Rhode Island Slip-and-Fall Injury Lawyer
The Rhode Island slip-and-fall lawyers at Marasco & Nesselbush have fought for years for our clients’ rights to be compensated for slip-and-fall injuries suffered in everyday settings like supermarkets, hotels and nightclubs.
If you have injuries from an accident that happened on any kind of property owned by someone else, we are here to make sure you get compensation under Rhode Island premises liability or other appropriate laws.
In 2020 almost seven million Americans were injured in slip-and-fall accidents. In Rhode Island, slip-and-fall accidents are among the 10 most common accidents that happen in workplaces. Consumers also get hurt after slipping and falling in restaurants, grocery stores or other retail establishments. Homeowners can also face liability if someone falls and suffers an injury while on their premises.
Tragically, some people die after slip-and-fall accidents. In 2020, more than 42,000 of those injured in a fall at home or at work died.
If you or a family member are one of the unfortunate people to suffer an injury from a slip-and-fall, you’ll want to talk with a Rhode Island slip-and-fall lawyer about your options for seeking compensation.
LOCATIONS AND CAUSES OF SLIP-AND-FALL ACCIDENTS IN RHODE ISLAND
Slip-and-fall accidents can happen virtually anywhere and are the result of a wide variety of risky situations. Someone’s action or inaction frequently creates conditions where someone can easily slip and injure themselves.
Businesses, landlords and governments have a duty to keep areas frequented by the public clear of conditions that pose risks of a slip-and-fall accident. Here are some situations in which people can fall and get hurt on commercial property.
Inadequate interior and exterior lighting
A wet or slippery surface inside or outside a retail, restaurant or grocery establishment
Building or stairwell defects or code violations
Bumpy or uneven surfaces on sidewalks, paths or inside spaces
Objects like merchandise, equipment or protruding fixtures in high-traffic walking areas
Hazardous construction areas
Fire or smokey conditions
Private homeowners and landlords have a responsibility to prevent guests or other people from slipping and falling on their premises. If they don’t, conditions like these can cause slip-and-fall accidents and injuries on their property:
- Slippery surfaces around swimming pools or decks
- Pool drownings
- Unmarked or uneven steps or stairs
- Smoke or burn injuries from BBQ or outdoor fire pit
- Structural collapse of home, deck, driveway, shed, etc.
- Dangerous, uneven surfaces like cracked driveways, patios or entrances
- Insufficient lighting
- Slippery areas in the house from floods or liquid spills
- Unsafe children’s play areas or equipment
- Improperly cared for sports areas, sports courts or workout equipment
COMMON SLIP AND FALL INJURIES
What kinds of injuries do slip-and-fall victims suffer? This depends on the surface they fell on and what part of their body struck that surface or object, as well as a slew of other factors. Below are some of the injuries our Rhode Island slip-and-fall accident lawyers have seen.
Broken or fractured bones, noses
Head injuries, from mild to serious
Major joint damage to knees, shoulders, ankles, hips
Severe burns, scarring
Eye or vision damage
Jaw and teeth injuries
SLIP-AND-FALL LAWSUITS BASED ON PREMISES LIABILITY
If you have been injured on someone else’s property in Rhode Island, you may be able to bring a premises liability claim. These claims are essentially personal injury claims against negligent property owners.
Slip-and-fall accidents are among the most common types of premises liability claims in our state. The owners of property where someone suffered another type of injury, such as drowning or burns, can also face accountability under this law.
The basis for this type of claim is that owners of property, such as retail establishments, business offices, restaurants, government entities, landlords, hotels and homeowners, have a legal duty to keep their property free of hazards that might harm people. Property owners generally can be held liable if they knew or reasonably could have been expected to know about the hazardous condition and failed to take appropriate action.
When you bring a claim for compensation in a premises liability case, your Rhode Island slip-and-fall accident lawyer must prove certain things to establish negligence on the part of the property owner, specifically that they breached their duty to you.
WHO CAN’T FILE A PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIM?
