Everything about Slip and Fall Injury
What you do immediately after a slip and fall injury can significantly affect your ability to recover compensation. Here are the steps to take.
If you are in pain, try not to move unless you have to for safety reasons. Your health and safety are a priority, so call 911 if you need emergency medical care.
If you don’t think you need to be taken to the hospital, stay at the scene to collect evidence.
The police are rarely involved in slips and fall, but you can file a police report about the incident afterward if you feel the situation requires it.
If you can be near where you fell, stop and take pictures and video of the area. Try catching the following:
- The place where you slipped and fell.
- The danger that caused your fall.
- The surrounding area, including any surrounding signs, debris, road conditions, etc.
- A picture from a distance that shows the whole scene.
These documents can be important evidence of fault and help prove the seriousness of your injuries.
Talk to witnesses
If someone nearby saw you fall, ask if they can record a statement on your phone about what they saw.
If they refuse to have a recorded statement, ask if they would be willing to write down what they saw.
Also, ask for their name and contact information because you and your attorney may need to speak to them again. (Everything about Slip and Fall Injury)
Report your slip and fall to the property owner or manager. Tell them what happened in general, but avoid discussing fault or the severity of your injuries.
Anything you say can be used against you later to reduce or deny your compensation. Make an accident report and ask for a copy.
This step is often vital to proving fault and establishing a link between your slip and fall and any injuries you may have sustained.
Stick to accurate facts when writing about how the fall happened. The owner or manager may want you to sign a release of liability form that bars you from pursuing a compensation claim against them. Additionally, if they ask you to sign a form, politely decline.
Seek medical care
See a doctor as soon as you leave the scene, even if you’re not hurt. Severe injuries can have delayed symptoms.
As a result, the sooner you start treatment, the better your chances of recovery. Medical documentation must also link your injuries to the slip and fall.
Without it, property owners can argue that your injuries did not occur on their property or are not as serious as you say. (Everything about Slip and Fall Injury)
Talk to a lawyer
Arrange for a free consultation with a Slip & Fall attorney as soon as possible. They can advise you about your legal options and the best action.
Once you have agreed to retain their services, they will begin to investigate, determine who is responsible, and secure evidence to support your case.
Slip and fall claims can be challenging for you. Your attorney will handle every aspect, including all communication with the property owner or manager and their insurance company, so you can negotiate fair compensation.
When is a landlord liable for slip and fall injuries?
When a slip and fall injury occurs in a house or apartment you rent, you may wonder whether you can hold your landlord liable. Whether you can or not depends on where and why the slip and fall happened.
Slip and fall and carelessness
To hold a landlord legally liable for injuries caused by a slip and fall, you must be able to prove that their negligence was the cause of your accident. For example, in your case, the following elements must be present:
- The landlord or their property manager maintained, owned, or controlled the place where the accident occurred.
- The owner knew or should have known of a dangerous condition on the property which could cause an accident causing serious injury and failed to correct or warn of it.
- Your slip and fall injury directly resulted from a preventable hazard.
- Damages resulting from your slip and fall injury (e.g., medical bills, loss of income, pain, suffering, etc.)
- If the landlord did not act negligently and you slipped and fell on the property, they would not be liable. The success of your case depends on providing proof of their negligence.
Examples of Negligent Landlord Injuries
Common examples of when a landlord may be liable for an accident causing injury in a rented house or apartment include, but are not limited to:
- Slipping and falling on a wet, slippery surface that should have been cleaned—for example, a leaky roof or a puddle caused by gutters.
- Slips and falls due to the landlord’s failure to remove snow and ice from the sidewalk.
- Fall on a ladder due to broken steps or weak handrail.
- Falls due to weak or poor flooring.
- Fall due to the poorly lit hall or stairs.
- Falling due to debris or obstructions is a common way.
Injuries resulting from a slip and fall on a homeowner’s property can vary in severity, such as traumatic brain injuries, bone fractures, neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, cuts, abrasions, and soft tissue injuries. (Everything about Slip and Fall Injury)
Tenant’s rights after a fall injury
After suffering a slip and fall injury due to the landlord’s negligence, tenants have the right to claim premises liability to recover compensation for the injuries and related expenses.
Immediately after you slip and fall, seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you don’t need an ambulance, try to stay where you were injured and collect evidence.
Take pictures or videos of the danger caused by your fall, the surrounding area, and your injuries. If someone witnessed your slip and fall, ask for their contact information.
Notify your landlord in writing about the slip and fall and your injuries. They will likely have liability insurance through which you can file an insurance claim.
Most cases are settled out of court, but working with a slip-and-fall attorney is important. They can help you with every aspect of your claim and ensure you get the compensation you need now and in the future.
What is the statute of limitations in the case?
Each state has a law that sets a time limit on how victims pursue a slip and fall case, known as the “statute of limitations.”
The law encourages victims to file slips and lawsuits within a reasonable period so that evidence is available and unfair legal action is prevented. In Riverside, it is two years from the date of injury. (Everything about Slip and Fall Injury)
Slip and Fall Statute of Limitations in California
Under Section 335.1 of the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP), the two-year period begins on the date of the slip and fall.
Once too much time passes, evidence begins to disappear, witnesses’ memories fade, and it can be very challenging to trace the details at fault.
However, it is usually in your best interest to begin the claims process relatively soon after a slip and fall.
However, initiating and resolving the claims process are two completely different situations.
It is ideal for initiating a slip-and-fall claim early, but that does not mean you should get it resolved quickly.
Instead, a slip-and-fall attorney will recommend waiting to settle your case until you fully recover from your injuries or have reached “maximum medical improvement” (MMI).
This way, you understand the full extent of your injuries, your financial loss, and how it will affect your life in the future.
Only then can you get an accurate estimate of the total value of your case and the minimum amount to settle.
Statute of limitations for government claims
If your slip and fall accident was caused by the negligence of a government agency or employee in Riverside, the statute of limitations is different.
An injury claim must be filed against the state government within six months of the injury. You have another six months to file a lawsuit if your claim is denied.
Statute of limitations for wrongful death claims
When a death occurs due to slip and fall, the surviving family members have the right to pursue a wrongful death case.
Under California law, the statute of limitations is similar to tort cases in that families have two years to sue.
However, the difference is that the time starts from the date of death of the victim, which is not necessarily the day of the accident. (Everything about Slip and Fall Injury)
What if I file a claim after the statute of limitations has passed?
There’s usually no way around the statute of limitations. Once it is passed, you are usually barred from making a claim and recovering compensation.
One of the only exceptions is the “discovery of damages” rule, which delays the statute of limitations until the victim knows or should have reasonably known of their injuries. However, it usually occurs on the same date as the slip and fall accident.
If you are unsure how long it takes to file a slip and fall claim, it is best to speak with a slip and fall attorney as soon as possible. They can ensure you do not miss out on the compensation you are entitled to.
Where are some of the most common places for slips and falls?
Slip and fall accidents can result in serious injuries and are common in Riverside. Some of the places where such incidents happen the most are as follows.
Sidewalks can be dangerously uneven, broken, cracked, or slippery with snow. The owner or lessee of property adjacent to a sidewalk is generally responsible for maintaining the sidewalk and keeping it in good repair.
However, depending on local ordinances, this may be the city’s responsibility. As a result, who is liable for pavement slips and falls is usually decided on a case-by-case basis.
Slips and falls are prevalent in parking lots due to uneven pavement, potholes, or poor lighting. In these cases, the owner of the parking lot would be liable if their negligence was the cause of your injury. (Everything about Slip and Fall Injury)
Restaurant & Bar
The risk of slips and falls increases in crowded places with many people, moving chairs, spilled liquids on the floor, or poor design.
If the owner or manager could have prevented the slip and fall and failed to prevent or warn of a danger, they may be liable.
The ground in and near gas stations is often slippery due to water, gasoline, or oil spills and may not have caution signs or similar displays for warning.
Gas stations may also have obstructions to stairs, train tracks, door handles, or walkways that can cause consumers to injure themselves.
Slips and falls happen in shopping malls for a variety of reasons. However, the mall owner, a shop owner, or a maintenance company may be liable if the slip and fall are caused by their failure to fix the following:
- cracked floor;
- torn rug;
- wet or greasy entrance;
- insufficient lighting;
- broken stairs;
- broken railing;
- faulty escalator;
- potholes in parking lots;
- clean up spills in the food court;
Amusement and Water Park
Slips and falls are very common at amusement and water parks.
When property management companies, tenants, contractors, or employees fail to be alert for wet steps, unsafe platforms, unmarked cables, debris on the ground, and other obstructions, they may be liable.
Water parks are expected to follow ADA rules regarding slippery surfaces. Slip and fall injuries often occur when they fail on non-slippery, flat walking areas and textured surfaces on stairs.
Slips and falls seem inevitable near pools, but property owners can take steps to prevent them.
Some examples of when they may be liable for an injury include failing to perform maintenance and providing adequate supervision or protection properly. (Everything about Slip and Fall Injury)
In apartment complexes, slips and falls often occur when landlords fail to install adequate lighting or fix broken sidewalks, stairs, or railings.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities
Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are at higher risk of falls because of their age and health conditions.
