It’s unnerving to be walking in a grocery or other public place and suddenly find yourself sprawled on the tiles of an aisle or a lobby. It can be more than unnerving if the fall results in injuries. If this has happened to you recently, you’ve probably had medical treatment. Along with that treatment comes unexpected medical bills. And now you’re wondering how you’re going to pay for them.
The Fontana personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw have represented many people in slip and fall accident claims. When you call us, you’ll get a free initial consultation where we can review your accident, fill you in on your legal options, and help you formulate a plan to help you get the compensation you need for your injuries. Call us today to get started.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer? Why Choose OnderLaw ?
You can certainly file an insurance claim against the at-fault party’s insurance carrier without a lawyer. However, doing so by yourself puts you at a disadvantage. When the insurance company gets a letter or email from you, an individual, rather than from a lawyer, they’re going to do everything they can to minimize the money they have to pay you. They might call you up pretending to check to see how you’re doing but really be fishing for information they could use to place the blame for the accident on you. They might suggest that your claim is so straightforward that you don’t even need a lawyer or ask why you’d want to give away a portion of your settlement when they planned to make you an offer right then.
You may be tempted to take any offer they make right away, particularly if you have medical bills to pay or if you’ve had to be off work because of your injury. That would be a mistake. The insurance companies never offer a fair settlement right off. Having a OnderLaw lawyer on your side can change the game significantly. We know the law, and we have been representing people in slip and fall cases for a very long time. We know how to deal with insurance companies and their tactics and how to safeguard our clients’ rights and best interests to get the best possible outcome.
Research has shown that unrepresented accident victims get smaller and less frequent payouts for their accidents than those who hire lawyers. Don’t be one of the sad statistics. You need the experienced lawyers of OnderLaw on your team.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
There are almost as many reasons for a slip and fall accident as there are places where we can slip and fall. Among them are:
- Wet or uneven surfaces
- Poor flooring
- Defective flooring
- Loose rugs
- Bunched or torn carpet
- Poor lighting
- Lack of handrails
- Loose floorboards
- Inclement weather
- Unsafe stairs or escalators
Property Owner/Manager Responsibilities in California
California law states that a property owner/manager has a responsibility or duty to ensure that the area used by customers and other visitors is safe. Failure to do so creates premises liability. The owner/manager has the responsibility to:
- Free the property of hazards and dangers. It is the responsibility of the owner/manager to pick up the messes that may appear on the floor. The owner/manager is responsible to keep the aisles and foyers free from clutter, spills, and poor floor coverings, including partially rolled-up rugs. The flooring should provide decent traction for the patrons of the building.
- Keep the premises free from falling products. Shelves can be overstocked and may cause products to fall or be pulled off the shelf. Poor shelving can also result in falling hazards. In a non-retail environment, such as a construction site, the owner/manager is obligated to make every effort to prevent any overhead equipment, materials, or objects from falling onto unwary passersby.
- Keep the floor safe from slippery surfaces. Spills and inclement weather will happen. The owner/manager should take appropriate steps to clean the spill, slush, or debris as quickly as possible and to clearly mark where there may be a hazard.
Common Injuries Suffered in Slip and Fall Accidents
Falling is an unsettling event in and of itself. The wounded dignity and embarrassment that result are natural. When the injuries extend beyond pride, though, the victim may also suffer some of the following injuries.
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Spinal injury
- Facial or dental fractures
- Torn muscles or ligaments
Compensation for Slip and Fall Accident Injuries
When someone has harmed you through their carelessness or indifference, the law allows you to seek compensation for the damage that has happened to you. You may be eligible to recover compensation for the following costs:
- Medical costs and expenses. These expenses include emergency medical transportation, doctor’s office visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions, physical therapy, pain management, and more.
- Property damage. A laptop, expensive watch, eyeglasses, or cellphone can be broken when someone falls. The cost to repair or replace these items may be included in your compensation.
- Lost wages. While recuperating from the injuries from the fall, you may be forced to miss work, losing income and benefits that would normally accrue to you while you are working. You may be compensated for lost time from work and any future lost wages, should you be unable to return to your usual employment.
- Pain and suffering. Not all injuries are physical. After a slip and fall accident, it’s possible that you’ll develop mental conditions you didn’t have before, such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Even if you don’t develop a condition, enduring the pain and emotional strain of being injured can be compensable losses.
- Loss of companionship and consortium. The harm done to a person in a slip and fall accident may hinder their normal relations with their spouse or significant other. The adjustment in living conditions can have a negative effect on you and may be compensable.
What to Do if You’re Injured in a Slip and Fall
California has a two-year statute of limitations for filing a slip and fall lawsuit, although there is a three-year statute of limitations for lawsuits for property damaged in a slip and fall. There are steps you can take to help make sure your insurance claim or lawsuit is strong.
- Report the fall to the owner/manager as quickly as possible. This should be one of the first things you do. The owner/manager will want to make a record of the fall. Tell the owner/manager about the fall, but then send a written document giving notice of the fall. Keep a copy of the document for your records.
- Get witness statements and contact information. If you are in a public place, there should be one or two people who saw the fall or at least were aware of the conditions that led to your fall. Their testimony may be helpful for your case.
- Take pictures. If your cellphone wasn’t broken by the fall, take photos of the floor and the surroundings where the accident happened. Take pictures of everything, including light fixtures, the surface upon which you fell, anything that caused you to trip or fell on you, etc.
- Seek medical diagnosis and treatment. Many people who experience a slip and fall may feel they weren’t actually injured. The shock from the fall may last several hours. It is always prudent to have a medical professional check you out as soon after the fall as possible. The diagnosis will determine treatment, and an immediate physician’s visit will begin the paper trail that shows your injury was related to the accident.
- Refuse to allow the insurance company to make a recorded statement. The owner/manager will have an insurance company protecting his or her interests. The insurance company will probably contact you shortly after the fall. It is best to let your attorney deal with the insurance company. The insurer will be looking out for the owner/manager, not you. We at OnderLaw will always have your interests at heart and will fight for you against the insurance company and their lawyers. We will handle all communication with them to help ensure that you don’t accidentally say something that could be taken to mean you were at fault for the accident.
- Attend medical appointments. Once you’ve seen your doctor, follow their advice and be sure to make every doctor’s appointment. Insurance companies will use any gap in treatment or failure to follow advice to show that the injury wasn’t really serious.
- Talk with an attorney. Your attorney will walk you through the process of protecting your interests and filing a claim or lawsuit to secure the compensation you need after your injury.
Let Us Help You
OnderLaw wants to help you. We have nearly 20 years of experience handling slip and fall cases, and we know how to deal with insurance companies and their defense attorneys. We know what they will do to try to limit your compensation, and we know what steps we can take to thwart their efforts.
Here at OnderLaw , one of our founding values is that we treat our clients like family. We take the time to get to know you and what’s important to you as we work with you to get the compensation you need. Call us or contact us online for your free initial consultation. We look forward to hearing from you soon.