Napa Slip and Fall Lawyer
Slip and fall or trip and fall incidents happen in many places and for many reasons. Sometimes it is an "accident" in which a person's feet get tangled through no fault of their own or anyone else's. Still, all too often, a slip and fall occur due to a slippery floor, defective stairs, or uneven walking surface resulting from another person's negligence. Someone who owns or manages a property must take reasonable precautions to prevent visitors from encountering dangerous conditions that may cause injuries from slip and fall incidents. When they fail to do so, and an injury occurs, a Napa County slip and fall lawyer such as the experienced personal injury attorneys at our office can help those who were injured through no fault of their own obtain appropriate compensation for their injuries from negligent property owners, business operators, and their insurance companies.The Nature of Slip and Fall Injuries
Injuries from falls can be surprisingly severe and frequent. They are typically one of the most common causes of accidental deaths in the United States. For example, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics for accidental fatality causes in the year 2020 noted that there were actually more deaths from unintentional falls that year (42,114) than there were fatalities from motor vehicle accidents (40,698). The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) has provided statistics showing that:
- Falls are the leading cause of emergency department visits annually -- almost double the rate of ER visits due to traffic accident injuries.
- Fall injuries are the leading cause of time lost from work -- nearly one-quarter of slip and fall incidents result in losing a month or more of work.
- Falls are the most frequent incident type in claims for workers' compensation and the leading cause of on-the-job injuries for older workers.
- Some two million falls each year are related to problematic floor surfaces.
- Fractures are the most common serious consequence of fall injury, with hip fractures (especially in the elderly) leading to the most health challenges.
- Injuries from falls are increasingly likely with age but can occur to people of any age.
- Falls are the number two cause of injuries to the spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help a slip and fall victim in several ways, including identifying liability type and insurance coverage, exhaustively enumerating injury damages, and securing compensation through an insurance claim, arbitration, settlement, or jury award.
The type of claim will generally be a workers' compensation claim if the injury occurred while on-the-job or a premises liability claim when not on the job and when visiting private or public premises. Sometimes both types of claims may be available, such as an on-the-job injury while working at a customer or client's premises.
Insurance coverage will be tied to the fall injury victim's employer when a workers' compensation claim is pursued. In contrast, premises liability injury claims are typically against the homeowner's insurance or general liability insurance policies of private individuals or businesses who own, manage, or operate the premises where the injury occurred.
The legal damages for which a slip and fall injury victim may be due compensation will typically include the following:
- Past and future medical expenses for treatment related to the injury.
- Past wage loss due to the injury and loss of future income and/or earning capacity for long-term or permanent injuries.
- Non-economic damages -- or "general" damages -- for the past and future pain and suffering caused by the injury.
Slip and fall injury incidents are different from injury accidents such as motor vehicle collisions in a couple significant ways -- a slip and fall incident is often documented (when there is a report at all) by someone associated with the potential defendants (such as a store employee) rather than by a relatively neutral investigator like a police officer who might be documenting a traffic accident. And much of the crucial physical evidence in a slip and fall incident may be temporary and quickly cleaned up or repaired -- water that made a floor slippery can quickly be mopped up, or a piece of torn carpeting that caused someone to trip can quickly be tacked down.
While it may be challenging to keep the necessary presence of mind after experiencing an injury, there are several essential ways a slip and fall victim can help themselves immediately after the incident:
- If the injury is severe, immediately ask for medical assistance.
- Be sure to immediately report the incident to an on-site responsible party -- if the incident was in a business, report it to a manager or employee of the business and get their name and contact information; if the incident was on private premises, report it to an owner, occupant, or property manager (preferably more than one person) and get their name and contact information.
- Get the names and phone numbers of people who may have witnessed the fall.
- Get photos on your cell phone of where the fall occurred, mainly to record any physical evidence related to the fall, like patches of water or other slippery substances, defects in the floor or flooring material that caused the fall, etc.
- Keep your shoes -- footwear may often be a significant piece of evidence in a slip and fall or trip and fall incident -- place them in a plastic bag to preserve any slippery substances on them and store them in a known location.
- Checking your clothing for any water or slippery material that might have been absorbed when you fell -- if your clothing has wet patches, photograph them with your cell phone immediately. If there are sticky or slippery substances on the floor of your clothing, bag up the clothing (like your shoes) and store them away.
- Photograph your injuries, and re-photograph them as they heal up.
- Follow your physicians' recommendations for medical care.
And the most straightforward way someone who has experienced an injury in a slip and fall incident can help themselves is to seek advice from an experienced personal injury attorney.
Although geared toward workplace safety, this video has many common sense tips that can help prevent slips, trips, and falls in all environments:Napa Slip and Fall Lawyers
We should all be able to walk safely on the premises where we are visiting or working. Still, sometimes negligence by the people and businesses who own, manage, or operate the premises leaves hidden traps that can suddenly cause us to slip, trip, and fall, sometimes sustaining severe injuries. If you or a family member has experienced a slip and fall injury due to someone else's negligence, please contact us today at (707) 564-1900 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice. You can also reach us through our online contact form.
You can read the case histories of our past verdicts and settlements.
Editor's Note: updated [cha 8.22.23] Image by Oli Hale from Pixabay gm [cs 1179] bw