Slip and Fall
If you were in an accident that gave you a significant injury or took the life of a loved one, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the party that caused your accident in Nebraska. A lawsuit could give you the peace of mind, justice and closure you need to finally move forward. It could also provide your family with the financial ability to pay off your medical bills, property repairs and other damages related to the accident. If you have grounds for a lawsuit, however, you must act quickly to file your claim before the deadline. Otherwise, an expired statute of limitations could bar you from recovery.
What Are Statutes of Limitations?
Statutes of limitations are laws that place deadlines on when plaintiffs can file claims. All states have statutes of limitations for civil and criminal cases. The point of a statute of limitations is to keep the justice system as fair and efficient as possible for everyone. Without a law imposing a deadline to file, claimants could potentially take as long as they wanted to come forward with their claims. This could lead to problems such as lost evidence and unreliable eyewitness accounts due to so much time passing. The courts also deemed it unjust to hold the possibility of a lawsuit over a defendant’s head indefinitely. Statutes of limitations are the solution for encouraging prompt claims filing.
What Is the Time Limit in Nebraska?
Statutes of limitations are different depending on the state where you are filing the claim. Every claimant in Nebraska has a responsibility to know his or her deadline for filing. You can discover your exact deadline to file by talking to a personal injury lawyer in Omaha. In the meantime, learning the general statutes of limitations for different types of lawsuits in Nebraska could give you an idea of how long you can wait to file.
- Breach of written contract: 5 years
- Breach of oral contract: 4 years
- Personal injury: 4 years
- Product liability: 4 years
- Property damage: 4 years
- Fraud: 4 years
- Medical and legal malpractice: 2 years
- Wrongful death: 2 years
- Assault and battery: 1 year
- Slander or libel: 1 year
Nebraska’s statutes of limitations have some exceptions, although they are rare. In most cases, the countdown begins on the date of the incident. You might qualify for a deadline extension, however, if you did not discover your injuries or damages until a date after that of the accident. In these cases, the clock typically starts ticking on the date of injury discovery rather than the date of accrual of the damages. Other exceptions exist for injured minors, as well as for cases involving criminal activities. Contact a lawyer to learn your specific statute of limitations.
Why You Should File as Soon as Possible
The courts in Nebraska are not lenient with the state’s statutes of limitations. Generally, if you try to file a lawsuit after the expiration of your statute of limitations, the courts will refuse to hear your case. You will lose any eligibility you might have had to compensation from the defendant for missing your deadline. Even if the courts agree to pass your case onto the next stage, the defendant will most likely bring up the expired statute of limitations in a motion to dismiss your case. Protect your right to file a lawsuit by never waiting to take legal action.
Regardless of how long you have to file under the statute of limitations, initiate a lawsuit as quickly as you can after a personal injury or property damage. In general, a plaintiff will not benefit from waiting to file. In fact, waiting could hurt your chances of winning the case through the loss or destruction of key evidence. Your eyewitnesses might not remember exactly what they saw, for example, or a company might have erased its records. Prompt legal action can ensure you meet your deadline and enable you to bring a stronger case against the defendant.
Spinal cord injuries are relatively uncommon. The incidence rate of spine injuries per year in the US is about 54 cases per 1 million people, according to the 2019 Spinal Cord Injury Data Sheet from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCSC). This equates to around 17,730 new cases each year. There are up to 363,000 people living with spinal cord injuries in the US, however. The most common causes of spine injuries are car accidents, slip and falls, acts of violence and sports. Every spine injury is unique, and all spinal injuries are serious.
Incomplete and Complete Spinal Injuries
Spinal injuries can be catastrophic due to the risk of paralysis: the loss of sensation and function in the body or limbs. Any damage to the spinal cord could irrevocably destroy the messaging system between the brain and the body – paralyzing the victim or leading to various levels of sensory and function changes.
