Slip and fall accidents are an extremely common occurrence; in fact, the CDC states that each year, over three million people are treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries.
In Connecticut, slip and falls are especially prevalent due to all the types of weather we experience (rain, ice and snow) which can become a factor that leads to a fall. While some are left unscathed after a slip and fall, for others the consequences can be much more serious and costly. One out of five falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury (falls are a common cause of traumatic brain injuries), making it an accident that can be debilitating and life-altering.
In the event that you or a loved one had a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, it only makes sense to examine your options for receiving the compensation you are rightfully owed, especially if the fall was a result of negligence or unsafe property conditions.
Are You Liable for a Slip and Fall Injury on Your Property?
Yes, business owners, landlords and homeowners in Connecticut are required to maintain a safe property that is free of hazards. If you are injured due to negligence, you may have the right to file a personal injury claim. Property owners must inspect their properties and make any necessary repairs to ensure safety for their guests and patrons. Slip and fall injuries fall into the premises liability category of personal injury law.
To receive compensation for damages in a slip and fall accident, you must prove the negligence of the property owner; for example, did you fall due to a spilled liquid on the floor, worn carpet, a defect, or uneven pavement, etc.? For a premises liability claim, you must prove that the property owner knew of these dangerous conditions and had a reasonable opportunity to remedy them and failed to do so.
Typically, homeowner insurance will cover a slip and fall accident. However, it’s important to remember that insurance companies want to compensate the least for any damages and are excellent at undermining personal injury cases to do so. A homeowner’s insurance company will most likely try to settle and not take the case to court. This is why partnering with an expert slip and fall lawyer to represent your case is paramount. Premises liability cases are often complex, requiring an abundance of documentation, research and witness interviews to prove negligence.
Factors Affecting Slip and Fall Cases in Connecticut
However, if the slip and fall occurred during a time of inclement weather, the property owner may be protected as they did not have the opportunity to prevent the injury. Connecticut upholds storm rules related to premises liability laws that protect property owners during times of dangerous weather.
In order to file a slip and fall claim, you must be legally on the property at the time. If you were trespassing a business or home or loitering a business, you may not be entitled to receive compensation.
If you were involved in a slip and fall accident, it’s important to weigh your options in a timely manner. In general, the Connecticut statute of limitations (the time in which you can file a lawsuit) is two years from the date of an incident that occurs on private property.
Modified Comparative Negligence in Connecticut
If the property owner of where the accident occurs argues that you were partially negligent, it may affect your legal case. In the event that your slip and fall case does not settle and goes to court, Connecticut’s ‘modified comparative negligence rule may be used to determine who is at fault and to what extent. This rule states, “The economic or noneconomic damages allowed shall be diminished in the proportion of the percentage of negligence attributable to the person recovering which percentage shall be determined…”
Economic damages in a premises liability case refer to past and future medical expenses (hospital care, occupational therapy, medication, etc.) and past and future loss of income due to missed work from the injury. Non-economic damages refer to pain and suffering, loss of quality of life and loss of consortium (loss of a family relationship due to injury).
The jury or court will then specify the amount of economic damages, non-economic damages, any findings of fact necessary for the court to specify recoverable economic damages and the percentage of negligence that caused the injury. This means that the at-fault plaintiff can still receive compensation from other responsible parties as long as they are not liable for more than 50% of the accident. If their share of liability surpasses 50%, the plaintiff cannot economically recover.
Premises liability claims are often complex, requiring a great deal of documentation and paperwork. To receive maximum compensation, it is best to hire an expert in the field to prove your case and receive what you are rightfully owed. To schedule a free initial consultation, call 203-259-5400 or contact us online.