If you were seriously injured due to a trip or slip, you may be confused on what you should do. The Las Vegas Slip and Fall Injury Guide was created by personal injury attorney Craig Murphy to help Nevada residents make sense of their claim.
If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident, you may be feeling frustrated that your injuries have interrupted your daily life. It’s scary to face the insurance companies who don’t want to give you the money or the support that you need on your road to recover. Perhaps totally recovery is not even possible with the injuries that you have sustained. A board certified personal injury attorney will be able to investigate your claim and push back on the insurance companies. The right Las Vegas slip and fall attorney will be ready to take your case to trial to give you the best chance at collecting fair compensation.
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Slip and Fall Cases
Slip and falls can happen at any time, and they can happen anywhere. Slip and fall injuries, true to their name, occur when people lose their balance and fall to the ground. What sets these injuries apart is accountability; while a naturally clumsy person may slip on a perfectly stable and well-lit surface, negligence in slip and fall cases is only triggered when a business, organization, or private individual does not properly maintain walkways, floors, stairwells, and similar areas open for public use.
Slip and fall injury cases are among the most common personal injury lawsuits. Despite the fact that slip and fall cases are common, slip and fall cases are some of the most difficult cases to win. Therefore, you need an attorney who has a lot of experience winning slip and fall cases. If you were injured in a slip and fall in Las Vegas or the surrounding area, we have a proven track record of exceptional results in slip and fall cases. Craig Murphy spent years on the inside defending some of the largest hotels, casinos and businesses in Las Vegas in their slip and fall cases. He now uses that knowledge and expertise representing people like you who have been injured in Las Vegas slip and falls.
Where and How Do Most Las Vegas Slip and Falls Happen?
In most slip and fall cases, there are typically the same two parties: the injured person and the property owner or manager. Slip and fall cases focus on proving that property owner or manager was at fault by failing to properly maintain the property. In most slip and fall cases the insurance company, store, hotel or casino will deny your claim. They will blame you and say you were at fault. Often the insurance company lawyer will argue that the injured person was not paying attention, had been drinking, was on drugs, or even was not wearing proper shoes. Because no slip and fall case is airtight, it is critical that you inform your slip and fall attorney about your behavior at the time of the accident.
Slip and fall cases come down to determining whether the property owner or manager failed to prevent an unsafe condition from arising. This concept is known as “premises liability.” To prove liability, a slip and fall attorney has to prove that at least one of three issues was in play at the time of the accident: that the property owner or manager created the unsafe condition; that he or she knew that the condition existed but neglected to completely fix the problem or properly worn of the hazard; or that the unsafe condition existed for such a length of time that the property owner should have fixed it before a slip and fall accident happened.
To illustrate the above, consider the case of a tourist who tripped and fell at a Las Vegas casino. The tourist was not intoxicated or behaving carelessly, and she tripped over loose carpeting on her way across the lobby. Her attorney may argue that the casino’s owner or manager created the unsafe condition by failing to completely nail the carpeting to the floor or to trim the excess fabric. If the owner or manager claims that the issue with the carpeting was known and it had been fixed, the attorney may demand to see documentation showing when the repair took place, if at all. If the owner or manager denies knowledge, the tourist’s attorney can call upon other casino employees or patrons to testify about approximately how long the carpeting issue existed. All of these arguments will help to prove liability in this kind of slip and fall case.
Are Slip and Fall Injury Cases Any Different in Las Vegas or Nevada?
According to the Nevada Revised Statutes, a person who was injured in a slip and fall had two years to file a claim. After that point, the statute of limitations runs out. In addition, Nevada personal injury law contains a “comparative negligence” rule, which dictates that the injured party in a slip and fall can receive compensation proportional to his or her own responsibility for the accident. If a court or jury were to find that an injured person was 10% responsible for an accident, he or she would receive 90% of the possible compensation. However, if the injured person were found to be more than 50% responsible for the accident, there would be no compensation. There is no “strict liability” in Nevada for slip and fall cases. That means you are not entitled to compensation just because you fell and were injured. This is true no matter how badly you were injured. Instead, you must prove that the hotel, casino, store or property owner was negligent and that the negligence caused your fall and injuries.
