Given the amount of snow and ice we had recently, injuries from slip and falls have occurred much more frequently than normal. If this has happened to you, or does happen to you, there are a few things you should know.
If you are injured on city property, it is usually very difficult to obtain compensation. This is because the courts will not rule on how cities are to spend their resources to keep city property safe, and thus will generally not find negligence on the part of the city for failing to do so. However, it is sometimes possible to make a claim against the city. If you think you might have a claim, you should contact a lawyer right away, as claims against a city have very strict timelines – they need to be reported to the city clerk within two months, and a lawsuit needs to be commenced within six months. Failure to do either could automatically bar your claim.
If you are injured on private property – such as property owned by a shopping mall, commercial enterprise, or a residential home – then different rules apply. The courts are generally more willing to find negligence on a private property owner for failing to keep their premises safe. Also, the timelines are much broader – generally you have two years from the date you were injured to commence a lawsuit. That being said, in order to increase your chances of having a valid claim, it is far better to report the incident immediately to the property owner, take photographs of the scene demonstrating why and how you were injured (essentially photos showing what was wrong with the property that caused you to get injured), get the names of any witnesses, and seek immediate medical attention.
Overall, if you are injured on someone’s property, regardless of where it occurs, it is always better to contact a lawyer immediately to find out if you have a claim. Most personal injury lawyers will take your claim on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no charge to talk to them to see if you have a case. If a decision is made to proceed with your claim, then most personal injury lawyers will fund all expenses, and only charge their fee when your claim settles. Therefore, it is always best to make a call right away to see if you have a case. A long delay in contacting a lawyer could jeopardize an otherwise valid claim