A slip-and-fall accident occurs because the owner, manager, operator or renter of a commercial or residential property ignored a dangerous situation on his or her property. As a result, someone had a slip-and-fall accident that caused an injury or death. Slip and Fall attorneys assist in the field of slip-and-fall accidents.
This type of accident can occur anywhere: a restaurant, a private home, a multi-residential building, a parking lot, a supermarket, the mall, a school, the office, or a sidewalk. Falls are the second-leading cause of unintentional death in homes and communities. Falls produced more than 25,000 fatalities in 2009. Every hour, falls are responsible for one death and 183 emergency room visits. These types of accidents cost between $60 billion and $80 billion dollars each year, which includes litigation costs, insurance and comp claims, medical cost, and other indirect costs.
Filing a Slip-and-Fall Accident Claim
Not all falls qualify for slip-and-fall accident cases. An injury claim typically results when the accident occurs because a property owner, operator or manager allowed a dangerous or hazardous condition on his or her property. However, a significant percent of these are slip-and-fall accidents are filed by someone visiting the home or business, participating in a public event or visiting a public place like a park, a mall or a restaurant.
Anytime one of these accidents occurs the injured person should contact a California Slip-and-Fall Attorney as soon as possible. A law firm specializing in this type of case can act immediately to determine potential causes and whether or not the owner, operator or manager of the property has created unsafe conditions that caused the accident.
Jacoby and Meyers has the experience and resources to successfully pursue your slip-and-fall accident claim; and you pay nothing unless we recover money in your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Types of Trip-and-Fall Accidents
Slip-and-fall accidents include trip-and-fall accidents as well as accidents caused by falling objects. Altogether, there are several causes of this type of accident.
- A person’s foot slips forward, causing the person to fall on his or her back.
- A person’s foot slips backward, causing the person to fall forward.
- A person trips on an obstacle, broken pavement or other obstruction, falling forward.
- A person is hit by a falling tree branch, piece of masonry or other object.
These injuries can occur at a business or private home at any time.
Common Causes of Slip-and-Fall Injuries
Most falls occur because of dangerous conditions or hazards. These hazards frequently result from poor design, improper maintenance or obstacles. For example, a slip-and-fall may occur because of slippery surfaces, spills, water leaks or food spills.
They may also occur because of defective flooring, inadequate lighting, wires or other objects left in walkways or pathways.
Common locations for falls:
- Cluttered hallways
- Areas with heavy traffic
- Uneven surfaces
- Areas prone to wetness or spills
- Unguarded heights
- Unstable work surfaces
Slip and fall injuries can range in severity from a few bruises and scrapes to life-altering injuries. Fatalities are also common.
Typical injuries in a slip and fall are broken bones, back and spinal injuries, knee and hip injuries and head trauma. Use an ambulance if you are severely injured.
The effects of some of these injuries may not show up immediately, so it is important to visit an emergency room or urgent care facility or to see your personal physician quickly.
What to Do After a Slip-and-Fall Accident
- Seek medical care to determine the nature of your injuries and to document your injury.
- Determine what caused the fall. Document the cause immediately!
- Document your fall. Record the date, time and conditions.
- Take pictures. Remember your telephone and computers have cameras.
- Notify the property owner and report the accident. This is particularly important if you fall in a commercial establishment like the mall, a restaurant or a supermarket.
- Get the names and contact information for witnesses.
- Contact a reliable, experienced Los Angeles slip-and-fall attorney.
Time is critical. Contact a Los Angeles accident attorney immediately. The attorney can quickly begin an investigation of the accident, identify witnesses and preserve evidence. A law firm that serves the Los Angeles, California area can act immediately to protect your rights.
This is important because sometimes the cause of your accident is temporary. For example, if your accident was caused by a wet surface or a surface where there had been a spill, the liquid could dry.
If the area was safe before the spill then it will be safe again after the spill evaporates or is cleaned up. Only immediate action can assure that there is a record of the conditions at the time you were injured.
Government agencies may also be responsible in a slip-and-fall accident, if they have not repaired unsafe conditions in government-operated buildings or have not repaired problems in public areas they are responsible for.
