Slip and Fall accidents are among the most common claims in personal injury law. In case you or a loved one sustained an injury from a slip and fall accident, get in touch with an experienced Orange County slip and fall attorney from The Crockett Law Group to learn more about your options.
In many cases, the property owner is deemed responsible for the accident. Our Orange County slip and fall lawyers will explain to you in detail the legal theory of premises liability, and how property owners owe their guests and visitors a duty to keep their premises safe. Not doing so could have them facing liability if an accident happens.
At Crockett Law, our Orange County personal injury attorneys are committed to achieving the results that each of our clients deserves. Helping you get the compensation you rightfully deserve when you’re injured in such an accident is not just our job, it’s why we are here in the first place. So, no matter who you think is responsible for your injuries, our aim is to ensure you get justice.
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What are Some of the Most Common Slip and Fall Accidents in Orange County?
Some of the most common conditions that often lead to slip and fall accidents include:
- Dark or unlit hallways/walkways
- Improper maintenance or structural defects leading to broken floor tiles, cracked sidewalks, uneven steps, potholes in parking lots/streets, or even torn carpets
- Hazardous debris that doesn’t get cleaned up such as tree branches, etc.
- Slick or wet staircases, walkways, or floors
- Weather-related conditions such as ice or snow that doesn’t get salted or shoveled away
- Spills that aren’t cleaned up inside facilities such as nursing homes, hospitals, etc.
- Failure to restrict areas or place signs when hazardous conditions exist
- Failure to install storm drains, gutters, or anti-slip devices leading to hazardous conditions during heavy snowfall or rainfall
How Can an Orange County Slip and Fall Attorney Help Me With My Case?
Slip and fall accident cases tend to be very complex, requiring a thorough investigation of all the factors that might have led to the accident. The business operating in the premises and the property owner might all share legal liability for the unsafe conditions leading to the accident.
Our lawyers will get to work quickly to document the scene of the accident before the condition is repaired and critical evidence is lost. Your attorney will seek security camera footage that might help to determine how long the hazardous condition had been present at the premises. Your lawyer will also seek other accident reports or claims at the location to help prove that the owner should have recognized the unsafe conditions.
Pursuing the slip and fall claim might involve dealing with multiple insurance companies, which represent multiple liable parties. This calls for extensive experience handling such cases. Our lawyers understand the complexity of slip and fall cases, and have mastered how to represent the best interests of our clients in the most favorable ways.
Keep in mind that the defendant will try to demonstrate that you were to blame for your own injuries. One of the main tasks of your slip and fall accident lawyer is to prepare a strong case that accounts for how the opposing side might try to shift the blame for the accident, backed by strong evidence.
If you or a loved one sustained a slip and fall accident, working with an experienced Orange County, California, slip and fall lawyer will increase your chances of getting the compensation you need and deserve. It’s crucial to have an attorney with experience handling similar cases, and trial experience – one who knows what to expect in the courtroom.
What Steps Can Be Taken to Help a Slip and Fall Case?
What you do following a slip and fall incident will have a great impact on the amount of compensation you can receive for your damages. It’s therefore recommended that you take the following steps after your accident:
Get Medical Attention
Aside from treating your injuries, a doctor’s examination will ideally document the fact that you got injured in a slip and fall accident, which will serve as primary evidence for your claim.
Report the Accident
If the fall incident happened at a business, ensure that the management is aware of your accident and the injuries you sustained. If possible, get a copy of the accident report. If the police came to the scene, see how you can obtain a copy of their report.
Take Photos/Videos of the Scene and Injuries
It’s important to capture the area that contains the hazard in your photos, ideally showing there were no warning signs. For instance, if you slipped and fell on a slippery or wet floor, take your photo before the area is dry. Remember to also take photos of your injuries or signs of injury.
Obtain Contact Information
It’s wise to obtain the contact information of the property owner, the business, their insurance company, as well as any witnesses present. Witnesses could be crucial in demonstrating how the accident occurred, and may even have pictures that might help in case you were too injured to take them.
Retain the Clothing You Wore
Don’t wash or clean the clothes you were wearing on the day of the accident in any way. The dirt, blood, and damage on your clothes or shoes might serve as evidence of how serious the fall was.
Don’t Accept Blame
Establishing who’s at fault in slip and fall incidents requires meticulous investigation. As such, avoid accepting or assigning blame for the accident. Refrain from providing any statements to the insurance companies without consulting with your attorney. Also, don’t sign anything from any insurance company or the property owner. As a rule of thumb, avoid posting, or at least be careful about the photos or comments you post on social media, or other online avenues.
