Premises Liability Cases
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Premises Liability Cases

Many people have slipped or tripped and fell on both public and private properties. It is embarrassing and most of the time you get up quickly so that no one will see you, regardless of how injured you really are. You may decline help from the people around you, preferring to just deal with it on your own and hide your pain. However, you may find out a few hours later that you are far more injured than you thought you were. What may seem like a small fall could result in serious injury or death. Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents are the second most common type of accident in the United States, killing many people as well as causing countless personal injuries. You need to protect yourself by hiring a Vermont premises liability lawyer.

Please call David Polow today for a free and confidential consultation. I can be reached most waking hours at 802-888-7707.

Example of a Premises Liability Accident

If the owner/manager or an employee of a store had not observed a hazard and was unable to rectify it, then an injured person may have difficulty claiming compensation. However, if the spill or other hazard such as a clumped up carpet had been there for some time, but nothing was done and no warning sign was provided, then the store owner may be held responsible for your injuries. It is not easy to prove a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, especially if the spill is cleaned up soon after the injury and the evidence has disappeared. That is why it is important to call a Vermont attorney for a slip and fall or trip and fall case to assist you with filing a claim for damages. It will help your case if you are able to record the names and contact details of any witnesses to the incident and if you, a friend or even a witness is able to take photos using a cell phone.

Premises liability accidents are most commonly found in places where there is a hard floor with ready access to liquid, such as a grocery store. It is not uncommon in a grocery store for items to melt or break and fall on the ground, causing people to slip and fall. For younger people, these slips might not seem like such a big thing, but as you get older you may be prone to more severe injuries. If you are unable to break your fall and the first thing that hits the ground is your head, you could suffer a serious closed head injury.

Here is another common example of a slip and fall injury that occurs in Vermont in the winter. A person arrives at a convenience store, either to get gas or purchase a few items. The person steps out of their vehicle with the intention of entering the store. Typically, a person has on their usual winter boots, which provide plenty of traction. However, there are many instances where both the parking lot and the sidewalk leading to the store are icy. I have had many claims over the years where the surface conditions are very icy and my clients slip and fall, causing injuries to their head, hip, back, shoulder, neck and wrist. Fractured wrists are particularly common.

The law in Vermont is clear. Surfaces which are otherwise safe become potentially dangerous when covered with ice. When a walking surface such as a sidewalk is icy, the amount of available traction provided to pedestrian customers is substantially reduced and slipping can occur. Obviously, this condition is well-recognized by property owners, pedestrians and others. It is the recognition of this phenomenon that prompted the public policy in which property owners, including grocery stores, convenience stores and virtually every other store in Vermont are charged with the duty to maintain surface conditions in a reasonably safe condition.

A slippery sidewalk as well as a slippery parking area is the type of hazard that is readily identifiable if reasonable inspections are performed by the property owner or manager. Regular inspections of a sidewalk and parking lot area typically would disclose the existence of an extremely hazardous surface area and the lack of a hazard-free means of entering and leaving the property owner’s building. Simply put, many times the sidewalk and parking areas are not properly maintained and are unsafe for customers at the convenience and grocery stores.

I can help you recover the costs of your medical care in addition to lost wages, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of the daily activities of life and permanent impairment, if one exists. Some slip and fall and trip and fall accidents are extremely severe, and although you may not think it is the fault of anyone but your own, every commercial business has an obligation to provide a safe place for you to walk. If there is water on the ground, ice, snow, bad lighting, uneven surfaces or any other defects in the walking surface, you may be entitled to compensation if you are injured.

Although a slip and fall or trip and fall accident may sound minor and even be a little embarrassing for you, you should remember that your injuries may last a long time, potentially requiring long-term medical assistance. And most of the time these accidents are preventable if the commercial property owner had exercised due care. For this reason, I encourage you to contact me as soon as possible after the incident to find out whether or not you have a viable claim and how to make sure that the medical bills get paid.

A slip and fall and trip and fall injury can take place almost anywhere, including the following:

  • When walking on a sidewalk where the pavement has cracks or becomes uneven through wear and tear;
  • While at work, where an unexpected hazard in walking area exists;
  • In a grocery store where a liquid has spilled onto the floor, a carpet is uneven or an item falls off of a shelf and lands on your head or other part of your body; and
  • In someone else’s home, while in a stairway, in the bathroom, while entering or leaving the residence or any other part of the residence where there is an uneven surface or something like a broken step.

Wherever the slip and fall or trip and fall took place, a serious injury could result, such as broken or fractured bones, cuts and bruises, twisted ankles, torn tendons or muscle injuries. In the worst case, if the victim slipped and fell off a ladder or scaffolding, then the accident could be fatal, cause traumatic brain injuries or other serious injuries.