Helping Our Clients Get the Compensation They Deserve in Slip and Fall Cases
An Oakland slip and fall accident lawyer has one key role: fighting for their clients to get the compensation they deserve after an accident.
Some of these accidents can cause severe problems. Slips and falls can result in traumatic head injuries, ruined anterior cruciate ligaments, and dozens of other conditions and traumas that cause pain, suffering, and could even permanently ruin the quality of life.
Proving slip and fall liability, however, requires that clients engage the best possible representation as quickly as possible. Slip and fall accident attorneys can provide the best results when the incident is fresher in the victim’s mind, so facts can be more easily established.
Slip and Fall Cases Explained
Slip and fall personal injury cases occur when an individual gets injured on property that someone else has a responsibility for. This responsible party may be the property owner or someone else with designated responsibility. If negligence or an overt act contributed to the injury, the injured party may receive compensation in a court case or negotiated settlement.
These cases usually involve a property or business owner who does not exercise reasonable care in keeping a commercial property safe for visitors. In some cases, this extends to residential properties. Individuals can injure themselves on poorly maintained staircases and rails, torn carpeting, or debris.
Injuries on ice or snow can also count as a factor in slip and fall cases.
Proving negligence often involves the careful collection of witness accounts, photographic evidence, and other evidence. Experienced personal injury lawyers will know best how to apply state and local law in each individual case. Standards differ from state to state as to the level of legally recognized negligence necessary to launch a case.
Responsible Parties In Residential or Commercial Settings
The most essential aspect of a slip and fall case is a legal responsibility. A property owner is responsible for injuries if he or she is found to have either committed an overt act leading to the fall, or a significant level of negligence.
In many cases, however, accidents involved either carelessness of the injured party, with no other fault applicable. Sometimes an accident is just that – an accident.
In residential settings, a landlord may have liability if a tenant or visitor suffers injury from an accident on the property. To win such a case, the tenant or property visitor must prove the following;
- A landlord has direct control over the issue causing the accident
- A quick repair does not pose unreasonable costs or hardships on the landlord
- A reasonable person could have foreseen that the issue could cause an accident
- The landlord failed to take reasonable steps to prevent injuries, including putting up warning signs or blocking off the area
Commercial property owners must always remain mindful of the safety of employees or the general public when on the premises. High traffic spaces, such as restaurants, have a daily obligation to correct hazards that inevitably appear.
In most cases, common sense serves as the legal guideline for determining liability. This overarching factor must shape the specific details that can prove if the owner is negligent or otherwise at fault. These include:
- Ownership or staff “must-have” known about an injury-causing issue that needed repair
- Ownership of staff “must-have” taken careless actions that caused the issue
- A “reasonable” person in the owner or staff’s position would have discovered and immediately corrected the issue, warned potential victims, or blocked off the problem area
As you can see, these situations rely on subjective judgments. Lawyers helping clients with slip and fall injuries must take a detail-oriented approach to gather facts and build a case.
Other factors will also affect the course of the case. Sometimes a hazard develops between reasonable and routine maintenance checks. In other cases, a defensible justification may exist for the hazard. A personal injury lawyer will have to confront these defenses in settlement negotiations or civil court cases.
Slip and fall injuries on government property require the most evidence and proof to win. Also, federal, state, and local governments enjoy broad-based immunities against suits. In many cases, these immunities protect the government from suits even when they are obviously at fault.
Who Has the Obligation of Proof In a Slip and Fall Case?
Personal injury cases and many other civil suits place the burden of proof on the plaintiff. They must prove that the defendant either committed an overt act or behaved negligently, resulting in injuries.
In California and many other states, a comparative negligence standard may apply. Sometimes both property owners and the injured party bear some burden of fault. In such cases, the court or settlement negotiation will seek to determine “percentages” of fault assigned to each party. The higher the level of responsibility assigned to the plaintiff, generally the lower the compensation he or she will receive.
With such a high legal standard governing slip and fall cases, we recommend engaging an experienced professional law firm to work on the case. Most reputable personal injury attorneys provide a free consultation and charge no fees unless the case earns compensation.
If you suffered an injury through the fault of another on their property, the first step toward proving a case lies in engaging the right legal representation.
Reach Out Today And Speak To An Oakland Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer!
If you have experienced a slip and fall injury through no fault of your own, don’t wait. Contact Quirk and Reed LLP to learn if you are potentially eligible for compensation.
We offer free consultations to go over every detail of your case so that you know where your case stands. If we take the case, our firm collects no fees unless you earn compensation.
Waiting to decide could adversely affect your ability to win a case. Also, remember that California has a statute of limitations on personal injury cases.
Let us be your first step toward getting an award to help pay bills and get your life back on track after a serious injury. Reach out to our team today.
Slip And Fall Accidents FAQ’s
How much time do I have to sue for a slip and fall accident?
In California, you have up to two years to file a lawsuit for a slip and fall accident. The limitations period begins from the date of the accident. In most situations, if you don’t file suit within that period, you’ll lose your right to recover damages. However, the law does offer some flexibility. For example, if you were out of state for a certain period of time, you may have more time to file.
Can multiple parties be held liable in a slip and fall case?
Yes, it’s possible for multiple people or entities to be found at fault. As an example, consider a slip and fall accident that takes place in front of a building rented by a business. Depending on what caused the fall, the business owner, the property owner the business rents from, and the property management company – if they are responsible for maintenance – could all be held liable.
Should I call a personal injury attorney first or my doctor?
After you’ve been injured, seek medical care right away and make sure you keep any records of bills for your treatment. The sooner you can have your doctor look over your injuries and create a treatment plan, the better for your health.
However, you’ll also want to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as you can. They can advise you on important steps to take at every stage of the process to make it easier to receive the compensation you deserve.
Is it important to get an accident report at the time of the fall?
If you slip and fall on a business’s premises, ask for a copy of their accident report. You don’t need to make a statement or sign anything when the business writes up the report, and in fact, you shouldn’t. But, it’s useful to have a copy of the report the business makes concerning the fall. They should document what happened and list any witnesses.
What if I don’t have a copy of the accident report?
The accident report is only one potential piece of evidence for your case. If you didn’t get a copy at the time of the accident, you can still contact the business and ask for one.
If the business never wrote up a report or if your fall happened on an individual’s private property, you can still create a report yourself. In fact, you should document what happened yourself no matter what. Write down a thorough description of the event, including everything you saw at the time, any comments bystanders may have made, and any relevant details.
Should I take photos after a slip and fall accident?
Whenever you are injured in an accident, whether it’s a slip and fall or a bicycle accident, your number one priority should be getting the medical attention you need. However, you may still be able to take photos with your phone or another device at the time of the accident. You can photograph the area and any key details.
If you’ve been in a slip and fall accident, contact us today. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we can help you get the compensation you’re entitled to.