When you are injured in a slip and fall accident, the last thing you want to do is fight a legal battle. Luckily, you do not have to. There is help. The Los Angeles slip and fall lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm want to fight for you, so you can focus on your recovery.
If you are worried about how to cover medical bills, have missed work and lost wages, or are maybe even still recovering and facing the potential loss of future work opportunities, you do not have to be. It is not fair that a negligent property owner caused you such suffering. They deserve to be held accountable and you deserve justice.
These losses are devastating and significantly add to the burden of a slip and fall injury. That is why the lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm do not require payment upfront. They fight for you on a contingency basis and do not get paid until you do. all Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 223-5115 for a free consultation.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me with My Slip and Fall Case?
Just like with any other case, to file a personal injury claim you will need to identify the appropriate jurisdiction so that you can file in the proper court using precisely the right paperwork and protocols. More importantly, however, you need to ascertain whether the conditions of your case even legally qualify as negligence. Legal research can be tedious, time-consuming, and difficult, especially when you are dealing with, or recovering from an injury. Lawyers can help answer these questions and others you might have about your case.
Personal injury lawyers are trained to evaluate slip and fall cases. They can help their clients determine whether or not their specific situation meets the conditions necessary to establish and prove negligence. If negligence is established, a lawyer can propose a legal strategy that aims to prove that regardless of whether it means settling outside of court or proceeding to trial.
If your case does proceed to trial, in addition to representing you in court, a lawyer can guide you through the preceding series of events. This includes filing documents within the correct time frame, collecting evidence, finding experts, gathering witness testimony, and other necessary exhibits. Legal representation throughout a trial can provide comfort, relief, and support to a plaintiff.
In those cases which do not go to trial, damages in the form of a financial settlement may be negotiated with the defendant, their attorney, and their insurance adjuster. Should this occur, a lawyer can advocate for their client throughout that complicated and sometimes overwhelming process.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Slip and Fall Claim in Los Angeles?
A statute of limitations is the timeframe in which a lawsuit must be filed before the case becomes legally invalid. It is essentially a legal expiration date, so it is very important to be aware of the statute of limitations that applies to the specific type of case you are filing. A slip and fall case is a personal injury case. In California, there is a general statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits of two years, per CCP §335.1. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. Various factors are taken into consideration when determining the statute of limitations for each slip and fall, so they are evaluated independently to accurately assess that.
One influential factor when determining a personal injury statute of limitations is location. For example, if an injury occurs on government property, an “administrative claim” must be filed with the appropriate government agency within six months, before you can even file a case in court. An administrative claim is a claim against the government. They are not civil claims and do not follow civil procedure.
In addition to location, the date of discovery of an injury influences the statute of limitations. Each case is different, and there are some instances in which the two-year limitation may not apply. An attorney can go over this with you.
For a free legal consultation with a Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 223-5115
What Happens When You Go to Court for a Slip and Fall Case in Los Angeles?
Many slip and fall cases settle before trial. But, if a diligent and honest effort to settle outside of court proves unsuccessful, a trial could be necessary. In that instance, you can decide whether to have a traditional trial by jury, or bench trial, in which the verdict is decided by a judge. It is important to remember that if a case goes to trial and the defendant is found not liable, a plaintiff is not awarded any damages.
A trial will progress as follows:
- Pre-filing: Time spent collecting the evidence you will need to show you have legal standing to file your case.
- Filing: The filing step is just the official date on which you file your case.
- Response or Default: This is the defendant’s reaction to the lawsuit. They will provide an official response, or they will default. If the defendant defaults or does not respond, the judge may approve a judgment in your favor.
- Pretrial Discovery: If the defendant has responded, both sides will collect further evidence for their case. This could include witness or expert testimony, documents, photographs, etc.
- Pretrial Hearing: This is a meeting between the judge, the plaintiff, and the defendant to confirm that both sides are ready for trial. This might also entail a mandatory settlement conference (MSC) with the judge.
- Mandatory Settlement Conference: Closer to the trial date, the judge might require another MSC, according to the California Rules of Court §3.1380.
- Trial: At the trial, a final ruling will be made as to whether the defendant was or was not negligent of their premises liability duties. If it is a comparative negligence case, a determination of responsibility levels might be made.
