When you go about your day, visiting stores and public areas, government buildings, and even the houses of friends, you have every reason to expect that you will be safe from injury as a result of things like faulty stairs or poorly-maintained areas that cause hazards. If you visit a shopping center and there is a broken tread on an escalator that there was no sign put out, no steps taken to fix it, and no steps taken to warn the general public, then your injury is what is known as a premise liability, and you have the right to compensation in order to cover your losses and expenses associated with your accident.
In most cases, you will file a claim with an insurance company after your accident, who will assign a claims adjuster to investigate your case. When the claims adjuster concludes their research, they will make a recommendation to their employer, the insurance company, about how much money they should offer you as a settlement. Unfortunately, their recommendation is based on what they perceive to be the least amount that they can offer while still avoiding additional legal issues, not the amount that you truly deserve. This is where an experienced personal injury attorney comes in handy.
Read more below to get a better idea of what a slip and fall injury case entails, how a personal injury attorney can help, and more. Contact the team at Injury Trial Lawyers, APC as soon as possible to schedule your free initial consultation, where you will be able to work directly with a legal professional to discuss your accident, injuries, and the steps that you have already taken. In addition, you will be able to learn about how we can help you move forward from this difficult time in your life with the financial support that you deserve.
Examples of a Slip and Fall Accident
The most important thing to remember about a premise liability is that you will need to prove one of three things: that the owner or party responsible for maintenance either caused the hazard, knew it existed and didn’t do anything about it, or they didn’t know that it existed but had a reasonable amount of time so that they should have been made aware. If one of these three conditions are present, you were injured as a result, and your injuries have measurable damages associated with them, then you likely have a case for a premise liability lawsuit.
If you are walking along an aisle in a supermarket or down a hallway in a building, you should not have to worry about unsafe conditions such as wet tiles or bunched-up carpeting that you could trip over. If you were to slip on a wet floor in a market and break a bone or suffer some other injury, you would next need to set out to prove one of the conditions mentioned above: Did the supermarket cause the wet floor themselves? Did they know about the wet floor and not fix it? Had the floor been wet for long enough, or the leak obvious enough, that they should have been aware of it and done something to keep you safe?
Whether the hazard is a broken floorboard, wet tile, icy ramp, or any other dangerous condition, we will work to get you the money that you deserve for your injuries.
Stairs must meet a series of building code requirements that take into account things such as the depth of tread, the height of each step, the presence of a handrail, and many more details that are intended to make them as safe as possible for all who use them. If you were to fall on a flight of stairs because of something like a missing step or a broken handrail and suffered injuries as a result, you may be able to seek compensation.
As with all other possible premise liability cases, the first step towards determining what steps to take is to determine whether or not the manager was aware of the hazard, and whether or not they could have done something to keep you safe from harm.
Determining who is responsible for the condition of a sidewalk, and therefore who is liable for your injuries, depends on many different factors. In some cases, the liable party may be the homeowner whose property the sidewalk passes in front of, wherein other cases it may be the municipality themselves who are responsible. This is a fairly complicated issue to determine, so working with an attorney as soon as possible is strongly recommended.
What To Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
After any accident, it is most important that you address your own personal safety as soon as possible. This means identifying your injuries, getting safe from additional accidents or injuries if possible, and calling 911 or alerting others to your injuries so that they can call on your behalf. Get medical attention as soon as possible for any injuries, because any time you spend with a medical professional will increase your chances of a better recovery, and will also establish a record of your injuries that will be very handy during a settlement or lawsuit process.
If possible, get evidence of the hazard that caused your injuries, either with a few photos or videos of the area in order to get a better idea of what actually happened. If there are any eyewitnesses, get their contact information so that they can corroborate your story and provide other details that perhaps you were not aware of. Any additional information is extremely helpful since it provides additional context and helps to paint a more complete picture.
File a report with management if you are in a public or semi-public space like a store or shopping mall. Alert the property owner either way so that they are able to direct you to their insurance company and you can initiate a claim as soon as possible.
Working With a Slip and Fall Attorney in San Diego
Once you have addressed your immediate concerns, such as any pressing medical needs, one of the next important steps to take is to contact a personal injury attorney who can help you make sense of your rights and options as a victim in this situation. They will be able to organize your paperwork, handle the insurance company, manage negotiations, and ultimately determine whether or not it is appropriate to file a lawsuit. Their experience will be a significant benefit for you since they will be able to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company that is comprehensive and includes all possible damages instead of the most obvious and simple damages that the insurance company would prefer to focus on.
Hiring an attorney has many benefits that go beyond their main function of helping you through your settlement or lawsuit, though. It has been repeatedly shown that stress has major adverse effects on recovering from physical injuries, and the claims and negotiation process are extremely stressful when you are handling them on your own. While your attorney is handling the legal requirements and steps, you can take advantage of the time by focusing entirely on your recovery, and getting your life back on track after this frustrating and disruptive accident.
Calculating Damages After a Slip and Fall Accident
At the center of your negotiations and claims process are the actual damages that you have suffered from this accident and the amount of money that they are worth. If you are not able to reach a clear understanding of how much your injuries are worth, and therefore how much you are owed for your suffering, then negotiations will be much less successful with the insurance company, since they will want concrete reasons for your counter-offers.
Typically, compensatory damages are divided into two kinds: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages focus on recovering compensation for actual, measurable financial impacts on your life. This includes income-related issues as well as medical treatment and the associated costs.
In order to calculate your medical costs, you and your attorney will go through all of your medical records, gathering invoices, insurance statements, receipts, and more. They include major things like ambulance rides or surgery, but they also include smaller expenses like copayments, prescriptions, and anything else relating to your injuries and recovery.
In addition to your medical costs, you will also include any impacts to your earning abilities or wages, such as time missed from work due to medical treatment or other injury-related issues, as well as any paid time off or vacation time that you had to use in order to cover missed work. If your injuries are significant enough to impact your overall earning capacity, this will be addressed too.
These types of damages are harder to calculate, and oftentimes the insurance company is less willing to reach an agreement about these damages as a result of this difficulty. These types of damages seek compensation for things like the actual pain and suffering associated with an accident and injury, as well as things like a loss of enjoyment and a decreased quality of life in the case of a significant injury or long-term disability.
There are a variety of ways that an attorney may calculate the dollar amount associated with these types of damages, but you can be certain that with whichever method we use, it is with the intention of getting you the amount that you truly deserve as a victim in this situation.