A slip and fall attorney is needed if you have injured yourself in a slip and fall accident. Slip, trip and fall accidents account for thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths each year. In fact slip and fall accidents are the second leading cause of serious injuries in the United States each year behind only auto accidents. Our law practice is dedicated to providing victims of personal injury with experienced, resourceful and knowledgeable attorney representation. Our goal is to do whatever possible to make sure our clients receive the maximum recovery they deserve.
Below you will find important information regarding slip and fall / trip and fall claims, lawsuits and avenues for recovery on behalf of victims. If you have any further questions or would like to speak with an attorney after reading this article, feel free to contact our law offices. All legal case reviews and consultations are provided by our esteemed attorneys free of charge. If you have suffered a slip and fall accident in Orange County, Irvine, Anaheim, or anywhere else within the State of California, one of our attorneys will be happy to meet with you to discuss your legal options.
Legal Doctrine – Slip and Fall Liability and Property Owner Duties
The vast majority of slip and fall claims are based on proving a premises liability cause of action. There are certain duties that an owner of a property, a proprietor of a business or a home owner owes based on the status of the victim at the time of the accident.
- Trespasser: There are few duties that are owed by a property owner towards a person who enters a property without consent. One duty is to withhold intentionally harming a trespasser via the use of traps. There is no duty to warn trespassers of dangerous conditions nor a duty to protect the victims from dangerous conditions on the premises.
- Licensee: A licensee is a person who enters the property of another for a non-commercial purpose. Example included going to a friend’s house to watch a game or going to a birthday party. Licensees are owed a duty to be protected from any known dangerous conditions and a duty to be warned of the presence of any dangerous conditions.
- Invitees: Individuals who enter a property for a commercial purpose are owed the highest level of care. On top of the duties owed to a licensee, the property owner has a duty to routinely inspect for the existence of any potential defect and resolve such defects or properly warn of them once discovered.
Negligence Cause of Action
There are four elements which need to be proven in order to establish a negligence based cause of action.
- Duty: As discussed above the duty owed is predicated on the status of the victim at the time of the accident.
- Breach of Duty: A breach of a duty takes place when the property owner fails to abide by the duties he owes to someone who has entered the property.
- Causation: The breach of the duty of care needs to be the foreseeable and factual cause of the accident.
- Damages: The victim is required to have suffered some type of damage in order to pursue a civil claim in the court of law.
Top Ten Most Common Cause Slip and Fall / Trip and Fall Accidents
There are numerous causes of slip and fall and trip and fall accidents. Some of the most common include the following.
- Failure to timely clean up spills including water, grease, ice.
- Loose carpeting.
- Exposed computer and telephone wires.
- Debris left on the floors and stairway for an extended period of time.
- Uneven, cracked and defective sidewalks.
- Potholes in streets and exposed manholes.
- Defective or broken refrigeration units in stores resulting in leaked fluids.
- Failure to place warning signs after mopping the floor.
- Too steep of a surface grade (slope).
- Loose or missing handrails and guardrails.
- Poor lighting or failure to fix broken lights.
- Exposed rebar.
- Tools and other work products left on the floor.
There are numerous locations where slip trip and fall accidents take place. Below is a list of the most common locations for such accidents.
- Supermarkets and grocery stores.
- Shopping malls, strip malls and department stores.
- Places of work including business centers, and office buildings.
- Restaurants – including fast food eateries and coffee shops.
- Schools – including colleges, universities, dorm rooms, elementary schools and high schools.
- Sporting venues: Stadiums, gyms and health clubs.
Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit – Statute of Limitations
Jurisdictions across the United Stated have placed certain timing deadlines for the filing of civil claims. In the state of California victims of personal injury including slip and fall claims have two years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit.
- Government Liability Claims – Falls Due to the Fault of the Government: Many slip and fall accidents take place in government owned buildings and on streets and sidewalks managed by a city, state or county agency. In those cases, victims must file an administrative claim with the agency charged with the upkeep of the property where the incident took place within 6 months of the date of the accident. Once the administrative claim is rejected a victim will have 6 months from the date of the rejection to file a civil claim in the court of law.
- Slip and Falls of Patients in Hospitals and Medical Facilities: In many cases patients of hospitals, nursing homes and elderly care centers suffer from slip and fall and trip and falls. Such claims need to be evaluated in order to determine whether the claim falls under a general premises liability cause of action or a medical malpractice cause of action. Medical malpractice claims are governed my MICRA laws which are instituted a one year statute of limitations for filing a civil claim.
Average Value of a Slip and Fall Case – Average Case Settlement
One of the most often asked questions by individuals who have suffered an injury due to the negligence of others is how much their case is worth or what is the average settlement for the type of case they have. Though every case is unique, there are several important factors and attributes that a case possesses which can be used to establish an estimated case value. Below you will find some of the most important factors which can play a role in determining your case value. If you would like to learn more about how much your case is worth feel free to contact our law offices to speak with one of our attorneys. Our attorneys serve the entire State of California, including Irvine, Orange, Anaheim, and other cities within Orange County.
The value of a slip and fall lawsuit depends on:
- The injuries that have been suffered by the victim
- The extent of time that the person suffered from the injuries and whether those injuries are long lasting or permanent in nature.
- Medical and rehabilitation costs associated with the treatment associated with injuries suffered.
- Calculation of future medical, rehabilitation and nursing home care costs. In cases where injuries are severe and permanent in nature victims will require future medical and home care. In those instances a life care planner will be able to assess those future costs based on the required medical attention necessary and the length of time the individual is expected to live. For example if the yearly costs for care are assessed at $70,000.00 and the individual is expected to live for the next 20 years then the calculation of future care will be assessed at $1,400,000.00.