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How Much Is the Average Slip and Fall Settlement in Los Angeles?
There is no way to truly determine an average slip and fall settlement. Each accident has its own unique set of circumstances, so cases cannot accurately be compared. A settlement will depend on a series of variable factors.
For instance, the severity of the injury suffered greatly influences settlement amounts. That determines recovery time, which directly impacts the loss in wages from missed work, the risk of loss of future work, and the costs of medical care incurred. The location in which the injury occurred, the party at fault, and their level of negligence will also play a large part. In addition, the party at fault could be in dispute. If it is the case that the injured party is partly at fault, the final settlement amount will be reduced by their comparable level of negligence.
We can estimate an individual settlement amount by evaluating the unique factors of your case. However, there is no way to reliably calculate an average settlement amount.
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What Damages Can I Receive for a Slip and Fall Claim in Los Angeles?
Personal injury damages might seem rather straightforward but calculating the value of the damages can be challenging for some. There are two types of recoverable damages: economic and non-economic damages. A personal injury victim can be reimbursed for financial and non-financial losses. Below are examples of each type, though these lists are not exhaustive. Other damages might also be included.
Any injury from a slip and fall that requires, or required, medical care will be of cost. “Economic damages” reimburse any out-of-pocket expenses incurred. These damages are relatively easy to identify and include compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Hospital visits
- Ambulance fees
- Medical tests: X-rays, CT scans, labs, etc.
- Doctor’s appointments
- Commute costs, such as gas, or even airfare, if necessary, etc.
- Hotel and lodging expenses
- Lost wages, which includes any pay you would have received, but could not due to time missed from work for your injury.
- Loss of future wages, whether this means being out of work for a month or for a year or longer.
Non-economic damages exist because you can suffer the loss of things without a price tag and deserve to be reimbursed for those, as well. The court will attempt to evaluate the extremity and value of these losses in terms of money, which can include:
- Inconvenience: Keep track of any time you have spent dealing with your injury, as appointments and the time traveling to and from locations creates inconvenience in your post-accident life.
- Decreased quality of life
- Permanent pain or discomfort
- Emotional stress
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What Evidence Do I Need to File a Slip and Fall Claim in Los Angeles?
To file any lawsuit in California you must have “legal capacity”. Legal capacity means you are at least 18 years old and not “legally disabled”, often due to age, illness, or infirmary. You must also have “legal standing”, the legal grounds necessary to file the type of lawsuit that you want to file.
In a personal injury case, legal standing requires that the person suing is the person directly injured in the accident. In a slip and fall incident, the person who slipped and fell is the only person who can file that kind of suit. Witnesses and bystanders cannot sue for slip and fall accidents. This means that if a man falls, his wife cannot sue the entity for his slip and fall, even if she saw it happen. Unless he is “legally disabled”, he is the only person who can file a suit for his slip and fall injury.
Next, you must accurately identify the entity against whom you are filing suit. If your accident happened in a store, this will be the store’s owner. If you are struggling to determine the owner of the property on which you slipped and fell, you can try these resources:
- The Los Angeles County Tax Assessor’s Office can search the tax rolls for you. Tax rolls include information about property owners in the county listed by name and address.
- The Los Angeles County Registrar has real estate records that can be searched in person.
- The California Secretary of State gives the option to do a “business search”.
Once you have determined the liable property owner, you will need to collect as much identifying information as possible, such as name, email, address, and phone number, to include on the official Judicial Council of California personal injury complaint form or lawsuit, you are filing.
Subsequently, you need the incident report, documentation of the suffering you have endured, the amount of damages you are requesting, along with documentation to justify your request, which might be medical records, verification from medical professionals, medical bills, and a list of any other expenses you have incurred.
What Is the Difference Between Slip and Fall and Trip and Fall?
Any fall puts a lot of stress on the body. Common injuries from falls include damage to soft tissue, bruising, and fractures of the ankles, wrists, and even hips. While any fall can be devastating, slip and fall injuries tend to be more severe than those of a trip and fall.
In a slip, the feet usually slide forward under the body, forcing the upper body back. When falling backward, there is no way to break the fall as a person can sometimes do in a forward fall. This can potentially cause the head to hit the ground hard and unsupported. When this happens, it presents a great risk of traumatic brain, spinal cord, and back injuries, some of which are permanent and debilitating.