Fall injuries are especially dangerous to senior citizens and elderly people. Senior citizens’ bones are more brittle and are easier to break in a fall than are younger peoples’ bones. Often fall injuries require senior citizens to have surgery such as hip replacements. Major surgeries like hip replacements can cause the senior citizen’s health to rapidly deteriorate and lead to death. As you may suspect, the insurance adjusters and risk managers for insurance companies, hotels, and casinos often deny that the catastrophic results had anything to do with the fall and is completely unrelated. The family members know different.
Las Vegas is the “entertainment capital of the world.” Because of the number of hotels and casinos, the risk of experiencing a slip and fall in a casino, hotel, store, grocery, or theater is unusually high in Las Vegas. Both residents and tourists alike must be careful in order to avoid injury. If you or a loved one was injured during your most recent trip to Las Vegas, you need an experienced slip and fall trial attorney. Most slip and fall cases are denied and litigation is necessary if you want to be compensated for your injuries. If you have been injured in a Las Vegas slip and fall, call us today to put our years of trial experience to work for you.
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Frequently Asked Questions | Las Vegas Slip and Fall Injury Guide
How Should I Choose a Slip and Fall Attorney?
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall case, how do you choose the right or best attorney for your case? In Las Vegas and in Nevada, the hotels and casinos are going to fight these cases tooth and nail. Walmart fights them all. Grocery stores fight them all. Why do they do that? Because they can always argue that you were partially at fault. If they can convince a jury that you are more at fault than they were, you get nothing, but in any event, they can argue that some percentage of fault is yours and they can reduce what they have to pay.
They know that if they avoid you and deny, and delay, and aggravate you, a certain percentage of people will just go away. But you were seriously injured. You have a legitimate claim and you need to hire an attorney because that is the only way that you’re going to get fully and fairly compensated for your injuries and damages. How do you pick an attorney that you know is the right and the best attorney for your case?
Number one, you need an attorney who handles these kinds of cases on a regular basis. You need an attorney who is a real trial lawyer because the unfortunate truth of the situation is more than likely a lawsuit is going to be required, and your attorney is going to have to go out there and build your case for you, so you need someone with experience. You need someone whose experience is very fact-specific for these kinds of cases.
For many years, I represented hotels, casinos, grocery stores in slip and fall cases. I know what it takes for them to win their cases. The burden of proof is on you, the injured person. These are very hard cases, and the defense knows it. If you don’t have an attorney that knows exactly what must be proven in these kinds of cases, regardless of how badly you’ve been injured, you’re not going to win. You have to ask the attorney, what is your experience in dealing with slip and fall cases? Make them give you specifics, and then find out if they’re board certified. If you don’t have a board certified personal injury specialist and trial lawyer working on your case, then the insurance companies, the casinos, grocery stores, the risk management departments, are going to pay you pennies on a dollar.
How Do I Prove I Wasn’t at Fault for a Slip and Fall?
How can you prove you weren’t at fault? It’s tough sometimes. There is a lot of analysis that must go into determining whether you were at fault.
Maybe you were somewhat at fault. Under Nevada law, if your fault was less than the fault of the property owner, then you are still entitled to compensation. Let’s say a jury determines that you were 25% at fault. That means that the business, they’re 75% at fault. If the jury awards you an amount of damages, 25% will be reduced for your fault, but they are primarily at fault and they are going to have to compensate you to that extent.
The only way to determine whether you were in fact at fault is to hire an attorney who is experienced with slip and fall cases, who knows how to investigate it, how to collect the evidence, how to take that evidence and build it into a winning case, so that you are able to obtain compensation for your injuries and damages.
What Should I Know About Tripping Hazard Injuries?
Here is a typical scenario. You are walking down a sidewalk or entryway of a building and it’s uneven, and it’s sticking up, and for whatever reason you hit it and bam, you do a header. You’ve got significant injuries. Whose fault is that?