- Lost income due to damages suffered and loss of future earnings resulting from permanent disabilities due to the accident.
- Non-economic damage compensation: In the state of California victims of personal injury are entitled to financial recovery for their mental anguish and physical pain due to an accident. A per-diem basis for pain and suffering is used to calculate a victim’s pain and suffering. A jury has to establish the extent of a victim’s pain and suffering based on the facts of the case; then place daily monetary amount and then multiply that number for the amount of days the victim has and will likely continue to suffer. So if the jury places a $50.00 a day recovery for pain and suffering and believes the victim has suffered for 100 days the calculation will be ($50 X 100) $5,000.00.
- Whether or not punitive damages are available: Courts and juries have awarded punitive damages in cases where the at fault party acted with either the intent to cause harm or a reckless indifference for the life and health of others.
Injuries Associated with Slip and Fall Accidents
Below is a list of the most common injuries resulting from slip and fall as well as trip and fall cases.
- Back and neck injuries – injuries to the spinal cord: Victims who are suffering from back and neck pain should be evaluated by either a pain management doctor on an orthopedist with an expertise in the field of spinal cord damage. MRI of the spinal cord can be used to determine and diagnose any structural damage which may include slipped or herniation of discs, impingement on nerve roots and shattered spinal columns.
- Head injuries – notably concussions, brain hemorrhaging and traumatic brain injury. Common signs of a traumatic brain injury include dramatic alteration in mood and behavior, short term memory loss, sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting following the incident, leakage of fluids from the nose and ears, and changes in the victim’s personality.
- Shoulder damage – torn rotator cuff damage and separation of the shoulder joints.
- Knee damage – including torn ligaments meniscus, MCL and ACL.
- Damage to the internal organs – collapsed lung, liver damage, ruptured spleen, and heart attack caused by stress induced by trauma.
- Facial injuries – broken orbital socket, broken nose, dental damage, damage to the jaw resulting in TMJ injuries, facial paralysis and palsy, and facial lacerations resulting in scarring.
- Nerve damage – pinched nerve, paralysis, loss of use of a limb and CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome).
- Broken ankles and damage to the foot.
- Other orthopedic injuries: Including damage to the hand and wrists, broken tibia or fibula, and tendon tears.
- Psychological damage: Including post traumatic stress, depression and anxiety arising from the injuries suffered.
Loss of Life – Filing a Wrongful Death Claim on Behalf of a Deceased Family Member
Under California statutory laws certain family members of persons who have perished due to the intentional or wrongful conduct of others are entitled to financial compensation.
- Who has the right to file a claim: California statutes delineate persons who may have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Spouses of the deceased, any children and verified domestic partners have a direct right to file a wrongful death claim. If there are no surviving spouses, children or domestic partners then any person, who by will or intestate succession have a right to the property of the deceased, shall have the right to file the claim. Parents of the deceased have a right to file a claim if there are no surviving spouses or children, and they were in some way financially dependent on the deceased individual.
- Damages where compensation is available in Wrongful Death Claims: In the state of California wrongful death claimants have a right to recovery for their financial losses incurred due to the death. This includes funeral and burial expenses, all past medical bills and hospitalization costs arising from the accident, loss of income and future loss of earnings potential of the deceased, loss of love, companionship, support, affection, and support that was lost due to the death.
Steps That Need to Be Taken – Protecting Your Legal Rights Following an Slip and Fall Injury
There are several important steps that need to be followed in order to protect your legal right to compensation after a slip and fall accident.
- Ask for an incident report to be taken by the manager of the establishment or security at the location of the incident.
- Contact the local paramedics and have them transport you via ambulance to the nearest medical center or emergency room.
- Take pictures of the fall location; evidence such as debris or liquids on the floor and the condition of the floor space can play an important factor in determining the viability of your claim.
- Take down the contact information of any witnesses of the accident.
- If any insurance adjusters or representatives from the location of the accident contact you DO NOT speak with them regarding how the accident happened and your injuries. Any information you pass down to them can only be used against you.
- Contact a personal injury attorney with experience in the field of slip and fall and premises liability claim.
Costs of Hiring an Attorney – Our Zero Fee Guarantee
If you are looking for the best slip and fall lawyers in Orange County, you have found the right law firm. Many law firms will ask their clients for an upfront retainer of hundreds or thousands of dollars. Our law firm is different; we work on all our personal injury files based on a contingency fee agreement. This means that our clients will never have to pay a single penny out of pocket until we have settled your claim. Below if a list of the service we offer all our clients.
- Zero Fee Guarantee: If we do not win your case you will not owe us a single penny, no matter what.
- Wide network of doctors with specialties in the field of trauma care: We will make sure you receive the highest level of medical care possible. You will not have to pay any out of pocket expenses for any of the medical care you receive. All medical facilities and specialists work specifically on a medical lien.
- Transportation to and from medical appointments: We offer VIP transportation service to and from medical appointments for clients who are not able to drive because of their injuries or do not have any other means of transportation.
What if I Currently Have an Attorney – Second Opinion on Your Case
Many attorneys may not have the needed experience or resources to properly handle a premises liability claim. Victims of personal injury who are not happy with their current representation have the right to seek out a new attorney. The general fear amongst victims who wish to switch to a new attorney is that there will be extra costs they will have to incur. However this is not the case; a client will not have to pay any extra fees for switching attorneys.
Free Attorney Consultation Available
Victims of personal injury can have many questions they need answered. We pride ourselves in spending the time necessary to answer all your questions and guiding you through every step of a personal injury claim. If you have any legal questions and would like to speak with one of our attorneys please feel free to contact our law offices. All legal consultations and case reviews are performed by our experienced slip and fall lawyers free of charge. Locations served include Orange, Anaheim, and Irvine.