Slip & Fall FAQs

I slipped and fell on someone else’s property. What are my rights?          

man falling on wet floor

If the fall was caused by the actions of the property owner or premise manager you may be entitled to compensatory damages for your injury. Slip and fall claims are commonly known as “Premise Liability” claims. The owner’s liability (legal responsibility) for the injuries of someone on his or her property depends on the status of the person on the property.

When you are on someone’s property you are classified in one of three categories: 1) Invitee, 2) Licensee, or 3) Trespasser. The premise owner’s legal duty to protect you from injury while on his or her property varies depending on your status.

Invitees are owed the highest duty of care by the property owner or premise manager. Invitees includes business customers, visitors, guests and others who are present on the property for the financial benefit of the owner or occupier. Owners and occupiers of land or property have a legal duty  to maintain the property in a safe condition and provide reasonable warnings of possible dangerous or hazardous conditions. Property owners or premise managers can be held liable for injuries to an invitee because of a  dangerous conditions they should have known about and remedied.

Licensees are people who have received an invitation to be on the property of someone else but they are not there for business or financial purposes. This is often someone on property for social purposes. These visitors to the property are commonly referred to as “social guests”. Property owners or premise managers are responsible for correcting and warning against dangerous conditions and hazardous situations. However, owners can only be held responsible for dangers they actually knew about.

Trespasser: Owners and occupiers of a premise or property owe the lowest duty of care to a trespasser.  A a trespasser is on the property uninvited and without permission. Property owners are not responsible for keeping their property safe for trespassers. The only duty owed to trespassers is to refrain from engaging in intentional or reckless conduct that causes injuries and to warn the trespasser if you have actual knowledge they are in peril or danger. If the property owner has reasonable knowledge that children trespass onto the property, owners should post warnings of unsafe conditions and take reasonable steps to prevent the children from being exposed to such dangers.

 

What are the different types of Premise Liability Claims?

There are many different situations where a property owner or premise manager may be legally responsible (liable) for the injury or death of a guest. These include:

Slip and Falls

Trip and Falls

Property Maintenance Issues

Defective Steps

Defective Handrails

Defective Decks

Dangerous Carpets, Rugs or Mats

Falling Products

Wet or Slippery Floors

Elevator and Escalator Injuries

Swimming Pool Accidents and Drownings

Dog and Animal Bites

Defective or Dangerous Playground Equipment

Electrocution and Electric Shock Injuries

Lack of Adequate Security

 

The property owner’s insurance company says they are not responsible for my fall on their customer’s property. How can they not be responsible?

Generally under the law in order to hold a property owner or premise manager liable (legally responsible) for your injury on their property, you must prove they did something negligent to cause your fall. The law affords property owners or premise managers certain defenses to a claim of negligence and these defenses can block their liability or reduce the money damages they may owe. The two most common defenses raised are: 1) Open and Obvious and 2) Contributory Negligence.

Open and Obvious: The hazard or dangerous condition is such that it should have been seen and the danger appreciated by the premise guest.

Contributory Negligence: The premise guest failed to exercise reasonable care to see and appreciate the condition that caused the fall.

These two defenses may negate the liability claim or reduce the damages owed by the property owner or premise manager. These are often raised by the property owner’s insurance company to try and defeat or discourage an injured guest from pursuing a claim for damages. Trying to determine the validity of these defenses often requires the assistance of an attorney who can review the facts and legal standards to better assess the viability of the claim.

 

I fell and was hurt on someone’s property. What compensation am I entitled to?

If you can prove the property owner or premise manager was legally responsible (liable) for causing your fall AND there are no viable defenses to your claim, you may be entitled to collect the following types of compensatory damages from the property owner’s insurance company:

Medical bills for injuries caused by the fall,

Lost Wages for medically necessary time missed from work,

Pain & Suffering related to the injuries caused by the fall,

Mental Anguish (also known as worry and concern), and

Future Compensatory Damages that are reasonably certain to be incurred.

Injuries caused by the fall can include the aggravation or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition. Also, it is important to remember that the issue of medical causation will often require medical documentation. The compensatory damages are usually paid in one lump sum that includes all claimable damages and once the damages are paid, the claim is closed forever and no future claims will be considered.

 

How much will it cost to consult with a BRW lawyer about my slip and fall claim?

At Boteler Richardson Wolfe, our lawyers offer free consultations on all injury related claims and cases. The free consultation will include a review of the facts and related issues presented in your situation. It will also include an honest assessment about whether your claim or case warrants hiring an attorney. If you select a BRW lawyer to assist with your claim or case there are no fees charged up front and you only pay attorney fees if we win your claim or case! Call us today to speak with one of our lawyers: 251 433-7766.

