California Slip and Fall Attorneys
The award-winning California slip and fall lawyers at Bisnar Chase have a successful track record of helping injured victims obtain fair compensation for their pain and suffering.
Slip and fall accidents cost Americans billions of dollars a year and claim tens of thousands of lives. With our legal representation, our injury clients have won over $500 Million for their accident cases. Our local slip & fall attorneys have taken on the toughest insurance companies and have continued to hold a 96% success rate for 40 years.
If you or a loved one has experienced a serious trip and fall injury in California, please contact us for a free consultation on your premises liability case (800)-561-4887.
The Statute of Limitations for a California Slip & Fall Injury
In California, the statute of limitations states that a slip and fall victim has two years to file a personal injury claim. When those two years have passed, victims have lost the right to sue the entity that has caused their injuries. The deadline differs, though, when filing for property damage for trip and fall accidents.
For example, if you had broken an expensive bracelet during the incident, claimants have three years to file a lawsuit against the negligent party under California Code of Civil Procedure section 338.
Note that the procedure to file a slip, trip and fall claim may vary in regards to minors. If the child has obtained a catastrophic injury such as a traumatic head injury in an accident, the parent or guardian would need to file a claim on behalf of their child. When a settlement has been reached the judge will decide how and when the money will be dispersed to the minor.
Steps to Take After a California Trip and Fall Accident
If you have obtained serious injuries from an incident it is important that you notify the property owner or the person who is overseeing the property immediately. The actions you take after being injured on someone else's property will directly affect your ability to receive financial compensation for your medical bills and other related damages.
There are a number of steps you should take to protect your rights after a California premises liability case:
- Call for help. If you have hurt you head, neck, back or legs, you should not risk getting up. Stay where you are and call out for help. If you have a cell phone, call 911.
- Notify the authorities. An ambulance should be called and the authorities should be notified that an injury accident occurred on the premises.
- File a report with management. If the accident occurred at a place of business, the property manager should be told right away. Ask to fill out an injury report and obtain a copy of the report before you leave.
- Collect contact information. Request the name, address and phone number of anyone who witnessed the accident. If you choose to file a claim, it could prove useful to have first-hand reports that back up your account of what caused the accident.
- Take photos. If you have a camera or a smart phone, take photos of where the accident occurred. Make sure to photograph the hazardous conditions. Was the floor wet? Did you trip on debris? Was the carpeting uneven? Did you trip on a broken stair? Were there signs, cones or caution tape around the location? If not, take a wide enough photo to show that no warnings were posted. It is also advisable to photograph your injuries.
- Seek immediate medical attention. Seeing a doctor right away will increase your chances of a full recovery. Furthermore, your medical records are legal documents that can be used in court to prove that you were injured.
- Keep your records. It is important to keep organized records of all the financial losses you have suffered after being injured. Keep track of your medical expenses as well as your prescription drug bills, lost wages and other related damages.
- Maintain a journal. If you sustained a serious injury, you may be able to receive financial compensation for the pain and suffering you endure during the recovery process. Keep a daily journal of your struggles since being injured. Are there important activities that you are no longer able to participate in because of your injuries? How has your life and livelihood been affected? Are you more stressed, depressed or fatigued since the accident? Have you had to hire a housekeeper or a gardener because you have been unable to cook or maintain the house? These are important pieces of information you would be well advised to document.
The Process of Filing Slip, Trip and Fall Claims
After you have received the proper medical treatment and have informed your doctor of how you've sustained your injury, an insurance adjuster will then try to touch base with you. The insurance adjuster will contact you to potentially coax you into giving a recorded statement of what occurred.
Do not give a recorded statement without speaking to an injury attorney first.
Insurance companies will trick victims into saying the incident was their fault. At times, an adjuster will do this by having you agree with a statement that they stated. Insurance companies will also try to trick an injury victim by stating they will receive the "full amount of compensation" for their injuries. "Full coverage" according to the insurance company may not be full coverage to you.