Physicians often refer to the severity of a spinal injury in terms of completeness. An incomplete spine injury will allow a victim to retain some movement and function below the point of injury, to varying degrees. A complete spinal cord injury removes all ability to move and feel sensation in the affected areas. With both types, it may be possible for the victim to regain some feeling or movement with surgeries, rehabilitation and other treatments.
Spastic and Flaccid Spinal Injuries
Spine injuries can cause spastic and/or flaccid paralysis. With spastic paralysis, the muscles tighten and become hard. They may occasionally move or jerk without the victim’s control (spasm). Flaccid paralysis relaxes the muscles and makes them shrink. In many cases, a victim might experience flaccid paralysis immediately after the injury, during spinal shock, and then change to spastic paralysis while in recovery.
A spinal concussion occurs due to trauma impacting the spine. A spinal cord concussion typically does not result in a permanent injury. It may or may not involve vertebral damage and pathologic changes. Most patients recover fully from spinal concussions with 48 hours; however, some patients may take weeks or months to achieve full recoveries.
The loss of function and sensation in all four limbs is tetraplegia, also called quadriplegia. Tetraplegia is a spine injury that results in paralysis of the trunk, arms, hands, legs, feet and pelvic organs. Tetraplegia may or may not affect the respiratory system and the victim’s ability to move the neck. Tetraplegia can happen with injuries above the first thoracic vertebra, within the cervical sections of the spine.
Incomplete tetraplegia is the most common neurological level of spine injury, according to the NSCSC. It accounts for 47.6% of new spine injuries. The second and third most common are incomplete and complete paraplegia, which differ from each other by just 0.3% in terms of frequency.
Paraplegia and Triplegia
Paraplegia refers to a type of spinal injury that affects the lower part of the body only. Someone with paraplegia may lose feeling and sensation in both legs, the legs and the pelvic organs, or from the trunk down. Paraplegia is most common with injuries that affect the lower spine: the thoracic and lumbar sections. Triplegia is a less common spinal cord injury involving the paralysis of three limbs only, such as both legs and one arm.
Monoplegia and Diplegia
Two other types of spinal cord injuries are monoplegia and diplegia. These describe types of paralysis that do not affect all four limbs. Monoplegia is the paralysis of one limb only, while diplegia is the paralysis of any two limbs on corresponding parts of the body. Paralysis of both arms, for example, is diplegia.
Every type of spinal cord injury is serious and requires immediate medical attention. If you or a loved one has a spine injury, talk to an Omaha spinal cord injury attorney about your case. You might be eligible for financial compensation for your catastrophic injury.
Slip and fall accidents are a common reason for premises liability claims in Nebraska. It is a property owner’s responsibility to prevent slip and falls by properly maintaining a premises. The owner may need to inspect the property for floor defects, remedy obvious hazards and warn visitors of known fall risks. When a property owner fails in these duties, many types of slip and fall accidents can occur.
Wet Floor Accidents
Slipping and falling on a premises can occur if an uncleaned and unmarked spill is on the floor. A spilled drink in a restaurant, fallen product at the grocery store, freshly mopped floor at the office or leaking water pipe in a bathroom could all lead to a harmful slip and fall accident and related injuries. It is up to the property owner to inspect the floors of an establishment regularly for spills or moisture collection.
An establishment that welcomes customers, such as a shopping center or supermarket, should have protocols for mopping up or cleaning spilled liquids within a reasonable amount of time. The store owner should also have warning signs ready to use, such as Caution: Wet Floor signs when it is raining. If a reasonable business or property owner would have done something more to prevent the slip and fall accident on a wet floor, the owner could be liable for damages.
Grease or Wax Accidents
Many property owners wax their floors to keep them sparkling. It is up to the owner, however, to do so while still keeping property visitors safe. This may mean waxing after business hours or warning customers about slippery floors with signs. It could also mean ensuring the type of wax does not leave a greasy or waxy residue. Other slip and fall accidents happen due to greasy floors, such as in warehouses. Workers may slip on a spot of grease on the floor and suffer injuries such as broken bones or sprained muscles. Employers and their workers should all take steps to prevent greasy floors.
