When to Hire a Lawyer If You’ve Been Injured in a Trip and Fall Accident
Every day, British Columbians put their trust in other people and organizations, believing that they will be safe from harm when visiting homes, properties, and businesses.
Owners and occupiers of premises have a duty to keep visitors safe by providing adequate warning of potential hazards or by removing hazards entirely. They must routinely inspect the premises and repair or remove hazards. If an owner or occupier does not meet this duty and you are injured as a result, you may be able to bring a claim for compensation.
Our Vancouver Lawyers Can Help You with Your Trip and Fall Case
In deciding whether to hire a personal injury lawyer to assist you with a trip and fall claim, it is important to understand the many benefits a lawyer can provide to you. Contact Klein Lawyers today to discuss your case.
Our trip and fall lawyers will provide a frank assessment of your claim and give our advice on whether it’s in your best interest to work with a lawyer. We have been helping personal injury clients in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia for more than two decades. Our consultations are always free and confidential.
How Do I Know If I Have a Trip and Fall Claim?
Any trip and fall accident can lead to injury. In some cases the injuries can be severe, potentially resulting in significant and even permanent effects on your life.
However, simply because you trip and fall on someone else’s property does not automatically mean you have a viable claim. Rather, you must prove that (a) the owner or occupier of the premises was negligent and (b) their negligence led to your injuries and damages.
Common Causes of Trip and Fall Accidents
Most trip and fall accidents are caused by unsafe conditions on premises. These hazards can take a variety of different forms.
Common examples of unsafe conditions that give rise to trip and fall claims include:
- Stairs and/or handrails in poor repair
- Buildings not to code
- Loose rugs and mats
- Falling signs, merchandise, and fixtures
- Poor lighting
- Clutter in walkways
- Uneven walking surfaces
- Cracked and broken tiles, pavement, etc.
- Poor cleaning and maintenance practices
A host of other dangerous conditions can give rise to trip and fall accidents. Wet floors, spilled liquids, accumulated moisture from snow and ice, and other issues can also cause you to trip and fall.
Trip and fall accidents can lead to serious and life-altering injuries. If you tripped and fell due to the negligence of a property owner or the occupier of the premises, you may be entitled to compensation.
Common Injuries in Trip and Fall Claims
Falls are among the most causes of injury in Canada. If you trip and fall, it is important to take the injury seriously and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Some of the most common injuries in trip and fall accident claims include:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Facial injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Injuries to the neck and back
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
All of these injuries need to be treated promptly and documented thoroughly. Getting medical care isn’t just important for your well-being; it is also essential for proving your right to compensation for a trip and fall accident.
Common Locations for Trip and Fall Accidents
A trip and fall accident can happen anywhere. This includes:
- Private homes
- Commercial businesses
- Recreation centres
- Grocery stores
- Big box stores
- Parking lots and garages
- Common property owned by a strata corporation
- Construction sites
- Restaurants and bars
- Shopping malls and retail stores
The owners and occupiers of each of these properties have a duty to take reasonable care to prevent lawful visitors from coming to harm. Broadly speaking, this duty includes being aware of potential hazards, taking timely steps to alleviate dangerous conditions, and warning visitors of a potential danger until the hazard can be rectified.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Hurt on Someone Else’s Property?
If you have been injured in a trip and fall accident, the first thing you need to do is remain calm. You should take a moment to assess your injuries and determine whether it is safe for you to move.
Call 911 or the local emergency number if you are concerned about your injuries (or have someone at the scene call for you if you are incapacitated). Paramedics will assess your condition and transport you to the nearest emergency department as necessary.
If you are able to move safely, you should do the following to get started on your trip and fall accident claim:
- Make note of where the trip and fall occurred, as well as the date and the approximate time.
- Take photos of the scene; be sure to photograph any dangerous conditions that led to the trip and fall.
- Speak to witnesses and get their names and contact information.
- Report the accident to the owner or occupier of the premises.
- Seek medical care after you leave the property.
Once you are home, you should keep any clothing you were wearing at the time of the trip and fall accident – especially your shoes. The defendant and/or the insurance company may try to argue that a dangerous condition was not present and/or that you were unsuitably dressed. Hanging onto your clothes and shoes from the trip and fall is the best way to refute these assertions.
You also need to keep any and all documents related to the trip and fall accident. This includes your medical records, bills for medical treatment, receipts for medication and assistive devices you purchased, and communications with your employer if your injuries leave you unable to work. All of these documents may be important in building your trip and fall claim.
Finally, you should consult a trip and fall lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. No time to seek legal guidance is “too soon,” but you should definitely hire a lawyer to handle communications with the property owner or occupier’s insurance company.
What Is Occupiers’ Liability?
The Occupiers Liability Act is the legislation in British Columbia that establishes the legal duties of persons and entities that occupy a property. Section 1 of the Occupiers Liability Act defines an occupier as:
- A person who “is in physical possession of premises”
- A person who “has responsibility for, and control over, the condition of premises, the activities conducted on those premises and the persons allowed to enter those premises”
Overall, the occupier of any premises has a duty to act with “care that in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that a person … will be reasonably safe in using the premises” (Occupiers Liability Act § 3 (1)). This is known as the duty of care, and it establishes the legal obligations of occupiers as it applies to:
- “condition of the premises”
- “activities on the premises”, or
- “conduct of third parties on the premises”
(Occupiers Liability Act § 3 (2)(a)-(c))
It is crucial to accurately identify who is at fault if you are injured in a trip and fall accident on premises owned and/or occupied by someone else. Our trip and fall lawyers will investigate thoroughly to determine who is responsible for the property and take steps to hold them accountable.
