Can we sue the business if my wife fell and injured herself on the property? 35 Answers as of July 08, 2013My wife tripped on a low curb and fell while entering a business. She jarred her neck and was in significant pain. She has had cervical fusions times two and was concerned she had reinjured. She ended up going to ER where she had a CT and an MRI. She has medical insurance, buy my question is regarding the liability of the business establishment. My wife's contention is that the curl was not properly marked. Would it be worthwhile consulting a private lawyer? Thank you.
Harvath Law Offices | Michael T. Harvath
I am a Missouri personal injury attorney that handles claims in nearly all parts of the state. I am sorry to hear about your wife's injuries. Whenever a person is injured on property owned by an individual or business, this is referred to as a "premises liability" claim. It is necessary to establish that the person responsible for maintaining the condition of the property, who may be someone other than the acutal owner of the property, was negligent in some fashion, in order to recover compensation for the injuries that have resulted. There is almost an endless amount of ways that negligence can be established. A step up or step down that is not adequately marked with a warning sign, potholes in a concrete surface, loose tiles or wet, slippery surfaces, are just a few of the many ways that a property owner or maintainer can be found to be negligent. In our experience in the handling of these cases, we have established liability on the property owner or maintainer in numerous ways. It does appear, from the facts that you described, that another insurance company, besides your wife's health insurance, is responsible for paying all medical costs, pain and suffering damages, and compensation to cover any future medical expenses. Backand neck injury cases are complex and the amount of compensation you are entitled to can be quite substantial, but only if the proper medical and legal arguments are presented to the insurance company. I cannot stress the importance enough that your wife talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. There are deadlines in pursuing these claims, and she should not try to discuss the claim with an insurance adjuster without receiving legal advice. I hope this helps you and your wife, to some extent at least. Thanks.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Craig Kelley & Faultless | David W. Craig
Yes I believe that it would be worthwhile to meet with an injury attorney. You should take pictures of the curb and bring those with you to the meeting. If the curb is dangerous it is worth pursuing to at least make the business make it safer in the future. If the business was negligent then it should pay for your medical bills, lost wages as well as for her pain and suffering.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine | Richard Martin
Yes, it is worth consulting with a personal injury attorney. If there was a defect or dangerous condition on the premises, and the business knew or should have known about the dangerous condition, then liabilty could follow. The fact that the injured party has medical insurance does not bar recovery in full for the injuries, and any non-economic damages (more commonly known as pain and suffering).
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
Yes its worthwhile to speak to an attorney. I successfully handled a parking curb case last year. They are not easy cases and slip and fall cases are disfavored in the law. But they can be won. In any event, you should make a report and take a lot of photographs of the scene before they change it. Hold a ruler in a close-up photo to show the height of the curb. The property owner should have a medical pay provision to cover some portion of medical expenses regardless of fault. I recommend that you speak to an attorney to ascertain whether you have a case or not.
Answer Applies to: California
R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
The category of cases dealing with situations like that is called "premises liability". An analysis of a premises liability case starts with determining the status of the injured person as trespasser, licensee, or invitee. The most favorable scenario for a plaintiff is that of a business invitee. "The possessor of land is liable for injuries to a business visitor caused by a condition encountered on the premises only if he (a) knows or should have known of such condition and that it involved an unreasonable risk; (b) has no reason to believe that the visitor will discover the condition or realize the risk; and (c) fails to make the condition reasonably safe or to warn the visitor so that the latter may avoid the harm." Huston V. Church Of God, 46 Wn. App. 740, 732 P.2d 173 (1987). (You can read relevant cases on the MRSC website.) You should call an attorney to help you with your claim.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
Assuming this fall occurred in privately owned curb (not a curb adjacent from a city street, the property owner may be responsible for your wife's medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering and other damages. Before the property owner (hereinafter referred to as "Owner") would be responsible for your wife's fall and damages, she must prove the Owner was at fault for her fall. Generally, to prove fault or liability for a trip as you described, your wife would have to prove all of the following: 1) That the curb posed an unreasonable risk of harm to people walking over it; 2) The Owner should have expected that people walking in the area where the curb was located either (a) would not discover or realize the danger; or would fail to protect themselves against the danger; 3) The Owner failed to use reasonable care to protect people against the danger posed by the curb; 4) That the fall was a proximate cause of some damage to your wife; and 5) The nature and extent of that damage. The real question is whether the height of the curb, which you described as "low", and the fact that it was not "not properly marked" was a dangerous condition that the Owner should have done something about, which is basically items 1 through 3 above. To determine whether it was dangerous the following items would need to be