How do I sue a business for a slip and fall accident?

Have you ever experienced a slip and fall situation in a store or business? Were you browsing the aisles considering which breakfast cereal to purchase and suddenly find yourself losing your balance and landing on a wet floor? Clearly an employee had been mopping up a spill, but the employee and a warning “wet floor” sign are absent from the scene. You could have a case to sue for financial compensation for your injuries. There are steps you need to take to follow through with this decision to pursue a case:

  1. You should immediately contact the store owner or manager of the property of your accident and explain the circumstances revolving around the occurrence. Document their responses and have them sign the documentation if they are willing. Some stores will actually have you fill out their own incident reports.  
  2. Visit your doctor for an exam and take a copy of the results. This will become your evidence that an injury occurred and that you have a basis to claim compensation. It is extremely crucial to document the injuries from the fall!
  3. Make sure to gather all relevant evidence including contacting any witnesses that saw you fall and ask for their account. Take photos of the location and the hazard that caused the accident. There is no such thing as too much evidence, all of it can only strengthen your case

After you collect the necessary components of evidence, you must be able to prove that the accident occurred due to negligence and prove that the establishment is liable for your injuries.

How to Determine Negligence

You must be able to prove the business acted negligently and you were injured as a result. This is the first aspect of your case that must be considered before moving further. Per the above example, there are a few questions to determine whether or not the store was negligent.

  • Why was the floor slippery?
  • Was a wet floor sign or other indicator present when you fell? (This is where location photographs are important!)
  • Was an employee aware that the floor was slippery before you were injured?

Liability

Finding out the exact answers to the questions above can help you determine exactly what happened and why it happened which can point to liability for the fall. The store owner can be deemed liable if negligence is determined–like not having a sign for a wet floor that has just been mopped! However, if the wet floor is due to something like a leaky ceiling or pipe, it may be negligence on the part of the landlord or property manager.  

Get a Lawyer

You don’t have to do all of this alone! Hiring a personal injury lawyer such as the personal injury lawyer Chicago IL locals trust is your final step after completing the steps above. With a significant amount of evidence, you could succeed in being compensated for your accident. This is possibly the most important step on your way to recovery, so do not hesitate to contact an experienced attorney to guide you through a slip and fall lawsuit.


Thanks to authors at Konrad Sherinian LLP for their insight Personal Injury Law.

Get Specific! You Must Mention “FEES” in Your Attorney Fee Provisions

business lawyer Memphis, TNAs the business lawyer Memphis TN  trusts when it comes to contract negotiation and drafting, one piece of simple legal advice we frequently give our small business clients is to always include attorney fee provisions in your contracts and routine business forms. Why? Because if you don’t have such a provision and you end up in litigation, you’re on the hook for your own attorney fees and legal expenses even if the breach of contract, or the resulting litigation, isn’t your fault.

Tennessee Requirements for Attorney Fee Provisions

It has always been the case that a contractual provision allowing for the recovery of attorney fees must be specific. However, just last month, in Nyrstar Tennessee Mines-Strawberry Plains, LLC v. Claiborne Hauling, LLC, the Tennessee Court of Appeals went further to reinforce this principle by making clear that attorney fee provisions must specifically invoke the magic words “attorney fees.”   The Court held that it is not enough simply to provide recovery of “costs,” “expenses” or even “legal expenses” – all of which the Court held was simply not specific enough to permit recovery of attorney’s fees.

 In Nyrstar, the plaintiff won at trial on its breach of contract action against the defendant and the judge awarded the plaintiff $116,073.43 in damages. After winning the case, the plaintiff then sought attorney’s fees of $106,779.50 and expenses of $2,982.12 pursuant to the attorney fee provision in the applicable contract. The specific language of the contract in Nyrstar was as follows:

The Customer must pay Nyrstar all costs and expenses incurred by Nyrstar in connection with enforcing its rights against the Customer under an Agreement including legal expenses and other costs incurred in recovering monies owed by the Customer to Nyrstar.

The trial court awarded the plaintiff its expenses, but refused to award the plaintiff its attorney’s fees, despite the contract language providing for the recovery of “legal expenses.” The trial court stated:

[t]he plaintiff Nyrstar’s language does not use the term “fees.” It uses “expenses,” which has been found to be inadequate. Merely providing for the “recovery of ‘costs and expenses’” is insufficient to reach a contractual right to recover attorney’s fees.

