We all trip and fall sometimes. If we’re lucky, we might be able to get back up with nothing more than a bruised ego. But too often, slip and falls lead to serious or even catastrophic injuries.
If you fall on someone else’s property, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the owner. Through this type of personal injury claim, you could recover financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. A skilled Fairfield, CA personal injury attorney can help you with the process.
At the Kuvara Law Firm, our legal practice is dedicated to helping accident victims get the money that they deserve for their injuries. We are fierce advocates for our clients, fighting to protect their legal rights. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
Proving Fault in a Slip and Fall Case
Slip and fall lawsuits are a specific type of personal injury claim known as premises liability. In California, property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. They also have a duty to warn guests and visitors of any dangers that may not be obvious.
As part of this duty of care, people who own, possess or control property must use reasonable care to maintain their property, inspect it, and repair any potentially dangerous conditions. They also must give adequate warning of any dangerous conditions, such as a loose railing. This duty of care may be different based on factors such as:
- The location of the property;
- The likelihood that someone would come onto the property in the way that the accident victim did;
- The likelihood of an injury;
- How serious the injury would likely be;
- Whether the owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition;
- The burden or reducing or avoiding the risk; and
- How much control the owner had over the dangerous condition.
To succeed in a premises liability claim, an injury victim (plaintiff) must prove the following:
- The other person (defendant) owned, leased, occupied, or controlled the property;
- The defendant was negligent (careless) in the use or maintenance of the property;
- The plaintiff was harmed; and
- The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm.
For example, a homeowner knew that the wood on one of the stairs leading to his front porch was starting to rot. He planned to repair the step, but before he could do so, a postal worker fell on the stairs when the wood collapsed. In this situation, the postal worker could file a slip and fall lawsuit against the homeowner because they violated their duty of care to maintain the property and/or warn of known dangers.
Proving fault in this type of lawsuit may be challenging. However, a skilled Fairfield County slip and fall attorney can gather evidence to demonstrate that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition – and failed to either fix it or warn guests and visitors. This may be shown in a number of ways, such as statements from witnesses who heard the owner talk about the dangerous condition or evidence that the property owner was seeking out contractors to repair the issue.
Slip and fall accidents can happen in any number of ways, including:
- Loose carpeting
- Uneven floors
- Spills or leaks
- Broken or missing railings
- Uncovered cables or cords
- Failure to set up barriers around construction sites
In some cases, a premises liability lawsuit can be based on something else entirely – such as a dog jumping up and knocking down a visitor, causing injuries.
Trip and falls cause relatively minor injuries, such as bruises and scrapes. However, when people fall – particularly older people – there is a high potential for serious injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 3 million older people are treated in the emergency department each year for injuries related to falls, including broken bones and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Trip and falls can also cause fatal injuries. In this situation, if the fall was caused by a negligent property owner, then the injury victim’s loved ones may be able to pursue financial compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Slip and Fall Lawsuit Process
After a slip and fall, you may be able to file a claim against the property owner’s insurance company. Through this process, you may be able to recover financial compensation for all of the losses that you have suffered, including:
- Medical bills
- Future medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The best way to get the highest possible recovery – one that truly compensates you for your losses – is to work with a personal injury law firm that has experience handling slip and fall lawsuits.
During a free initial consultation, a Fairfield County slip and fall lawyer will listen to your story and offer you legal advice on your options for filing a claim. If you decide to hire an attorney, the case will be handled on a contingency fee basis. This means that you won’t pay anything upfront, and your lawyer will only get paid if they get money for you through a settlement or verdict at trial.
Your attorney will start by thoroughly investigating the accident. This may include talking to witnesses, going over medical records, reviewing incident reports, and seeking out any photos or videos of the scene. Once they have gathered enough information, they’ll draft a demand letter to the insurance company.
A demand letter describes what happened, explains why the policyholder is legally responsible for what occurred, and then makes a demand for damages (compensation). Insurance companies will typically respond to a demand letter with a counteroffer. The two sides will go back and forth until they are able to negotiate a fair settlement.
Of course, there are situations where the insurer refuses to pay an injured party the compensation that they deserve for their injuries. It may be necessary to file a lawsuit in Fairfield County court in order to protect your rights and continue the negotiation process. There is a strict deadline for filing a lawsuit in a personal injury matter – 2 years – so it is important to file this paperwork before the statute of limitations has expired.