Government agencies can have complex filing requirements and deadlines. An experienced California slip-and-fall attorney knows the ins and outs of the government processes and the critical filing requirements and deadlines.
Failing to meet these deadlines or satisfy government guidelines in a timely manner can cause you to lose your opportunity to file a claim for compensation.
A Property Owner’s Responsibilities to Prevent Accidents
All property owners must take reasonable care in managing and maintaining their property so that others are not exposed to danger or a risk of harm.
Property owners must regularly inspect their property to identify any unsafe conditions. They must then either repair the problem or give adequate warning about the hazard.
In the case of a public area that abuts private property, the property owner must notify the government agency responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, street or other area.
The victim of a slip-and-fall or other similar accident has to prove that the owner knew or should have known about the danger and that he or she failed to fix it.
If the owner or the owner’s employee caused the problem, it is assumed the property owner knew about it. However, if a customer, guest or other non-employee created the hazard, the injured person has to show that there was time for the owner or manager to discover and repair the problem.
Another possibility is that the condition occurred regularly. In that case, the owner should have been aware of the problem and the conditions that caused it and have taken action to prevent accidents.
For example, if rain regularly caused mud to slide into a walkway or made an area dangerously slick, the owner of the property would be expected to either post warnings or take care of the problem whenever it rained. If he or she did not, then the owner might be held liable if the recurring situation caused an accident, and the lawyer could prove that the accident was caused by a re-occurring problem.
Property owners generally have two defenses against slip-and-fall claims.
- There was not enough time to discover and mitigate the damage.
- The injured person was at fault and could have avoided the accident.
Who Is Responsible for a Slip-and-Fall Accident?
Property owners, managers, renters and operators are the obvious responsible parties in a slip-and-fall accident. However, there may be other not so obvious parties that share responsibility.
For example, gardeners, janitorial services, repair people and other service providers may create hazardous situations and may bear at least part of the responsibility for an accident. Government agencies, franchise operators and parent companies may also be accountable.
For example, an accident at a school would involve the local school district and other local government entities. An accident at a U.S. post office, would involve a claim against the U.S. government.
Being able to identify all parties who might be at fault in an accident can require research and investigation. A California slip-and-fall attorney like Jacoby & Meyers has both the knowledge and resources to track down these parties and to document their responsibility in causing the accident.
Damages for Slip-and-Fall Accidents
You may receive damages for the following expenses and conditions:
- Immediate and long-term medical care, therapy and assistance.
- Pain and suffering.
- Therapy and rehabilitative services.
- Nursing and other necessary support and care.
- Lost wages and lost earning power.
- Support for the care necessary if you have a catastrophic injury.
As with most accident case, punitive damages are not common in this type of accident. However, a careful lawyer might be able to establish that the owner’s conduct amounted to a reckless disregard for safety, if the property owner ignored a known safety hazard.
How to Find Experienced Slip and Fall Attorneys in California
Slip and fall cases can be a challenge to research, prove and win. The lawyer must not only prove that the hazard existed but also that the owner new about it and did nothing.
An experienced slip-and-fall lawyer like Jacoby & Meyers would have the resources and knowledge to immediately begin an investigation that included the following activities.
- Conduct a site investigation.
- Document conditions.
- Secure Evidence, including photographs and other records.
- Identify property owners and other parties with responsibility for the property.
- Track down witnesses who either saw the accident or who were aware of the danger.
- Locate proof of prior complaints.
An expert can measure the slip resistance of the walking surface and test to identify if it is above or below accepted thresholds of slip resistance.
The lawyer would then consult experts who could study the conditions and assess its safety. They would also determine applicable governmental codes and regulations. Violating those would establish a property owner’s liability.
Acting immediately is essential, since dangerous conditions often disappear shortly after a serious accident.
About Jacoby & Meyers
Jacoby & Meyers has represented more than 100,000 clients during 40 years of legal practice. In that time, many of these clients have been victims of slip-and-fall accidents. Not only does Jacoby & Meyers have the resources and investigators to build a top-flight case, but we also have the resources to manage the case for the lengthy time that might be required to prepare the case, to go court and win. If you are considering legal action following a slip and fall accident, contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation.