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How Long After a Slip and Fall Can You Sue?

A slip-and-fall accident can cause broken bones, spine injuries, and head trauma. Pedestrian walkways, storefronts, and private residences all become dangerous when they are not maintained properly. If you recently suffered a slip-and-fall injury, then you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.

There are limitations on how long after your fall you are allowed to sue the responsible party, but the timeline changes depending on if your fall took place on private or public land. No matter where you were injured, immediate action improves your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.

Slips and Falls on Private Property

In Wisconsin, you have three years from the time the injury took place to file a personal injury claim if the negligent party was a private property owner. Private property owners are categorized as either private business owners or non-commercial property owners.

Private Business Liability

A commercial business has a duty to provide a safe environment for its workers and customers. This duty includes doing everything reasonably necessary to make their property safe.

If you suffered a slip and fall on the property of a business, they may be found negligent. When a business is negligent, you can sue them within three years of the incident for the cost of your damages.

Non-Commercial Private Property Liability

A homeowner, landlord, or any property owner that is not involved in commercial actions on their property has fewer duties to create a safe environment than a private business owner does. However, they must maintain their property to avoid exposing people to an unreasonable risk of harm.

If you suffered a slip-and-fall injury on non-commercial private property and believe it was due to an unreasonable risk, then you may deserve compensation.

Slips and Falls on Government Property

You can only file a notice of claim for injuries sustained on public property (like a sidewalk, street, or public park) within 120 days of the incident. Proving government negligence is complicated, so the injured party or their legal team must diligently collect evidence and file a claim.

A Fox Cities premises liabilities lawsuit attorney can evaluate your case and help you pursue compensation.

Hire an Injury Attorney as Soon as Possible

People injured on public lands due to government negligence must take legal action quickly. While those injured on private or commercial property have three years to file a claim, there are many reasons why it is best to sue as soon as possible.

Evidence is required to prove a property owner’s negligence, which can be lost over time. Our Fox Cities premises liabilities lawsuits lawyers can guide you through the post-fall evidence collection process to ensure you have the proof you need to back your claim.

Eyewitness Reports

Eyewitness reports are strong legal evidence that a slip-and-fall injury was caused by a failure to keep a property safe. If anyone saw your fall, collect their contact information, and ask for a statement. Each passing day, they grow more likely to forget important aspects of your case.

A premises liability lawyer will know exactly what facts are essential for your case and can contact eyewitnesses to obtain those facts.

Security Footage

Commercial properties often have security cameras that monitor activity on the property. If you promptly start the legal process, you and your lawyer can obtain the tapes from the security camera. Security cameras record over old recordings after a short time, sometimes 30 days or less, to save memory space, so waiting to sue results in potentially losing evidence that could help your case.

Creating a Paper Trail

A slip-and-fall injury can be devastating for the victim, but if they do not document their experience, a court will find it hard to award compensation. Collecting documents like incident reports from businesses and landlords, medical records, and photos of the scene is vital to proving another party’s liability in your case.

Comparative Negligence in Slip-and-Fall Cases

Wisconsin law follows a “modified comparative negligence” system in slip-and-fall cases. This means that even if you were partly to blame for your fall, you may still be eligible for compensation. However, the amount you receive will be reduced based on the percentage of fault attributed to you.

For instance, imagine a grocery store spill you didn’t see because you were looking at your phone. The court might find the store 70% liable for failing to clean the spill promptly and you 30% liable for not watching where you were walking. In this scenario, your compensation could be reduced by 30%. Note that the property owner’s negligence must still be greater than yours for you to recover damages.

Insurance companies and the other side’s attorneys will often try to shift blame to the injured party in slip-and-fall cases. To ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries, you need a skilled premises liability lawyer by your side. An experienced attorney can investigate the cause of your fall, gather evidence of the property owner’s negligence, and fight to hold them accountable for your damages.

Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers Can Help

When a property owner fails to take care of their premises, and it results in a slip-and-fall injury, you deserve compensation. While the time frame for suing is relatively long for private property injuries, it is in your best interest to start the legal process as soon as possible. That means contacting an experienced attorney who specializes in premises liability.

Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help you or a loved one get fair compensation for a slip-and-fall injury. Contact us for more information and a free case evaluation.

Originally published February 7, 2022. Updated April 5, 2024.

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