However, slips and falls are more likely to occur when proper supports and handrails are not in place throughout the facility.
Proving negligence in slip and fall case
After a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property, you must prove negligence on the property owner’s part to hold them liable.
To prove negligence
Showing a property owner’s negligence can be challenging because it requires proof that a dangerous condition existed and that either the owner knew about it or should have known and failed to correct it.
Doing so comes down to establishing the following four elements of negligence:
The property owner owes you a duty of care to keep his premises safe. As long as you were a permitted visitor, duty may be relatively easy to prove. Except in very limited circumstances, trespassers have no duty of care.
The property owner failed to exercise reasonable care in securing his premises where he knew, or should have known that dangerous conditions existed a sufficient time before the accident occurred.
The failure of the owner to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition caused the accident and your injuries.
There must be a clear connection between the hazard to the property and your slip and fall injury.
Prove that you suffered damages (losses) following a slip and fall accident. For example:
- Medical Expenses: Up to and future medical expenses, including doctor’s fees, medicines, treatments, etc.
- Loss of income due to loss of work or job loss.
- Emotional distress, mental anguish, pain, and suffering
Notice in slip and fall case
The idea that an owner “knew or should have known” of a dangerous condition on his property is a highly disputed issue in slip-and-fall cases.
This is also referred to as the concept of notice because only when the property owner knows or should have known about the dangerous condition do they have a duty to repair it. There are two types of notices:
Has claimed. There is evidence that a property owner was aware of a dangerous condition either because they created it, directly observed it, or were informed about it.
Evidence of actual notice may include a letter written by a guest or employee notifying the owner of the condition, a mention of it in inspection documents, or a previous accident report listing the risk as the culprit for the injury.
Evidence that the property owner should have known of the dangerous condition, even if he did not directly observe it and was not explicitly told of its existence.
This may occur if it can be demonstrated that a hazardous condition has existed on the property for a sufficient period that the owner should have discovered it by inspecting the property and performing routine maintenance.
For example, a sidewalk pushed up by tree roots takes two to three years to occur, meaning an owner will have plenty of time to spot and fix the hazard before an accident occurs.
Additionally, constructive notice can be provided if the condition causing the injury is recurring. For example, improperly installed gutters will continually allow water to pool on the ground, which can freeze. (Everything about Slip and Fall Injury)
What are the most common long-term injuries from a slip and fall accident?
Slip and fall accidents may sound minor, but in some cases, victims can suffer serious injuries with long-term consequences. The most common long-term injury victims suffer include the following.
Essentially any bone in the body can be fractured or broken as a result of a slip-and-fall accident, but some of the most susceptible bones include:
- vertebrae in the spine
- neck bones
- ankle bones
The impact of falling or hitting an object is usually responsible for the break or fracture. For example, according to the CDC, more than 95 percent of broken hips are caused by falls.
The elderly are at a particularly high risk of this type of injury. In severe cases, sufferers face a lifetime of pain and debilitation.
Surgery or a cast is needed to facilitate healing, and prescription medications, physical therapy, and other ongoing treatments are to address the damage.
Head and brain injuries are often caused by the head hitting the ground or an object. A sudden, violent blow or jolt to the head causes the brain to collide with the skull.
Brain injuries can range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that result in permanent cognitive impairment.
Moderate to severe TBI will cause dependence on a caregiver or family member in addition to physical pain and limitations.
As a result, these new difficulties can take a toll mentally and lead to a lifelong battle of fluctuating emotions and depression. (Everything about Slip and Fall Injury)
Neck and back injuries
Most neck and back injuries are caused by the impact of a fall or twisting of the body while going down.
The spine can suffer from too much stress, and a common response is for a disc to herniate or rupture.
Spinal discs act as cushions between the vertebrae, and when one herniates or ruptures, it can be painful, limit mobility, and lead to more serious back issues in the future.
Physical therapy and surgery are usually required, and sufferers often suffer from chronic pain.
Blunt trauma from a fall can damage internal organs. These injuries may not be immediately apparent, but internal bleeding can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.
Any signs of injury or cuts to the abdomen should be evaluated. Additionally, internal damage can occur if the victim falls on a sharp foreign object that enters the body.
Depending on the extent of the injury, a limb may be torn off, bruised, crushed, or destroyed, which can significantly affect the victim’s life.
The experience of an accident can be traumatic, but living with a life-changing injury can take a huge toll on mental health.
Psychological conditions, such as PTSD, depression, insomnia, or anxiety, often accompany severe injuries. In some cases, emotional distress is the most significant injury from a serious slip and fall accident.
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