SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT LAWYERS
Property owners and their employees are responsible for ensuring that all visitors find their premises safe and free from hazards. Leaving dangerous conditions unattended or failing to take appropriate safety measures can put innocent people in serious and avoidable danger.If you have been injured in an incident that occurred due to the negligence of a property owner, you may have grounds to seek compensation for your injuries.
At Century Park Law Group, our Bay Area and Los Angeles, California premises liability lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in a broad range of cases. We know how upsetting it can be to suffer a serious injury in a place where you had every right to expect that your safety would be a top priority. Our attorneys work to ensure that negligent property owners are held accountable for the harm that has come to you and your family.
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How Much is a Slip and Fall Case Worth?
If you only suffered bumps and bruises or a sprained ankle, your injuries can be taken care of through your personal insurance or through self-treatment. If your injuries are more severe and require extensive medical treatment, such as in the case of a broken bone, there are common considerations that can help you determine what the approximate value may be.
- Medical Expenses. The actual cost of ambulance service, hospitalization, doctors’ bills, physical or other therapies, prescription drugs and other costs that you incurred as a result of your accident will be a major part of determining the value of your claim.
- Future Medical Expenses. If you suffered a permanent injury, it is likely that you will require care for this condition in the future. This amount may be determined based on the amount of your current medical bills and any recommendations for future surgeries.
- Lost Wages. If you lost time at your job due to your injuries, you can claim lost wages in your lawsuit. In order to do so, you must be able to prove how much income was lost, based on the hours that you typically worked before the accident and evidence such as pay stubs.
- Lost Earning Capacity. If your injuries are so severe that you will not be able to continue working in the same field as before, you can claim lost earning capacity. In this case, the property owner may be required to compensate you for this loss. Common means of compensation include lump sum payments and payment for education or training in a new field.
- Incidental Expenses. You may be entitled to reimbursement of other expenses incurred as a result of your treatment, such as the cost of mileage to and from your medical appointments.
- Pain and Suffering. If your claim is determined to be valid, your compensation will usually at least cover your expenses, but you may also be eligible for compensation for your pain and suffering. One common way to determine the amount of pain and suffering for an injury is to add up the cost of medical treatment and multiply it by a number between 0.5 and 5. An injury that you make a full recovery from will likely only be valued at 0.5. A permanent injury that will require ongoing medical treatment will generally be valued much higher.
Slip and fall injuries can be surprisingly dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that slip trip and fall accidents are the cause of 15% of all accidental deaths in the United States, making slip and fall injuries the third highest cause of accidental deaths, right after car accidents and accidental poisonings.
Slip and fall accidents are commonly caused by:
- Surface conditions, such as:
- Uneven surfaces
- Wet or slippery floors
- Rugs that bunch up or cause a change in traction or elevation
- Loose flooring
- Holes or broken pavement
- Tripping hazards, such as:
- Debris in walking areas
- Cords that cross walkways
- Open drawers
- Transitions between different flooring materials, with or without a change of height
- Visual problems such as:
- Glare that causes momentary blindness
- Dim lighting
- Climbing unsecure or free-standing ladders
- Climbing something other than a ladder, such as a chair
- Not using a handrail on the stairs
- Running on stairs
The risk of falling from any of these conditions can be greatly reduced by taking action, such as adding signage or cones. Failure to take action to reduce the risk increases liability.
The law exists to help people come to a fair solution. A property owner may not be responsible for every accident that happens on the property. Determining responsibility is a judgment call and may vary from case to case. However, there are general guidelines that guide that decision. Specifically:
1. Did a dangerous condition exist at the time of the accident?
A dangerous condition is a circumstance that would present an unreasonable risk to a person on the property. It must also be a condition that the person would not have reasonably expected due to the circumstances. For example, if a museum leaves a raised outlet in the middle of the floor after removing an exhibit, a visitor who trips over it would not be expected to see it and walk around.
2. Did the owner of the property (or an employee) cause or know about the dangerous conditions?
A restaurant owner would not know about a toy dropped in the walk path by a customer’s child, but employees would have been aware of a persistent leak in the bathroom that caused a puddle.
3. Did the owner of the property have enough time to fix the dangerous conditions?
Property owners are expected to provide regular maintenance for their facilities, but they need time to correct unexpected problems.
4. If action was taken to repair the dangerous conditions, were they reasonable and appropriate?
If a property owner or manager was aware of the situation and took action to prevent injuries but someone was still injured, these actions would be investigated to determine if this was an adequate response to the situation. For example, a person who slips on a wet floor that has clearly visible signs would be expected to be aware of the reduced traction and avoid the area.
Falls can be very dangerous, with a high potential for injury. Injuries suffered by fall victims may result in:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spine and nerve damage
- Knee damage
- Shoulder dislocations or muscle strains
- Sprained ankles or wrists
- Cuts and bruises
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Falls may result in death, especially in older people. If the current fall rate continues, we can expect to see 7 deaths per hour from falls by 2030
- 1 in 5 falls results in serious injury, such as broken bones or head injuries
- 3 million senior citizens visit emergency departments due to fall injuries every year
- More than 800,000 patients are hospitalized each year due to a fall injury
- Head injuries and hip fractures are the most common causes of hospitalization after a fall
- More than 95% of the 300,000 senior citizens hospitalized for hip fractures each year suffered their injuries in a fall
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are most commonly caused by falls
A single fall can change someone’s life. When someone is injured in a fall, or even if they are not injured but develop a fear of falling, they usually become less active. This drop in activity leads to weakness, increasing the chances of them falling again.
- Roughly two million fall-related injuries per year are caused by flooring and floor materials
- Falls are the #1 cause of missed workdays
- Falls are the highest occupational injury risk for employees 55 years and older
- Falls are the #2 cause of death in the construction industry
- Falls cause 15% of all accidental deaths in the workplace
- 849 worker deaths were caused by slip and fall accidents in 2016
- The odds of a person falling increase for each decade of life
- Over 60% of nursing home residents fall each year
- Half of elderly fall victims cannot live independently after a fall
The world can be a dangerous place, and everyone has an obligation to look where they are going. Branches fall in outdoor walk paths. Rain causes puddles. Spills that are mopped up take time to dry.
Negligence claims try to prove that the defendant did not take reasonable action to protect visitors to the property, and that the defendant had enough time to repair unsafe conditions, but did not.
California also has comparative negligence, also known as comparative fault. Under comparative negligence, an investigation would determine percentages for fault in the accident. Even if the victim was found to be partially responsible for the accident, he or she may still be eligible for compensation.
At Century Park Law Firm, we know how insurance companies prepare their cases, and build our cases accordingly. This allows us to go head to head with insurance companies to get you the compensation you deserve for your current and future needs.
Our premises liability experience includes:
- Slip-and-falls and trip-and-falls
- Sidewalk accidents
- Stairway falls/accidents
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Negligent supervision
- Falling merchandise accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Animal bites
- Restaurant and retail liability
Call us today at (844) 444-2754 for a free, no-obligation consultation to find out if you may be entitled to compensation for your slip and fall injuries.