Discovery Bay Slip and Fall Lawyer
Slip and fall (or trip and fall) incidents can happen just about anywhere -- indoors or outdoors, on private property, in commercial establishments open to the public, in schools, and in government buildings. When a slip and fall occurs, the person involved can sometimes sustain very severe injuries, including such things as ankle and knee fractures or sprains, knee joint meniscal injuries and ligament tears, arm and wrist sprains or fractures from trying to brace against the fall, or head injuries from striking the ground or nearby hard objects. A slip and fall lawyer can help people who have sustained injuries recover compensation from the insurance companies for the individuals and corporations who may have been responsible for dangerous conditions that caused their falls and injuries.How Can a Discovery Bay Slip and Fall Lawyer Help After an Injury?
Determining how a slip and fall injury may have occurred can be a complex and expensive process. An experienced personal injury attorney will have the experience, skills, and resources to investigate and collect evidence that will show the following:
- Whether or not dangerous conditions arising from ordinary negligence, strict liability, or other theories of premises liability existed and were causes of the injury incident.
- The exact nature of the diagnosed injury, the medical prognosis for long-term or permanent disability, likely physical and occupational limitations, and further required medical treatment and cost.
- Availability of liability insurance coverage on the part of the premises owner and/or operator for a personal injury claim.
This process will often involve private investigators and expert witnesses, including medical experts, engineering and/or construction experts, biomechanical experts, human factors experts, life care planners, vocational rehabilitation experts, economists, etc.Who May Be Legally Responsible for a Premises Liability Injury?
A thorough investigation of a slip and fall incident is needed to identify all possible people and corporations who may have legal liability for the injury, but they will typically include:
- The individual or corporate owner of the premises -- the owner will typically have ultimate responsibility for any dangers existing on their property that caused the injury. They usually have homeowners or other general liability insurance coverage for such incidents.
- Property operators include renters of homes and apartments and lessees of business and commercial properties.
- Individuals and businesses who are responsible for constructing and/or maintaining the property, including contractors who may have failed to build the premises to code or without proper conditions or materials (where this contributed to the injury), or maintenance companies such as janitorial or groundskeeping workers who may have caused the unsafe condition or failed to observe, remove, or report the hazardous condition.
- Outside parties, such as owners of neighboring premises, may have negligently done something to create the unsafe condition.
Only by thoroughly investigating a slip and fall accident can it be understood exactly how the incident occurred, who may be legally liable for it, and what insurance coverages may be available to compensate the injured person.What are the Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents?
Sometimes a slip and fall accident can happen for no apparent reason -- the unfortunate person simply stumbled and fell with no obvious hazard or impediment having caused the incident. But very often, these slip and fall accidents do have obvious causes, such as:
- Accumulated water or other slippery substances in a place on the ground where they should not be.
- Lack of rubber floor mats, textured paving materials, or other aids for safe walking in regularly wet areas.
- Irregular, uneven, or damaged flooring materials inside buildings.
- Raised or uneven concrete sidewalks due to settling and cracking or tree root growth.
- Debris, boxes, or other clutter on or adjacent to walking routes that may impede safe progress.
- Damaged or loose handrails in stairwells and balconies.
- Missing or inadequate lighting for both indoor and outdoor areas with foot traffic.
- Inadequate or missing warnings -- signs and bright markings, for example -- for any of these conditions.
Look for witnesses who saw the fall and try to get their names and contact information.
If the cause of the slip and fall is visible, take photographs -- wet areas, bunched-up carpeting, or boxes sticking out into walkways can be quickly removed, and it's crucial to record what the accident site looked like as soon as possible.
Notify the premises owner or operator of the incident immediately, and make sure they have documented the incident. Most businesses will have injury report forms and procedures they will use to record the incident. Talk with a manager or someone in authority, get their name and contact information, and make sure they have recorded the accident.
Get medical attention promptly -- primarily to protect your health and document the injury through the medical providers' records.
Set aside the shoes and clothing you were wearing then -- put them in a plastic bag and store them in a known location. Shoe condition and tread will often be a matter of concern, and slippery substances that cause a fall can often leave traces on shoes or clothing that came in contact with it.
Take pictures of your own injuries. Bruises, lacerations, and abrasions heal over time, and photographs are essential evidence to prove the injuries later. These items will be collected by your injury attorney.What Can I Be Compensated For?
As with any type of personal injury, there are several categories of legal "damages" for which an injured person can seek compensation from responsible parties and their insurance companies. These break down generally into two categories -- "special" damages, which are losses that have specific dollar values that can be calculated, such as past and future medical bills and past and future wage or income loss resulting from the injury, and "general" damages which represent the so-called "pain and suffering" element of an injury.
Calculating and proving these different elements of damage can have varying degrees of difficulty and complexity. A medical bill may have a conspicuous dollar figure at the bottom. Still, the portions that were paid by a health insurance company, paid by the patient, and/or written off by the medical provider can all impact the legal "value" of the billing for calculating medical expenses damages. An injured individual who is a direct hourly wage employee told by their doctor to take a week off work after their injury may have a relatively straightforward wage loss claim that can be easily documented by a pay stub showing their hourly wage and a week of missing work. A self-employed person who loses time from work may have a more complicated income loss to calculate that may need input from a bookkeeper or accountant. And a long-term or permanent injury that may require a person to completely change careers to something that their injury will accommodate may have a very complicated future income loss to calculate.
An experienced slip andfall lawyer in Discovery Bay can guide an injured client through these legal complexities for calculating damages and will know when and how to retain expert witnesses.
Slip and fall or trip and fall incidents can occur both during work and off hours. View this video discussing OSHA standards for safe working and walking standards -- the common causes of fall incidents it discusses apply just as much to non-work hours as to when we're on the job:Discovery Bay Slip and Fall Lawyer
Accidents from a fall can result in injuries ranging from simple bumps and bruises to severe fractures, ligament tears, and head injuries. These injuries can take a few days to heal or can be permanent for the remainder of a person's life. Achieving just and proper compensation for a slip and fall accident, mainly resulting in serious, permanent injury, is complicated and challenging. If you or a family member has been seriously injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, please call us today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice. You can also reach us through our online contact form.
Editor's Note: updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 4.3.23]
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