Slip and fall accidents are caused by someone falling, slipping or tripping on something or over some object. For example, you can slip and fall on a wet surface in your local supermarket or sustain personal injury if you trip on an uneven surface as you walk down the street. All these claims are processed in the same way as all personal injury cases and must proceed initially by way of an application to the Injuries Board.
How Do I Bring A Case?
In order to bring a successful personal injury case, you have to prove that the owner/occupier of the premises or the public area was at fault in allowing some dangerous condition to exist that caused you to slip or trip. It is always a good idea to take a photograph of the substance or object that caused you to fall if at all possible. You should also keep the footwear you were wearing as they may need to be examined by an engineer. If you sustained a personal injury as a result of a slip, trip or fall, you may be entitled to claim against the owner/occupier of the property or premises and you should contact your personal injury solicitor for further advice on the matter.
In circumstances where you have slipped on a wet surface, it is usually necessary to test the slip resistance of the surface on which you slipped when wet. This is arranged by your personal injury solicitor.
Property owners generally have two basic defences to public liability slip and fall claims:
The first defence is that they were not negligent or at fault. For example, the owner may claim that the substance that a patron slipped on had been dropped on the floor only moments ago by another patron, and that, they could not be expected to have detected this substance in such a short period of time
The second defence is that the person who was injured was at fault. For example, the owner may claim that and reasonable patron, exercising care for his or her own safety, would have seen the substance on the floor, and take those steps necessary to avoid slipping on it.
Because of a general perception that slip and falls are at least partly the fault of the person injured, slip and fall injuries are usually worth less than injuries from other types of personal injury accidents.
For more information, please contact Berwick Solicitors who will be glad to advise you further on your case.
If you need support or have a query about Slips, Trips and Falls, please contact Berwick Solicitors in Galway
For further information or to arrange a consultation, please contact:
Tel: (01) 488 3322 (Dublin)
Slips, Trips and Fall Accidents – Frequently Asked Questions
Can I sue where I am injured from a Slip, Trip and Fall accident?
Yes, the rules are the same, you must be able to show that the other party is at fault. So, if you slip in a supermarket, you must show that the floor is slippery or other such defect.
If you slip/trip in a shop or other premises and suffer injury, you should try to take a photograph as soon as possible of the location of the slipping accident (easier said than done, but maybe somebody could do this for you). Certainly, try to remember whether the floor was wet or whether there were food stains on your clothes after the fall (this will show that the floor was dirty/wet).
How will I prove that the owner of the premises was at fault?
In these cases, so as to build up evidence in your accident/claim, Berwick Solicitors or any other experienced law firm, will arrange for an engineer to examine the floor as regards to whether it had sufficient traction (to establish whether it is slippery are not). The engineer will check as to whether food items are likely to spill onto the floor (possibly the food baskets are not laid out safely). Berwick Solicitors will also obtain copies of the cleaning records and cleaning systems with a view to establishing whether these were adequate. In this way, it is possible to build up a case arising out of your slipping/tripping accident.
What is personal injury?
‘Personal injury’ refers to the injury caused to you by the car/traffic or other accident. So, it refers to your broken bones, back injury, neck injury, headaches, etc.
What is ‘no win no fee’?
This phrase refers to your law firm/solicitor agreeing not to charge you unless you win your case (resulting from car accident, work- accident or other accident. You should contact your personal injury solicitor to discuss this. In this way, you can put in place an arrangement whereby you only pay your personal injury solicitor after you have received your award.
How to Sue
This process can be done for you by your personal injury solicitor, in relation to your car accident or other accident. It involves writing some letters to the person who caused the accident/personal injury and the insurance company, followed by legal documents to bring the case before the Injuries Board. After that, if it is not resolved at that point, further papers are prepared to bring the case into the court system.
How do children or minors (under 18) make a claim for an accident / injury?
Any person under the age of 18 years cannot sue in his or her own name. Instead, the case must be taken in the name of one of the parents or a guardian . The child is allowed to give evident in Court. When a settlement is reached in respect of the accident / injury, the matter must come before a Judge who must approve the settlement. This means that, even though the Insurance Company might have agreed to pay a certain amount of money to the child, the amount awarded must be presented before the Judge who must be satisfied that this amount being offered is appropriate for the child. If the claim goes through the Injuries Board process and is settled or the Injuries Board makes an award, the award must still be approved by the Court on behalf of the child.
