Have you ever heard someone comment that they’ve suffered a “bad fall?” Perhaps you’ve made that remark before. In any case, slip-and-fall injuries do occur, and a slip-and-fall could be a tricky situation to navigate when personal injury is involved. But, you shouldn’t feel silly or ashamed for pursuing compensation if you’ve suffered from any injuries after such an incident. If you’re in the Inland Empire and have suffered an injury as a result of a slip-and-fall accident, talking to a personal injury attorney in the Inland Empire could help alleviate some stress.
Inadequate lighting, negligent maintenance, and other reasons might have caused you or someone you know to slip and fall. When it comes to reviewing your rights, a personal injury attorney might help you receive some compensation, including medical expenses coverage and future health care costs! For local residents, if you’re looking for a personal injury attorney in the Inland Empire, Peach & Weathers might be able to help.
At Peach & Weathers, we have over 60 years of combined experience in personal injury law. A personal injury attorney in the Inland Empire might benefit you because, the unfortunate fact of the matter is, slip-and-fall accidents do occur no matter where you are. In fact, slip-and-fall accidents are actually more common than one might think.
Slip-and-fall injuries account for roughly eight million emergency room visits each year! This makes them the leading category for emergency room visits, accounting for a staggering 21.3 percent! Additionally, slip-and-fall accidents are the primary cause for missed days at work, occurring in 22 percent of the cases. And 85 percent of workers' compensation claims are based on slipping on a slick floor at work.
Determining whether the accident was accidental or based on the negligence of a property owner, however, is tricky and dictates the outcome of such a potential case. Here at Peach & Weathers, we’re delving into slip-and-fall cases with the goal to help you better understand slip-and-fall accidents, how to avoid them, and what to do if you find yourself as a victim of such a case. By the end of this article, we also hope to help you determine if you might be in need of a personal injury attorney in the Inland Empire or in an area suitable for you.
Who Is Affected By Slip-and-falls
A common misconception is that slip-and-fall accidents are exclusive to the elderly, but this simply is not true. Anyone could be a victim in a slip-and-fall accident, regardless of age. In fact, people of all ages enter both public and private property so often that the scenario could be possible for those who actively workout and youths in school!
Like any place, we know that people in the Inland Empire visit businesses to run errands and make purchases. When visiting these places, however, customers do not expect to encounter dangers. But, the truth is that risks exist both inside and outside of these establishments. These dangers could cause a fall, resulting in serious injuries. Still don’t know if a personal injury attorney in the Inland Empire is practical for you? Keep reading and maybe we’ll be able to help!
General Causes Slip-and-falls
As humans, we’re aware that accidents just happen at times. This could occur because one is clumsy, careless, or even negligent. However, other times accidents occur because another party is negligent. This, unfortunately, could be the case when you enter the property of another. Whether it is public or private property, a property owner could be held liable for a slip-and-fall accident that results in injury.
If someone is a victim of a slip-and-fall accident, it’s vital to understand the cause of the slip-and-fall. Doing this could hold the appropriate party who’s at-fault liable for any harms and damages that were suffered through a premises liability suit, and ultimately help the injured individual take steps to uncover liability. Let’s dive a bit more into what causes slip-and-falls and how to determine who’s at fault.
Causes of Public Slip-and-falls
Regarding public places, a slip-and-fall incident could occur for a wide variety of reasons. These are often due to hazards or dangerous conditions inside the building such as a wet floor, improperly waxed floors, torn carpet or a bulging rug or carpet. Dangerous conditions can also exist outside a building but still on the property. This could include unaddressed weather conditions such as snow and ice. As mentioned in the outset of this article, such accidents could occur due to inadequate lighting or the poor maintenance of a parking lot or sidewalk.
Ice can be a noteworthy cause of some serious slip-and-fall accidents. This dangerous condition could be the result of a careless or negligent property owner. Such negligence could also be the cause of other falls outside of commercial buildings.
The Inland Empire isn’t known for having icy surfaces, nonetheless, certain situations might create a slip-and-fall circumstance. For example, consider if some workers are transporting large bags of ice from one floor of a building to another. Transporting the ice from the truck into the actual building without the appropriate warning signs could create an icy environment and could be a potential liability claim. If a passerby slips and falls on the melted ice as a result of the workers’ negligence, it might be wise to contact a personal injury attorney in the Inland Empire might be suitable.
Inadequate outdoor lighting could lead to a slip and fall in a parking lot. If customers cannot see where they are going, they may trip over a curb, fall on steps or stairs or even trip and fall because of holes, cracks and uneven surfaces outside of the building or shopping center.
Parking lots could also be riddled by danger if a property owner does not properly maintain it. This means that they fill and patch cracks and holes. Also, this means making the differences in height from one section of a parking lot to another, gradually, as abrupt changes could cause slips and falls.
