Trip and Fall Accidents

There are two parts to a trip and fall/slip and fall accident, liability and damages.

Liability is what caused you to slip or fall. 

Damages are the injuries sustained from the fall.


Causes of falls can range from:

  • Cracks in a sidewalk
  • Holes or broken pavement
  • Raised or uneven flagstones
  • Sunken or a depression in the sidewalk
  • Debris
  • Failure to clear snow and ice
  • Improper cleaning of snow and ice
  • Lack of handles in a stairwell
  • Improper height differential between stairs
  • Improper height differential between the stairs
  • Lack of lighting or improper lighting in a stairwell or pathway
  • Collapsing step or stairwell
  • Wet floors and no warning signs
  • Raised areas in a carpeted surface
  • Defective cellar doors
  • And many other causes

The injury sustained can result from a simple fall, to broken bones and even death.

What a laymen will assume is normal or a result of their own negligence may in actuality be a defective design and actionable. So if you trip and fall contact an attorney to see if you re entitled to compensation.. 


When you fall first ascertain how you feel.  Can you get up by yourself?  If you feel you need assistance do not try to get up on your own.  Call an ambulance if you can or if there is someone around have them call an ambulance.

Look at what caused you to trip and fall.

 Even if you are able to get up on your own power if you feel you are injured, have EMS take you to the hospital.  Do not assume that the pain will go away.  Do not go home and have EMS pick you up from home. Having EMS pick you up from the scene lends validity to your claim that you fell at that spot.

It is important to prove where you fell.  Was there a witness to your fall?  Is there a video of the area where you fell?

Today there is a plethora of door cams and video footage maintained by both private and government agencies. Obtaining this footage which supports your version of events is invaluable.

Once you are well enough, go back to where you fell and take pictures of what caused you to fall and a few general pictures of the site where you fell. Make sure you include in your overview picture identifying marks, stores, buildings as well as the area that caused you to fall. This will allow the opposing side to see that the place you fell is on their property.


Tell the ambulance personal how you feel. Detail each and every injury no matter how minor it feels. This establishes a record of your injuries.

At the hospital detail to the hospital personnel every injury that you have, do not leave any injury however minor out of your description.

If you have suffered a serious injury and are admitted to the hospital, if any part of your body is in pain or injured even that for which you were not admitted for, bring it up with the hospital personnel.

If you are discharged from the hospital and the pain goes away, then consider yourself lucky. If the pain persists or gets worse call your doctor.

Many a time after an accident the shock and adrenaline will mask many injures that you have. Some times it takes a few hours, days or even weeks for injuries to be felt. If you are injured it is imperative that you see a doctor as soon as possible. The longer it takes for you to go to your first appointment means in many a case a lower recovery.

Depending on liability of the parties, the seriousness of your injury will determine the monetary recovery you receive.

It is important that you follow your doctors orders. If you are prescribed physical therapy, attend physical therapy. If a doctor sends you for a test go for the test. Constant therapy, doctor visits and medical tests all help document your injury and assist in building your case. Your doctor may suggest a surgery. You are the decision maker on wether you should have a surgery. Never do surgery for the case. Surgery is only for you to improve your health.

If you are injured in an accident contact an attorney as he can best guide you through this difficult process.

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The process

No two accidents are the same. Retaining proper counsel can ease your burden so you can concentrate on your recovery. Do you have health insurance, are you going to treat on a medical lien, does the defendant have medpay?

If you hire an attorney they will have an interview with you to obtain all the facts about your case. Medical records will be ordered. Generally a law suit will not be started until you have finished treating. At that point many attorneys try to settle the case withe insurance company. Many an attorney or case requires that the case be put in suit before ant settlement negotiations can be had.

An action unless it is against the City or a governmental agency is initiated with the filing of a summons and complaint. City and governmental agencies generally require the filing of a notice of claim within 90 days of the accident. The defendant will answer with numerous demands. Your attorney will respond and make his own demands. A PC will be requested in which the parties will demand insurance information to be provided and numerous discovery from each side. Deposition dates for both sides will be scheduled. A Compliance Conference date will also be scheduled as will be a Note of Issue, which is the date the case will be certified ready to be placed on the trial calendar.

Medical Coverage

The most common question I am asked is how am I going to pay for my medical treatment. There are three types of ways to have your medical bills paid.  Health insurance, including medicaid and medicare.  If you go this route, there might be depending on what insurance you have, there might be a subrogation claim made against the recovery from your case for the bills paid by your insurer.  Medicaid and medicare do make a claim for the medical services they have paid out for your medical treatment. 


Medical lien – This is where the medical facility or doctor will treat you in anticipation of collecting his fee at the end of the case.


Medical loans –  Some doctors want to be paid up front.  There are many companies which will lend you the money to obtain the medical treatment that you need.  These companies charge interest for their loans.  Your attorney is best equipped to deal with these companies, both in negotiating the loan, interest rate and at the time of payment.


Medpay – Some insurance policies have Medpay.  This is that the defendants insurance company has a clause that will pay for some of your medical bills.  An attorney is best suited to determine if the defendant has medpay.


There are instances that as a result of the car accident the plaintiff dies.  In other instances the plaintiff does not die immediately from the injuries sustained in the car accident, but subsequently dies from the injuries sustained in the car accident or dies from unrelated causes.  In such a case an administrator must be appointed by the Surrogates Court to proceed with the case.  Generally a family member is appointed to become the administrator to proceed with the sole purpose of prosecuting the action.  This process is usually done either by a probate attorney or your personal injury attorney.


            The personal injury action continues and the caption of the lawsuit will reflect that the case is being pursued by the administrator of the estate of the decedent. The case will proceed and either will be settled or goes to trial.  Once there is either a settlement or a verdict, the administrator will have to submit a series of documents and the settlement or verdict will need to be approved by the Surrogate Court.  If there are numerous heirs, the parties can agree in advance to their percentages or ask the Court to determine the amounts that each eligible heir will receive.

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Lost Wages

Many a time you as the injured plaintiff can not work, how are you going to support yourself?


            In New York, for-profit employers and some not-for-profit employers are required to

carry disability benefits insurance. It pays you temporary cash benefits if you can’t work

because you were injured or became ill outside your employment. In other words, the

injury or illness happened off-the-job. The benefit is 50% of your average weekly wage, up to

a maximum of $170 a week. Your average weekly wage is based on your wages for the eight weeks of work prior to your last day worked. Benefits are subject to Social Security taxes.

There is a seven-day waiting period; benefits begin on the eighth consecutive day of disability. The first benefit payment is due within four business days after your 14th day of disability, or four business days after the insurer receives your claim, whichever is later. Benefits are

payable every two weeks during the period of disability.


            Your attorney may advise you to apply for social security disability.  Your lawyer will recommend an attorney who is well versed in this area of law to help you with this process.

Loans Against Your Case

Some times disability and savings will not be enough to help you survive.  You might need to take a loan from a company that will lend you money in anticipation of collecting the sum lent plus a hefty interest rate.  Never take such a loan without the consent and knowledge of your attorney.  He is best equipped to deal with the company in negotiating the terms and the interest of the loan.    At the end of the case it is your attorney who will attempt to negotiate with the lending company to try to reduce the sums that they claim are due.

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