When you contact a California slip and fall lawyer, they will be able to assess whether the amount that the insurance company is offering you is enough to cover the costs for your medical expenses. If you are looking to pursue a slip and fall lawsuit, you should meet with an attorney and provide medical documents, the report that was documented right after the accident, and the contact information of any witnesses.
Medical Costs and Treatment for a Trip and Fall Accident
Many underestimate the injuries that a victim can experience from a fall. If the victim is elderly or already has serious medical conditions, a fall accident can be life-threatening. Immediately after the incident has taken place, people who experience this type of incident may need to be transported to an emergency room by an ambulance.
The cost of an ambulance ride can be up to $3,660. If a person does not have medical insurance, or their medical insurance does not cover the entire cost, victims will have to pay out-of-pocket for the service. Treatment following the injury can include rehabilitation, round-the-clock-care or even surgery which can be more expensive. According to data conducted by The Gerontologist: "Fallers were substantially more likely to suffer fractures and hospitalizations in the post-period than were non-fallers. Fall-related LTCF and hospital costs were $6,259 (95% confidence interval = $2,034–$10,484) per resident per year."
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury during a trip and fall and do not know who to turn to for compensation, contact a California slip and fall accident attorney. When you pursue compensation for a trip and fall incident you can potentially earn compensation for expenses such as medical bills, physical therapy and surgical procedures.
Common Injuries Claimed in Premises Liability Cases
When a person obtains injuries from falling, the injuries can keep a person from completing even the smallest of day-to-day tasks. The incident may result in catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. Injury victims may have to spend several days in the hospital and possibly months in rehabilitation and physical therapy. They may also incur tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses and even more in lost wages due to time they must take off work to recuperate from their injuries. If you have suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, there are several steps you can take to ensure that your legal rights and best interests are protected.
Wherever the fall has taken place, the property owner has a duty to keep visitors safe on their premises. When property owners breach that "duty of care", victims deserve to win recovery for the harm they have experienced.
Types of personal injuries claimed for a premises liability include:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue
- Cuts and lacerations
- Internal bleeding
Slip & Fall Accident Statistics
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that over 10,000 Americans experience falls each day and every year over two million will suffer from fall injuries. A "trip and fall" injury is one that is caused when a person falls down, slips, or trips due to the unsafe condition of the property owned or controlled by another individual or business. It may include a fall caused by water, ice, snow, or a foreign object. Other times, falls may be caused by slippery or uneven sidewalks or pavement.
Some common causes of slip and fall accidents are as follows:
- Slippery or uneven sidewalks, cobblestones, or pavement
- Steeply sloping driveways
- Slippery floor surfaces or floor coverings
- Oil, grease, water, liquids, or food on the floor
- Uneven stairs or inadequate stair rails
- Mats or rugs which become unanchored or loose
- Rain, snow, or ice
- Blocked store aisles
- Bridge construction hazards, including falling debris
- Unsafe balconies or railings
- Poor lighting
If you have been injured because of one of the hazards listed above you may have a premises liability case.
California Slip and Fall Settlements
No matter what the cause of the fall was, it must have been caused by the negligence of another in order to have a claim against the property owner or possessor. If successful, the claim will hold the property owner or manager responsible for the damages caused by your injury from the fall.
Premises liability is a broad category that is used to cover four kinds of fall down accidents:
- Trip and fall occurs when a foreign object is in the pathway
- Stump and fall, occurs when an impediment is on the walking surface, such as an unexpected bump
- Step and fall, occurs when an unexpected hole, such as an uncovered manhole, is in the walkway
- A fall occurs when the surface of the floor causes you to slip
People who endure these types of incidents always doubt that they have the ability to win recovery and ask initially if a trip and fall accident case is difficult to settle. Slip and fall cases can be difficult to settle at times due to the fact that a property owner may not want to take responsibility for the incident.
