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Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim for a Slip and Fall Accident?

Slip and fall accidents can cause injuries ranging from cuts and lacerations, broken bones, to serious neck and back injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). In extreme cases, a slip and fall accident can be so serious that it results in a tragic fatality. If you lost a loved one in a slip and fall accident that could have been avoided if the property owner had taken the necessary safety precautions, you and your other surviving family members may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawyer can review your case, determine whether negligence was a factor, and assist you with every step of the claims process.

How Common Are Slip and Fall Accidents?

According to the National Flooring Safety Institute, roughly eight million people visit emergency rooms across the country for slip and fall injuries annually. These types of accidents make up approximately twelve percent of all falls. In Ohio alone, there are more than 2.5 fall-related emergency room visits for every 100 older adults, according to the Ohio Hospital Association.

Not all injuries resulting from a slip and fall accident warrant a lawsuit. In order to have a successful personal injury claim, you must be able to prove that the property owner was responsible for the accident that caused the fatality. This means that you have the burden of proving that the property owner was negligent.

What Are the Elements of Negligence?

If you wish to pursue a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one in a slip and fall accident, you must be able to demonstrate the following components of negligence:

  • The property owner caused the hazardous or unsafe condition, was aware that there was a safety issue, or should have been aware of the issue if they had exercised the care that a reasonable person would have taken.
  • The property owner did not take steps to correct the safety issue if they had ample opportunity to do so and did not take steps to warn others of the hazard.
  • The property owner’s failure to take these steps was the direct cause of the injury.
  • The injury caused harm.

What Are Examples of Negligence that Can Cause a Slip and Fall Fatality?

While most slip and fall accidents cause injuries like broken bones, cuts, sprains and, in extreme cases, severe head injuries and paralysis, some can cause devastating fatalities, particularly if the property owner failed to address or fix a hazard that put others in potential danger. The following are examples of situations where the negligence of a property owner can cause fatal slip and fall injuries:

  • A business owner fails to replace a missing guardrail on a staircase.
  • A property owner fails to repair or replace a cracked or uneven sidewalk.
  • A property owner fails to clean a spill or warn others that the floor is slippery.
  • A business owner does not take the necessary steps to ensure that the property is safe and well lit.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

If your loved one suffered a fatal injury in a slip and fall accident involving a negligent property owner, you and other surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the property owner. In Ohio, the only person who is permitted to file a wrongful death claim is the personal representative of the person who died. In most cases, this is the deceased’s spouse, children, or parents as they are likely to suffer damages as a result of the death. Other family members, including grandchildren or siblings of the deceased, may also be eligible for damages if they are able to demonstrate in court that they suffered a financial loss as a result of the loved one’s death.

What Damages Am I Entitled to Wrongful Death Claim?

Surviving family members are entitled to economic and non-economic damages from a wrongful death claim, including the following:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of companionship
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Medical expenses paid by the survivors
  • Punitive awards if the property owner acted in a way that was particularly reckless or egregious
  • Support services from the deceased

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If your loved one suffered a fatal injury in a slip and fall accident, and you wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the property owner, you must file the claim within two years of the date of your loved one’s death. If you miss this deadline and file the claim after the tow-year period has passed, your claim will likely be denied, and you will be unable to recover any damages. In certain circumstances, you may be able to extend the statute of limitations. A wrongful death lawyer will review your claim, ensure that you file a claim within the statute of limitations, and address any questions or concerns you might have about a slip and fall wrongful death claim.

Dayton Wrongful Death Lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC Assist Clients with a Slip and Fall-Related Wrongful Death Claim

If you lost a loved one in a slip and fall accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, you are urged to contact the Dayton wrongful death lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC as soon as possible. Our dedicated legal team will walk you through every step of the wrongful death claims process, ensure that the negligent party is held liable for the accident and pursue the maximum financial compensation you and your family deserves. We will continue to fight for you until you are completely satisfied. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 937-222-7477 or contact us online. Our offices are located in Dayton, Ohio, where we serve clients in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Centerville, Toledo, Youngstown, and Miamisburg.