A trip, on the other hand, will usually cause a forward fall. Falling forward often allows one to break the fall with their hands and arms, lessening the overall impact. This puts a lot of pressure on the bones and can lead to fractures. But ultimately, backward falls are often much more dangerous and cause injuries significantly more harmful than those suffered in a trip and fall.
What Is a Slip and Fall Case?
A slip and fall is a type of personal injury called “premises liability”. In a premises liability case, an individual claims they suffered an injury as a result of a property owner’s negligent care for their property. More succinctly, “premises liability” is the responsibility a property owner has for their property, or their “premises”. When they have failed in that responsibility, failed to take “reasonable” care of, or exercise necessary precautions for, they are guilty of premises liability negligence.
Personal injury claims are “civil claims.” A civil claim attempts to resolve a dispute between two parties by awarding money or, in some cases, returning property. In a slip and fall claim, an injured party seeks to recover damages for economic and non-economic losses they have incurred. These cases are separate from criminal cases in which the government brings a suit against a citizen for committing a crime. Criminal courts hear and handle only criminal cases. Civil courts hear and handle only civil cases. Regardless of the outcome of a civil case, no one can ever be penalized criminally for losing a civil lawsuit.
How Long Does a Slip and Fall Claim Take to Settle in Los Angeles?
There is no set length of time in which a case can, or will, settle. That time frame depends on the unique factors of each situation.
A defendant’s willingness to compromise and accept responsibility weighs heavily on the length of time it takes to reach a settlement. In some instances, when a plaintiff notifies a defendant that they intend to sue, the defendant may pursue negotiations and mediation outside of court. This can happen before you even file the claim. These cases can settle quickly, sometimes in as little as three months or less.
Other cases, even if filed in court, can still settle quickly when filed against a motivated defendant. Some defendants do not want to participate in lengthy negotiations. They might accept liability and genuinely want to reach a fair settlement. These cases can take six months or less to settle.
Conversely, cases can take much longer when a defendant is less willing to cooperate in fair negotiations or accept liability. These cases might take a year or sometimes more before a settlement is reached. When an injury is extremely severe, the suing party might not even recover for a year or longer and a claim should not be settled until the injured party recovers or has a clear medical prognosis. Settlements in those cases are often very large and can thus entail extensive litigation that drags the process towards a settlement out for sometimes up to two years.
Who Can I Sue in a Slip and Fall Claim in Los Angeles?
You can sue a property owner or occupier for a slip and fall injury. In some cases, when a property is leased for residential or business purposes, it becomes the responsibility of the business or person occupying the property. Given the example of a slip and fall in a store renting their property, assuming negligence caused you to slip and fall, the store owner is liable; or if it is a chain, the chain owner. Typically, you do not sue the store manager or an employee unless they were not performing the requirements of their job.
For example, an employee who saw a spill and chose not to take any precautions, did not mark off the area, warn customers or clean it up, can be sued personally for their own negligent behavior and failure to perform the duties of their job. In this case, the employer can also be sued due to vicarious liability laws.
A landlord can be sued by a tenant or property visitor for a slip and fall that results from negligent care of their property. Even if the landlord did not know about the condition, they can be sued if it was their responsibility and they did not discover it within a reasonable timeframe. If the landlord did know and chose not to take the necessary precautions, they are also negligent. However, a landlord cannot be sued if the dangerous situation was caused by, or the responsibility of the tenant. In fact, a tenant can be sued if another becomes injured as a result of that dangerous condition.
How Can I Prove Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case in Los Angeles?
In any personal injury case, a plaintiff must demonstrate four factors to prove their injury is the result of another’s negligence:
- Obligation: A property owner has a duty to exercise reasonable care of their property, or their premises.
People in society are held responsible by law for their actions. They have a basic duty, or obligation, to other members of society to protect them against unreasonable risk of injury, according to California Civil Code (CIV) §1714.1.
The “duty” one individual owes another changes with the circumstances. For example, a doctor delivering a baby owes, or is obligated to provide, a considerably higher level of care to a delivering mother than a person walking down the street.
