Every proprietor, business owner, and homeowner is expected to maintain a safe premises free from hazards for those who they invite onto their property. If they leave a dangerous condition on the property that causes someone to slip, trip, or fall, they are liable under Arizona’s civil statutes to make restitution to the injured party. They must compensate them for medical expenses, missed time from work, and any reduction they suffer in their quality of life, either temporarily or permanently. Slip and fall accident lawyers file claims against negligent parties to recover damages for our clients. If you’ve sustained injuries in a slip and fall accident, the attorneys at Pak Law Office can maximize the value of your claim.
Was is the Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Accidents?
The statute of limitations for slip and fall accidents is two years in the State of Arizona. That means that, with precious few exceptions, you must file your lawsuit within two years of the accident.
If the injured party is under the age of 18, the statute of limitations will not start ticking down until their 18th birthday. Another exception to the two-year rule is when an individual dies in a slip and fall accident. Only in the rarest of situations can the clock be tolled until some later date and plaintiffs are expected to show cause or their case will be dismissed.
Where Were You When the Accident Occurred?
Arizona law makes a distinction between different types of visitors in slip and fall accidents. Those with the strongest claim to file a lawsuit will be those who were invited onto the property, like customers in a retail store. Invitees are entitled to the highest degree of protection.
Next come licensees. Licensees are those who are invited onto a property for non-business reasons. As an example, a social guest at a home would be considered a licensee. They also have broadscale protection from undisclosed dangers on the property.
Lastly, come trespassers. They, for obvious reasons, have the weakest claim to injury protection since the owner did not authorize their presence. Trespassers are generally not owed a duty of care, but there are exceptions, most of which involve children. As an example, a homeowner who left their pool accessible to small children would be responsible if they drowned.
Establishing Fault in Arizona Slip and Fall Accidents
A plaintiff needs to establish that a proprietor, business owner, or homeowner left a dangerous condition on their property that they reasonably knew or should have known could cause injury to an invitee on their property.
However, when a plaintiff brings a slip and fall lawsuit against a negligent party, their best defense is to blame the plaintiff for the accident. They can do so by claiming that the dangerous condition was clear and obvious or that the injured party was distracted and would have seen the danger if they were not. That, however, doesn’t absolve the defendant from allowing dangerous conditions on their property that can cause injury to invitees.
Even in cases where there was some carelessness on the part of the plaintiff, some of the blame must fall on the defendant if they knew, should have known, or caused the dangerous condition in the first place. That means that you can be held partly to blame for the accident, but the defendant is still also to blame. In that event, some of the blame for the accident will be assigned to each party.
As an example, let’s say you are awarded $10,000 in damages and are found to have contributed 25% of the liability. Your total damages would be reduced by 25% and you would be entitled to $7,500 in damages, which is still a significant sum.
What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you aren’t severely injured, you should take pictures of the area and the dangerous condition that was left unremedied. This will provide the backbone of your case against the property owner. You may also want to talk to others who were there and take down their personal information if you intend on filing a lawsuit.
More likely than not, if you fall in a public place like a place of business, there will be security cameras that caught the accident on video. An attorney can subpoena this information from the proprietor and use it as evidence in your case.
You’ll also want to go see a doctor soon after (if not immediately after) the accident occurred, even if you think you feel okay. You may not feel the extent of your injuries until the day after, and the insurance company that represents the defendant will use this against you at trial claiming that your injuries are not as extensive as you say they are.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Instead of dealing with insurance companies while you’re trying to recover, Pak Law Office will handle all the minutia of your claim and maximize the value of your claim, recovering more money than you can likely do on your own.
If you’ve been injured on dangerous premises, contact a slip and fall accident lawyer today to receive the full value of your claim and a fair settlement for your injuries.