We’ve all had moments where we stumble – or even fall – as we go about our daily lives. Most of the time, these little trips are no big deal and cause nothing more than embarrassment. But in some cases, a slip and fall can lead to serious injuries.
If you have been hurt in a slip and fall on someone else’s property, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses. Through a premises liability claim, you can recover money for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Starting with a free initial consultation, a Santa Rosa slip and fall lawyer can help you determine if you are able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the property owner’s insurance company. The Kuvara Law Firm will advocate for your rights throughout the process, working hard to get you the money that you deserve for your injuries. We handle all personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, which means that you won’t ever pay a fee unless we recover money for you.
When Can I File a Claim for a Santa Rosa Slip and Fall?
In California, people who own or rent property owe a duty of care to protect people from harm when they enter their property. This does not mean that you can file a lawsuit anytime that you are injured on someone else’s property. Instead, you will have to prove that the property owner was careless (negligent) in some way.
To win a premises liability claim, you will need to demonstrate four things:
- The defendant (other party) owned, leased, occupied, or controlled the property;
- The defendant was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property;
- The plaintiff (injury victim) was harmed by slipping or falling on the property; and
- The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiff.
A defendant is considered negligent in a slip and fall case if:
- A condition on the property created an unreasonable risk of harm;
- The defendant knew of the dangerous condition, or should have known about it with the exercise of reasonable care; and
- The defendant failed to repair the condition, protect against harm from the condition, or give adequate warning of the condition.
Importantly, the property owner must have known about the condition – or should have known about it if they were diligent. For example, a customer spills a bottle of cooking oil in a grocery store, and a different customer slips and falls on the oil. If the fall happened right after the oil spill – before the grocery store knew about it – then the store is probably not responsible for the injury. However, if the store knew about it and didn’t attempt to clean it up or put up warning signs around it, then they would be considered negligent.
Liability in premises liability cases can be complex. A skilled personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a viable claim against the property owner or any other party. They can then pursue compensation with a claim against the insurance companies.
What Damages Can I Get for a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you have been hurt in a slip and fall, then you may be able to recover compensation or damages. In most personal injury claims, a plaintiff is entitled to two types of damages: economic and non-economic. Both are considered compensatory damages, which are intended to make an accident victim whole again.
Economic damages cover direct financial losses. They may include things like:
- Medical bills
- Future medical care
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
Non-economic damages address intangible losses, such as:
- Emotional distress
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
In rare cases, punitive damages – which are meant to punish a wrongdoer – may be available. These are limited to cases where a defendant acted intentionally or recklessly. Because most slip and falls are based on negligence, punitive damages are usually not awarded. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you determine the value of your case and can advise you about the possibility of recovering punitive damages.
Importantly, these damages are most often paid by a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. If you slip and fall at a business, its commercial general liability policy will apply.
This means that if you fall at a loved one’s house, you don’t have to worry that you will be causing them harm by pursuing compensation. Instead, you will simply be filing a claim with their insurance company – which is exactly why they have insurance. A slip and fall accident lawyer can explain the process to you, and help you decide if you want to move forward with a case.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Slip and Fall?
After being hurt in a slip and fall, an insurance adjuster may reach out to you and offer a settlement. You may want to just sign the paperwork so that you can get the money that you need to pay your bills and move forward with your life. Unfortunately, these settlement offers are rarely enough to make you whole again.
Insurance companies are in business to make money. They turn a profit by denying or minimizing legitimate claims. It is not in the insurance company’s best interest to give you maximum compensation.
By contrast, a personal injury lawyer is required to act in YOUR best interests. When you hire a Santa Rosa slip and fall lawyer, they will fight to make sure that you get fair compensation. Your attorney will make sure that the insurance company pays you what you deserve for your injuries – either by negotiating a settlement or by taking your case to trial and asking the jury to find it in your favor.
Most personal injury claims – including slip and fall cases – are handled on a contingency fee basis, where you pay nothing upfront and only pay a fee if your attorney recovers money for you. This type of arrangement aligns your interests with your lawyer’s – you are both invested in getting the maximum compensation, as quickly as possible. It also allows you to hire a lawyer, even if you don’t have the cash on hand to pay attorney’s fees out of pocket.
Hiring a lawyer often means that you will recover much more than you would if you represented yourself. According to one study by the Insurance Research Council, accident victims with legal representation settled their cases for 40% more than people without an attorney. With numbers like these, you can’t afford to not hire a lawyer for your personal injury claim.
In Santa Rosa, the Kuvara Law Firm is a great option for anyone who has been injured in an accident – including a slip and fall. For more than 40 years, our law offices have represented accident victims in Northern California. We take a proactive, aggressive approach to each case, working hard to help our clients recover the money that they deserve for their injuries.
Our law firm has a strong track record of success, obtaining high-value settlements for our clients. We utilize technology to our advantage, using a paperless system to resolve claims quickly and efficiently. At the same time, we pride ourselves in offering personalized service to each and every one of our clients.
How Long Do I Have to Sue for a Slip and Fall in California?
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is 2 years in California. With some exceptions – such as for a minor child – you must file a lawsuit within 2 years of the date of the accident. If you don’t, then the case will likely be dismissed by the court.
For this reason, it is important to contact a Santa Rosa slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible after you are hurt. During a free consultation, they can review your case with you and explain your legal options. If you decide to hire an attorney, they will make sure that all deadlines are met and will work to achieve the best possible outcome.
How Much Is My Slip and Fall Case Worth?
The value of your personal injury case depends on a number of factors, including the nature and severity of your injury, whether liability is clear, and the policy limits of the defendant’s insurance coverage. If you suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), for example, your case will typically be worth more than if you had a broken bone that fully healed.
The best way to get a ballpark estimate of the value of your case is to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. During this appointment, you will explain your story, and your lawyer will advise you of your legal rights. They will then work hard to make sure that you get the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Can I Sue If I Slip and Fall?
Not all slip and falls will lead to a personal injury claim. However, if you slipped and fell because the property owner was negligent in some way, then you may be able to file a lawsuit. For example, if you trip over crumbling, broken flooring at a store, then you may be able to file a claim against the store’s insurance carrier.
More than one party may be responsible for a slip and fall accident. A Santa Rosa slip and fall attorney will thoroughly investigate the facts of your case to determine who may be responsible for your injuries – and then work with you to get you the money that you deserve.
Injured in a Slip and Fall? We’re Here for You.
Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common causes of unintentional injury. If you have been hurt because of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a claim against the property owner and their insurance company. Our law firm can help you with the process.
Based in Northern California, the Kuvara Law Firm represents clients in a wide range of personal injury matters, from car accidents to dog bites to premises liability claims. We offer free consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a Santa Rosa slip and fall lawyer, give us a call at 707-571-0405 or fill out our online contact form.