Accidents happen every day, but they are not always unavoidable. You never step into a Papa John’s restaurant expecting to suffer an injury, but if you do, you could recover financial compensation. Papa John’s has over 3,100 restaurants and 16,500 employees in the United States. They have a responsibility to keep the floors clean and safe for customers. If you slipped, fell, and sustained an injury at a Papa John’s location, a slip and fall injury lawyer can help you determine what legal action you should take next.
What Is a Slip and Fall Accident?
As the name implies, a slip and fall accident occurs when a person slips and is injured on another person’s property. Slip and falls are personal injury cases that fall under the broad umbrella of premises liability claims. If the property owner is found liable, the injured person is entitled to compensation for damages incurred because of the fall. Potential damages are:
- Economical: cost of medical treatment, lost wages, future lost wages, cost of future medical treatments, and any other quantifiable costs related to the accident
- Non-economical: pain and suffering, emotional distress
Pain and suffering are often difficult to quantify, but a personal injury lawyer has experience in placing value on pain and suffering.
Common Causes for Slip and Falls in Papa John’s
A restaurant chain as large as Papa John’s expects to have accidents caused by employee negligence. Potential causes for slip and falls include:
- Wet floor
- Spilled food or drink
- Damaged floor
- Overfilled trash bins spilling out onto the floor
In the winter months, many states experience accumulated snow and ice. Property owners are responsible for maintaining safe conditions on sidewalks around the restaurant as well as the parking lot.
What to Do If You Slip and Fall
The moments following a slip and fall accident are crucial. If you sustained an injury, call for help. Some injuries, such as cuts, bruises, and broken bones, are apparent right away. However, often more serious injuries, such as head trauma and spinal injury, show delayed symptoms. For this reason, you should see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you feel fine. Other important steps include:
- Document everything, including around the area where you fell, with photos.
- Report the accident to a manager or employee right away.
- Speak to no one about what happened after filing the initial report.
As soon as you are able, contact an injury lawyer and provide them with all evidence documented from the scene. It is most beneficial to relay your story soon after it happened when your memory is fresh with details.
How Does Premises Liability Work in Indiana?
Premises liability in Indiana states that property owners are responsible for maintaining safe conditions for all those present on their property to transact business with the owner, such as buying a pizza at Papa John’s. In the event of an accident that resulted in injury, the injured person has to prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and did not remove it or block it from access.
Slip and Fall Laws in Indiana
In the wake of an accident, you need to know the statute of limitations and the rules for shared fault in Indiana. The statute of limitations places a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit. In Indiana, you have two years from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit. In slip and fall cases, you should expect the defendant to argue that you bear some responsibility for your injuries. The comparative fault rule states that if you are found less than 51 percent responsible for the accident, you are responsible for that percentage of the damages. For example, if you are found five percent at fault, you are responsible for five percent of the damages and the entity found 95 percent responsible pays 95 percent of your damages. If you are found more than 50 percent responsible, you are no longer eligible to receive compensation.
Who Is at Fault if You Slip and Fall at Papa John’s?
If Papa John’s failed to maintain safe conditions within the restaurant, there is potential for a lawsuit. However, you have to prove that the employees were negligent and directly responsible for your injuries. Defendants often utilize one or more of these three defenses:
- Open and Obvious Doctrine. This allows the property owner to claim that the condition that caused the accident was “open and obvious” and should have been easy to avoid. It is not accepted as a sole defense but is used in correlation with comparative fault and assumption of risk.
- Comparative Fault. As previously discussed, the plaintiff is ineligible for compensation if found more than 50 percent at fault for the accident.
- Assumption of Risk. The defendant claims that the plaintiff knew the risk involved in the accident and chose to take the chance.
Proving fault is a difficult part of the legal process in personal injury cases. Plaintiffs often have more success with legal representation.
How Can an Injury Lawyer Help You?
You have the right to handle a personal injury case on your own. However, the process is often complex and requires a large time investment. Insurance companies look out for company interests and often find ways to delay or deny compensation for medical treatment. Legal representation is invaluable during the difficult time following a traumatic accident. A slip and fall injury lawyer provides several advantages in your case, including:
- They understand the legal process.
- They handle most of the tedious work, such as obtaining all the necessary documentation to file your claim.
- They communicate with the insurance company on your behalf.
- They understand the worth of your claim and can value your non-economical damages, such as pain and suffering.
- They have the necessary negotiation skills to recover the maximum compensation.
Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency. This means they do not receive payment until your case is complete and you are compensated. Most importantly, they support you through your recovery and will even fight to ensure you receive the proper medical care. If you suffered an injury during a slip and fall at Papa John’s, contact the personal injury lawyers at Hensley Legal Group. We are ready to help you receive compensation for your injuries and support you through recovery.