 

REQUIRED DISCLAIMERS: Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2: No representation is made that the quality of legal service to be performed is greater than the services provided by other lawyers. The Mississippi Supreme Court advises that a decision on legal services is important and should not be based solely on advertisements. Free background information is available upon request to a Mississippi attorney. The listing of any area of practice by a Mississippi attorney does not indicate any certification of expertise therein. See Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(d), Rule 7.4(a), Rule 7.6(a) (1997). Statement in compliance with Florida Bar Advertising Rules: “The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. [Florida Rule 4-7.2(d)]. General Disclaimer: This information is posted for general information purposes to help those interested parties or persons with potential civil claims better understand their rights and potential causes of action. If readers are currently represented by an attorney on the subject matter of this post then they are encouraged to continue with said representation. No attorney-client relationship is established by this post.

Personal Injury Claims: What Are “Value Drivers?”

Today most major automobile insurance companies use some form of Computer Assisted Claim Evaluation Program to help them establish a “value” for a personal injury claim. These programs evaluate data about the injury claim and then provide the adjuster with a value or compensation amount they should pay the victim. Depending on the company, adjusters may have to strictly follow the evaluation or they may be able to offer more than the program’s “evaluation.”  Desktop Computer Free vector in Adobe Illustrator ai ( .AI ), Encapsulated PostScript eps ( .EPS ) format for free download 3.28MB

Central to all of these programs are value-drivers. These are certain facts or factors that are input into the program. A value-driver can be either positive or negative. Meaning they can either increase the amount of compensation the victim receives or reduce the amount of compensation the victim receives. These programs can evaluate thousands of different value drivers. Even for a simple auto-crash injury claim there can be over 100 value drivers analyzed by these programs.

Obviously the diagnosis code for an injury is an important value driver but so are the treatment codes as well as the timing of the treatment. The “value” of a diagnosis code may also depend on what type of doctor made the diagnosis. A delay in care or a gap in treatment can be a negative value driver as well as inconsistent pain complaints in the medical records. Many times these negative value drivers can be limited or overridden by the adjuster but he or she has strict criteria or guidelines on what documents and/or facts must be presented to limit the negative value driver.

If you have a serious injury claim from a car crash, you need a law firm that understands Computer Assisted Claim Evaluation programs and knows how to properly document all of the positive value drivers and limit the negative value drivers. At Boteler Richardson Wolfe we’ve been helping car crash victims present and prosecute their insurance claims for over 30 years. We know and understand Computer Assisted Claim Evaluation Programs better than most attorneys. We can help you get the full compensation you deserve! Give us a call today: 251 433-7766 or email Mark Wolfe at mark@brwlawyers today for a free consultation.

REQUIRED DISCLAIMERS: Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2: No representation is made that the quality of legal service to be performed is greater than the services provided by other lawyers. The Mississippi Supreme Court advises that a decision on legal services is important and should not be based solely on advertisements. Free background information is available upon request to a Mississippi attorney. The listing of any area of practice by a Mississippi attorney does not indicate any certification of expertise therein. See Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(d), Rule 7.4(a), Rule 7.6(a) (1997). Statement in compliance with Florida Bar Advertising Rules: “The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. [Florida Rule 4-7.2(d)]. General Disclaimer: This information is posted for general information purposes to help those interested parties or persons with potential civil claims better understand their rights and potential causes of action. If readers are currently represented by an attorney on the subject matter of this post then they are encouraged to continue with said representation. No attorney-client relationship is established by this post.

What’s Up with the Zantac Recall Ads?

What’s Up with the Zantac Recall Ads?

On April 1, 2020, the FDA announced the immediate withdrawal of all prescription and over the counter Ranitidine and Zantac ® from the market. In its announcement, the agency stated that it “determined that the impurity in some ranitidine products increases over time and when stored at higher than room temperatures and may result in consumer exposure to unacceptable levels of this impurity.” The impurity, NDMA, is a known cancer causing chemical. Before April’s announcement, it was thought the impurity formed in the body. While this continues to be a common thought in the scientific community, thzantace FDA cautioned in its announcement that the impurity may result from when the drug is stored for longer periods of time at temperatures above 72 degrees. There are additional studies that will, hopefully, shed light on the reason for the impurity, but, for now, those studies have been delayed due to Covid-19.