Food Debris Accidents
A customer slipping on food debris at a grocery store, supermarket, restaurant or bar is a common disaster. Any establishment that serves or sells food should take care to prevent spilled or dropped food debris from sitting on the floor longer than is reasonable. Staff members should scan the floors regularly and clean up food debris that could pose slip and fall hazards. If an establishment fails to notice or ignores food debris for an excessive amount of time, a customer that slips on the item and falls may be able to file a negligence claim against the company.
Defective Flooring Surface Accidents
Some walking surfaces have flaws and defects that contribute to slip or trip and fall accidents. A defective sidewalk, for instance, could have a bump or crack that trips a customer when walking up to the store. Floors inside may be warped, uneven, cracked, peeling, crumbling, collapsing or loose. A landowner has a legal obligation to remedy known floor defects within a reasonable time. If a prudent property owner would have noticed the floor defect and repaired it before the date of the accident, the owner in question may be responsible for the fall.
Ice and Snow Slip and Falls
Slip and fall accidents involving the elements are common in Nebraska. While a property owner cannot control the weather, he or she may be able to control how much precipitation impacts the safety of his or her premises. If snow falls overnight, for example, and the store owner knows it will create a risk of slip and fall accidents in the parking lot, the owner should arrange snow shoveling or another solution first thing in the morning. Failing to prepare for the elements or prevent foreseeable slip and fall risks is negligence.
If you believe you have a claim against a property owner for your slip and fall accident, call a Omaha slip and fall accident attorney to assist you with the legal process. A premises liability lawyer may be able to help you hold someone else liable.
A property owner’s duties of care in Nebraska change according to the type of visitor. An invitee receives the highest standards of care, while a licensee receives slightly less. A trespasser, on the other hand, does not lawfully have the right to expect any duties of care from a landowner. If you own property in Nebraska where a trespasser suffered an injury, in most cases, the trespasser cannot hold you liable for damages. Important exceptions to the rule exist, however. To learn more about how to deal with an injured trespasser, contact our premises liability attorney in Omaha.
You Intentionally Injured the Trespasser
If you were unaware the trespasser was on your land without permission, the only duty of care you owe him or her is not to act in a willful, reckless or wanton manner to injure the trespasser. You do not have a duty to maintain a safe premises, but you do have a duty not to cause an intentional injury to a trespasser that does not appear to pose a threat. Acting in self-defense is a plausible justification for causing a trespasser an injury, and you likely would not be liable for damages in this situation.
Your duties of care change, however, when you become aware of the trespasser on your property. You must treat a discovered trespasser with ordinary care. This includes protecting the trespasser from a foreseeable hazard, such as a hole on your property or an aggressive dog. If you fail to warn the trespasser about the hazard and he or she suffers an injury as a result, you could potentially be liable for his or her damages, even if the trespasser did not have your permission to be on the property.
The Trespasser Is Under 18
Your duties of care are also different toward trespassers who are under the age of 18. Child trespassers deserve the same degree of care as invitees on your property in the eyes of the law. Your duties will include maintaining a safe premises, checking for hidden hazards, repairing known defects and warning of foreseeable risks. You must, therefore, take steps to reasonably prevent injuries to children who may trespass on your property – namely by putting barriers around attractive nuisances.
An attractive nuisance is a dangerous property element that is inherently attractive to children, such as a swimming pool, trampoline, old well, antique car, heavy machinery or farm animals. By putting an attractive nuisance on your property, you take on added responsibilities to keep trespassing children safe from potential related dangers. The law will expect you to take reasonable steps toward preventing foreseeable injuries, such as placing a fence around a swimming pool. If you fail to do so, you will most likely end up liable for a child’s injuries, even if that child was trespassing.