California property owners and managers are responsible for keeping walkways clear and dry. They must repair damaged steps and railings. They are required to post warning signs around areas that are under repair. Property owners must also act within a reasonable amount of time to fix a hazardous location. Failure to do so is a form of negligence.
In order to determine liability for a slip and fall, injured victims in California must prove that one of the following rules apply:
- The owner created a hazardous condition.
- The owner knew the condition existed and failed to fix it.
- The condition existed for a long enough period of time that the owner should have discovered it and corrected it before the slip-and-fall accident occurred.
In order to hold someone responsible for your slip and fall losses, there must have been a "dangerous condition" that caused your fall. The dangerous condition must be specifically identified. A reasonable person seeing the condition must judge it to be unreasonably dangerous. The condition cannot be so obvious that a reasonable person would have appreciated the condition and avoided it.
A factor that is important to consider when filing an accident claim is the type of premises insurance the property owner has. Victims who are seeking to collect compensation for a California premises liability injury must be aware of whether or not the negligent party has the means to pay for the damages.
Willful Failure to Warn
Civil Code section 1714(a) declares that: “Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.”
This California law specifies that property owners or overseers of the property have the responsibility to maintain the state of their premises. Anyone who is harmed due to an owner neglecting their property can claim an injury. If the owner was made aware of an issue and a victim, for example, suffered knee pain after a fall on the concrete in a store parking lot, this can be legally labeled as careless.
Comparative Negligence for a Trip & Fall Case
It is possible for a person to be at-fault for their own injury. California operates under a legal defense known as comparative negligence which means one or more parties can be the cause of an accident. Compensation will vary according to how much the victim was at fault in the slip and fall.
An example of comparative negligence in a trip and fall incident can be if a person decides to run on a slippery, wet floor even though there has been a "caution when wet" sign placed. The courts would determine what percentage an injured person will receive for their case.
Workers' compensation is a form of insurance that provides medical benefits and wage replacement to employees injured on the job, in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee's right to sue their employer for the tort of negligence.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor which makes sure businesses are treating employees safely, appropriately and that their work environments are safe, hazard free and following mandatory safety guidelines, rules and regulations.
If companies fail to meet safety requirements, they risk the possibility of fines, penalties and legal situations that can cost them millions of dollars.
Learn more about safety regulations, work environment standards and workers' compensation at OSHA.
What You Will Need to Prove to Win
In order for you to prevail in your premises liability case, one of the most important things you will have to prove is that the owner of the property where you fell either behaved negligently. This means that they created, had prior knowledge of, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have gained knowledge of the hazardous condition.
These are often the most difficult things to prove. This is due to the fact that the evidence that you need to prove these elements will often be in control of the property owners and will be more accessible to them.
What you want to show is that the store either had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition (they were told of the condition), that they had constructive knowledge (evidence that the store should have discovered the condition through reasonable care) or they created the dangerous condition.
To establish constructive knowledge you need to show that the condition existed for a long enough time period where the owner or his/her employee should have known about if he/she had been acting in a reasonable manner (such as conducting timely inspections).
"...they were always diligent in following up and keeping me updated of where they were with the process. When the process was completed they called me and I came in and everything was handled with the banks. They did everything. They actually doubled the original offer from the insurance company..." -Client testimonial
Contact Bisnar Chase's California Slip and Fall Lawyers
Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys have a stellar track record in fighting for the rights of slip and fall personal injury victims in California.
It is common for property owners and insurance providers to deny responsibility for these types of accidents and for victims to struggle to get the compensation they need. An experienced California slip and fall lawyer will fight for the victim's right to fair compensation for medical bills, lost wages, mental anguish, the cost of rehabilitation services and other related damages.
If you need quality representation without having to pay up front, consider talking with us. Our promise to our clients is that you will have all fees advanced for your case until the end.
Bisnar Chase's Personal Injury Attorneys serve accident victims who are located in various regions such as Orange County, Los Angeles and Riverside County.
Call us at (800)-561-4887 for a free case analysis.