Slip-and-fall accidents are one of the leading causes of unintentional death and injury. Anyone can slip or trip and fall and suffer a serious personal injury, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), a broken hip or another fracture, or a back and/or spinal cord injury. Falls are more likely to happen to children up to age 4 or to an older adult.
Falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and injury-related deaths for New Mexico residents age 65 and older, says the NM Department of Health. Children age 1 to 4 are often injured in falls because of the lack of attentive supervision in the home, at daycare, or school and outdoors.
Slip-and-fall accidents are also one of the leading reasons for premises liability claims. A premises liability claim is a lawsuit alleging that someone was injured because a property owner failed to meet his or her responsibility to provide safe premises (building or land) for visitors. A person legally on the premises where they were injured has a right to compensation for losses caused by the property owner’s negligence, including medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Albuquerque personal injury attorney Bert Parnall and Parnall Law pursue slip-and-fall accident claims for clients hurt because of property owners’ negligence. We are here to help. Our attorneys can establish the facts of your slip-and-fall accident, the extent and consequences of your injuries, and what compensation you are due to make things right.
Call Parnall Law today if you or a loved one has been injured in a slip-and-fall accident in Albuquerque or Central New Mexico. We’ll provide a free legal consultation and, if you have a viable claim, aggressively pursue the maximum compensation available to you. We’ll handle all legal matters of your claim in a dignified manner. Our objective is to make things right for you while you focus on recovering and getting your life back.
Why Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur in Albuquerque?
In the standard example of a slip-and-fall accident, either something has fallen from a grocery store shelf and left a puddle or people have tracked rainwater into a business lobby. Because a negligent staff fails to clean up, some innocent customer comes along and slips, falls, and is injured.
In fact, people suffer slip-and-fall accidents at work and at other businesses, in malls and stores, at theaters and stadiums, in parks and on playgrounds, on sidewalks and in parking lots, in private homes, and in any number of public and private locations.
Regardless of where a slip-and-fall accident occurs, the law provides that:
- Property owners have a duty to ensure their premises are safe for legal visitors.
- Property owners must reasonably inspect their premises for dangerous conditions, which include both obvious and hidden dangers.
- When a hazard arises on their premises, property owners are obligated to act in a timely manner to remove the hazard or mitigate it by posting a warning of the hazard that would sufficiently alert a reasonable person of the danger.
When a property owner fails to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition as outlined above, and a victim slips and falls, and is injured as a result, the property owner can be held liable. This includes the negligence of representatives of the property owner, such as a manager or staff member.
However, the property owner’s duty only applies to visitors who enter the premises with the owner’s express or implied consent, such as shoppers at a retail store or other business customers, or guests at someone’s home. There is generally no legal duty to trespassers. A trespasser who slips and falls has no claim, unless he or she is a child young enough to be considered unable to understand the concept of trespassing.
Hazards that typically lead to slip-and-fall accidents include:
- Wet floors and walkways: Accidental wetness such as spills from a broken jar in a store, puddles of tracked-in rain, freshly mopped or washed surfaces, or other moisture should be cleaned up in a timely manner. When floors are left to dry, “wet floor” signage should be set out to warn visitors.
- Clutter and debris: Merchandise, supplies, equipment, trash, or debris purposely or mistakenly put on floors where people walk creates a slipping or tripping hazard. This includes large store displays that topple or have pieces scattered. Cords and cables that cross walkways in offices, whether temporarily or by design, are a tripping hazard.
- Damaged floors and floor coverings: Torn, broken, warped or cracked flooring, or loose carpet, space rugs, mats, floor tiles, floorboards, stair treads, etc., create slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall hazards. On stairways, loose or damaged handrails can cause slip-and-fall accidents when they unexpectedly fail to support the weight of people using them.
- Slippery flooring materials. Certain types of stone, ceramic tile, hardwoods, glass, or other smooth flooring materials can create a higher risk of slip-and-fall accidents than other building materials, often causing brain injuries, back & spinal cord injuries, and broken bones. Over-polishing floors and walkways can make them slippery and hazardous. Oil spilling on rig walkways can be extremely dangerous. In such cases, architects or builders responsible for defective design or cleaning and janitorial contractors who acted with negligence may share liability with property owners who did not recognize and mitigate hazards.
- Damaged sidewalks: Cracked pavement, loose pavers, and gaps between segments of the sidewalk can cause tripping or slipping and falling. Property owners are obligated to regularly inspect the grounds and make repairs or post warning signs when repairs cannot be made right away.
- Potholes and ditches. Holes, trenches, and other excavations made purposely, or potholes caused by wear and tear in parking lots and other paved areas are tripping hazards. They should be properly filled to level, covered, and/or well-marked with warning signs and/or barricades.
