A slip, trip or fall can happen at any time. When it happens on another person or business’s property due to the negligence of that party, a lawsuit may be able to help the hurt victim recover financially for the injuries they’ve suffered. Having an experienced Victorville slip and fall lawyer can make all the difference in the world.
Below, we dive into the basics of a slip and fall accident case, and how our proven and skilled slip and fall lawyer in Victorville, CA, can help prove your claim.
How Long Do I Have to File a Slip and Fall Accident?
Premises liability law covers a broad range of cases in which people are injured — or even killed — on another person's property. In most cases, you have just two years to file a claim before you lose the right to pursue a legal remedy. If the property involves a government entity, you must submit a claim within six months. Because valuable evidence can be lost, damaged, destroyed, or replaced with the passage of time, it's important to discuss your legal rights and options with an attorney as soon as possible.
Determining Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case
Premises liability law is complex and complicated. California law requires people who own, lease, occupy, or otherwise control property to take reasonable care to maintain its safety and give adequate warning of potential hazards to prevent injuries to others while on the premises. Property owners and occupants who fail to uphold this legal obligation may be held liable for injuries and damages sustained as a result of their negligence.
Common Premises Liability Defenses an Experienced Victorville Slip and Fall Attorney Would Use
- The property wasn't controlled by the defendant. Defendants can only be held responsible for the property they control. Your attorney can review your case to ensure that the appropriate person is named as the defendant in your lawsuit.
- The defendant had no knowledge of the hazard. Defendants have to be aware of the hazardous condition in order to be held liable for it. Your attorney can gather evidence showing that the defendant knew — or should have known — about the hazard, but failed to act.
- The hazard was obvious. If the danger was clear or clearly marked, the defendant may argue that you should have exercised reasonable care to avoid it. Your attorney can help you gather evidence to refute this defense.
- Comparative negligence. The defendant may argue that you were partially to blame for your injuries in an attempt to minimize their obligation to you. While this won't necessarily prevent you from recovering compensation, it could reduce your settlement or financial award. Your attorney can fight to ensure you aren't assigned undeserved blame.
- Unforeseeable third-party conduct. People attacked or otherwise injured by a third party while on someone else's property may have a premises liability claim for negligent security. However, the defendant may claim that there was no way they could have anticipated what happened. Your attorney can gather evidence of similar conduct on the property — or in the area — to show that the third-party conduct in question was reasonably foreseeable.
Proving a Premises Liability Claim
In order to recover compensation, you and your attorney have to prove the following:
- The defendant owned, leased, occupied, or controlled the property in question
- The defendant was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property
- You were harmed
- The defendant's negligence was a significant factor in causing that harm
A skilled injury lawyer can help you gather the essential evidence needed to build a strong case. Examples of potentially available damages include:
- Past and future accident-related medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress damages
Common Damages Can Be Collected in a Slip, Trip and Fall Lawsuit
If you slipped on a wet or an oily floor or fell down a crumbling staircase on another person's property and sustained serious injuries, you may be facing both a long recovery period and expensive medical bills. While you may be entitled to file a premises liability claim and pursue compensation for your injuries, many slip and fall accident victims wonder if the potential financial award will be worth the time and emotional toll involved with going through a lawsuit. Because compensation amounts in slip and fall cases are often decided by juries, it can be challenging to determine the exact value of a premises liability claim in advance. Below, we discuss common damages you can recover in a slip, trip and fall lawsuit:
- Medical Bills. When trying to figure out the worth of a premises liability case, knowing the value of your medical bills is a good place to start. If it's determined that your claim is valid, you may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical bills related to your injuries. To prove your claim, you need to show that the owner or operator had a legal responsibility to safely maintain the property but failed to do so, and those negligent or careless actions were the direct cause of your slip and fall accident. After the accident, carefully documented medical records, in which your doctor discusses your injuries and treatments, are essential. However, it's important to note that the amount billed by medical providers is often vastly different from the amount the providers agree to accept as payment. In many cases, the accepted payment amount is much less than the billed amount.
- Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Potential. If the injuries you sustained in your slip and fall accident caused you to miss work, you may be entitled to financial recovery of the wages you would have received during that period. Tax returns or pay stubs—as well as additional documentation from your employer—can paint a clear picture of the wages you lost as a result of your injuries and the required recovery and rehabilitation period. Also, if your injuries prevent you from performing the same type of work you did prior to the accident and force you into a lower-paying position, you may be able to pursue damages for that loss of earning potential. This compensation may come in the form of the sum of the difference between what you were earning before and what you're earning now, or it may consist of a lump sum that allows you to train in another field.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Injury
- Report the accident. Notify a manager, landlord, or property owner immediately following the incident and ask them to make a written accident report. Request a copy of the accident report before leaving the premises. Make sure someone knows of your fall and its cause before you leave the location, if at all possible.
- Examine the scene. Inspect the area where the fall occurred to identify the cause. Look for things like snow, rain, oil on the surface of the floor, uneven or broken flooring or other objects that created a hazard.
- Gather evidence. Take videos or photos of the scene of the slip and fall location. It is very possible that the cause of your fall will be gone shortly after your fall so documenting the hazard preserves your evidence before it is destroyed, removed or evaporates. Also, photo document any visible injuries sustained in the slip and fall.
- Obtain contact information and statements from witnesses. In a slip and fall in a store, often there are witnesses such as other customers or employees. Obtaining the contact information for these witnesses—as well as a brief description of what they saw—provides valuable information for the slip and fall attorney that will be prosecuting the case.
- Seek immediate medical attention. Even if no injuries are immediately apparent, it's important for slip and fall victims to get medically evaluated as soon as possible. Recorded medical information helps show the injury status following the fall and records a substantiation from an objective medical provider. In the end, it makes it easier for victims to connect all the injuries, even the ones that appear later, to the fall itself.
- Document medical expenses and lost wages. Save all related medical bills or receipts, and document time lost from work. Secure a doctor's order for your time off work so your decision not to work is supported by a medical provider's opinion.
- Keep a journal detailing how slip and fall injuries affect day-to-day activities. A recorded journal will help support claims for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and how the injury has altered your life. Also, a journal helps your remember events that may be forgotten over time while the case is being handled by the slip and fall attorney.
- Consult an experienced slip & fall attorney. After the accident, it is critical to speak with an experienced Victorville slip and fall lawyer as soon as you've seeked medical attention. Evidence is quickly lost in slip and fall cases and the lawyer needs the advantage of being able to gather information early before it is gone. Also, the slip and fall victim needs to have someone who will look out for their best interests.
How to Find the Best Victorville Slip and Fall Lawyer
Finding the right attorney for your case can be difficult with so many options available to you. However, there are several factors that you should consider when looking for the best slip and fall lawyer in Victorville, CA. Below are some of the common things you should look for:
- Experience, Experience, Experience. Having experience with personal injuries is very important. What’s even more important is finding an attorney that not only has experience with personal injuries but the right type of injuries. Not every personal injury lawyer covers slip and falls. Some attorneys may have tons of experience with car accidents, but not with slips and falls. Make sure any attorney you consider has handled many slip and fall cases.
- Reviews and Results. If you’re looking for a slip and fall lawyer in Victorville, check for results and testimonials from past cases. In most instances, you can see case results and client testimonials on an attorney’s website, or you can head-on over to their Google My Business profile for a less curated experience.
- Schedule free consultations. Almost every slip and fall attorney will offer a free consultation. If they don’t, you can skip them entirely. This free consult will give you the opportunity to ask questions and get a feel for the attorney’s personality. After all, feeling comfortable with whoever you hire is extremely important.
There are other things to consider when looking for the best attorney for your unique needs. Asking family and friends for their past experiences can also be very helpful. However, starting with the list above, you should be able to weed out the good from the bad.
Schedule a Consult With Our Slip and Fall Attorney in Victorville
If you were injured in a slip and fall premises liability accident, being represented by our knowledgeable slip and fall lawyer in Victorville, CA, is the best way to ensure that you receive a fair financial award.
To schedule a free consultation with our Victorville slip and fall attorney, fill out our online contact form or give us a call at 909.481.0100 today!