You Failed to Control Your Dangerous Dog
Cases involving known dangerous dogs are also unique. A dangerous dog according to Nebraska Revised Statute 54-617 is one with a record by an animal control authority stating that it has killed a person, inflicted a serious injury (one requiring medical treatment) on a person, killed a domestic animal or has previously achieved dangerous dog status by another animal control authority. Owners of dangerous dogs have greater duties of care to protect the public than typical pet owners. This includes keeping the dog on a leash in public places and not moving the dog out of the county.
If the trespasser on your property suffered a serious injury in a dog attack, and animal control has previously designated your dog as dangerous, you could be liable for the damages. You may have to pay for the trespasser’s medical bills and other losses if an investigation finds that you were negligent in the control of the dangerous dog under the state’s related laws. In most cases, you will be liable for any damages your pet causes if you knew of the dog’s dangerous propensities but failed to take proper precautionary measures.
Premises liability claims involving injured trespassers are complex. If you need help refuting liability for a trespasser’s injuries on your property, speak to an attorney in Omaha.
Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common causes of customer and guest injuries in Omaha, Nebraska. Shopping malls, grocery stores, and other businesses may fail to reasonably prevent customer falls by ignoring spills or failing to post warning signs. After a slip and fall accident that causes serious injuries, you may be eligible for financial recovery. Obtaining this recovery, however, will take proving one or more party’s fault for the fall.
Report Your Accident Right Away
Failing to report your slip and fall to a manager or supervisor could immediately hurt your chances of securing compensation. If you do not report your accident, there might not be any record of it happening. The defendant could argue the fall did not happen the way you said it did since no record of events will exist. Although another form of evidence, such as surveillance footage, may support your claim, notifying someone of your fall can protect you.
Tell an employee, supervisor or business owner about your slip and fall accident right away. Describe exactly what happened. For your own notes, write down the name of the person you spoke to and how he or she reacted to the information. If the employee fails to file an official accident report or even to remedy the hazard, it could be further proof of the store’s negligence.
Take pictures of important evidence that could serve your case in the future. This includes the location of the fall, the hazard that caused you to slip, your personal injuries and other relevant details. The evidence you gather from the scene could provide important proof of someone’s negligence during your injury claim.
- Photographs of the store and floor
- A written description of what happened
- Time and location of the accident
- Video or surveillance footage
- Copies of accident reports
- Maintenance records
- Sweep logs
- Repair or service documents
You should also keep copies of information that prove your injuries, such as letters from doctors, official diagnoses, test results, x-rays, prescriptions, and treatment plans. A lawyer can help you gather evidence such as maintenance logs from the store. If you contact an Omaha slip and fall attorney right away, he or she can call the store immediately and request an order of preservation. This will force the company to preserve and submit its cleaning and maintenance records during the discovery phase of your case.
Another action your lawyer can take during discovery is to subpoena the defendant or witnesses. A subpoena orders someone to attend court or a hearing. Subpoenas can help your lawyer gather sworn testimony about your slip and fall accident. The defendant or an eyewitness may have pertinent details that help your case. Requesting statements in the form of depositions can serve as important proof during your claim.
Hire a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Omaha
Proving liability in a slip and fall accident claim takes establishing a few main elements. First, the property defect or hazardous condition existed long enough that a reasonable business would have noticed and repaired the defect. Second, the defendant was negligent in remedying the issue. Third, your injuries occurred because of the defendant’s negligence. Fourth, you suffered compensable harm in the slip and fall. You or your lawyer must prove the fall was foreseeable, yet the defendant did nothing to prevent it.
Hiring a slip and fall accident lawyer can ease the burden of proof during a premises liability lawsuit in Nebraska. Your lawyer can visit the place where you fell to help you collect evidence. He or she can then use this evidence to build a case against one or more responsible parties. Your lawyer can handle the claims-filing steps and negotiate for a settlement award that suits your damages. An attorney with experience can help you prove fault after a slip and fall.