(Emphasis added). The Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld this decision. The Nyrstar case means that you should pull out your contracts and regular business forms, and then call us today to make sure that the language you are using in your attorney fee provisions is correct. After all, what is the point of having an attorney fee provision in your contracts and forms if it’s not going to hold up in court?

Bottom Line

Your attorney fee provision MUST specifically provide for the recovery of “attorney’s fees,” and not merely “costs” or “expenses.”

Even if a provision provides for the recovery of “legal expenses” or “costs and expenses of any suit or proceeding,” the right to recover attorney’s fees is not created because the provision does not specifically implicate “fees” as part of the recovery.

If you’d like the small business lawyer Memphis TN  trusts to review your small business contracts and routine business forms to make sure your language complies with the requirements in Tennessee for attorney fee provisions, call us today at (901) 372-5003.

WISEMAN BRAY PLLC

8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 103

Memphis, Tennessee 38018

(901) 372-5003 Office

(901) 383-6599 Fax

www.WisemanBray.com

Our Super Lawyer – Lang Wiseman Selected as Tennessee Top 100 Lawyer

There are over 18,000 lawyers in Tennessee.  Each year, though, Super Lawyers magazine evaluates and recognizes the top lawyers in each state via a patented multi-phase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Tennessee lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process recognized in the Tennessee Super Lawyers Top Lists.

We are proud to announce that our founding partner, Lang Wiseman, was named to the 2017 List of Top 100 Lawyers in Tennessee.  Lang was also named to the 2017 List of Top 50 Lawyers in Memphis.

Congrats, Lang!

Proving Negligence in a Trip and Fall Case

Trip and fall cases represent a large proportion of personal injury cases and for good reason, as a personal injury lawyer West Palm FL trusts can attest. People trip and fall all the time resulting in injuries and damages. The question, however, of whether that trip and fall translates into a settlement depends solely on whether the case can be proven. This may be straightforward in a trip and fall case, and it may not be.

The law of torts – that is injuries to others – establishes that to have a successful trip and fall claim, the plaintiff must show that the person who had control of the premises upon which they tripped had a duty to keep the premises clear, they breached that duty, the breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s fall, and the plaintiff suffered injuries as a result. These four elements are known as duty, breach, causation, and injury. All four have to be proven to show negligence.

Duty:  The duty owed here is one of care to keep the property safe and free of obvious hazards. The level of the duty ranges from none to simple to strict and depends upon the nature of the relationship between the owner of the land and the person visiting it. A landlord owes no duty of care to someone who trespasses on their land. A person who is visiting a home at the invitation of the owner can expect a simple duty of care. A contractor or garage sale customer can expect an even higher level of care.

Breach of the duty: The person who breaches the duty is the landowner, not the individual who is injured. This is because the duty of care rests mainly with the landowner since it is his property and he has control over it, hazards and all. A landowner will be found to have breached their duty of care if they fail to take reasonable measures to keep the property safe. This means, they don’t fix the hole in the porch or replace the rotting step or they fail to clean up a spill. It is also when they fail to warn about these hazards, which may or may not be obvious. The law does recognize that the person who is injured may contribute to their accident, by, for example, moving the warning sign and forging ahead onto the unstable steps. This is known as contributory negligence and can be used to offset the negligence of the landowner.

Causation: It is not enough that there was a duty owed and that duty was breached. If the breach of that duty cannot be directly linked to the injury to the plaintiff, there can be no negligence. This is commonly known as the “but for” provision, as in, but for the unrepaired stair step, the plaintiff would not have fallen through the stair.

Injury: Even having the first three elements is not enough if the plaintiff is not injured. Of course, it is always possible that there is some injury, no matter how small or insignificant. Whether that injury is of the level that would warrant recovery is another story. Getting a splinter from the untreated door is not the same as breaking a leg falling through an unmarked hole in the ground.

 


Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Luckman, P.A. for their insight into trip and fall cases.

