Often, accidents happen very quickly. Maybe you slipped on ice outside a grocery store and slid off the curb, landing awkwardly enough that you broke your ankle. Or maybe you were in a hurry, tripped on a big crack in the sidewalk outside the water department and face-planted, chipping a tooth in the process.

Slips or trips that cause serious injuries can be both painful and expensive, resulting in missed work and expensive medical bills. It's a stressful time, and not all patients know their rights in that situation.

As winter weather increases the chances of slip and falls, we looked to our friends at The Advocates Injury Attorneys for basic information about Idaho's slip and fall laws:

1) The statute of limitations is 2 years for personal injury claims. That means you have 2 years after your accident to file a lawsuit. If property damage is involved, the deadline is 3 years.

2) Your role in being on the property is a factor. Were you there as a guest? As someone who was providing a service? Or did the accident happen on property that was clearly off limits? The "duty of care" the property owner must show varies by the situation, according to The Advocates.

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3) Did you contribute to your accident? "If you were running where you should have been walking, texting when you should have been paying attention, or walking in an area clearly marked as off limits—you may be all or partially to blame for your own injuries," according to The Advocates. If the court determines that you are 49 percent responsible (or less) for your accident, you might be able to recover damages.

4) The best way to find out if you have a case is to talk with a personal injury attorney. The Advocates attorneys specialize in personal injury cases, so they know the latest case law and can determine by asking a few questions whether you have a case. Consultations are always free and you can talk directly with an attorney (without being transferred to a paralegal.) If they take your case, you won't owe any money out of pocket; their payment will be a portion of your final settlement or award.

If you or someone you know has been in an accident and needs help filing a personal injury claim, don't hesitate to call The Advocates Injury Attorneys at (208) 471-4444 or chat with them online. They really do care; with The Advocates, it's always personal.