Here’s Exactly What to Do if Your Child is Hurt in a Slip and Fall Accident
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Immediate action is crucial when a child is hurt in a slip and fall accident. Unintentional injuries caused nearly 7,000 child deaths in 2019, with falls as a leading cause. Drowning, often caused by children slipping and falling near swimming pools, leads to almost 8,000 nonfatal incidents annually, resulting in costly medical bills and long-term health issues.
Understanding the appropriate steps to ensure your child’s safety and well-being is essential as a parent or guardian. Our skilled premises liability attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can guide you on what to do after your child has a slip and fall injury. We’ll defend your child’s rights and help you get compensation for damages.
Michigan Premises Liability Laws Regarding Children
Michigan law says property owners owe a duty of care to individuals who enter their premises. For instance, store owners must inspect their premises for dangers, post warning signs, and fix issues within a reasonable timeframe.
This duty is even more stringent when it comes to children, as kids might not understand the dangers. The attractive nuisance rule means property owners are responsible for hazards that might attract children, like swimming pools or construction equipment.
If a child is drawn to a danger on someone’s property and gets hurt, even if they weren’t invited in, the property owner can be responsible. This means owners have an extra duty to keep their place safe from things that might attract kids.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries to Children
You can claim financial compensation if a property owner’s negligence injures your child. This can cover medical bills, future health costs, and emotional harm from the incident.
Common causes of slip and fall injuries to children:
- Wet floors in stores or malls. Slippery floors can easily cause a child to fall. Store and mall management is responsible for timely cleanup and placing warning signs.
- Uneven sidewalks or potholes. Children can trip over poorly maintained sidewalks. The city or adjacent property owner may be held liable for these hazards.
- Broken or faulty playground equipment. If a child is injured on a playground, the school, park authority, or equipment manufacturer could be at fault, especially if maintenance is neglected.
- Icy or snowy entrances. Slippery entrances due to ice or snow are hazardous. Responsibility often falls on the property or business owner to ensure clear and safe access.
- Staircases without railings. Missing or unstable railings can lead to serious falls. Property owners and building management are liable for ensuring safety features are intact.
- Falls near swimming pools. Areas around pools can easily become slick and hazardous due to water splashes and spills. Pool owners and management must prioritize safety by ensuring good drainage and using safety features like non-slip surfaces, warning signs, and regular checks to prevent accidents.
- Construction site hazards. Children are naturally curious and might wander into unsafe areas. Construction companies or property owners must ensure sites are securely fenced off and marked with warning signs.
What to Do After Your Child is Hurt in a Slip and Fall Accident
In the moments following a child’s slip and fall accident, it’s vital to respond swiftly and efficiently. Your actions can safeguard your child’s health and protect their rights in any legal claims you make after your child is hurt in a slip and fall accident:
1. Get Medical Care
When your child experiences a slip and fall, ensuring their health and safety is an immediate priority. If the child’s injuries appear severe or life-threatening, dial 911 so they can receive prompt medical care.
Even if your kid’s slip and fall resulted in minor injuries, like a scrape or a bruise, have them checked by a pediatrician or another qualified healthcare professional. Sometimes, minor-appearing injuries, like a bump on the head, can be deceptive and develop into more serious conditions, like a concussion, if left unattended.
Having your child checked medically ensures they get the right care and creates a record of their injuries, which is important if you decide to take legal action later.
2. Accident Documentation
After getting medical help, record the incident. This can save evidence and help your lawyer if you take legal action. Try to capture the following details at the accident scene:
- Photographic evidence. Take clear photos of the accident scene. Capture different angles and views of where the accident occurred, highlighting elements that might have contributed to the slip and fall, such as wet or slippery floors, cluttered areas, or uneven surfaces.
- Witness information. If there are witnesses, get their contact information. They can offer an unbiased view of the accident, helping confirm what happened. Ask them what they saw and if they’d give statements later if necessary.