Be aware that there are some situations where an injured party cannot bring a premises liability action. For example, someone who was not a customer, resident, client or an invited guest, or was deemed to have been on the property illegally, is not qualified to bring a claim.
There are thorny issues around the ability of trespassers to file a claim for injuries against a property owner. One way a trespasser can file a claim is if the property owner knew that the person was trespassing and allowed it to occur.
There’s also a special exception to the ban on trespassers filing a claim for a child’s injuries. Property owners may still be held liable under premises liability law if trespassing children were lured onto the property and injured from an “attractive nuisance.” Children may be attracted to risky things on someone’s property, such as an unfenced swimming pool or an abandoned, old refrigerator with a door. Rhode Island law does not give property owners a pass if they failed to take steps to prevent children from accessing these hazards and a child was injured.
Even if you think you might have been trespassing while you were injured, it’s important that you talk to a Rhode Island slip-and-fall lawyer. The law here is complicated, and our lawyers may find that you have a legitimate case.
COMMON SLIP-AND-FALL DEFENSES
Property owners may present a number of defenses in premises liability cases. They may argue that they couldn’t be aware of the hazardous condition and attend to it. A good Rhode Island slip-and-fall lawyer will overcome this defense with arguments that the property owner should have known about the hazard.
Another common defense is comparative negligence. In Rhode Island, a claimant’s damages can be reduced in proportion to their negligence compared to the defendant’s negligence. For example, in a grocery store slip-and-fall case, if the plaintiff failed to heed a warning sign in a wet area, a jury may find the injured party partly at fault. The award would be reduced by the percent of the injured party’s fault compared to the defendant’s share of fault.
In 2019, there was a positive development for slip-and-fall victims. Rhode Island lawmakers said injured parties could no longer be barred from recovering damages if a danger or defect was “open and obvious.” However, a jury can still reduce damages by the amount of fault they find lies with the victim.
WRONGFUL DEATH SLIP-AND-FALL LAWSUITS
Sadly, government data reveals that a leading cause of death and the leading cause of death from injuries in adults 65 and older is unintentional falls. A fractured hip from a slip-and-fall may not sound life-threatening, but for an older person, it can start them on a path to death.
The mortality rates from hip fractures are frightening: 21 percent of patients who have a hip fracture surgically repaired die within one year. For those not addressing the injury with surgery, the one-year mortality rate jumps to about 70 percent.
Of course, young people can also suffer slip-and-fall injuries that tragically result in death.
If you have lost a family member from injuries related to a slip-and-fall accident, you may be able to seek compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. In these cases, family members can receive damages that include medical costs, lost future earnings, pain and suffering and even funeral expenses.
TIME LIMITS ON FILING CLAIMS WHEN YOU’RE INJURED ON SOMEONE’S PROPERTY
If you or a family member suffered an injury while on someone else’s property, it’s important to contact a Rhode Island slip-and-fall attorney right away. The Rhode Island statute of limitations for civil cases bans personal injury lawsuits after three years. Our lawyers can help you determine the start date — typically the date of the accident — so you are prepared to file within this three-year period.
HOW A LAWYER CAN HELP IF YOU’VE SUFFERED A SLIP-AND-FALL INJURY
Lawyers who represent clients in slip-and-fall accidents can help you determine whether you have a case and the best course of action for obtaining compensation. They will review medical records, property ownership documents and insurance coverages to assess how to proceed with your case.
The lawyers at Marasco & Nesselbush go beyond this. We care about our clients and support them with compassion. Engaging in a lawsuit while recovering from a slip-and-fall injury or the tragic loss of a loved one can be upsetting and even traumatizing. It’s our job to support you emotionally as we fight for you and your family.
We are proud to have represented many Rhode Islanders and secured favorable results in premises liability and slip-and-fall cases, including a woman who recovered $375,000 after a slip and fall in a supermarket.
Contact us today for a free consultation with a Rhode Island slip-and-fall injury lawyer.