According to studies of the contaminant NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine), possible side effects of ingestion are:

Bladder Cancer
Colorectal Cancer
Esophageal Cancer
Intestinal Cancer
Kidney Cancer
Liver Cancer
Ovarian Cancer
Pancreatic Cancer
Stomach Cancer
Testicular Cancer
Uterine Cancer

Currently, lawsuits and claims filed throughout the country have been consolidated in the U.S. Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida through a multi-district litigation (MDL) process. While this litigation is in its infancy, there have been several thousand claims filed with the court through a census program. The utilization of this program is incredibly important as it will assist with determining the cause of the impurity found in ranitidine and Zantac ® and the effect NDMA has on the drug’s users.

Proof of cause and effect will be incredibly important and complex in this litigation as there are several hurdles consumers face in this litigation. For instance, those who were prescribed, generic Ranitidine was prescribed much more often than Zantac. This poses a significant problem as the U.S. Supreme Court has held that state law failure to warn claims against manufacturers of generic drugs are preempted be federal drug regulations. In other words, those consumers taking Ranitidine by prescription, only, are prohibited by law from making a claim against a generic manufacturer under a theory the company failed to warn the drug’s usage may cause cancer. Thus, in those cases, consumers will be forced to show evidence there is a defect in the manufacturing process of the generic manufacturer. Another concern, is proof of usage for those who purchased Ranitidine and Zantac ® over-the-counter. Requesting documents from pharmacy reward programs and/or medical savings accounts (MSA) will be imperative. Last, determining the manufacturer responsible for the consumer’s injury will be tasking; there are over 15 manufacturers of Ranitidine and Zantac ®. In summation, given the widespread usage of Ranitidine and Zantac ® and the complex evidentiary and legal theories that must be overcome by the consumer, this litigation pending in Miami, FL may, very well, take several years to reach a conclusion.

For more information related to this article and Ranitidine and Zantac ® claims, call Knox Boteler at 251-433-7766 or email, Knox@BRWlawyers.com

REQUIRED DISCLAIMERS: Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2: No representation is made that the quality of legal service to be performed is greater than the services provided by other lawyers. The Mississippi Supreme Court advises that a decision on legal services is important and should not be based solely on advertisements. Free background information is available upon request to a Mississippi attorney. The listing of any area of practice by a Mississippi attorney does not indicate any certification of expertise therein. See Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(d), Rule 7.4(a), Rule 7.6(a) (1997). Statement in compliance with Florida Bar Advertising Rules: “The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. [Florida Rule 4-7.2(d)]. General Disclaimer: This information is posted for general information purposes to help those interested parties or persons with potential civil claims better understand their rights and potential causes of action. If readers are currently represented by an attorney on the subject matter of this post then they are encouraged to continue with said representation. No attorney-client relationship is established by this post.

 

Hurt on the job? Ten things you need to know about Alabama workers compensation laws.

INJURED WORKER’S RIGHTS IN ALABAMA

by Mark Wolfe – Attorney at Law

Boteler Richardson Wolfe – Injury Attorneys

1. You can not be terminated by your employer solely because you make a claim for worker’s compensation benefits.

2. You have a right to receive wage compensation benefits within 30 days after the benefits are determined to be due.

3. You have a right to have all undisputed medical bills paid by your employer, and/or its insurance carrier, within 25 days of submission.

4. Depending on the nature and extent of your injury, you have the right to vocational retraining or vocational rehabilitation if necessary.

5. You have a right to a second medical opinion at the employer’s expense. Upon request, the employer, or its worker’s compensation insurance carrier, must provide you with the names of four other doctors for you to choose from for your second medical opinion.

6. You have a right to have any settlement for wage or medical benefits approved by Court. In most instances, court approval is required.

7. You have a right to free assistance on your worker’s compensation claim from the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations via the Omsbudman Program: 1 800 528-5166.

8. You have the right to prosecute your worker’s compensation claim in Court.

9. You have a right to hire your own attorney to assist you in the presentation and/or prosecution of your claim based upon a limited contingency fee. The contingency fees in worker’s compensation claims is limited to 15% plus expenses and is only paid if wage benefits are recovered.

10. You have a right to bring a liability claim or case against a third party responsible for causing your on the job injury. Third party meaning someone other than your employer and/or a co- worker who may have caused your work related injury.

Download our free guide to Alabama workers compensation claims 

If you would like a free consultation with Mark (or any of our attorneys) about your workers compensation claim, please email him at mark@brwlawyers.com or send a text to 251 533-9548 (cell). You can also call Mark directly at 251 410-7761.

