Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common causes of serious injury on both public and private property. Each year in California alone, thousands of people are hurt in retail locations, in public buildings, on municipal sidewalks, in workplaces, on stairways, or in parking lots – just to name a few.
Tripping over a misplaced object or taking a tumble on an icy sidewalk is sometimes just part of the normal routine of living. But if a property owner fails to resolve known safety issues in a timely manner, you have the right to recover damages if you are seriously injured in a slip and fall accident that may have otherwise been prevented.
There are a number of hazardous conditions or circumstances that can lead to falls:
- Water or other liquid left standing on the floor
- Ripped carpeting or torn mats
- Broken banisters or loose handrails
- Poor lighting conditions
- Slippery stairways
- Crumbling curbs or uneven sidewalks
- Objects in doorways or hallways
Determining blame in a slip and fall accident can be complicated, but it essentially comes down to negligence – did the owner or occupier of the premises neglect to properly monitor conditions and resolve any potential dangers on his or her property? Was the owner aware of a problem but fail to perform timely repairs or post warnings of any potential hazards on the premises?
If someone drops a jar of pickles in the grocery aisle and you slip and fall because there’s juice on the floor, it does not necessarily mean that the store owner is liable, particularly if neither the owner nor the employees are aware of the situation. If, on the other hand, a store employee has recently sprayed the vegetables in the produce aisle and you slip and injure yourself because water was left on the floor, the store owner may be liable if the hazard was not cleaned up right away or the owner or employee failed to place a warning sign nearby to alert store patrons of the potential danger.
What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?
- Report the accident to property owner, store manager, or landlord and get a written copy of the report before leaving the premises.
- Get medical attention right away. The documentation provided in the medical record will help provide important proof of injury.
- Take photos. The conditions that caused the slip and fall accident to happen can change quickly. Ice can melt, debris can be removed, and so forth. You want to make sure you have as much evidence of the conditions and circumstances at the time of the fall as possible.
- If there were witnesses present, be sure to get their contact information – name, phone number, mailing address. Their testimony may be helpful at some later date should you decide to pursue your case.
- Stay calm and limit your conversation with the property owner or store manager. Make sure you take care of the details outlined here and then seek medical help.
- Call an attorney and discuss the circumstances of the accident. Do this first before talking with insurance companies. Slip and falls cases can be difficult to prove. Enlisting the expertise of an injury attorney with a proven track record of success may help you recover the money you deserve.
Accidents happen, but if you have been hurt in fall that could have been prevented by the property owner or occupiers, you have the right to claim damages for your injuries, time lost at work, and any long-term medical care you may require.
Slip and Fall Accidents on Public Property
Municipalities and governmental agencies are also responsible for preserving the safety of sidewalks, curbs, crosswalks, and other public areas within their jurisdictions, and to regularly check for hazards that may cause a reasonably cautious person to trip and fall. Proving liability in these situations can be more difficult and require the expertise of a legal firm with experience in these types of cases.
Redding personal injury attorneys Barr and Mudford have helped numerous slip and fall accident victims throughout Northern California recover damages in even the most difficult of cases. The firm’s attorneys are highly experienced in matters involving injuries in falls on both private and public property and can handle the complexities these cases can present.
If you or a loved one has been seriously hurt in a slip and fall accident, before you talk with an insurance company, contact us for a free consultation and let’s talk about your case. In the Redding area, call (530) 243-8008 or if you are elsewhere in Northern California, call (800) 528-2020. You can also send us details by email. We’ll get back to you right away.