Filing a lawsuit does not mean that your slip and fall case will go to court. Most often, it is another step in the process towards resolving the claim. When the insurance company knows that your personal injury attorney is ready and willing to take the case to trial, they are more likely to offer you fair compensation for your injuries.
Negotiations often continue right up until the eve of trial. If the case isn’t resolved, then your lawyer will present evidence, question witnesses, and make arguments, before asking the jury to return a verdict in your favor. Working with a team of experienced attorneys can increase the likelihood that you will achieve a favorable outcome.
When to Hire a Slip and Fall Lawyer
Insurance companies are in business to make money. When someone files a claim against a homeowner’s, renter’s, or commercial insurance policy, their goal is to pay as little as possible to resolve it. They use a number of different tactics to achieve this – like trying to get you to sign away important legal rights before you’ve even had a chance to talk to a lawyer.
After a slip and fall, you may be approached by a claims adjuster who tells you that they take full responsibility for the accident and asks you to give a statement or sign some paperwork. While the adjuster may seem friendly, remember that they work for the insurance company. Before you give a statement or sign anything, you should contact a slip and fall lawyer.
Your attorney can protect your right to maximum compensation in a number of ways. First, they’ll take on communications with the insurance company for you so that there is no chance that you might say something that can be used against you. This also gives you the chance to focus on your recovery instead of dealing with paperwork and bureaucracy. Second, your lawyer will fully investigate the case and bring in all potentially responsible parties. This step is critical, as it may be possible that more than one person or entity is liable for your injuries.
Third, an attorney will work with experts to develop a claim for damages that fully encompasses all your losses – not just the number that an insurance company software program spits out. Slip and fall settlements should compensate you for everything from property damage to pain and suffering. By working with a Fairfield personal injury lawyer, you can ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.
Fourth, hiring legal representation means that you can rest easy knowing that your legal rights are protected. California personal injury law can be complicated. Having an attorney by your side means that you don’t have to worry about whether certain deadlines have been met or if you filled out the paperwork correctly.
Fifth, the insurance company will have a team of adjusters and lawyers on their side. Having your own attorney levels the playing field and helps you get the money that you deserve for your losses.
There is no need to wait. As soon as possible after a trip and fall, reach out to an experienced Fairfield personal injury lawyer to schedule a free consultation.
I Fell at a Family Member’s House. Do I Really Have to Sue Them for My Slip and Fall?
If you suffered injuries in a trip and fall because a family member was negligent, then you may need to file a claim against their insurance policy in order to get compensation for your losses. Keep in mind that you won’t actually be suing your family member. Instead, you will be filing a claim or lawsuit against their insurance company.
We all maintain insurance for a reason: for situations like this. Your loved one wouldn’t want you to experience financial distress because of a fall at their home when they have insurance to cover your expenses. Reach out to the Kuvara Law Firm today for more information about how we can help you after a slip and fall.
I Was Hurt While Trespassing on Someone’s Property. Can I File a Premises Liability Lawsuit?
In California, your ability to seek compensation for a slip and fall is not based on whether you were legally on the property. However, a jury would consider all relevant factors in determining whether the property owner owed you a duty of care to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. A skilled Fairfield slip and fall attorney can help you determine your right to pursue a claim against the property owner.
Premises liability cases are different from other types of personal injury lawsuits. To get the money that you deserve, you will need an experienced attorney who understands California premises liability law. In Fairfield County, call the Kuvara Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.
What If I Slip and Fall on Public Property? Can I Sue the City?
If the city failed to maintain the property appropriately or warn of known dangers, then you may be able to file a slip and fall lawsuit against the city. There are special rules in California that apply when a defendant is a public entity, such as a city, county, or state government agency.
A skilled Fairfield trip and fall lawyer can help you determine if you may have a case against the city. If so, they will work to hold the city accountable for the injuries that you suffered. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with the Kuvara Law Firm.
The Best Slip and Fall Lawyers in Fairfield, CA
After a slip and fall accident, you may be dealing with physical injuries, emotional trauma, and mounting medical bills. While money can’t make you whole again, it can help you move forward with your life. A personal injury attorney can help you achieve the best possible slip and fall settlement.
With offices throughout Northern California, the Kuvara Law Firm works hard to help accident victims get the money that they deserve for their injuries. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a Fairfield County slip and fall lawyer, call our law office at 707-557-5700 or fill out our online contact form.