REQUIRED DISCLAIMERS: Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2: No representation is made that the quality of legal service to be performed is greater than the services provided by other lawyers. The Mississippi Supreme Court advises that a decision on legal services is important and should not be based solely on advertisements. Free background information is available upon request to a Mississippi attorney. The listing of any area of practice by a Mississippi attorney does not indicate any certification of expertise therein. See Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(d), Rule 7.4(a), Rule 7.6(a) (1997). Statement in compliance with Florida Bar Advertising Rules: “The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. [Florida Rule 4-7.2(d)]. General Disclaimer: This information is posted for general information purposes to help those interested parties or persons with potential civil claims better understand their rights and potential causes of action. If readers are currently represented by an attorney on the subject matter of this post then they are encouraged to continue with said representation. No attorney-client relationship is established by this post.

When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
by Mark Wolfe , Personal Injury Attorney

When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer? This is probably the most common question personal injury victims ask when they’ve been hurt by someone else. To really provide a meaningful answer, there are two things you should keep in mind. First, the more serious the injury the more benefit you will get from hiring the right personal injury attorney for your claim or case and second, there’s a difference between talking or consulting with a lawyer and hiring a lawyer. We’ll review these two topics in reverse order.

Many victims of a personal injury are reluctant or hesitant about hiring a personal injury lawyer right after their injury. Some victims think they can handle the claim themselves without having to share a portion of the recovery with a lawyer. Some victims believe hiring a lawyer will make them appear greedy or opportunistic. While these are valid concerns, personal injury victims need to understand the difference between “hiring” a lawyer and simply “consulting” with a lawyer. Not every victim of a personal injury will need or benefit from hiring a personal injury lawyer; HOWEVER, every personal injury victims should at least know their rights and have some basic legal information about their claim. The sooner a personal injury victim has that information, the better informed he or she will be about all the critical decisions related to the insurance claim. Almost every personal injury attorney in America offers “free consultations.” Many personal injury lawyers even offer free downloadable guides for automobile accident injury claims or on the job injury claims. If you’ve been the victim of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Most legitimate personal injury lawyers will also explain whether or not you’ll need to hire a personal injury lawyer for your claim and the benefit of hiring the right personal injury attorney for your claim.

As stated above, the more serious the injury the more you will benefit from hiring the right personal injury lawyer. But why? The simple truth is insurance claims are complex. Even non-catastrophic injury claims are subject to the insurance company’s rigorous claims processing and analysis protocol. The insurance company’s goal on EVERY claim is to pay as little as possible. The insurance industry is a profit driven industry and not a charity. The complex procedures they use in analyzing and evaluating a personal injury claim are designed for the simple purpose of paying as little as they can on a claim and making sure all claims are paid at an equally low rate. It’s not the insurance company’s job to help you get the maximum benefits that are owed to you! Also, almost all personal injury claims involve a secondary claim for repayment from the victim’s proceeds. Hospital liens, Medicare/medicaid lines and health insurance subrogation claims all can impact a personal injury victim’s financial recovery from a claim. A qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer can help make sure all appropriate value drivers for your claim are identified and presented to the insurance company and he or she can favorably resolve any secondary issues related to your claim. Even in smaller personal injury claims, an experienced and qualified personal injury attorney can significantly and legitimately increase the benefits you recover.

When you consult with an experienced and qualified personal injury attorney he or she will be able to give you a meaningful opinion, based upon the factors discussed above, as to when it would be beneficial for you to hire a personal injury lawyer to present and prosecute your claim with the insurance company.

If you would like a free consultation with Mark about your potential insurance claim, please email him at mark@brwlawyers.com or send a text to 251 533-9548 (cell). You can also call Mark directly at 251 410-7761.

REQUIRED DISCLAIMERS: Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2: No representation is made that the quality of legal service to be performed is greater than the services provided by other lawyers. The Mississippi Supreme Court advises that a decision on legal services is important and should not be based solely on advertisements. Free background information is available upon request to a Mississippi attorney. The listing of any area of practice by a Mississippi attorney does not indicate any certification of expertise therein. See Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(d), Rule 7.4(a), Rule 7.6(a) (1997). Statement in compliance with Florida Bar Advertising Rules: “The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. [Florida Rule 4-7.2(d)]. General Disclaimer: This information is posted for general information purposes to help those interested parties or persons with potential civil claims better understand their rights and potential causes of action. If readers are currently represented by an attorney on the subject matter of this post then they are encouraged to continue with said representation. No attorney-client relationship is established by this post.