Albuquerque Slip and Fall Injury Attorney
Slip and fall accidents can cause broken bones, head injuries, brain injuries, and other serious physical harms. They may require weeks of recovery time and missed days at work. If a negligent property owner contributed to your slip and fall accident in Albuquerque, you could be eligible for compensation.
Contact The Fine Law Firm if you suffered an injury from a recent slip/trip and fall accident. We have decades of experience we can put to work for you. Our personal injury attorneys in Albuquerque can provide trustworthy legal representation we believe is unmatched in the state of New Mexico. Call for your free consultation.
Why Choose Us?
The Fine Law Firm knows how to go up against property insurance companies during claim settlement negotiations. We have trial experience, and large corporations and courtrooms don’t intimidate us. Slip and fall accident victims choose us for a variety of reasons, including:
- Personal attention from a lead attorney
- Main priority rests on the client
- 99% case success rate
- No fees unless we win
The right attorney can give you peace of mind during the litigation process. While you focus on healing from your slip and fall injury, we’ll go up against the person or entity that caused your accident. Trust us with your case and we’ll strive for maximum compensation.
Why Do You Need a Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer?
The property owner allegedly responsible for your accident and his/her insurer will likely try to contest your claim. The insurance company may use defenses such as comparative fault or allege that you missed a deadline or somehow don’t qualify for recovery. Don’t let the insurer take advantage of you. Protect your rights and secure your financial future by hiring an attorney. One of our lawyers representing your slip and fall case will give you the power to prevent low settlement offers and denied claims.
A fair personal injury settlement agreement can be imperative for your future if you have injuries that will require continuing medical care. In addition to improving the outcome of your case, however, an attorney can make it easier to focus on healing and moving forward by taking care of difficult legal matters for you. Your lawyer will investigate your slip and fall accident, determine the defendant, preserve evidence, talk to expert witnesses, and take over negotiations with an insurance company on your behalf. Hiring a lawyer can take the legal burden off of your shoulders.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in Albuquerque, NM
Not all slip and fall accidents in Albuquerque will give you the right to file a premises liability claim. One or more parties must be guilty of causing or greatly contributing to your accident through a wrongful or negligent act. Negligence is the failure to use proper care, such as the failure to properly and safely maintain a property. In New Mexico, many preventable property hazards and defects could result in slip or trip and fall accidents, including:
- Wet floors
- Greasy or waxed floors
- Rain, snow or environmental conditions
- A lack of “Wet Floor” signs
- Dangerous parking lots
- Cracked or broken curbs
- Uneven surfaces
- Loose carpets and rugs
- Exposed cords or wires
- Unsafe staircases
- Low lighting
If there is evidence that the owner of the property where you fell and were injured knew or reasonably should have known about the hazardous condition but failed to take steps to prevent a fall accident, such as repair the issue or post warning signs, you may have grounds for an injury lawsuit. An attorney from The Fine Law Firm can investigate your accident and help you search for evidence that the property owner should have done more to prevent the dangerous issue.
Injuries From Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents
A slip and fall accident can cause minor injuries, such as scrapes and bruises. In many cases, however, these accidents result in much more severe injuries. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and fall accidents send approximately one million people to the emergency room each year. Some slip and fall accidents are even deadly, especially among older victims who can develop fatal injury complications. Physical injuries that are often associated with slip and fall accidents in Albuquerque include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Bruises and contusions
- Soft-tissue and muscle injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Slipped/herniated disks
- Spinal cord injuries
- Wrist and arm injuries
- Ankle/lower extremity injuries
- Bone fractures
- Hip fracture
The injuries and complications connected to a slip and fall accident could cause long-term or permanent damage. A head injury could cause permanent brain damage, for example, and a hip fracture could result in an infection or blood clot. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with a serious injury from a slip and fall in New Mexico, an attorney from The Fine Law Firm can help you understand your rights. As a victim with any type of injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the property owner or another party.