- Breach of duty: If a personal injury victim successfully proves obligation, they must next prove that the property owner neglected their obligation to keep them reasonably safe while on their property.
The victim must show that the property owner, or tenant, was not exercising a basic standard of care of their property. For example, a store owner or employee who knew of a spill, but was not handling the situation promptly, could be in breach of their duty of care. This duty of care also extends to situations in which the owner did not know about the spill but should have.
A spill must be discovered and cleaned, or at least marked off, within a reasonable period of time. If a store owner does not know about a spill for hours, they are not exercising reasonable care of their property and can be liable for any injuries that occur. One could easily argue that they were “neglecting” their property and the duty they owe their guests to exercise reasonable care of it.
If a person is injured on another’s property due to their own carelessness, the property owner is not liable. However, if the person’s injury was partially due to their own carelessness and partially due to the property owner’s breach of duty, the property owner bears partial responsibility for that injury.
- Proof that the breach of duty caused the injury: Third, after it is established that a property owner was negligent in their duty to keep their property and visitors reasonably safe, a personal injury victim must demonstrate that their injury resulted from, or was caused by, that negligence.
In some cases, showing that the owner’s negligence led to your injury is easy to do. For example, if a victim slips, falls, and breaks their ankle, they must show that their broken bone was caused by the spill, which would be simple to do. In other cases, where the injury is not immediate or clearly visible, this might be more difficult.
- The injured person suffered harm or damages due to that injury.
Finally, a slip and fall victim must prove they have been harmed by the injury. There are concrete losses that can easily prove harm incurred. Medical bills, time off of work, and thus lost wages, a loss of future work are all examples of how a person might suffer harm and/or damages. This is not an exhaustive list. There are other ways a person may suffer harm and damages from an injury. An attorney can help you determine what aspects of your life might be considered “harm” or “damages” in terms of the court. Non-economic damages, such as compensation for your time and pain, are also factored into a victim’s award.
When Can I Expect to Get Paid from My Slip and Fall Claim in Los Angeles?
There is no rule or set standard as to how long it takes for a case to pay out, because it depends on the length of time it takes for the case to settle, as well as the settlement’s payment structure. In some cases, you can get paid within six weeks of your case settling.
Minor injuries may settle within six months, though some cases can settle in as few as six weeks. The most extreme cases can take up to two years or more. One of the most important indicators as to when a case will settle is the severity of the injury suffered.
This will influence the length of time it takes to recover. It can be beneficial to wait on a case settlement until you have recovered or have a clear medical prognosis. If you wait, a lawyer can then account for these other expenses and losses in the settlement amount. Though this can delay a case, it might be worth it long term if it increases the amount awarded. These settlements also tend to be quite large and liability can be heavily disputed requiring extensive negotiations and litigation, which can drag these cases out for years.
What Happens in a Slip and Fall Case in Los Angeles?
Before you file a slip and fall case in Los Angeles, you will spend time collecting the evidence necessary to file a case. To file a slip and fall case, you need to know the correct, specific identifying information about the owner of the property on which you were injured. For example, if you fell in a chain of grocery stores, you need to gather information about the store headquarters, instead of the local store where the injury occurred.
Make sure you write down information for the correct store, along with the names and contact information of any witnesses. You will also need to collect any documentation of medical bills and records to file along with the complaint. This is because the complaint will include a settlement demand. A settlement demand is the amount of money you are asking for to cover the economic and non-economic damages you have incurred. Any documentation and supporting evidence serving as proof of damages are valuable to your case.
The store’s insurance representative or lawyer may try to dispute your claim and settlement demand or make a counteroffer. They might also have their insurance adjuster call you to further discuss the situation. It is often a good idea to discuss the accident with an attorney prior to speaking to an insurance adjuster. From that point, if the defendant is willing, negotiations could begin. If they are less willing to accept liability, there may be a need to consider a more forceful approach, such as expressing a desire for a trial. A lawyer can guide you throughout any stage of this process, starting with pre-filing, if you are interested.
Does Premises Liability Cover Slip and Falls in Los Angeles?
Yes. Slip and fall cases are personal injury negligence cases called “premises liability”. “Premises liability” is the responsibility a property owner must accept for their property and the conditions of it. Therefore, succinctly stated, a property owner is “liable” (responsible) for the conditions of their “premises” (property). Because premises liability falls under the umbrella of negligence, a slip and fall claimant must prove the four elements of negligence to win their case:
- Duty – A property owner has a duty to keep their property “reasonably” safe.