considered: the actual height of the curb; did the height of the curb meet any city or state requirements; the lighting conditions existing at the time; was there anything that would have caused a person to know that the curb was there; had there been prior falls due to the curb; did the curb need to be marked as required by either city or state law or code. This is not an exhaustive list as other items, depending on the circumstances, may be involved. In addition, your wife's own actions would have to be examined to whether she was 50% or more at fault for her fall. In Nebraska, to recover you must be less than 50% at fault for your own injuries and damages. The main questions as to your wife's "possible" fault involve: (1) whether she knew the curb was there, either because she had walked over it before or saw it as she was walking up to it; and (2) how carefully she was walking, which includes her speed; (3) whether she had been watching where she was walking before she fell; (4) had she looked at the ground approximately 3 steps before reaching the curb, would she have seen it; (5) if she did not see the curb before tripping on it, was it because she was not looking where she was walking. Everyone is responsible for watching where they walk. The curb, due to lighting condition or other items, must basically have not been visible, had she been looking immediately in front of her as she was walking, for your wife to not at least be partially at fault for her fall. Whether she was more than 50% I cannot answer without a lot more information. If any political subdivision (city, county, school district; etc.) or the state was responsible for maintaining the curb, the law and requirements are different. However, your Question seems to indicate it was a privately owned curb so I will not discuss the differences. I would suggest your wife contact an attorney to further discuss her rights and whether it would be prudent to pursue the curb Owner.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
I would need some pictures or video of the curb before giving an opinion about liability. Generally, a store owner is responsible to make the premises safe, however, not all potential trip hazards prove negligence.
Answer Applies to: Montana
The Torkzadeh Law Firm | Reza Torkzadeh
Absolutely it would be. With injuries like the ones your wife has suffered, it is critical that she immediately speak with an attorney who can properly investigate the case. Premises liability cases take a specific type of preparation and having the right experts would be critical. There are many factors such as determining whether a building code violation exists or not; history, repairs etc.
Answer Applies to: California
Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker PC | Linda Chalat
This type of case is very fact-dependent, the successful claims have strong documentation as to the facts of the accident and the injuries suffered. When an accident occurs because of a known condition, such as a leaking water line of which management is aware, then there is a better argument to be made concerning landowner liability. And if the accident victim is immediately treated by EMT personnel or personal physician, then it is easier to prove an injury from the accident. It is difficult to determine how strong your claim may be without more information.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
It would be worthwhile consulting with a personal injury attorney who practices in the area of premises liability. Success will hinge on whether the curb was under the property owner's control, whether it was defective, whether there was breach of the owner's duty to warn of the defect, and how much, if any, contributory negligence can be attributed to your wife.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
Marked? If curb not marked your opinion is that there is liability? I thin k you should consult an engineer to see if the building code was violated. If bldg code not complied with you may have a case, except you are supposed to see what is open and obvious. May be hard to get beyond that barrier. But by all means see a lawyer and get the engineers opinion.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
In order to make a claim against a property owner (including stores, parking lots, apartments, etc) the injured party has to show that the owner knew or should have known of the hazard, had an opportunity to correct it, and failed to take action. Your wife would have to show that the failure of the establishment to mark its curb is what caused her to stumble and that the proprietors had reason to believe that the curb was not properly marked. In my view, I'm not sure what would constitute a "properly marked" curb: it would have to depend on the exact configuration of that property. You might need an expert witness. As to whether it would be worthwhile consulting a private attorney, of course. We work on contingency, so if an attorney is willing to make an appointment with you, he/she at least has the idea that the case is worth considering, and there would be no fee for that.
Answer Applies to: New York
The S.E. Farris Law Firm | Spencer E. Farris
You should definitely speak with an attorney, and most reputable injury attorneys do not charge for an initial consultation. To make sure you get helpful advice, take pictures of the scene as soon as possible. It will be very difficult to prove your case without photographic evidence. Few lawyers and fewer laypeople are able to take on an insurance company. More importantly, a skilled trial attorney will tell you up front if you don't have a case, saving you a lot of time and frustration.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
That would be a tough case to win, since the curb would be an open and obvious condition. Why did she miss the curb? Was there any drinking involved? Was she carrying anything? Was she using a cell phone or texting? Was she distracted in any way?
Answer Applies to: Iowa
Broad Law Firm, LLC | Donald K. Broad
I suggest that you find a local personal injury attorney that is willing to meet with you initially at no charge to evaluate your wife's claim. It sounds as if she may very well have a claim, and an initial evaluation would certainly be worth your time.
Answer Applies to: Indiana