Hip Fractures and Elderly Victims
One of the most dangerous injuries connected to fall accidents is a hip fracture. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that at least 300,000 senior citizens are hospitalized for hip fractures each year. More than 95 percent of these injuries are caused by falls. In the elderly, a hip fracture can have life-threatening complications. Someone who is 65 or older is at a higher risk of blood clots, bedsores, pneumonia, infections and loss of muscle mass from bed rest connected to hip fracture recovery. In the worst cases, these complications can be deadly.
Who Is Liable for a Slip and Fall?
New Mexico law holds property owners responsible for the safety of their homes, businesses, and lots. It is a property owner’s duty to inspect the area for hidden hazards, repair known ones, and prevent accidents by warning guests of potential dangers. A property owner owes these duties to invitees, such as customers at a business. An owner does not, however, have to check for hidden hazards when welcoming licensees to a property – or do anything to prevent harm to a trespasser.
Your classification as a guest on the property will determine the owner’s duties of care to you. There are three different classifications:
- Invitees. An invitee is a guest who has been welcomed or invited to the property for a lawful purpose. The invite to the premises can be express or implied. The duties of care that a homeowner owes an invitee include inspecting the property, keeping the premises safe and posting any necessary warning signs.
- Licensees. A licensee is also legally allowed on a premises, but he or she enters for the licensee’s own benefit or gratification, not the property owner’s. An example is a utility company that needs to work on the property or a friend who visits unannounced. Licensees and invitees are owed the same duties of care, minus the responsibility to inspect the property beforehand for licensees.
- Trespassers. A trespasser does not have the property owner’s permission or legal authority to enter the property. Trespassing on a property takes away the owner’s duty of care to prevent injury to the trespasser, unless the trespasser is a minor under the age of 18. A property owner cannot intentionally harm a trespasser to protect the property, however.
Liability will also depend on who caused your accident. Someone other than the property owner could be accountable if that person caused your injuries. Liable parties may include co-workers product manufacturers or off-duty employees. Understanding your position on a property and the actions/inactions of the property owner is necessary before filing your claim. Determining liability may take an investigation into your slip and fall accident. An experienced slip and fall lawyer can help.
What About Slip and Fall Accidents on Public Property?
If a property that is open to the public contains a slip or trip and fall hazard, an injured victim may be able to file a lawsuit against the government entity responsible for the premises. If you tripped on an uneven public sidewalk in downtown Albuquerque and suffered a serious injury, for example, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the City of Albuquerque or the State of New Mexico for failing to keep the public place reasonably safe and free from dangerous defects.
While you are lawfully able to file a lawsuit against a government entity in New Mexico under the state’s tort law, these types of cases have special rules and requirements. You have a year less than the typical deadline to file a claim against the government, for example (two years instead of three). You may have even less time if you are going up against a local government, as these cases generally have 90-day deadlines. You will also have a damage cap, or a limit on the amount of financial compensation that you can obtain, in a claim against the government. An attorney can help you navigate a slip and fall claim involving public property.
Common Defenses Raised in a Slip and Fall Case
A slip, trip and fall case can be difficult to prove and win. These types of lawsuits are often closely scrutinized by the courts due to the high number of frivolous or fraudulent lawsuits. The defendant and defense attorney will do their best to refute liability for your slip and fall accident, in most cases. Anticipating possible defenses that the opposing party might use to avoid paying can help you strengthen your claim. Common defenses include:
- No notice of the hazard. The property owner might argue that the hazard was so new that he or she did not notice it in time to make repairs. If the hazard was recurring, however, such as a store that waxes its floors once a week, the owner may not be able to use this defense, as he or she would have had constructive notice of the problem.
- Open and obvious hazard. If the hazard that caused the fall was open and obvious, meaning that a reasonable person would have seen it and avoided the danger, this could be a defense to a premises liability claim. An example could be a marked area that is under construction or a brightly colored spill that is easily visible.
- Comparative negligence. This defense alleges that you contributed to your accident, such as by looking down at your phone while walking or wearing unsafe shoes. In New Mexico, comparative negligence does not automatically bar you from financial recovery. It can, however, reduce your compensatory award by your percentage of fault.
