Ferguson & Ferguson
Attorneys at Law
What is a dangerous or hazardous condition in Decatur, Alabama?
Property owners in Alabama are responsible for keeping their property in a safe condition. The amount of responsibility depends on your status on the property. Property owners in Alabama can be held liable for injuries that occur as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on their property that they knew about, should have known about, or caused. Further, the hazard may be open and obvious or hidden. The condition can be permanent or temporary.
Examples of hazards include, but are not limited to:
- Standing water
- Uncleared snow
- Broken and crumbling curbs
- Inadequate lighting
- Defective flooring
- Improperly secured mats
- Stairways and steps
- Uneven pavement
- Hidden drop offs
- Concealed holes
- Liquid or and solid grocery items spilled or dropped on floors
In general, in Alabama, an owner will be considered to have knowledge of a dangerous or hazardous condition if it is permanent. In the case of food or spills, the length of time that the condition existed before the accident occurred is important. Knowledge is not necessary if the property owner caused the spill.
Is it okay in Alabama to allow the business owner or manager to fill out an incident report?
It is always a good idea to document a slip-fall incident. Always report the accident and have a report completed. Questions on these forms are frequently worded to make victims provide statements that may minimize the legal responsibility of the business in question. Further make sure you have witnesses’ names, addresses and phone numbers on the incident report. Make sure you receive a copy of the report.
Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company?
Yes and no. You should never give a recorded statement until you have talked to or retained an attorney. The purpose of the recorded statement is often to get information from you to justify the insurance company denying your claim. After you get an attorney and understand the law, you then can give a recorded statement to the adjuster for the insurance company.
Does my purpose on the property at the time of the incident affect my rights in a claim for damages?
Yes. Invitees, licensees and trespassers all have different rights under the law. The greatest duty is owed to an invitee in Alabama.
What kinds of damages are recoverable?
In general, the following damages may be recovered:
- Medical bills and expenses incurred as a result of the incident, which include future medical bills
- Lost income for time taken off from work to recover
- The fair value of any clothing and/or property damaged in the incident
- Compensation for pain and suffering, scarring, disability as a result of the incident and general damages.
How much is my case worth in Alabama?
Each slip-and-fall accident is unique. There is no way of determining what your case is worth without having all of the medical records, bills and facts related to the case. The actual value of a claim often is not known until an extensive investigation is conducted and your medical treatment is complete.
How long do I have to pursue a slip-and-fall claim in Alabama?
Generally, you have two years from the date of a fall to resolve the claim or start litigation. If your claim is against a government entity, a city or county, for example, you may have to file a notice or claim in a shorter period of time.
Will insurance cover my injuries?
Much depends on the property owner’s insurance. Homeowners and commercial insurance policies often protect against loss from a slip and fall. Most companies and individuals have medical payments coverage on their policies. This coverage will provide medical payments up to a certain amount of coverage, regardless of fault.
What if I’m partially at fault for the accident?
In Alabama , if you are at fault at all for your injury, you are not entitled to any recovery, regardless of how seriously you were hurt.