The insurance company is going to say, “Sorry, you were not paying attention. You tripped over your own feet. You should’ve been looking at this and stepped over it. Thousands of people walk by this every day and they don’t fall.” Is that a legitimate defense? That all depends. You’re going to need an attorney to get out there and have an engineer who specifically works in these types of cases and areas to measure that and see how big that defect was. You need an attorney to find out what notice this property owner, or this business had that that hazard was there, and what they did to eliminate it or warn you. They could’ve had easily painted it yellow and put up signs and warnings, but they didn’t.
Most likely, if there is a big variance in that curb or that walkway, it’s been there for a long time, and they knew about it, then they had a duty to either fix it, remove it, or warn you. If they didn’t do that, they could be responsible, regardless of what their property, management company, or their insurance adjuster says when they say, “No, it’s your fault.”
What Happens If I Slip and Fall on Residential Property?
If you’ve been injured on a residential property what should you do? The first thing, of course, is to make sure that if you’re injured, you get the medical treatment for it, but also you need to make sure that you get the evidence to support your claim. If there is a defect on that property that caused your injury or your fall, you need to document that and take some pictures of it.
Here’s what happens with most people: you’re at a friend’s or a relative’s house and you feel uncomfortable about doing that. Once you tell them you’re going to make a claim, they turn it over to their insurance company. Now, you’re no longer dealing with a friend or a relative; you’re dealing with an insurance company, and you’re in an adversarial position with that insurance company. They’re going to call your friend or relative, and they’re going to say that you have a duty to cooperate with them underneath your insurance policy, and if you don’t cooperate with them, you may not have any insurance coverage for this. Do not give them any information. It’s going to be too late for you to get any information to get the evidence to support your case.
If you have a potential claim, take some pictures. Ask the people, how long has this existed? How long has this been this way? Have them tell you, and make sure you take some notes, take some pictures, because that is going to be critical in establishing your case and your ability to get paid by the insurance company for your damages. Here’s the next step.
You have to have an attorney who deals with fall cases on a regular basis because they’re very complex. The insurance companies always fight them, and you need somebody who knows how to go out and get the evidence to build your case.
You may just have some strain, sprain type of injuries and it may take a few weeks of chiropractic treatment, and your case could be resolved in a short period of time. Your case could be much more significant, and you require surgery. In those types of cases, not only does your medical treatment take much longer, but typically the property owner’s insurance company is going to deny your claim and you’re going to have to file a lawsuit. A lawsuit could take a couple of years.
What If I’m Injured Because of a Faulty Handrail?
A faulty handrail caused you to fall at an apartment complex, a condo, or business; what should you do? It depends on what happened to you in that fall. You may have very severe injuries and you may be carted off by an ambulance. You wouldn’t have the ability to do anything to preserve your evidence. What you need to do is contact a friend or family member and have them get over there right away to take pictures of that faulty handrail and preserve that evidence through video and pictures. Number two, you need to put the condos or apartment, or business that had the faulty handrail on notice of your claim and that you fell. You have to do that in writing and make sure they know about it.
The next thing that you should do is probably contact an attorney because they’re going to need to contact that apartment, that condo, or that business, and tell them that if they have any video, that they need to preserve it. Oftentimes, any video is on some type of loop, and after a couple of days it’s going to record over itself. Someone needs to take immediate action to preserve that evidence on your behalf.
How Do I Prove the Stairs I Fell on Were Faulty?
There are a number of defects that could be present in the steps you fell on that would make that property owner responsible for your fall. It could be something as simple as the steps are way too slippery, that they are uneven in terms of how far apart each step is or how wide each step is. There are various factors that impact whether or not stairs are safe and secure and proper, and there are building codes that specifically deal with stairs and stairways.
The only way to protect yourself if you’ve fallen on stairs that you suspect were hazardous is to get an attorney who has the experience in dealing with these types of cases and who has the ability to properly investigate and bring these types of claims because the insurance companies will typically deny them They’re hoping that you’re just going to go away, regardless of how bad your injuries were. To protect yourself, you need to get an attorney who knows what they’re doing.