- Pre-existing condition. If the insurance company discovers that you had a pre-existing injury or condition at the time of your slip and fall accident, the insurer may try to avoid paying for your current injury. Note that the law requires defendants to take plaintiffs as they are at the time of an accident, meaning they must pay if the accident exacerbated a pre-existing injury or vice versa. You cannot, however, file a claim for a pre-existing injury alone.
- Missed deadline or filing requirement. It is important not to make any filing mistakes during your slip and fall claim, such as missing information on your paperwork or waiting too long to file. These mistakes could give an insurance company the right to deny your claim based on a statutory error.
A slip and fall accident attorney can prepare your case with these possible defenses in mind by collecting evidence and building arguments to fight back. Your attorney can take care of claims filing for you to avoid common errors, as well. Hiring a lawyer from the very beginning of your slip and fall case is the best way to build a strong claim, despite potential defenses.
What Damages Can I Recover?
Should your slip and fall claim prove successful, the courts may award you compensation for your physical injuries, emotional harm and financial losses. You may also receive punitive damages if the defendant was grossly negligent in failing to prevent the fall. We have obtained outstanding results for past clients involved in slip, trip, and fall accidents. One of our lawyers can help you determine damages in your situation. You may be eligible for compensation for the following, and more:
- Medical expenses
- Property repairs or replacement
- Lost wages
- Legal fees
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
- Punitive damages
The majority of personal injury cases, including slip and fall claims, reach settlements. A settlement is an agreement with an insurance company to end your claim against its policyholder in exchange for a certain amount of money. With an attorney representing you, you may be able to negotiate a fair and full settlement from an insurance provider that adequately pays for your current and future costs. If a settlement isn’t possible, our lawyers can take your case to trial to demand maximum financial compensation on your behalf, instead.
What Is the Value of My Case?
This answer depends on many factors that are unique to your specific case. It is necessary to consult with an attorney for a personalized case review to understand its value. There is no average settlement amount, as the settlements and judgment awards won in New Mexico vary considerably from plaintiff to plaintiff. Some receive settlements valued at less than $10,000 while others secure seven-figure jury verdicts at trial. Case values can change substantially based on factors such as:
- Type of injury
- Injury severity
- Prognosis for recovery
- The victim’s age and income
- Number of defendants
- The insurance policies available
- Comparative negligence
If a slip and fall accident case goes to trial, the total judgment award is largely up to the jury’s discretion. The jury will determine how much to award a plaintiff in pain and suffering damages, for example, after listening to the plaintiff’s story and seeing how much the injury has impacted his or her life. This is why hiring an experienced attorney who can effectively tell your story can increase your odds of securing maximum financial compensation.
How Long Does a Slip and Fall Settlement Take?
The answer to this question depends on the case. While it is normal to want to accept a fast settlement to resolve your claim, it is important to take your time and consult with an attorney before accepting a personal injury settlement agreement. Rushing into a settlement could mean accepting much less than you deserve for your injuries and losses and never being able to renegotiate. Being patient and working with a lawyer, on the other hand, can improve the chances of obtaining full compensation.
Most premises liability claims achieve settlements, meaning they do not go to trial. A settlement means that both parties come to an agreement on an amount of money that is fair to resolve the legal dispute, preventing the issue from needing a full court trial with a jury. Settlements are generally much faster than personal injury trials. A simple slip and fall case can be resolved with an insurance settlement within about three to six months, on average – especially if the plaintiff is working with an attorney to make the legal process more efficient.
If a case involves any complications, however, it can take a year or longer to resolve. Issues that can lengthen a settlement timeline include the severity of the injuries, the victim’s point of maximum medical improvement, the value of the case, the amount of time it takes to investigate, the actions of the insurance company and whether the case goes to trial. It is important to take the amount of time that is necessary to collect fair and full financial compensation for your accident. Once you accept a settlement, you generally cannot reopen a case, even if you discover additional expenses or losses. An attorney can help you know when to settle.