 

Ways to Simplify Probate

Losing a loved one can be emotionally taxing. There are legal obligations associated with the deceased’s property. Determining their wishes can appear to be a daunting task without a previously arranged estate plan or will. Resolving these legal and financial affairs can be stressful and tedious. However, there are options to allow for a smooth probate process.The court can legitimize a will so the property and money can be easily distributed to the closest relatives or beneficiaries.Although, in larger cases where the estate is significant, or the will is opposed by an outsider, the probate process can be costly.

 

How Can I Prevent a Costly Probate Process?

 

The common solution to automatically avoid probate is to create a will or living trust whereby you transfer ownership of property and assets to an established beneficiary or beneficiaries. This will inhibit the need for probate altogether. After you pass away, the beneficiary is given legal authority to distribute your assets in whatever manner they deem appropriate. After this trust is established and you pass away, your assets and property no longer legally belong to you or your estate. Understand that while some assets are included within the trust, it is possible for them to be subjected to estate taxes. Generally, the deceased’s husband or wife shares joint ownership, however, it isn’t mandatory nor is it always the case. In some instances, a close friend shares joint custody of the deceased’s property. Once the individual passes, the other joint owner of the asset will be awarded sole ownership. Even though this is one avenue to determine how your assets are allocated after death, it isn’t the only option.

 

It’s common for individuals to divide their estate in a written will. This is an excellent avenue to explore when considering how your assets will be allocated. With this will, you have the opportunity to gift various beneficiaries with specific assets. However, it should be noted that when gifting costly items the government may impose gift taxes on the assets. It is required for beneficiaries to be designate prior to passing for retirement accounts and insurance policies to award the funds to the beneficiaries. Government issued identification must be presented for the beneficiary to collect, along with the deceased’s death certificate.

 

Speak With an Attorney

 

An estate planning attorney such as the estate planning attorney Scottsdale AZ who specializes in the field will have the knowledge to help you understand your estate options. They should be familiar with the laws specific to your state and will provide you with the steps necessary to comply with legal requirements.


Thanks to authors at Hildebrand Law for their insight into Estate Planning.

The Possible Consequences of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A traumatic event can affect your life for a long time. You may even get diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can lead to potentially severe physical and/or mental manifestations.

In these cases, individuals may need to hire a personal injury attorney to help them obtain financial assistance for their condition. Let’s take a look at some further information about PTSD and legal steps victims have to take to receive compensation.

How Is One Diagnosed with PTSD?

Not everyone who experiences a stressful event and has backflashes are diagnosed with PTSD. People with PTSD experience:

  • Reexperiencing symptoms: Individuals with these symptoms may have flashbacks and nightmares.
  • Avoidance symptoms: People with avoidance symptoms avoid anything that reminds them of the traumatic event they experienced.
  • Triggered or reactive symptoms: With triggered and reactive symptoms, individuals may become anxious or excited easily. They may also have trouble sleeping and get angry.
  • Cognition and mood symptoms: Individuals who go through cognition and mood symptoms may experience depression, have trouble concentrating and not have as much interest in daily activities.

Formal Diagnosis

In order to get diagnosed with PTSD, a person has to for at least one month display:

  • One re-experiencing symptom
  • One avoidance and trigger symptom
  • Two trigger symptoms
  • Two cognition and mood manifestations.

Can You Receive Benefits If You Have PTSD?

PTSD sufferers are commonly awarded social security disability. In order to receive these benefits, the Social Security Administration requires for the applicant to prove he or she experiences most of these symptoms:

  • He or she can’t adapt to different environments or complete everyday activities, like cooking, cleaning and dressing.
  • He or she can’t learn, understand or remember new information
  • He or she is unable to interact with other people
  • He or she can’t concentrate long enough to complete basic tasks

There are some people with PTSD who don’t face these challenges because they reside in a medically supervised and guarded facility. These individuals can still receive social security disability if they prove they’ve had PTSD for at least two years, will require ongoing medical treatment and aren’t capable of living in a less supervised environment.

Individuals who don’t meet these requirements may still be able to receive disability payments through medical-vocational allowance, which is determined on a person’s age, employment history, education and functional capacity.

If you think your PTSD was caused by another person’s negligence, you may want to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer such as the personal injury lawyer Cheyenne WY locals trust.


Thanks to authors at Cannon Hadfield Stieben and Doutt for their insight into Personal Injury Law.

The Possible Consequences of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A traumatic event can affect your life for a long time. You may even get diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can lead to potentially severe physical and/or mental manifestations.

In these cases, individuals may need to hire a personal injury attorney to help them obtain financial assistance for their condition. Let’s take a look at some further information about PTSD and legal steps victims have to take to receive compensation.

How Is One Diagnosed with PTSD?

Not everyone who experiences a stressful event and has backflashes are diagnosed with PTSD. People with PTSD experience:

  • Reexperiencing symptoms: Individuals with these symptoms may have flashbacks and nightmares.
  • Avoidance symptoms: People with avoidance symptoms avoid anything that reminds them of the traumatic event they experienced.
  • Triggered or reactive symptoms: With triggered and reactive symptoms, individuals may become anxious or excited easily. They may also have trouble sleeping and get angry.
  • Cognition and mood symptoms: Individuals who go through cognition and mood symptoms may experience depression, have trouble concentrating and not have as much interest in daily activities.

Formal Diagnosis

In order to get diagnosed with PTSD, a person has to for at least one month display:

  • One re-experiencing symptom
  • One avoidance and trigger symptom
  • Two trigger symptoms
  • Two cognition and mood manifestations.

Can You Receive Benefits If You Have PTSD?

PTSD sufferers are commonly awarded social security disability. In order to receive these benefits, the Social Security Administration requires for the applicant to prove he or she experiences most of these symptoms:

  • He or she can’t adapt to different environments or complete everyday activities, like cooking, cleaning and dressing.
  • He or she can’t learn, understand or remember new information
  • He or she is unable to interact with other people
  • He or she can’t concentrate long enough to complete basic tasks

There are some people with PTSD who don’t face these challenges because they reside in a medically supervised and guarded facility. These individuals can still receive social security disability if they prove they’ve had PTSD for at least two years, will require ongoing medical treatment and aren’t capable of living in a less supervised environment.

Individuals who don’t meet these requirements may still be able to receive disability payments through medical-vocational allowance, which is determined on a person’s age, employment history, education and functional capacity.

If you think your PTSD was caused by another person’s negligence, you may want to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer such as the personal injury lawyer Cheyenne WY locals trust.

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Thanks to authors at Cannon Hadfield Stieben and Doutt for their insight into Personal Injury Law.

Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips from Wiseman Bray

personal injury lawyer memphis tn

Halloween is such a fun time of year, especially for children.   Sadly, it is also a very dangerous night for kids.  On average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year.  Only 18% of parents use reflective tape on their children’s Halloween costumes, and 12% of children ages 5 or younger are permitted to trick-or-treat alone!  In addition to talking with your kids about Halloween safety, here are some things you can do for a safer night:

 

  • Kids under 12 should trick-or-treat and cross streets with an adult.
  • Use reflective tape on costumes.
  • Walk on sidewalks and paths, and not in the street.
  • If there are no sidewalks, you should walk facing traffic as far to the side as possible.
  • Cross streets at corners only, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Watch for cars that are turning around or backing up.

DRIVERS: If you are driving on Halloween night, be especially vigilant!  Slow down, even more than usual, in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and often move in unpredictable ways.

HOMEOWNERS. If you are a homeowner, here are some ways you can help keep trick-or-treaters safe:

  • Keep Property Well-Lit– Kids will be cutting through all parts of your yard to find your front door, so make sure that your property is well-lit and that it is obvious which door trick-or-treaters should go to.
  • Keep Property Unobstructed– Clean up yard debris, fill gopher holes, wind up hoses, and pick up toys or other equipment left in the yard.
  • Restrain Pets– Be sure to keep your pets away from the front door and porch, where they might get excited and jump on or bite trick-or-treaters. It is best to keep your pet in another room or in the garage during trick-or-treating time.