Get an Experienced Attorney
Hiring a lawyer experienced with slip and fall accident cases will provide you with the guidance and advice following the accident. At Crockett Law, we provide all our clients with a free consultation and preliminary investigation into your case. Above all, our lawyers can help you avoid some common mistakes that prevent many victims from obtaining the compensation they deserve.
How Can a Slip and Fall Accident be Proven?
When dealing with slip and fall cases, there are two main liability questions:
- Who are the potentially liable entities or parties?
- Were these parties really negligent in that, did they reasonably know about the hazardous conditions but failed to prevent the accident?
To deem the other party liable for the injuries suffered in a slip and fall accident, you must prove the following:
The property owner (or the business owner, property agent, or employee) should have reasonably recognized the hazardous condition (such as a slippery surface or an uneven walking surface) but failed to repair or remove the hazard. The main idea here is whether a reasonable person would have recognized the hazardous condition and whether the defendant had ample time to remedy the condition before an accident occurred.
The property owner (or agent) caused the hazardous condition in the first place, leading to a slip and fall accident. This might be the case such as if they left a dangerous obstacle in a walking path, and a reasonable person would have foreseen that someone might trip and fall because of the obstacle.
How is Liability Determined in an Orange County Slip And Fall Case?
Before filing your lawsuit or claim for your slip and fall incident, prepare yourself for backlash from the property owner, who will most likely argue that you share some form of responsibility for the accident. Countering this argument effectively is important because if it ends up successful, you might end up reducing the value of your settlement significantly, and consequently lose a huge chunk of your would-be compensation award.
During the process of filing your claim, you may be asked questions like:
- Did you have good reason to be at the premises during the time of the accident?
- Did the business/property owner warn you of the dangerous condition that caused your slip and fall?
- Would a person of reasonable caution have noticed and avoided the dangerous condition (if they weren’t distracted)?
- Were you engaging in any activities that might have contributed to your slip and fall?
Keep in mind that in California, if a slip and fall accident case makes it to trial, the “pure negligence rule” will apply, and it will determine how much compensation you can receive. Under this rule, the compensation you receive will be reduced based on your percentage of fault. If for instance, the jury finds you’re 30% at fault for the accident, and that your total damages amount to $100,000, the property owner will only be on the hook for $70,000 to account for your fault.
Even if the case doesn’t make it to court, the State’s comparative negligence rule will still be a factor. This means that during the negotiations, the property owner insurer and their attorney will have these rules in mind. After all, they are concerned with what could happen if your case ends up in court. The settlement offers they give you will most likely account for your role in causing the accident, based on this negligence rule. It’s therefore important to get help from an experienced lawyer to build a strong case against the property owner.
How Much is My Slip and Fall Case Worth?
One of the key concerns in your mind right now is perhaps how much the slip and fall accident claim you want to file might be worth. The right answer is: it depends. Every case is different, and where you file the claim is different. However, there are a few considerations that can help you get a good feel of how much your claim might be worth.
At the bare minimum, slip and fall accident claims are worth the total medical expenses the victims incur. The total medical bills entail adding up all the medical and hospital costs related to the injuries you suffered, including emergency room visits, surgery, tests, prescriptions, treatment, hospital stays, therapy, and even the future projected costs.
In case the injuries you sustained meant spending time away from work and you’re unable to earn the same amount of wages as you would have earned, you can seek compensation for your lost wages. You can even seek compensation for your lost earning capacity if the injuries you sustained prevent you from earning a similar amount of money as you used to in the future.
Pain and Suffering
In most cases, slip and fall victims suffer great pain and suffering due to the injuries they sustained. You can seek compensation for your pain and suffering, including the mental anguish and emotional trauma the injuries caused you and your loved ones.
These include the costs of transportations to get you to and from the doctor’s office or physical therapy sessions. It may also include expenses incurred for hiring helpers around the house such as housekeeping, childcare, yard work, etc., if you’re unable to resume performing your regular chores.
Depending on the extent and severity of injuries, slip and fall accident cases could be worth anywhere between thousands of dollars to millions of dollars.
Is There A Time Limit for Filing a Slip and Fall Lawsuit in California?
The California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1 provides a 2-year window for slip and fall cases. Failure to file your claim within this period is often taken as forfeiting your rights to file the claim again in the future. Despite the 2-year time limit, filing your claim as soon as possible is your best bet to get the compensation you deserve, since the evidence and the memories of witnesses about the incident are still fresh, and your attorney can build a stronger case on your behalf.
Contact an Experienced Orange County Slip and Fall Attorney Today
If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident on another person’s property, consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The liability in these cases tends to be extremely complex and fact-specific, and you want to work with a knowledgeable and experienced Orange County slip and fall attorney to represent your best interests.
To get started on your case immediately, get in touch with the Orange County injury law firm of Crockett Law. You can call us through (800) 900-9393 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our top lawyers.