- Accident details. Record the accident details soon after it happens. Note the time, place, surroundings, and other critical information to help explain how the accident occurred.
3. Seek Legal Assistance
After getting medical care for your child’s slip and fall, thinking about the legal aspects is important. While these incidents can be stressful, the right actions protect your child’s health and financial future.
Here’s how Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help with your child’s case:
- Site investigation. Our team examines the accident site, identifying hazards like wet floors and faulty structures. Finding the main causes helps hold the right people accountable and strengthens your legal claim.
- Pediatric expert consultation. We collaborate with pediatric experts to understand your child’s injury. This lets us know their current and possible future challenges. Our legal team and members, like nurse attorney Eileen Kroll, will use this information to determine a fair settlement for your child.
- Evidence and witnesses. We collect evidence, like photos and security videos, and talk to witnesses to build your child’s case.
- Insurance negotiation. Insurance companies usually prioritize their interests. By showing detailed evidence and knowledge of child injuries, we make them acknowledge responsibility, ensuring your child gets the fair compensation they deserve.
- Legal strategy and planning. Every case is unique, especially with children involved. We develop a tailored legal strategy, anticipating challenges and ensuring every step considers your child’s well-being and future.
4. File a Slip and Fall Claim
With your lawyer’s help, you can file a claim for your child’s slip and fall injury. The exact steps depend on who’s responsible for the accident.
- Determine the liable party. Your lawyer will use the evidence to determine who’s at fault for your child’s injuries. For example, if they slipped at a neighbor’s pool, the claim is against the neighbor’s home insurance. You’d file a claim against the restaurant’s business insurance if it was in a restaurant play area.
- Formally file your claim. Your attorney will usually manage the filing. This includes submitting all necessary paperwork to the responsible party’s insurance provider and starting the claims process.
- Negotiation and settlement. Your attorney will handle negotiations with the insurer, helping you receive a fair settlement for your child’s injury. If an agreement cannot be reached, our firm can represent you in a personal injury lawsuit to seek a damage award in court.
Secure Compensation for Your Child’s Injuries with Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C.
When your child’s safety and future are at stake, you deserve a dedicated team fighting for their rights. Our law firm is committed to ensuring you secure the compensation your child rightfully deserves after a slip and fall accident due to another party’s negligence.
Our legal team is skilled and experienced in handling slip and fall injury cases involving swimming pools, dangerous flooring, and other common causes of injuries to children. Contact us today to discuss your child’s case in a complimentary case review to learn your legal options after your child is hurt in a slip and fall accident.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at (1-866-779-7331) and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
How soon after the accident should I consult an attorney?
It’s advisable to consult an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. While immediate medical attention is a priority, early legal guidance can ensure critical evidence is preserved.
What is the attractive nuisance doctrine, and why is it relevant to child-related accidents?
The attractive nuisance doctrine relates to potential hazards on a property that could be appealing to children, even if they’re trespassing. It recognizes that children may not comprehend the risks associated with certain attractions, like swimming pools. In Michigan, property owners can be held responsible if a child is injured.
Does Michigan have a statute of limitations for child slip and fall cases?
Yes, Michigan generally has a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including slip and falls. However, when minors are involved, the timeline may be extended, allowing the child to file a claim for up to one year after reaching 18.
If my child is partially at fault, can we still pursue compensation?
Michigan operates under a modified comparative negligence rule. This means if your child is found partially at fault, the settlement might be reduced by their percentage of fault. For instance, if your child is deemed 20% responsible, the potential compensation would be reduced by 20%. If your child is more than 50% at fault, you may be unable to recover compensation.
What if the property owner claims they weren’t aware of the hazard?
Michigan’s premises liability laws state that property owners have a duty to regularly inspect and maintain their property. Even if they claim ignorance, they can still be held liable if it’s determined that they should have known about the hazard through regular inspections and upkeep.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.