Slip And Fall Accidents.
According to a report published the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC"), "[o]ne in 10 U.S. residents aged ≥18 years reports falling each year." The CDC also reports that one out of four individuals that are sixty-five (65) years or older fall each year but less than half tell a doctor.
Regardless of the age, falls can cause serious injury and are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury ("TBI") related deaths according to the CDC.
Who Is Liable For A Slip And Fall?
Slip and fall accidents are often premise liability cases. A property owner may be responsible if someone sustains an injury due to a defect on the property.
Property owners and mangers of property owe a duty to eliminate dangerous conditions on their property to avoid exposing tenants and customers to unreasonable risk of harm.
As such, an injured parties actions will be examined by the insurance company or defense counsel to determine if the injury was partially or completely the fault of the injured party.
An injured party can be at fault for the accident for not paying attention to their surroundings or acting recklessly. In some cases, the failure to wear the proper footwear (e.g. worn shoes) can result in less compensation for an injured parties damages.
What Must I Prove To Recover?
Slip and fall accidents can occur on private property, commercial property, government property, parking lots, sidewalks, public parks and at workplaces.
To recover damages for a slip and fall accident, the injured party must prove the following:
- The defendant owned, leased, occupied or controlled the property;
- The defendant was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property;
- The plaintiff was harmed by slipping or falling on the property; and
- The defendant's negligence was a substantial factor in causing the harm to the plaintiff.
A defendant is negligent in the use or maintenance of property if an injured party can prove the following:
- A condition on the property created an unreasonable risk of harm;
- The defendant knew or, through the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about it; and
- The defendant failed to repair the condition, protect against harm from the condition, or give adequate warning of the condition.
When Must I File A Lawsuit For A Slip And Fall Accident?
Generally, an injured party has two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. It may be possible in some situations for an injured party that is a minor to "pause" the time limits.
If filing a lawsuit against a California city, county and agency the lawsuit can only proceed if authorized by statute. If so, an injured party will generally have six months to file a claim if they proceed through certain steps.
What Can Cause A Slip And Fall?
Common causes of a slip and fall include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Plumbing leaks;
- Spills of liquid;
- Spills of slippery substances;
- Wet floors after cleaning;
- Damaged walkways;
- Raised or loose carpet;
- Worn or buckling floor mats;
- Uneven surfaces;
- Poor lighting;
- Exposed cables and cords;
- Broken or missing railings;
- Dangerous construction sites;
- Footwear; and
As discussed above, an injured party must prove the defendant knew, should have been known, or failed to exercise reasonable care when there was a condition on the property that created an unreasonable risk of harm.
What Are Common Slip And Fall Injuries?
A slip and fall can leave an injured party with minor to severe or even permanent and debilitating injuries. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Broken arms;
- Broken legs;
- Muscle strains;
- Sprained wrists;
- Joint damage;
- Bruises and cuts;
- Hip fractures;
- Broken fingers and toes;
- Back and spinal cord injuries;
- Head injuries; and
- Brain injuries.
As such, seeking medical attention and documenting each injury is important. Recovery may be impacted by a lack of medical documentation.
What Should You Do After A Slip And Fall?
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is in regard to the steps to taken following a slip and fall accident. We recommend the following:
- Seek Medical Attention - If injured you should seek medical attention as soon as possible;
- Report the incident to the store manager, building manager, or owner - If shopping at a grocery store you should file a report with the store manager;
- File an incident report, take a photo of the report you filled out by using your cell phone and request a copy;
- Gather all names and job titles of employees or business representatives you speak with;
- Determine if anyone witnessed the slip and fall - Obtain the contact information of any witnesses (e.g. names, phone numbers, email, and address);
- Take photos of the area where the slip and fall occurred - Photos should depict the location, and anything that may have contributed to the slip and fall such as water on the floor, broken pickle jars, or buckling floor mats;
- Determine if there are any cameras that might have recorded the slip and fall - An experienced attorney will need to request any recordings of the slip and fall;
- Do not speak with any insurance company representative;
- Do not make any recorded statements;
- Organize and keep all medical records, expenses, clothes, footwear, and other evidence regarding the slip and fall;
- Avoid posting on social media regarding the slip and fall; and
- Contact an experienced slip and fall law firm such as Arellanez Legal.
Contact A Slip And Fall Injury Attorney.
It's very important to discuss your claim with a qualified attorney. At Arellanez Legal we also have the best nurse-paralegals on staff. Contact Arellanez Legal by calling (951)888-2464 for a free consultation or by providing a date and time that will work for you via our easy-to-use contact page.