Sidewalks can also be the culprits for slip-and-fall accidents. While property owners are not responsible for incidents caused on public sidewalks, some courts could impose liability on a property owner when customers coming to and from their business exclusively use a sidewalk. Additionally, property owners will be held liable for dangerous conditions existing on private walkways.
Unique Slip-and-fall Cases: Sidewalks
Focusing on the latter of the slip-and-fall causes mentioned above, sidewalks may cause serious injuries. In the case that you are affected by the unsafe conditions of a sidewalk, you may wonder if someone is at fault. If negligence led to your fall, there are a few things to keep in mind while proving liability.
Who is responsible for a public sidewalk?: On a public sidewalk, it can be challenging to determine ownership and liability. State law and which group has been deemed responsible for the upkeep of public sidewalks are major determining factors. While some jurisdiction assigns this responsibility to the municipality, it isn’t always that straightforward. Under these circumstances, the city, an adjacent property owner, or both could be held liable.
Can you prove that whoever is responsible for the sidewalk acted negligently? Was the sidewalk on which you fell deemed unreasonably unsafe? Challenging as these questions might be, if you’re able to ask these questions and prove it, doing so might help you in the future. Remember our scenario with the bags of melted ice and lack of warning signs. A personal injury attorney in the Inland Empire might be necessary upon determining if you have a case or not.
It’s also helpful to document everything that takes place immediately following the accident. Take pictures, save documents, and seek records of past complaints. Consider the following tips:
- Photos could be your most valuable asset in building a case. Photograph various angles of the scene, your clothes, and injuries incurred. This is especially important if the condition of the sidewalk is likely to change in a short period; if there is snow or if you believe that the owner will quickly repair its damages, make sure to document the evidence that led to your fall.
- Save documents that state the nature and extent of your injuries. Use this evidence to demonstrate the danger of the sidewalk on which you fell.
A history of past complaints about the sidewalk will prove that the owner responded in negligence. Demonstrating that the sidewalk was broken will not suffice in finding liability. You must also prove that the owner was aware of the hazard but neglected to make repairs.
Also, keep in mind that time could work for or against you. Timeliness is a significant factor in your chances of winning your case, and most jurisdictions require your adherence to a strict filing procedure. While this will vary by jurisdiction, this process generally involves:
- A short deadline to notify the proper municipal department. By short, we mean less than thirty days.
- A written description of the accident and your claim, including location, circumstances, and injuries incurred.
- A request for the dollar amount you expect to receive in compensation. This is likely difficult to determine. So make sure to reach out for legal guidance.
When Premises Liability is Certain
Premises liability refers to the class of cases in which liability arises because a person incurred an injury on the premises of another. It should be noted that when a slip-and-fall accident occurs, the property owner is not automatically liable because the accident took place on the premises.
Liability is based on the property owner's duty to maintain reasonably safe conditions and whether he or she knew or should have known of the dangerous condition that led to the slip-and-fall accident. But are physical injuries the only injuries a person could sue for?
While it’s expected that a person suffering from a slip-and-fall injury can recover for medical bills and lost work due to the injury, it’s important to remember that emotional or social loss could also affect the case. Consider the following example:
Bill slips and falls while grocery shopping and injures his back which causes nerve damage and impedes his ability to have relations with his significant other. Should Bill contact a personal injury attorney in the Inland Empire? If so, what could Bill sue for?
In this scenario, Bill may sue for his physical damage as well as the loss of companionship with his significant other (his spouse may also have a claim for loss of companionship). We’re hoping this makes more sense now!
Life After the Slip-and-fall
What should one do following a slip-and-fall incident? The first and most important step to take is to obtain medical treatment. This step should not be delayed and should be immediately obtained following the accident. This does not only result in timely medical care for injuries suffered, but it provides much documentation for the victim in case they decide to pursue legal action.
If you’re a victim of a slip-and-fall injury based on a dangerous condition that could have been prevented, a premises liability action could help you recover compensation for your losses--physical, emotional, and social. Seriously consider contacting a personal injury attorney in the Inland Empire or in an area suitable for you.
If a negligent property owner is to blame for your injuries, it’s not only important to consider what options you have, but it’s also vital to understand your resources to hold that property owner accountable.
Slip-and-fall cases can be tough, but Peach & Weathers can help! Navigating this process and discerning how to take action is no simple task. If you or someone you know has taken a fall on a public or private sidewalk, don’t wait.
Although it may be tempting after a slip-and-fall to try to go at it alone, such a choice might wind you up with a much smaller settlement than what you truly need to make up for lost income and expenses.
Often, it is hard for a person to know where to start in cases like these, but with over 60 years of experience, Peach & Weathers could help. For expert legal counsel and guidance, Peach Weathers is here to assist you during this critical part of your life. We specialize in personal injury law and might be able to provide you with a personal injury attorney in the Inland Empire. If you’re located in the Inland Empire or surrounding areas, contact us today!