Slip and Fall Injury
You may have heard the term "slip and fall" or "fall down" used to describe an accident in which a person falls or is otherwise injured while on another person's property. One example of this is when someone slips on a grape in the grocery store. Attorneys refer to these cases as "premises liability" cases.
In a premises liability case, like a slip and fall accident, you must prove that you were injured on someone else's property as a result of negligence by the owner (or lessee) of that property. To do this, you must show that the property owner had actual or constructive notice of the condition that caused your injury. This notice requirement is satisfied if the owner knew, or in the exercise of due diligence, should have known about the problem which caused your injury. You must also prove that you were, in fact, injured as a result of the accident.
The value of an individual case will depend on several factors.
Things that attorneys consider in determining case worth include, but are not limited to:
Lost time from work
Permanent disability or disfigurement
Limitations on future employment
Pain and suffering.
Your spouse may also have a claim for loss of consortium, i.e. loss of spousal services, affection, etc.
If you were partially at fault in the accident, the value of your case (and that of your spouse) will be reduced by the percentage of the fault attributed to you. If you were more than 50% at fault, you cannot recover anything in California.
If you are injured on someone else's property, you should report your accident to the property owner as soon as possible. Write down the name, address and phone number of any witnesses. Keep copies of all of your medical bills (even those paid by insurance) and off-work slips. You may also want to keep a diary to record your thoughts about your medical treatment or the pain and inconvenience caused by your injuries. Doing these things will help maximize the value of your case.
Although you have one year in California from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit, you should consider hiring an accident lawyer much sooner if you are seriously injured. Once the property owner reports your accident to his or her insurance company, you will probably be dealing with an insurance adjuster. This person is paid to look out for the insurance company's best interests. Because of this, you may wish to hire an accident attorney who is ready and willing to protect your interests.
Here are some commonly asked questions (and answers thereto):
Q: Who is responsible for a slip and fall accident? The owner or the person injured?
A: Both the property owner as well as the injured person can be held to varying degrees of responsibility for an injury. The property owner has a responsibility to keep property safe. Each person has a duty to watch where they are going, as well as realize that there are things that fall or spill onto walking surfaces.
Q: What is "comparative negligence?"
A: Comparative negligence relates to your own responsibility in the accident, in comparison to the property owners' responsibility. A court will establish a percentage of liability for each party. The percentage of liability determines the percentage of the resulting damages each party must pay.
Q: What information is an insurance adjuster looking for?
A: The insurance adjuster will attempt to establish if there is an injury and what your responsibility was in the fall, and may attempt to resolve (settle) the case immediately. The adjustor may ask you a series of questions such as:
Ľ The extent or type of injury
Ľ What were you doing just before the accident
Ľ Warnings that may have been ignored
Ľ Whether you had a reason for being in the area
It is generally not in your best interest to speak with the adjuster without having reviewed the specifics of your case with a personal injury attorney.
Q: What is a hazardous condition and who is responsible for it?
A: A ôhazardous conditionö is a situation where there is potential for injury. Hazardous conditions can be permanent (such as a broken stair) or temporary (as in the case of ice on the sidewalk). Property owners are often responsible for permanent conditions, because they should have known about the situation. However, injuries that occur due to temporary conditions they may not have had knowledge of may not be their responsibility. Often time becomes a factor in temporary hazards: did the owner have enough opportunity to realize the situation and correct it?
Q: Does an accident report have to be filled out at the time of the fall?
A: Ideally, an accident report should be completed at the time of the incident noting what happened, who witnessed both the accident and the conditions that caused the fall along with any other relevant information such as lighting.
The requirement for a report is generally a store or business policy, rather than mandated by law.
If a report is not completed at the business location or occurred at private location or was not observed by others, compile a record of what happened yourself. Include information such as:
Ľ A description of the circumstances
Ľ Who was present
Ľ The comments made by those who saw or helped after the fall
Ľ If possible, take photos of the area.
If you were physically hurt, have your injury checked out immediately to help substantiate your claim.
Q: Am I able to sue my employer for my fall?
A: Generally, you cannot sue your employer if you fall at work. Injuries sustained at work are covered under your state's workers' comp laws.
Q: What compensation might I be eligible for?
A: Compensation for a slip and fall accident is
similar to all personal injury claims. Recovery includes:
Ľ Medical bills
Ľ Wage loss
Ľ Pain and suffering
Ľ Potential future medical expenses
If you or a loved one have been injured in a ôslip and fallö or other related type accident, you need experienced, professional legal representation.
Personal Injuries Attorneys USA is a contingency-based law firm, which brings your legal cost to FREE! Our goal is to help you in your case. Time is valuable, and when in need, nothing is more valuable than finding the right legal advice pertaining to your case. We are a law firm. We help you, the consumer, understand your case, and most importantly know your rights. Please call me on my cell phone right now at 800 933-6529 or fill out the form and I will contact you promptly.