Petrarca and Petrarca Law Offices

Man laying on floor next to a caution wet sign after a Rhode Island slip and fall injury

Rhode Island Slip and Fall Accidents – A Providence Lawyer Explains

In Rhode Island, property owners have a responsibility to keep their property safe. Unfortunately, not everyone takes this responsibility seriously. When a property owner neglects proper safety measures, a slip and fall accident can follow.

Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere–at work, school, shopping centers, or even another person’s home. Some falls can result in life-changing injuries. And if you suffered a slip and fall accident due to a property owner’s negligence, you might have a legal case on your hands.

Read on to learn more about slip and fall accidents explained by a Providence personal injury lawyer.

What is a slip and fall accident?

A “Slip and fall” is a type of personal injury claim where someone trips, slips, or falls on another person’s property because of a dangerous condition. The dangerous condition can be anything. Some common examples include:

  • Stairs with loose or missing handrails
  • Rotting balconies, decks, or porches
  • Malfunctioning equipment, such as elevators, escalators, or automatic doors
  • Wet, icy, or slippery surfaces
  • Uneven surfaces, or holes in the floor or stairs
  • Building code violations

Regardless of the cause, a slip and fall accident can make a significant impact in your life. Slip and falls can result in injuries that require time off work, hospital stays, or expensive medical treatments.

What kind of injuries can you get from a slip and fall?

Slip and fall injuries can run the gamut from simple bruises to life-changing injuries. Some slip and fall injury types include:

  • Broken bones
  • Cuts and abrasions
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Joint injuries

Older adults are especially vulnerable to slip and fall injuries. According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of injury and death for older adults. Unsafe environments can exacerbate the danger many older adults experience.

Another group vulnerable to slip and fall accidents are construction workers. Slip and falls from scaffolding or higher levels are unfortunately commonplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Non-fatal slips, trips, and falls are a leading cause of missed work time in the construction industry. It’s imperative to contact a Rhode Island personal injury attorney after a construction accident.

However, slip and fall accidents can happen to anyone, including retail workers, shoppers, or visitors in another person’s home.

List of common injuries pertaining to a slip and fall accident

Who’s liable for a slip and fall accident?

Slip and falls are a type of premises liability claim. Premises liability requires property owners to ensure the safety of people who enter their property. They’re expected to take reasonable measures to achieve this–like repairing or replacing unsafe structures, roping off dangerous areas, or even setting out wet floor signs.

Essentially, if a property owner knows about unsafe conditions but fails to take any steps to rectify them, then they could be found negligent in a slip and fall claim.

Property owners aren’t the only ones who could be held liable, however. Sometimes, property owners entrust other people to ensure the safety of their property. For example, hiring a property manager to upkeep an apartment complex. Check your local municipalities’ premises law for further information.

If the property manager neglected their duty to keep the complex safe, resulting in a slip and fall injury, they may be held liable alongside or instead of the property owner.

It’s even possible for the victim themselves to be held liable in some slip and fall cases.

What is pure comparative fault? How does it affect a slip and fall case?

Rhode Island operates under a system called pure comparative negligence. This means that if a slip and fall happened partly due to an individual’s own negligence, then the court can reduce the amount they receive as a result.

For example, say you slipped on a wet floor without a sign, resulting in a broken arm from the fall. Your injuries resulted in a $10,000 hospital stay. You’d like to recover the cost in a slip and fall claim. However, you were texting when you slipped.

You were distracted when the slip and fall accident happened, which can make you partly negligent, even though the hazard wasn’t properly marked. The court might find you to be 50% at fault for the slip and fall. This means that the other party would be liable for paying 50% of your medical bills in slip and fall settlements, or $5,000.

There are other conditions that could affect pure comparative fault in Rhode Island. Such as:

  • The victim was trespassing when the slip and fall occurred.
  • The victim’s slip and fall occurred in a clearly marked off-limits area.
  • The cause of the slip and fall didn’t reasonably warrant signs or warning.

However, slip and fall lawsuits are often fraught with complexities and confusion. Property owners naturally want to minimize their own property owners’ liability as much as possible. Some people may try to bully or persuade a person against pursuing a slip and fall claim–even when they could obtain compensation.

This is where an RI personal injury lawyer can help you analyze your unique situation and advise you on how to move forward.

What’s the statute of limitations for these claims?

In Rhode Island, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is 3 years. To get your slip and fall claim in the system in time, it’s imperative that you take legal action as soon as possible.

How to file a personal injury claim with a RI personal injury lawyer

If you suffered after a slip and fall accident in Rhode Island, contact Petrarca Law.

We have over 40 years of combined experience as Rhode Island personal injury attorneys. We’ve helped our personal clients obtain much-needed funds to cover medical bills, missing wages, and other expenses. We can take care of every aspect of your case for you, so you can focus on what’s truly important–getting your life back on track.

Contact our office today for a free consultation.