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Slip-and-fall accidents common in the winter

Increase in slip-and-fall accidents for individuals visiting Wisconsin businesses due to poor winter weather conditions.
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    December 17, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- All Wisconsin residents are familiar with extreme weather during the winter. When snow and ice begin to accumulate, people visiting local businesses rely upon the property owners to perform the maintenance necessary to keep the sites clear from any hazardous conditions.

Unfortunately, not every business will be focused on removing snow and ice as quickly as reasonably possible. This can lead to slippery sidewalks or floors, and may result in individuals suffering an injury in a slip-and-fall accident. Those injured in these types of accidents may recover compensation under Wisconsin law; however, there are facts that individuals must prove before the law will allow recovery for injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident.

Victims injured in slip-and-fall accidents will have to demonstrate that the owner had knowledge of the spill on a floor or ice and snow on the property. This knowledge, or "notice," may be actual knowledge or constructive knowledge of the defects. Constructive knowledge means that the conditions existed for a sufficient period of time that the owner, in the exercise of due care, should have been aware of the hazardous condition. Actual knowledge, of course, refers to situations in which the owner of the property clearly knows about the hazard but fails to take reasonable corrective action.

The issue of knowledge, or notice, is the component of the claim often disputed by property owners and therefore is often the subject of legal challenges. Owners may contest the allegations that they were aware of certain conditions. These cases are often extremely complicated, and the outcome often will depend upon the ability to prove the precise conditions at the scene at and before the time of the accident.

In slip-and-fall accidents, it is common for individuals to suffer serious back injuries or broken bones. It can be difficult to determine exactly what type of treatment will be effective in order to help an individual recover from back or shoulder injuries. This could prolong the recovery process, leading to expensive medical bills and missed work.

If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will be to investigate the situation, and collect any evidence that may be available. This includes information from witnesses, as well as photos or surveillance footage of the incident.

Once this proof is gathered, it may be possible to determine if the property owners were aware of the defects present. Delays in obtaining this type of proof can sometimes doom an otherwise meritorious injury claim. Since the conditions which lead to many slip-and-fall accidents are transitory in nature, that is that they can change quickly, it is vitally important to contact an attorney immediately following such an incident.

Insurance companies will be very aggressive in fighting these types of cases. They may refuse to concede that your injuries relate to the fall, and contest paying some or all of your medical expenses and other damage items. You will need someone who understands how to handle these types of cases, and is experienced in what must be done to preserve the evidence necessary to demonstrate how the property owners were responsible for the accident and how their failures led to the injuries sustained.

Article provided by Domnitz & Skemp, S.C.
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