Contra Costa & Alameda County Slip & Fall Attorneys
Among the most common accidents are slip/trip and falls. We all start our walking careers as toddlers, falling easily and often as we learn to travel in an upright position. Most of the falls toddlers take don’t result in any serious injuries — small children are, after all, close to the ground. For adults, especially older adults, slips or trips can be much more serious. While sometimes we are fortunate enough to be able to “pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off,” in many cases we suffer injuries that may be painful, debilitating, or worse.
Some falls are simply the result of an awkward or impulsive movement on the part of the injured party, but some are the fault of another’s carelessness. When the latter is true, the law entitles you to file a lawsuit against the person or entity whose negligence resulted in your fall. This is true whether you fall on private property or in a public location, like a restaurant, mall, supermarket, hotel, office building, school, park, theater, or museum. If you have suffered a serious fall in California, as soon as you have received medical assistance, you should engage the services of one of the skilled personal injury attorneys at California Trial Law Group, PC to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
When Tenants or Their Guests Slip and Fall
If you are a tenant, or the guest of a tenant, who suffers a slip and fall due to the negligence of the landlord (who is, in this case, the property owner), you have legal recourse. You should be aware that Individuals who own and rent property are responsible for maintaining it and keeping it safe by making regular inspections and any necessary repairs. If the landlord has not cleared an icy walkway, repaired a broken bannister, or replaced lighting in a vestibule, and you or your guest suffer a slip and fall as a result, one of our capable personal injury attorneys can assist you in receiving the compensation you are entitled to. Furthermore, if you report a hazardous condition to your landlord, he or she is required to address the problem promptly or face legal consequences.
Reasons for Slip and Fall Accidents
Everyone who owns, or in some cases rents, property is responsible for keeping that property in safe condition for visitors, mail carriers, and delivery people. Premises liability lawsuits can be filed when property owners do not remove dangerous obstacles, neglect to do necessary repairs in a timely manner, or do not put up warning signs where hazards exist and are in the process of being remedied.
There are many conditions resulting from someone else’s thoughtlessness or negligence that may have contributed to your accident, including:
- Wet, icy, or otherwise slippery surfaces
- Crumbling stairs or wobbly bannisters
- Exposed electrical wiring
- Uneven flooring or broken tiles
- Frayed or uneven carpeting
- Unsecured rugs
- Obstructed walkways
- Falling debris from a building facade or defective shelving
- Poorly lit vestibules or hallways
It is important to consult with one of our attorneys promptly so that we can document the hazardous conditions that caused your fall before the responsible party quickly removes the evidence. At California Trial Law Group, PC we have the resources to investigate the area, record dangers photographically, and interview anyone who can attest to the existing danger or who was a witness to the accident itself. We are not only adept negotiators, but vigorous litigators. With our help you can be sure you will receive every dollar the law entitles you to.
In order for us to win your case we have to prove that the owner of the property in question failed to maintain that property properly or to warn if any hazardous conditions existed. On your behalf we will demonstrate that the defendant was aware of the present dangers, but did not take the necessary actions to protect people permitted to be on the premises from being injured. This last aspect may, in some situations, be a sticking point, since if you are trespassing the law may not protect you.
In addition to proving liability, our lawyers, once they decide to take your case, will have to prove causality — in other words that the hazard on the property caused your fall and injury. The defendant’s attorney may try to prove that the property owner was not aware of the danger, posted warning signs that you ignored, or that the hazard was so obvious that you should have simply avoided it.
When you are dealing with an adversary, especially when you have been injured and are vulnerable, you need a support system. That’s what our law firm will be for you. Our compassionate attorneys are always on your side and will take over the legal wrangling so that you can use your time to heal, both physically and emotionally, from your trauma.
In some cases, the court may decide that your accident was the result of “comparative fault.” This means that both you and the defendant bear some amount of responsibility for the accident. This may occur if, for example, you had alcohol in your system at the time of your fall, or if you were previously known to have balance issues. If the court determines that there is comparative fault, the damages you receive will be reduced by the percentage of fault the court assigns to you. If you are found to be 30 percent at fault for your fall, for instance, the damages you receive will be 70 percent of the awarded amount.
Common Slip/Trip and Fall Injuries
Unfortunately, the few seconds it takes to fall can result in prolonged pain, long-term disability, and even death. As cautious as most of us try to be, “accidents waiting to happen” surround us. If you have ever taken a serious fall, you probably know the after effect of replaying the accident in your mind as if willing yourself back to the moment just before it happened. Although few accidental falls are the result of malice, a great many are caused by negligence. While the responsible (or irresponsible!) party whose negligence resulted in injuries may have had no intent to harm, he or she failed to conform to the social contract in which we are all expected to protect one another whenever possible. The most common injuries that occur as a result of slip/trip and falls are, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Hip fractures
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Sprains and fractures
If you have suffered one of these injuries, or another serious injury in a fall, why not consult with us so that we can assess whether you have a viable slip and fall case? There will be no cost to you for the consultation and you will owe our firm no fee until we win your case.
Damages You May Receive
Compensatory damages in California are divided into two basic categories: economic and non-economic. The former can be calculated in terms of money and include such things as:
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning power
- Medical and rehabilitative costs
- Care for long-term disability
Non-economic damages consist of losses that cannot easily be assessed in monetary terms, but which still deserve compensation, including:
- Mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (companionship, emotional support, spousal relationship)
In addition to economic and non-economic damages, you may also be awarded punitive damages if the negligence that caused your injuries was particularly flagrant. For example, if no repair was made to a broken step in spite of the fact that it had previously been complained about and had caused injuries to others, punitive damages may be awarded. The purpose of such damages, which are typically substantial, is to punish the defendant and to discourage similarly egregious misconduct in other potential offenders.
As you can see, there are more complexities to slip/trip and fall lawsuits than you might expect. Be smart and call on our highly capable slip and fall attorneys at California Trial Law Group. We not only have superior legal knowledge and extensive experience in this field, but we have an outstanding track record of settlements and verdicts for our clients. Please get in touch with us by phone or by filling out one of the convenient contact forms on our website.