What Types of Compensation Are Available to Victims of Trip and Fall Accidents?
No two trip and fall claims are exactly alike. The damages you may be entitled to will depend on the nature and extent of your injuries, your current and future monetary losses, and other factors.
Klein Lawyers will assess the evidence in your case to calculate the compensation you deserve. We may be able to recover the following damages in a trip and fall personal injury claim on your behalf:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Expenses you pay out of pocket (such as medical-related travel, assistive devices, modifications to your home and vehicle, etc.)
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of the enjoyment of life
If your loved one died as a result of a trip and fall accident, Klein Lawyers can bring a claim on behalf of your family against the negligent owner and/or occupier. You and your loved ones may be entitled to wrongful death damages such as loss of income and financial support, loss of household services, funeral and burial expenses, and any medical costs incurred from the care your relative required prior to death.
Why You Need a Trip and Fall Lawyer
A Trip and Fall Lawyer Will Protect Your Rights and Interests
After a trip and fall accident, you may be asked by the owner and/or occupier (or their insurer) to provide details of the accident. However, not all owners and occupiers are this organized and aware of the process for reporting a claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you with properly reporting the incident and ensuring that the report gets to the appropriate insurance company.
If you are dealing with an insurance adjuster, you may find that they are friendly, ethical, and professional. However, it is important to remember that the adjuster’s role is to serve the insurance company – not you. The adjuster has no duty to explain your rights to you. The adjuster’s ultimate goal is to pay the lowest amount possible to resolve your claim.
Your trip and fall lawyer, on the other hand, will be focused entirely on serving you and your best interests.
Your lawyer will take the time to make sure you fully understand your rights and options so that you can make informed decisions about your claim. Your lawyer also will take all the needed steps to obtain the maximum amount of compensation for you and your family.
You can count on your lawyer to carefully investigate your case, consult with experts, negotiate aggressively with the insurance company, and fight for you in the courtroom if necessary.
A Trip and Fall Lawyer Will Promptly and Properly File Your Paperwork
Like most people, you probably have no idea what forms and other paperwork must be filed with the insurance company or the Supreme Court of British Columbia. If you file any documents improperly or after a deadline hits, you could lose your right to recover compensation for your injuries and other damages.
A skilled and experienced trip and fall lawyer will make sure that all documents in your case are professionally prepared and, most importantly, that they are filed in a timely manner.
A Trip and Fall Lawyer Will Thoroughly Investigate Your Case
The trip and fall accident that caused your injuries must be thoroughly investigated. Your lawyer will know how to conduct this investigation.
A lawyer who has an extensive background with handling trip and fall claims will know what evidence to gather and how to obtain it. This includes:
- Photographs of the location of the incident that show any hazards, potential hazards, lighting issues, or other safety concerns
- Land title searches to identify the owner(s) of the land and/or premises on which the incident occurred
- Witness statements
- Police accident report, if applicable
- Surveillance camera footage
- Cell phone records
- Cleaning and maintenance logs of the occupier of the premises
Klein Lawyers has the resources it takes to conduct a comprehensive investigation.
A Trip and Fall Lawyer Will Consult with Experts
Two issues that could be contested in your case are whether there was negligence on the part of the owner and/or occupier of the premises that caused your injuries, as well as the extent of your physical, emotional, and financial harm. Your lawyer will turn to knowledgeable, highly qualified experts to shed light on both of these issues.
Medical and life care-planning experts can analyze your injuries and determine the care you will need as you move ahead in life. An economist can forecast the impact of your injuries on your ability to earn a living.
All of this expert input can play a critical role in pursuing the compensation you truly deserve after a trip and fall accident.
A Trip and Fall Lawyer Will Seek a Full and Fair Settlement of Your Claim
Your lawyer will closely review all relevant insurance policies, the at-fault party’s available coverage, the evidence in your case, and experts’ reports. Based on this information, your lawyer can present the insurance company with a demand for a settlement that fully and fairly compensates you.
After making this demand, your lawyer will use his or her skills as a negotiator to arrive at a fair settlement. These negotiations may require the use of a neutral third party called a mediator.
Throughout the process, your lawyer should keep you informed and seek your instructions on how to proceed. Ultimately, the decision of whether to accept a settlement will belong to you.
If Necessary, a Trip and Fall Lawyer Will Take Your Case to Court
Most claims can be resolved through a settlement. Our lawyers find that clients prefer a settlement. It can provide the funds you deserve more quickly and allow you to move on with your life.
However, in some cases, the insurance company will refuse to agree to a reasonable settlement. They may, for instance, challenge who is at fault or disagree on the amount of damages you deserve. If this occurs, you will need a trip and fall lawyer to aggressively pursue your claim in court.
It will be important to work with a lawyer who has courtroom experience. The lawyer should know how to challenge the other side’s claims and present a compelling and persuasive case.
A Trip and Fall Lawyer Will Make Sure You Get Paid as Soon as Possible
After a settlement or verdict is reached, you will need to collect the funds owed to you, settle outstanding claims on your recovery, and make sure you get paid in a timely manner.
At Klein Lawyers, we can represent you on a contingency fee basis. This means that if and when we secure a recovery for you, we will be paid an agreed-upon percentage of your recovery.
Contact a Vancouver Trip and Fall Lawyer Today
As you can see, many benefits come from working with a lawyer as you pursue your claim. To learn more and discuss your case, contact Klein Lawyers today for a free consultation. We can get to work on your case immediately.
Please call Klein Lawyers at (604) 874-7171 today to speak to a trip and fall lawyer. Our team serves clients in Vancouver and other areas of British Columbia.