Am I at Fault if There Were Warning Signs?
Here’s a common excuse from a business that I hear, “We had a warning cone or a warning sign there. The fault is on you.” Is that true? Is it your fault? It all depends. Here is the real question: did that warning sign or cone provide you with adequate knowledge that there was a hazard there? That is going to take a specific investigation by an attorney who has a record of accomplishment dealing with these cases, because if that warning sign was in a position where you had no ability to see it and know that there was a hazard there, that doesn’t provide you with the notice that’s necessary.
Say a cleaning person is over mopping with a mop bucket. On the mop bucket, it’s yellow and it says, “WARNING. SLIPPERY.” Well, that guy’s way over there mopping, but he just trailed water halfway across the floor of where you come walking in the door. That doesn’t give you any notice or warning at all, and it’s completely ineffectual, and they’re still going to be responsible. Even though they’re responsible though, their insurance adjuster or their risk management person is going to tell you, “There was a warning sign. Sorry, it’s your fault.” Here’s what you have to do: take some pictures; document it when you fall then call me right away.
What are the Steps in a Slip and Fall Case?
In Nevada, slip and fall cases are very complicated. The reason that they’re very complicated is a couple of things. Mainly, as the injured person, you have the burden of proof to establish negligence and that negligence caused your fall which caused your injuries. Nevada doesn’t have strict liability. Here’s what strict liability is. I fell at your establishment, now you have to pay for my injuries. That’s not the way this works. Regardless of how badly you were injured, you must prove that they were negligent, that they did something or failed to do something, and these specific injuries are because of that. If you can’t prove this, then you don’t have a valid slip and fall case.
Can I Sue a City or Municipality for a Slip and Fall Injury?
The answer to that question is yes, you can sue the city, county or state for your injuries. The question, though, really is this: will the governmental entity be responsible and have to pay for my injuries or damages? That’s a different story.
It’s much like any other type of fall case. What you have to prove is that they were negligent, and that negligence caused your fall and resulted in your injuries. There are various ways to prove fault. Depending on the type of fault case, the burden of establishing that evidence could be on you. Say, for example, you are at a public event at a government building, and it’s a slip and fall case because there was a liquid substance on the ground. You need to know what the substance was, where it came from, how it got there and how long it’s been there.
Even though you’ve fallen, and you’re injured, you’ve got to do something to protect yourself. Find out what it was, how long it was there, how it got there. Was there any type of warning – cones, signs, something like that – to warn you that you needed to be careful or avoid that area? These are very fact-specific cases, and because of that, you need an attorney that has been through this before, and knows what to look for, and how to build a case.
How Long Does a Slip and Fall Case Take?
Each case really is dependent on the facts of the case. It depends upon the extent of your injuries, what your treatment involves, and how long it takes you to get better. You can’t make a claim until you know the full extent of your injuries. You have to know what it’s going to take for your treatment to make you better and get you back to the way you were.
What Are the Statute of Limitations for a Slip and Fall?
Slip and fall injuries are like most other injury cases here in Nevada, and the standard answer to that question is you have two years in which to resolve your claim or to file a lawsuit.
If you have not resolved your claim or filed your lawsuit before the two year anniversary of that claim, you will then have lost any right or chance you have of getting compensation, because the statute of limitations will have expired. There are a couple of instances that may extend that. Typically, if the person who fell and was injured is a minor, there can be additional time. As a general rule, you have two years, so here’s what you need to do.
Number one, slip and fall cases are fought very hard by the property owners. One of the reasons is they always think that they can say that you were at fault. If, in Nevada, they can prove you were more than 50% at fault for causing your fall and injuries, they don’t have to have any responsibility. They will always try and argue that you were at fault. They will also argue that you had all these preexisting conditions or that you were wearing the wrong type of shoes. Bottom line is, once you have had a slip and fall, you need to talk to a Las Vegas Slip and Fall attorney who has skill and experience in dealing with slip and falls because all of the insurance companies will fight these cases.
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