Devastating Consequences of Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are the single largest cause of emergency room visits in California and across the United States, accounting for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits. From a medical and legal standpoint, “slip and fall” is a term that encompasses accidents that include slips, trips, or falls. These include slip and fall accidents that occur at locations owned, managed, or controlled by another party. Slip and fall accidents that occur at someone else’s property are governed by a legal doctrine known as premises liability.
What is Meant by Premises Liability
Since slip and fall accidents occur on the property or premises owned or leased by someone else. The key element to determine whether an owner, renter, or other occupier of property is responsible for injuries sustained at the premises is control. Under the doctrine of premises liability, a party must have control over an aspect of a property that underpinned an accident and injury.
Commonplace Injuries from Slip and Fall Accidents
According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NSFI), slip and fall injuries can be severe and life-threatening. Common slip and fall injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Back and neck injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Hip fractures
- Broken pelvic bones
- Wrist, arm, and ankle injuries
- Soft tissue damage
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Hazardous conditions existing on the premises typically are the underlying cause of slip and fall accidents and resulting injuries. A commonly used example of a hazardous condition that precipitated a slip and fall accident is a liquid spilled on the floor of a grocery market or some other type of business.
When filing a personal injury claim in premises liability, a dangerous condition has to be identified as a direct or contributing cause of a slip and fall accident and resulting. Examples of dangerous conditions that lead to slip and fall injuries include:
- Missing or uneven railings in stairwells or on balconies
- Liquids, food, or grease on floors
- Poor lighting
- Objects of debris on flows
- Snow or ice
- Flooring defects or damage
Workplace Slip and Fall Accidents
If you get injured while at your workplace, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. The workers’ compensation system in California is a “no-fault” system. What this means is that when you suffer a slip and fall accident while at work, you may be able to recover damages notwithstanding who was at fault for the accident.
When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you have to prove that the injury occurred during the scope of undertaking your job, within the course of your employment.
Pursuing a California Slip and Fall Accident Injury Claim
The California Civil Jury Instruction 1000 identifies four elements to prove in a premises liability claim:
- Defendant controlled the premises and had a duty of care
- Defendant was negligent in the use or care of the property
- Plaintiff was injured as the result of that negligence
- Negligence caused injuries sustained by plaintiff
Negligence is the key element that has to be proved in a slip and fall claim. According to California Civil Jury Instructions 1003, negligence in the use or maintenance of a property can be proved by showing that:
- Condition at property created an unreasonable risk of harm
- Defendant knew or through the exercise of reasonable care would have known of the risk
- Defendant failed to address the risk in an appropriate and timely manner
Evidence to Support a Slip and Fall Accident Injury Claim
Proving that another party is at fault for the slip and fall accident can be a challenging endeavor. Prevailing on a premises liability claim requires the presentation of material evidence that supports an allegation of negligence on the part of a party that controls a particular property.
Examples of evidence to support a slip and fall accident injury claim include:
- Medical records
- Photos and videos
- Expert witness testimony
- Statements for accident witnesses
The challenges associated with acquiring evidence to support a claim for compensation following a slip and fall accident underscores the need to retain the services of a capable lawyer, like a member of the legal team at Eldessouky Law.
Comparative Negligence in a California Slip and Fall Accident
Your own actions may contribute to a slip and fall accident in some instances. California law takes this into account.
California is what is known as a comparative negligence state. This means that you may still be able to claim financial compensation for your injuries even if you also contributed to the slip and fall accident.
Fault is allocated between you and the other party and parties. For example, if you’re found to be 30 percent responsible for an accident, compensation awarded to you in a slip and fall case is reduced by that percentage.
Compensation for Injuries and Losses in a Slip and Fall Case
Compensation potentially available in a claim depends upon the specific facts and circumstances of a slip and fall accident and the nature and extent of injuries sustained. With that noted, examples of losses for which compensation is sought after a slip and fall accident include:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
In some cases, a slip and fall accident lawyer is able to seek what are known as punitive damages or exemplary damages on behalf of an injured client. Punitive damages represent additional compensation awarded in certain situations in which a party’s action or inaction in causing a slip and fall accident is deemed to be particularly reckless or egregious.
California Slip and Fall Accident Statute of Limitations
The California slip and fall accident statute of limitations puts a limit on when you may be able to file a lawsuit. In California, the Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1 the time period for filing a lawsuit is two years from the date of your injury.
However, if you got injured in a public premises and the negligent party is the government, you have to file an what is known as an administrative claim within six months of the date of the injury. The government agency or body will then have to respond within 45 days.
The California Code of Civil Procedure provides exceptions where the statute of limitations can be “tolled” (paused). These exceptions cover circumstances where:
- The victim becomes physically incapacitated and couldn’t file a claim before the statute of limitations runs out
- The victim becomes mentally incapacitated and was, as a result, prevented them from filing a claim
- The injuries did not become apparent until after the expiration of the statute of limitations had expired
Slip and fall accidents in Los Angeles, California are common occurrences that can result in serious injuries. At Eldessouky Law, our Los Angeles County premises liability attorney takes exception to owners and operators who deny negligence when our clients are hurt in their establishments or on their property, and work tirelessly to deliver financial results for the injured.
With millions of dollars recovered for our clients over the past decade, our slip and fall lawyer provides exceptional representation for our California residents so they can focus on their recovery – not their medical bills or lost wages.
Your Legal Rights After a Los Angeles Slip and Fall Accident
Getting hurt in a slip and fall accident in Los Angeles requires quick legal action. Contact an experienced Los Angeles slip and fall attorney at Eldessouky Law today at (714) 409-8991. There is no cost for an initial consultation for a slip and fall lawyer from our firm.