Slip, Trip and Fall Accidental Injuries Should Not Require Paperwork
It is reasonable to expect a substantial degree of safety when visiting most public places, but accidents can happen anywhere. Business owners have a responsibility to keep visitors safe. Still, people often trip on loose carpeting in a clothing store, slip on a wet spot on a restaurant floor, or get hit on the head by a can that falls from a grocery store shelf.
Even as store owners rush in with many questions and a handful of accident forms, injury victims have just one priority: getting medical attention as soon as possible. It is important to learn how to avoid any activities that will delay that priority and possibly harm future litigation.
How Premises Liability Works
Under North Carolina law, property owners not only have a duty to keep invited visitors safe but also to protect the safety of trespassers to a limited extent. Any accident caused by owner negligence that results in injury can provide victims with grounds to pursue compensation for expenses related to the injury. However, it is up to the victim to prove that the owner was negligent based on the following specific legal definition:
- The defendant had a duty to the injured party.
- The defendant acted imprudently or failed to act in a reasonable manner.
- The victim’s injuries were directly connected with the defendant’s actions (or lack of action).
Thanks to the strict contributory negligence laws in North Carolina, however, even when victims slightly share in the negligence, such as when a hazard may meet the legal definition of “open and obvious,” they can lose the right to pursue any amount of compensation for their injuries.
Accident Victims Have Two Basic Responsibilities at the Accident Scene
Most employees or owners come running to the scene of an accident out of genuine concern for the victim. It is common for them to ask what happened and whether the victim is injured, and most victims are likely to respond to these and other questions or even complete and sign accident report forms. In reality, however, accident victims have only two responsibilities:
- Providing basic contact information to the employee or other representative of the business
- Asking for any help needed to get to a doctor of their own choosing
Victims who discuss what happened or say they have no injuries can easily risk facing significant out-of-pocket expenses when they discover that an unintended admission of fault leaves them without a case. Also, it is not uncommon to later discover that a seemingly minor bump on the head of stiff back develops into a life-changing catastrophic injury.
Helping Your Case
Perhaps the most important way to help after sustaining a premises liability-related injury is to say little and get medical help. However, assuming your injuries are not life-threatening (and the opportunity arises), it can be very helpful to take pictures of the hazard that caused the accident and the surrounding area. For example, a recently-washed floor with no warning signs nearby can provide clear evidence of negligence on the part of someone working on the premises.
It is important for accident victims to understand that these cases typically require extensive investigation. The sooner a Charlotte personal injury lawyer can get started, the better the chances are that important evidence will not become missing or hidden. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us at 800-948-0577, or use our convenient online contact form.