- Breach – The property owner did not do that.
- Causation – The fact that they did not do that, caused you to slip and fall.
- Harm – Your slip and fall harmed you.
Slip and fall claims are not the only “premises liability negligence” claims a plaintiff can make. Any time a property owner does not maintain their property to a reasonable standard they are guilty of “premises liability negligence”. If that negligence results in the injury of a person on that property, a premises liability claim can be filed against them for that injury.
If I Suffer an Injury on Public Property Is the City Liable?
In some cases, yes. In others, it is not. Just like in a premises liability negligence case against a private property owner, a plaintiff must demonstrate that a certain standard of safety should have existed on the property, it did not, and the lack of it caused the injury. The burden of proof in a premises liability case against the government is much higher and the statute of limitations is much shorter than a case against a private entity.
In order to prove the government is guilty of premises liability a claimant must prove:
(1) a dangerous condition existed on the public property at the time of the injury;
(2) the condition proximately caused the injury;
(3) the condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury suffered;
And that either:
(a) A public employee, acting within the scope of their employment, created the dangerous condition or was negligent in their responsibility to take the necessary precautions;
(b) The public entity knew about the dangerous condition long enough to have taken adequate precautions to protect the public against it and did not. Alternatively, this entity,
in the exercise of due care, should have discovered the condition and its dangerous character but did not, according to California Government Code (GOV) §835.
Regarding the procedure and statute of limitations when filing a claim against the government: You must file an “administrative claim” with the department you are suing before you can file in court. This must be done within six months of the date of injury. The form to file the claim is different than that used to file a claim in court, per GOV §911.2.
The Judicial Courts of California state that:
Each situation and property will have its own standard of “reasonable care”. The Judicial Council of California instructs juries to consider the following criteria when assessing whether or not a property owner took “reasonable care” under CACI No. 1001. These factors include, but are not limited to:
- Where the property is located
- The potential for injuries or harm on this property
- How hard it may be to prevent or protect someone from the harm
- If the property owner or another responsible party knew of the potential for injury
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Slip and Fall Case?
Hiring a lawyer requires personal reflection on your own situation and circumstances. When discerning whether or not to hire an attorney to help handle your case, there is a lot to consider. But, there is one very important question you must ask yourself:
- Do you truly believe what happened to you is unfair? This is a question that only you can answer.
A lawyer can help you answer the following questions and determine if they can help with your case:
- Have you experienced loss from your slip and fall that you feel should be repaid? This includes economic and non-economic losses.
- Are you missing time from work and receiving decreased wages while you recover? Did you previously receive decreased wages?
- Did you take any kind of financial hit from this incident? If so, was it significant enough to cause you any worry?
- Do you need reimbursement for medical tests, hospital visits, medication, or treatment?
- Do you feel like the property owner should be held liable for their irresponsibility and lack of concern?
- How severe is your injury? Are you still recovering and/or in a lot of pain or still in the hospital?
- If so, would having legal representation give you time and relief to focus on recovery?
- Did the property owner take adequate responsibility for their actions?
- Do you have legal standing to file a slip and fall personal injury claim?
- What were the dangerous conditions that caused you to slip and fall?
- Did those conditions pose an “unreasonable risk of harm”?
- Did the owner know about the condition without taking adequate precautions? These precautions could include issuing a warning, marking off the area or neglecting to fix the condition within a reasonable timeframe.
- If not, was it because the owner did not know about the condition? Should they have?
If, after reflecting on the facts of your situation, you decide you do want a lawyer, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help. They want to help you get justice and do not shy away from tough cases. They will fight for you and the compensation you deserve.
What If I’m Partly At Fault in a Los Angeles Slip and Fall Case?
In California, a property owner does not have to be 100% at fault for a slip and fall to be guilty of premises liability negligence. A victim exercising “reasonable” caution, or who is only partly at fault, is entitled to recover an award less their “comparative” responsibility for the injury. This is called comparative negligence.
