Slip and fall accidents in Los Angeles are sometimes seen as almost funny; they can very often be the butt of jokes. However, they are very real and very painful to the people who experience them, especially those who are more elderly and can sustain significant damage. You do not need mockery or insults when you have been harmed – you need someone who can help you receive the compensation you may be entitled to, so you are able to pay medical bills and move on with your life.
Injuries Can Be Severe
Falls are serious business, despite so many people writing them off as inconsequential. The Centers for Disease Control cite falls as the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries, and over 800,000 people are hospitalized each year due to fractures sustained in falls. The problems are especially severe among older adults (over age 65), with slip and falls being the most common cause of death.
It is not uncommon for people, especially younger individuals, to not report slip and fall accidents out of embarrassment or a belief that their injuries are not serious enough to warrant a lawsuit. However, these types of accidents can lead to serious bodily harm, even among young people, and a failure to seek treatment can lead to long-term issues as well as difficulty in having your bills paid via compensation at a later date. Common injuries incurred in a slip-and-fall accident include scratches, contusions and other superficial wounds; spinal injuries; burns, depending on the location and type of slip and fall accident; head injuries; brain injuries; and fractures, which can occur in nearly any bone in the body after a slip and fall.
Apportioning Fault Is Difficult
In order to figure out who or what might be responsible for a slip and fall injury, it can be hard to pin down an exact apportionment of liability, given that almost no cases are held to be 100 percent the plaintiff or defendant’s fault. The injured plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant (1) had control of the property and (2) was negligent in the “use or maintenance” of the property. They must also be able to demonstrate that they were actually injured, and that defendant’s conduct was a “substantial factor” in the harm they experienced. As one might imagine, “negligent in use or maintenance” and “substantial factor” are the major linchpins, and they are notoriously subjective in terms of definition.
The key point is that in order to have a chance to recover for their injuries, a plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant either knew or had what is called constructive notice of the hazard on their property. For example, if you slip in a grocery store, you must be able to show that the store either knew or ought to have known (“constructively” known) about whatever you slipped on – whatever spot on their floor which was wet or soiled. You also must be able to prove that it was indeed a hazard – that is, that a reasonable person would not have known of its existence or at the very least would have had limited time to react. This is not easy, given that most of the time, a customer or invitee onto premises not their own is simply not there long enough to take stock of conditions for the relevant length of time. But California law places the duty to inspect the premises squarely on the property owner (or manager), so if you are able to show this did not occur, it may bolster your case.
How Can I Help My Case?
Many times, injured plaintiffs ask what they can do to help their own cause, and normally the best answer would be to leave matters in the hands of a competent attorney. However, in slip and fall cases, plaintiffs can help to verify conditions on the premises where the accident occurred – in fact, they are almost always the best people to do so. Taking photographs, asking witnesses questions, and the like can sometimes only be done by the plaintiff at the scene. There are multiple questions that it can help you to know the answers to. Some examples include:
- Was I paying attention when I was walking around, or was I distracted?
- Were there any video cameras pointed at the scene?
- Was there a visible substance on the ground I slipped on, or did the floor appear clean?
- If there was a visible substance, what did it look like?
- Was the substance located in a place where one might reasonably assume that the store or owner would see it or become aware of it?
In addition to trying to collect information at the scene, you can also preserve what your injuries look and feel like. Taking photos of one’s own is a good step, and above all else, visiting a medical professional immediately is critical. Injuries start to deteriorate immediately, and it is not uncommon for slip and falls to result in more dangerous injuries than one might originally think. You also, obviously, need your medical records in order to have the information to begin a premises liability claim, and there can be no records if you have not gone to the doctor.
It is important to remember that sometimes, actual or constructive notice of the hazard will simply not be provable. If this is the case in your suit, you may wind up with little recourse – but it cannot be known unless you attempt the endeavor to begin with.
Contact a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Los Angeles to Start the Process
If you have been through a slip and fall accident, what you need is compassion, understanding, and tangible help to get your medical bills covered so that you can focus on the truly important matters of recovery instead of going to court. Contact one of our 15 dedicated attorneys today so that our firm can begin the important work of seeking compensation for your injuries.
When you hire our firm, we start work quickly, and keep you informed of every significant step. We have decades of experience in courtrooms and settlements on this type of case, and perhaps most important of all, we are not afraid to fight for you. Contact us today via telephone or by using our handy web form. We work on a contingency fee basis – if you do not prevail, you do not pay legal fees.