- Landscape hazards: Mulch, loose sand, pebble-sized gravel, and similar loose materials may cause slipping hazards when scattered from beds onto walkways. Landscaping tools and equipment left lying about to create tripping hazards, especially if they are obscured by plants or structures. After an accident, contracted landscapers who were negligent may share liability with property owners.
- Inadequate lighting. Dark hallways, stairways, parking lots, parking garages, etc., make it difficult to see steps, stairs, cracks, other changes in the floor’s surface (such as speed bumps), or other obstacles that are potentially hazardous. The abrupt change between a lighted area and darkness can cause momentary blindness that may lead to a fall. Property owners should install and maintain proper lighting in all public areas.
The law also recognizes that people have a personal responsibility for their safety. For example, the “open and obvious” doctrine says that if the hazard that caused the accident was obvious, a reasonable person would have known to stay away to avoid injury. It would be unlikely for the claim of someone who did not to move forward without extenuating circumstances.
In addition, the doctrine of “comparative negligence,” which is followed in New Mexico, requires that if the injured person’s actions contributed to the accident, this may be held against their claim. For example, a person who was running down a store aisle when they slipped in a puddle or who was texting on their phone when they tripped into a pot hole could be considered at least partially at fault for their injury. Compensation from their claim, if any, would likely be reduced.
What Parnall Law Can Do About Your Albuquerque Slip and Fall Injury
After a slip-and-fall accident that leaves you injured, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses. A premises liability claim is a lawsuit that says a property owner’s negligence caused your injury and your associated losses. Your lawsuit seeks compensation through their insurance, such as business liability insurance or homeowners’ insurance.
It is a mistake to shrink from filing a lawsuit against a neighbor, a business you patronize regularly, or even friends or family. They may be named in your lawsuit, but any compensation you obtain will not come out of their pockets in most situations. The cost of paying the claim almost always comes from insurance coverage they bought to protect them in case of accidents like the one that hurt you.
There is more to a claim when Parnall Law represents you. We seek three outcomes in a slip-and-fall case:
- Acknowledgment that the harm you suffered was unjust
- Compensation that indicates how badly you were injured
- Compensation that ensures you are not financially burdened by expenses and other losses associated with your injuries, including loss of a loved one in a wrongful death
A successful personal injury lawsuit, such as in a slip-and-fall accident, can provide you with compensation for your:
- Past, current, and future medical costs due to the accident
- Lost wages during recovery or lost because you cannot return to work
- Property damage in the accident, such as to jewelry or clothing
- Pain and suffering, including loss of consortium because of a spouse’s death or incapacitating injury
- Funeral and burial expenses accrued in a wrongful death case
In most cases, Parnall Law can negotiate a settlement offer from the insurance company, which we will present for your approval. If we can settle your case, it is over and you receive payment almost immediately. However, we are always prepared to fight a slip-and-fall case in court if it cannot be settled to the client’s satisfaction.
We want you to be able to focus on recovery and leave your accident claim to us. When you engage Parnall Law, we will immediately send letters of representation to inform creditors, insurance companies, and others that we represent you and that work on a legal claim for compensation is underway. These letters advise them that we speak for you in all matters pertaining to your accident and that we anticipate money to pay bills related to your accident and injuries. This lets you send them all to us when they call to bother you.
In the meantime, we want to make sure you have medical treatment and anything else you need to recover from the accident. For instance, we can refer you to medical professionals we know and trust. We are Albuquerque natives and our firm has been here since 2009, so we know where to find the answers you need.
Contact Parnall Law After a Slip and Fall Accident in Albuquerque
If you have been injured or lost a loved one because of a slip-and-fall accident caused by a property owner’s negligence, you have every right to seek justice for the harm you have experienced. Parnall Law can help see to it that you are compensated for medical bills, lost income, and other costs and losses, including your pain and suffering.
Attorney Bert Parnall understands what you are going through. He has built Parnall Law as a legal practice dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of negligence in Albuquerque and Central New Mexico. When you have been wrongly injured, we will work to set your life right again. Parnall Law will fight to hold accountable those who harmed you and your family.
Parnall Law attorneys are the most experienced personal injury and wrongful death lawyers in New Mexico. Our team works diligently to obtain acknowledgment to you of the injustice you have suffered, as well as the maximum compensation available so you no longer suffer financially.
Contact Parnall Law today for a free, no-obligation consultation about your slip-and-fall accident and the legal options available to you. Our dedicated and compassionate personal injury attorneys can investigate and pursue your accident claim while you concentrate on recovering from this ordeal. Our goal is for you to have your life back after this unwanted and unnecessary intrusion.