Comparative negligence cases assign negligent parties a relative level of accountability, which is used to calculate a slip and fall victim’s damages. The amount of compensation a victim receives can be reduced by whatever amount they are deemed liable for in their accident. Two types of comparative negligence exist: “pure comparative negligence” and “modified comparative negligence”.
Pure comparative negligence jurisdictions award damages to personal injury victims regardless of their level of fault for their accident. Modified comparative negligence jurisdictions require a victim’s level of fault to be less than a certain amount. If their level of blame is greater than that amount, they forfeit their right to collect an award.
California is a “pure comparative negligence” jurisdiction. If a property owner’s negligence played any role in causing their visitor to slip and fall, they are liable for their comparable amount of responsibility. A property owner half at fault for a victim’s injury might be required to pay half of the full liability compensation amount. Similarly, one who is 90% liable could be expected to pay 90% of the victim’s damages.
However, if a slip and fall victim brings the injury upon themselves in carelessness, a property owner is not at all liable. Similarly, if an unsafe condition is so obvious that a person could be reasonably expected to observe it, the owner does not have to warn others about it and is not liable for injuries that happen on the property.
What Are Some Examples of Dangerous Conditions that Qualify for a Slip and Fall Claim?
Conditions that lead to slip and fall injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Poor lighting: On a poorly lit property, normally safe conditions can become dangerous. Exercising reasonable care of a property means making sure that visitors can see clearly at all times.
- Uneven or defected pavement: This includes pavement with cracks or holes. Anytime a property defect is such that it cannot be immediately fixed, filling in a concrete hole or leveling a sidewalk, etc., it is the responsibility of the property owner to warn and/or mark-off the unsafe area.
- Bad weather conditions, such as snow, rain, ice, mud: The standard of reasonable care is higher during bad weather conditions because the risk of injury is higher. Wet and/or slippery conditions must be corrected within a reasonable timeframe if doing so is possible. If it is not, the area must be clearly marked guaranteeing that visitors will see the warning.
- Uneven or torn flooring: Torn carpet, broken tile, floor construction, etc., must all be marked off so that visitors know not to use the area.
- Unsafe stairs: Stairs without railings are extremely high risk. It is the property owner’s responsibility to take extra precautions to guarantee the safety of their stairs or close the area off.
- Cluttered walkways: Slips and trips are common when trying to avoid clutter. Visitors should not be permitted to use cluttered walkways, or they should be cleaned to a reasonably acceptable standard.
- Dirty floors, uncleaned spills: Spills must be cleaned within a reasonable timeframe. If this is not possible, they must be marked off or warnings provided.
Will My Slip and Fall Case Be Settled Out of Court?
As the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, you are seeking to recover economic and non-economic damages for the losses you have incurred. The ultimate goal is to receive a settlement that fairly compensates you for these losses. Fortunately, a trial is not always necessary to achieve this. In fact, some civil cases never make it to trial.
The Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles advocates for parties to solve civil disputes outside of court when possible and encourages them to take steps to resolve their case before allowing a trial to take place. These steps, known as Alternative Dispute Resolution, include:
- Negotiation and mediation: In mediation, negotiations take place through a neutral party known as a “mediator.”
- Arbitration: If that is ultimately unsuccessful, parties are given the opportunity to have their conflict “arbitrated.” In arbitration, an “arbitrator” hears both sides and makes a legally educated “award.”
- Mandatory Settlement Conference: A judge or “settlement officer” helps each side evaluate the factors of the entire case, noting the strengths and weaknesses of each side in an effort to aid the parties in coming to a rational agreement that satisfies each. In personal injury cases, a mandatory settlement conference takes place, sometimes twice, before a trial can happen.
If a party will not compromise or participate in any of the above methods of alternative dispute resolution, it may then be necessary to move to trial.
What Should I Do After Injuring Myself on Someone Else’s Property?
If you are someone’s property and you fall after slipping or tripping, there are steps you should take to protect yourself.
- Find a high-ranking employee, such as a manager, or the owner, and have this person draft an incident report. This report should include the following information:
- Time and date of the accident
- Type of accident, whether slip or trip
- The cause(s) of the accident, such as a spill or cracked pavement
- Documentation of injuries
- Take pictures of the location and your injuries.
- Speak to witnesses and others at the scene, try to get contact information, and record the contents of the conversations you had with them.