The attorneys and staff of Wiseman Bray PLLC wish you a very Happy and Safe Halloween!

erin shea injury lawyer memphis tn

Erin Shea, Attorney

Important Facts About Probate

After an individual dies, their will is subject for probate. This is a legal process utilized to help settle estate that a deceased person has not delegated. Assets that have not been put into a trust are the portion of the will that will be taxed. The probate process is a crucial step so that assets can be moved to beneficiaries. Probate is not often appreciated because it is so expensive and takes quite a bit of time to complete. Accessing a will or estate planning can be difficult, so contacting a lawyer, like an estate planning attorney Scottsdale AZ trusts, can help give you guidance and support throughout the probate process. The details of probate can vary depending on the state that you live in and is vital to remember that probate can be circumvented.

Many assets are not required to go through probate. This is the case when inheritances, money gifts, and life insurance policies come into play. The beneficiary named on the deceased’s accounts, like retirement or joint bank accounts, are given to them upon the death of their partner. These do not have to go through probate. Any asset in which the beneficiary has been appointed already by the descendant does not need to be assigned in probate court. It is important to contact an estate planning attorney to learn more information about the probate process and assets that may be able to avoid probate altogether.

 

Assets are Required to Withstand Probate

Unfortunately, a lot of assets are required to go through probate court. Real estate properties owned by the deceased, any bank accounts that are not assigned to a beneficiary or in a joint account, any valuable personal property that belonged to the deceased, and anything not included in a will are subject to pass through probate. In the tragic event where the deceased does not leave behind a will, all of their assets have to pass through probate court. Once the probate process has been completed, which can take years, beneficiaries can be determined. It’s important to note that if there is not a will identifying beneficiaries, the court will make a determination around this by taking into account close family and friends.

Contacting an estate attorney is advised. He or she will have knowledge of estate planning and will be able to support you in getting through the probate process as easily and quickly as possible. Making sure that you have an estate plan or will in place can help save your beneficiaries from a lot of emotional and financial grief..The grief process can be very difficult, with an estate plan in place, and the help of an attorney, your loved one will be able to navigate through probate with ease.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hildebrand Law for their insight into probate and estate planning.

 

Call for Witness in Trooper’s Deadly Motorcycle Accident

Michigan State Police are actively searching for more witnesses to a crash in the City of Rockford that took the life of a state trooper, according to M-Live.

Twenty-eight-year-old State Trooper Timothy O’Neill was killed in an accident at Belding Road and Wolverine Boulevard NE while on duty as part of the motorcycle patrol. The crash involved another motor vehicle, but no one else suffered any injuries.

State Police Lieutenant Kevin Sweeney said that an accident reconstruction expert and a state police detective are still investigating the crash. More details will be released once that investigation is complete. According to the lieutenant, investigators are taking their time to ensure everything is done properly. Fatal cases, noted Sweeney, normally have a longer investigation time than cases that do not involve death.

O’Neill joined the state police in 2014, spending his entire career in Rockford, and he was set to be married on October 7. Several members of law enforcement and the community came out to honor him at his funeral service in Auburn Hills. Local resident and attendee Kathy Albright told reporters that she came to pay her respects because law enforcement officers often do not receive the respect they deserve.

Motorcycle deaths are on the rise

The tragic case of O’Neill highlights just how much risk motorcycle riders face when they’re out on the roads, even if they are members of law enforcement and have had specialized training as a result. In late September, for example, off-duty Los Angeles police officer 34-year-old John Gasparyan was hit and killed by a motorist who was making a U-turn, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The week before the L.A. accident, Highway Patrol Officer James Branik was struck and killed in San Martin, California, while on his motorcycle when a car made a left turn right into his path – a common mistake motorists make that often has deadly consequences for motorcyclists – according to the Mercury News.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, motorcycle deaths are going up based on the most recent data available. There was an 8.3 percent jump in motorcycle fatalities between 2014 and 2015, and in 2015, studies showed that a motorcyclist was 29 times more likely than occupant car passengers to die in a collision per mile traveled. In addition, the fatality rate for registered motorcycles was six times the rate of registered motor vehicles. With the increase of registered motorcycles on the road over the last year and motorists still not completely aware of how to share the road with them, this tragic trend is likely to continue.

A motorcycle accident often has serious consequences for the rider because of the lack of body protection in such an open method of transport, especially when compared to the protection people receive in passenger cars, trucks and buses. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you do have rights. Speak to a motorcycle or car accident lawyer Denver CO trusts today about what you can do for your case.


Thanks to our friend and contributors from Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into motorcycle accident cases.