victim) can lose part of the compensation awarded as damages if they are determined to have been partially at fault for the incident that caused their injury. For example, a person injured in a slip and fall accident who is found to be 45% at fault can only recover 65% of the total damages awarded to them. Furthermore, if the victim is found to be at least 51% responsible for their injury, they will not be able to recover any damages from the party responsible.
Call an Indiana Injury Lawyer Today
Whether you sustained minor or life-threatening injuries in a slip and fall, you should speak with an experienced Indiana injury lawyer as soon as possible. If you do not act quickly, valuable evidence can disappear, which could hurt your case. In addition, Indiana law places a statute of limitations on slip and fall cases in Indiana, which requires action to be filed within two years from the date of the fall. If not, the injured person is forever barred from recovering damages and receiving the compensation they deserve.
The Indianapolis Injury Lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are ready to begin helping you build your slip and fall case today. Call us at (317) 455-4043 or complete our online contact form to schedule an appointment with an experienced and compassionate Indiana slip and fall lawyer who can answer all of your questions and help you recover damages from your accident.