If you suffered injuries after slipping and falling on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation. Alabama’s premises liability laws allow injured people to sue the at-fault party and recover damages. However, you must be able to prove that the property owner was negligent in some way. Often, victims attempt to show that the owner either knew about a hazard and didn’t address it or failed to warn people about it. Therefore, if you were injured while a sign was displayed, it can affect your ability to successfully recover damages. Let our Montgomery personal injury attorneys look at this in more detail.
The Duties of Property Owners in Alabama
Property owners have a responsibility to keep their properties reasonably safe for visitors. If they neglect to do so, they can be held liable. This neglect can be a failure to inspect the property and identify the hazard or a failure to correct the hazard after discovering it. Property owners who don’t correct a dangerous situation have the option of erecting a sign to warn entrants. This gives individuals the opportunity to either avoid the area or to use extreme caution if they decide to traverse the area.
The Role of Warning Signs
In premises liability cases, one of the things that often arises is whether a hazard was obvious. If you were aware of a dangerous condition and you proceeded and got injured, you can’t successfully claim damages. The presence of a warning sign allows for the assumption that you knew a hazard existed. As you can imagine, this will put you in a difficult situation. However, you may still be able to get compensation with help from an Alabama personal injury lawyer.
You may be able to argue that the sign was not clearly visible or the words were illegible. Maybe a tree branch had obscured the sign almost completely or the text had faded considerably. Alternatively, you may argue that it was impossible to avoid the area even though you saw the warning. Maybe you had to walk on wet stairs because there was no other way out of the business you just patronized.
If you can successfully make one of these claims, you may be able to recover damages for your slip and fall. Regardless of the situation, what you do after your accident can have a significant impact on your case. Your attorney will play a major role in the success of your claim, but you also have to protect your rights.
Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident
The first thing you need to do after a slip and fall accident is to go to the doctor. Even if you don’t think your injuries are serious, you should seek medical attention. The doctor may be able to diagnose an injury that you might not yet be aware of. This will allow you to get prompt treatment and ensure your injuries are properly documented. This will be a key part of the evidence you’ll submit to the insurance company or court.
Common injuries after a fall include:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Knee damage
- Sprained wrists and ankles
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
If you can, take photos of the hazard that caused you to fall and the surrounding area. Report the incident to the property manager or owner and ask for a copy of the incident report.
One of the most important things you need to do is contact an attorney. If you’re lucky, the person responsible for your injuries or their insurer will accept responsibility. However, if there was a sign warning of the danger, it’s more likely that they’ll deny liability. You won’t be able to fight back on your own. You’re unlikely to know your legal rights or all the benefits to which you’re entitled. If you want to get fair compensation, you need to seek legal representation. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better it will be for you.
In most cases, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you wait too long, you’ll lose your right to do so. However, you shouldn’t wait that long to call a lawyer. You need to give your attorney time to gather evidence and build a strong case.
Contact The Vance Law Firm for a Free Consultation
Our Alabama personal injury lawyers have several years of experience representing injured people. We know how property owners are likely to respond when a fall occurs despite the erection of a warning sign. They will do everything they can to avoid liability, so we’ll prepare to counter their arguments. Call us today to book a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.