- Write down as much information as you can remember about the situation, such as what caused your fall and how it happened. You should also record your injuries immediately after and in the days since.
- Before filing a lawsuit, it may also be good to let the property owner know that you are going to do so. They may be willing to offer a settlement outside of court. Defendants and their insurance adjusters may prefer to settle cases outside of court to avoid attorney fees and the stress of a trial, among other reasons.
Should I Accept a Cash Settlement from the Insurance Company Adjuster for My Slip and Fall Injury?
You should not accept a cash settlement from the insurance company’s adjuster without speaking to an attorney first. It can be unwise to even speak to an insurance adjuster prior to speaking to an attorney. There are a few things to remember before you agree to such a settlement. An insurance adjuster:
- Works for the defendant. They are not a mediator or a neutral party. Their primary goal is to pay you as little as possible to save their customer (the property owner) and themselves money.
- Might try to speak to you before you have spoken to, or hired, an attorney to coax specific comments out of you about your accident. This can be an attempt to reduce or eliminate the client’s level of responsibility for the accident.
- Can use anything you tell them about the accident as evidence in an argument or case.
- Might misrepresent the amount awarded to a plaintiff in a comparative negligence case. Comparative negligence occurs when you might be partially at fault for your accident. In California, you are still eligible to receive an award for a slip and fall due to comparative negligence. In these cases, damages are awarded by the degree of responsibility. If a court determines a plaintiff is 20% at fault for their slip and fall, they are still eligible to receive up to 80% of what they would have received otherwise.
- Might also exaggerate your responsibility for the accident and offer you a smaller reward as a result.
- Can make you think you are at fault in a situation where legally you are not.
Types of Slip and Fall Claims
There are unlimited types of slip and fall claims. They have many causes and happen anywhere. A few potential scenarios are listed below but slip and fall claims are by no means limited to these examples.
Slip and fall claims can take place between renters and landlords. Landlords are responsible for the maintenance of common use areas in apartment buildings and parking lots. If a renter informs their landlord that a lightbulb in the hallway is burnt out and the next week a renter slips and falls due to poor lighting, the property owner is liable for any resulting injury.
However, if a person is injured on a rental property due to a physical condition resulting from a renter’s lack of care, the renter will be held liable. If they have left their bike in the hallway and a person slips and falls while trying to walk by, the renter would be liable, not the landlord.
These claims can also happen on public property. If a citizen slips and falls on a cracked public sidewalk, the city may be liable for that injury, assuming the crack poses a “reasonable” risk of injury.
While shopping in a department store, if someone slips when trying to get around a large pile of clothes in the dressing room, the store may be held liable. If so much time has gone by that a large pile of clothes has accrued without being noticed and cleaned, that can demonstrate an unreasonable lack of care.
What Do Slip and Fall Lawyers Do?
Slip and fall lawyers help victims by:
- Determining whether a property owner’s negligence played a part in their accident
- Calculating economic and non-economic damages
- Proposing a fair settlement demand to a defendant
- Figuring out when to purse a trial instead of going through an alternative dispute resolution method
- Negotiating with the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, and any insurance adjusters
- Collecting evidence associated with the accident
- Filing paperwork within deadlines
- Taking the burden of legal battles off the shoulders of recovering victims
See How a Los Angeles Slip and Fall Lawyer Can Help You Today
If you were injured in a slip and fall, your first priority should be yourself. In the days after an accident, you deserve to spend your time and energy healing from your injuries. You should not have to sacrifice the quality of your recovery to fight a legal case and handling a lawsuit can be complicated and draining. Leave your legal worries to the Los Angeles slip and fall lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, so you can worry about you. They work on a contingency basis and are not paid until you are.
The lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are eager to craft a case for your defense. They believe you deserve to recover what you have lost and will fight hard for you, whether that means negotiating a fair settlement or taking your case to trial.
They will fight to compensate for your economic losses, medical expenses, and lost wages, as well as non-economic losses, like your pain and suffering. It is not fair that you should suffer as a result of someone else’s negligence. If a property owner’s lack of care caused your injury, they should be held accountable and you should receive justice.
Let the attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm worry about them, so you can worry about you. Call (800) 223-5115 to learn more.