Because of negligent conditions on a property, you may trip, slip, or fall and sustain injuries, including but not limited to:
- Broken pelvic bones
- Hip fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back or neck injuries
- Wrist, arm, ankle sprains, or fractures
After a slip (or trip) and fall accident, you can file a premises liability claim if your injuries were caused by dangerous conditions on the property that the property owners (or attendants) had prior knowledge of. Negligent (or dangerous) conditions that can result in injuries include:
- Poor lighting (on stairs, in doorways, in parking lots, etc.)
- Potholes (on the property’s exterior walkways)
- Snow or ice
- Uneven floors, stairs, or pavements
- Missing railways
- Grease or food (left on floors or walkways)
- Slippery surfaces
Liability in Slip & Fall Accidents
To establish fault in slip and fall cases and hold a property owner liable for your injuries, it must be proven that:
- The property has unsafe conditions that caused your injuries.
- The property owner knows (or should have reasonably known) about the unsafe conditions, and having this knowledge, they did not fix the issues or warn others of the unsafe conditions.
Consider this: You need to make a quick trip to the grocery store. While at the store, you slip and fall because of the uneven pavement in the parking lot and hurt your wrist, arm, and hip. Evidence shows that many customers have complained about potholes, uneven pavement, and other unsafe conditions, but the store didn’t address these dangerous conditions. They knew about the conditions and didn’t warn customers with signs or fix the parking lot issues. You can seek to be compensated for your injuries.
Comparative Negligence | Partial Fault
California adheres to a comparative negligence system, which means slip and fall victims can be assigned a percentage of the blame for the accident. If you are found to be partially at fault, the amount of damages you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Using our grocery store example, let’s say you were texting and not paying attention while you walked in the parking lots. You may be held 20% at fault for the accident. If your damages are $80,000, then you receive $64,000.
Damages in Slip & Fall Accident Claims
If you are injured after a slip or fall caused by someone else’s negligence, you can pursue compensation for losses you’ve suffered. In personal injury claims, damages (compensation) fall into three categories:
- Economic damages account for financial losses you have suffered that have a price tag, such as hospital bills, prescription costs, damages to personal property, etc.
- Noneconomic damages account for injuries and losses you’ve experienced that do not have a clear financial value, such as pain of suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.
- Punitive damages do not account for your losses but instead punish the defendant for their negligence. These damages are typically awarded in instances of extremely reckless behavior actions are also meant to deter others from behaving similarly.
Calculating the damages you are owed is extremely complex. Insurance companies want you to settle for less than you are owed, and oftentimes, they lowball slip and fall accident victims when making settlement offers. While it may be easy to collect receipts and determine your economic damages, you should consult with a reliable attorney to determine the other damages you may be owed.
What to Do After a Slip & Fall Accident
While you may be overwhelmed after you injure yourself, the following actions should be taken:
- Report the incident. You should inform the property owner (or an employee) that you have been injured after tripping, slipping, or falling. Making a report can help ensure the owner addresses the problem and others are not injured. In some cases, you may also be asked to complete an accident report.
- Seek medical treatment. No matter how severe or minor your injuries are, you should see a doctor. Your medical records will now include notes about your injuries and how you sustained them.
- Take photos and notes (if you are able). You should take pictures of the scene of the accident and the dangerous conditions. This is especially important as certain conditions can change or be immediately rectified (i.e. weather like snow or ice, spilled water or food, etc.). If you are unable to get pictures, notes about where you were and what happened can be helpful. You should also take pictures of your injuries before treatment begins.
- Adhere to medical advice. If your doctor asks for a follow-up appointment or refers you to a physical therapist, you should attend these appointments and obey their instructions. This is not only good for your health but also for demonstrating your injuries are not fake to insurance company representatives and/or a jury.
- Contact our premises liability lawyers. At Eliot Reiner, APLC, we are advocates for our clients as they navigate this difficult time. While you focus on healing, our attorneys can handle the legalities of your case.
For help fighting for fair compensation after a slip and fall accident, reach out to our firm online or at (916) 778-3228. From helping you investigate the accident to gathering evidence to negotiating with the defendant’s insurance provider, we are equipped to navigate the legalities of your case.