The reasoning behind Court approval being required is that the Court is a Guardian of the child and must be happy that the settlement is a fair and reasonable settlement, taking into account the seriousness or otherwise of the accident /injury. The said monies, whether received by way of settlement or Court Order, are lodged in Court and cannot be drawn by the child until the child reaches 18 years. After 18 years, the child is entitled to withdraw the money. The money is invested during the said period, until the child is 18 years of age. The investment is carried out by the Court System. It is possible, prior to the child reaching 18 years of age, to request the Court to allow certain monies to be withdrawn so as to allow these monies to be used for the child (for justifiable purposes, for example, education or medical needs). However, the Court is generally reluctant to allow monies to be paid to an child unless the payment clearly for the benefit of the child in the long term.
How do I get doctor/medical reports?
Reports from your Doctor and Medical Consultants are normally required in accident claims for personal injuries. In other words, it is necessary to obtain an outline of your injuries from the Doctor and explanation by the Doctor of the nature of injuries suffered, the seriousness of the injury and the likely period for which the injuries will last and the general prognosis (forecast/prediction as regards your condition). Berwick Solicitors will arrange these reports. It is normal, in neck injury, back injury or muscular injury cases, to obtain a medical report from an Orthopaedic Surgeon as these are experts in injuries of this nature. The Orthopaedic Surgeon will examine your injuries in the light of x-rays and other medical data. To prepare the report, the Orthopaedic Surgeon will meet you and discuss your injuries. When meeting the Orthopaedic Surgeon, it is most important to ensure that you outline to the doctor all of your complaints.
If your injuries are complex, your solicitor will ensure that reports are obtained from the relevant medical specialists so that your accident is processed in an effective way. These reports are especially important in serious accident/injury cases where long-term injury has then suffered.
Should I take photographs of my injuries?
In certain cases, photographs may be useful so as to produce a historical recording of the injury, whether caused by road traffic accident, accident at work or otherwise. Photographs are not of any benefit in cases involving neck injury or back injury but can be of considerable benefit where cuts/bruises/other markings are evident. These photographs can be of considerable benefit in settlement discussions/Court hearings when the case takes place some months or years after the injuries and when the injuries appear to have fully healed. Without such photographs, it may be extremely difficult to convince a Judge/Insurance Company representative that injuries were as nasty as photographs will prove.
What if I had already suffered from injuries before the accident?
Frequently, clients will have then suffering from other injuries/complaints before the accident (whether it is car accident insurance claim or other accident) . In other words, you may have been involved in a previous accident or otherwise suffered a back injury, neck injury, head injury or other complaints prior to the present accident. The present accident might make these injuries worse. For the present accident, one is entitled to an award to the extent that the present accident contributed to the worsening of your condition.
Sometimes, it may be difficult to distinguish between the injuries or complaints which prevailed prior to the accident and those which were caused by the present accident. In any event, it is a matter to analyse your condition and to “apportion” the causes of the present complaints (taking into account your own complaints and doctors views as regards these aspects). In any event, please be reassured that you are entitled to an award for the extent which the present accident rendered you worse.
What is the court process for my accident claim/ personal injury?
All slip and fall or trip and fall claims must first be submitted to the Injuries Board. If the Injuries Board process has not resolved the claim, then the matter must be brought before the court. The court process means issuing a writ, which is essentially a summons to the defendant that, you are going to bring the matter before a judge for assessment/hearing. Once you commence a court process, you are bound by the rules of the court in terms of documentation/hearing dates and other procedures (you must go to the Injuries Board in most cases first, i.e. you cannot leap-frog to court).
What if the accident/ injury has caused depression or other psychological problems?
Frequently, psychological/psychiatric injury is caused by an accident. For example, a person might become depressed as a result of the pain. This depression may adversely affect a person’s ability to work, resulting in loss of income and interference with a person’s lifestyle. Initially, a person will usually receive treatment from a G.P. and possibly be referred to a psychologist/psychiatrist. These specialists frequently prepare reports for solicitors for the psychological depression or other psychological injury. The psychologist/psychiatrist will explain and analyse the psychological injury and will offer a prognosis as to whether the debilitating condition is likely to abate or continue.