How Much Does a Premises Liability Lawyer Cost?
If you are concerned about the cost of hiring a premises liability attorney in Albuquerque, The Fine Law Firm has a solution. Our lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. This saves you from having to afford your lawyer out of pocket. Rather than charging you directly, we take our fees as a percentage of the total settlement or judgment award won on your behalf – and only if we win your case. You don’t pay us anything upfront. If we do not secure financial compensation for you, you won’t owe us a dime, guaranteed.
Our attorneys are honest and upfront about how much we charge for our services. We keep our fees at a flat rate of about one-third (33 percent) of the total monetary recovery obtained. We will reduce our fees as necessary, however, to make sure that the client always gets paid more than we do. Working on a contingency fee basis ensures that you can have a high-quality slip and fall accident attorney, regardless of your budget or financial standing. It also motivates us to secure the best possible results. Having an attorney represent you almost always ends in better results – even after paying attorney’s fees – than representing yourself.
What Is the Time Limit on a Slip and Fall Claim in New Mexico?
There is a time limit, also known as a statute of limitations, on all personal injury cases in New Mexico. If you miss your deadline, the courts will most likely refuse to hear your case. This time limit under state law is three years for most cases. This means you have three years from the date of your accident – or the date that you discover your injury, whichever comes later – to file a slip or trip and fall lawsuit in New Mexico.
If you are bringing your claim against the government, however, for a slip and fall accident on public property, you will only have two years to file. There are exceptions for injured minors (people under the age of 18) that can extend this deadline. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident to make sure you don’t miss the time limit. Filing too late will most likely mean the loss of your ability to recover financial compensation at all.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident in Albuquerque
If you get injured in a slip or trip and fall accident anywhere in Albuquerque, try to stay calm and collected. Remember that there are certain actions that you need to take immediately after a slip and fall to begin the claims process and protect your legal rights. If you choose to hire an attorney, he or she can help you with these steps. They include:
- Tell someone about the accident. If you fall at work, tell your employer. In a store, tell a manager or the owner. Call the police if it is an emergency. Request an accident report.
- Take photographs. Before anyone has the chance to clean up or make repairs, take pictures of the hazard or property defect that caused you to fall.
- Ask for surveillance footage. Many premises have surveillance cameras, such as stores and parking lots. Ask a manager for a copy of the tape if your accident was caught on camera.
- Get eyewitness information. If anyone saw your slip and fall take place, get their names and phone numbers for statements later. Eyewitnesses can have important details about the incident.
- Check yourself for injuries. Go to a hospital immediately after your accident. It is important to see a doctor even if you don’t feel injured, as your adrenaline might be masking the symptoms of an injury.
- Get copies of important documents. Before you begin the claims process, create a folder of case files, such as a copy of your accident report, witness statements and medical records.
- Keep the clothes and shoes you were wearing. Keep what you were wearing when you fell, without washing it, in a plastic bag to save as evidence – especially if they got wet or greasy from a slippery surface.
- Start your insurance claim. Contact the property owner’s insurance provider to file an injury claim. Do not admit fault for the accident or talk about your injuries until you’ve seen a doctor.
- Do not give a recorded statement. If the insurance company asks your permission to record you, politely decline. The recorded statement is a way to get information to use against you later.
- Consult with an attorney. Call a slip and fall accident lawyer in Albuquerque before making any final decisions about your case – especially accepting an insurance settlement.
As the victim of a slip or trip and fall accident, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to go for assistance. An attorney from The Fine Law Firm can give you advice and information about your case that you can trust. No matter what steps you have managed to take after your accident, or none at all, our lawyers can help you heal, seek justice and move forward. We are here for you in your time of need.
Contact Us Today
If you or a family member slipped, fell, and suffered a serious personal injury, contact us. The Fine Law Firm can investigate your case, hire experts, take over the claims process, and help you negotiate a fairer settlement with an insurance company. We have our clients’ best interests in mind during every case. Call (505) 889-FINE now to request your free consultation.