Accidents happen all the time, so how do you know if your fall meets the threshold required for filing a lawsuit in New Hampshire? Most personal injury claims rely on a legal concept known as “negligence,” or the failure to use reasonable care. If you can show a property owner or store’s negligence in the maintenance or operation of its property caused your fall, you can recover compensation. The first step is discussing your accident, and your options, with a personal injury lawyer.
Did Negligence Cause the Fall?
In New Hampshire, the law recognizes that every property owner or business has a duty to use reasonable care under all circumstances when maintaining and operating its properties. If a homeowner has a broken step or hazardous hole on his property, he has a duty to both warn guests and fix the problem.
To prove a property owner acted negligently, you must prove that person failed to act reasonably. Defining what is “reasonable” can be difficult, but the court looks at what an ordinary prudent person would do in that case and compares the property owner’s actions to make a determination. For example, a reasonable person would shovel a walkway to his home after a snow storm, and would put down salt or sand if it were icy. Not doing this could be considered evidence that a homeowner breached his duty of care.
A Fall at a Commercial Property
Sometimes, people fall at stores or at a place of business. It is important to determine in these cases which party acted negligently before you file a lawsuit. Sometimes, a store property is owned by the store owner. Other times it is owned by another business or property owner and the store leases the space. Determining the owner will help you determine who is responsible for the unsafe condition.
What Kind of Damages Can I Seek?
In a personal injury claim, an injured person can recover all of his or her losses that resulted from the injury. Not only are financial losses covered like past or future medical bills, transportation costs to and from doctor appointments, lost wages and possible future loss of wages, but also damages to make up for pain, inconvenience, stress, loss of sleep, and other suffering that injured people usually have to endure.
Do not assume because you have a pre-existing condition that you are not eligible for damages. If your pre-existing condition has been exacerbated by the fall and you can prove the property owner’s negligence caused your fall, your medical expenses may be covered.
Upton & Hatfield attorneys in the personal injury and accident law group have extensive experience litigating these cases. We represented a woman who fell on ice in the parking lot at a mall and suffered a broken ankle. The case settled for $62,000 before trial. We also represented a young man at trial who fell on ice in a business entrance and suffered a shoulder injury. The jury returned an $89,000 verdict.
If you have suffered from a fall and believe it is due to negligence, contact Upton & Hatfield to discuss your options.