Slip and fall accidents are more prevalent than most people may think. While most people are familiar with the term, many do not realize the severity of the injuries that can occur due to the fall. In fact, according to the National Floor Safety Institute, over 42,000 people died in falls at home and work in 2020.
If you were recently injured in a slip and fall accident, you might be contemplating filing a lawsuit for damages. If so, you need an experienced San Luis Obispo slip and fall attorney. Slip and fall cases can be more complex and challenging than most people think. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our slip and fall lawyer in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
There are endless types of injuries that can occur from a slip and fall accident. Common slip and fall injuries include the following:
- Other traumatic brain injuries,
- Broken bones,
- Wrist injuries,
- Spinal cord and neck injuries,
- Hip fractures, and
- Chronic pain.
Of course, some injuries are more severe than others, and a single slip and fall can result in multiple injuries simultaneously. Many of these injuries require considerable medical care, even if it is not immediately apparent how much treatment will be needed. After a slip and fall, it is common to feel like you may have some bumps and bruises initially, but over time, the injuries manifest into much more severe conditions.
If you are an accident victim, seeking a slip and fall attorney in San Luis Obispo is imperative.
Slip and Fall Lawsuits
In a civil lawsuit, a slip and fall plaintiff has the burden of proof. In other words, as a fall victim, you must successfully prove four essential elements of the claim.
Defendant Owned the Property
First and foremost, as the plaintiff, you must prove the defendant owned, leased, operated, managed, lived on, or otherwise controlled the property where the slip and fall occurred.
Many people consider this the easy part, but ownership or control is only sometimes immediately apparent. It can take time and resources to identify the correct individual or entity.
This is where an experienced San Luis Obispo slip and fall attorney can play a vital role in a plaintiff’s success. Our lawyers will work diligently to identify the liable party by investigating ownership documentation, lease agreements, land titles, etc.
Defendant Owed a Duty of Care
After identifying the proper defendant, you must prove the defendant owed you a duty of care. The applicable duty of care is different for every plaintiff, and which standard applies to your case turns on the type of visitor you are.
The type of visitor you are can be classified into three categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. And property owners owe each a different duty of care.
Invitees: Invitees are owed the highest duty of care and are generally people expected to be—and wanted—on the property. For instance, a patron of a department store is considered an invitee.
Licensees: Licensees fall somewhere between an invitee and a trespasser because they are owed a higher duty of care than a trespasser but less than an invitee. Licensees are typically people who entered the property for a reason other than to transact business but are otherwise invited. For example, a dinner party guest at your house would be considered a licensee.
Trespassers: Finally, trespassers are owed the lowest duty of care. Usually, property owners need only to refrain from intentionally harming trespassers or acting grossly negligent toward them.
Defendant Breached that Duty of Care
If the plaintiff can establish the first two prongs, they must next show that the defendant breached that duty by failing to keep the property safe or maintain or repair defects.
Defendant’s Breach Caused the Injury
Last, if a plaintiff can prove the first three elements, they must show a causal connection between the defendant’s breach and their injury. In other words, the plaintiff must prove the defendant’s actions caused the accident and their subsequent injury. For example, if you are shopping at a department store and slip on a silk scarf left on the floor, then you may have a claim for damages. However, if you fall because another shopper tripped you, the department store may not be liable for your injuries.
Our experienced San Luis Obispo slip and fall lawyer can help you determine if you have a valid claim.
Slip and Fall Settlements
Many slip-and-fall cases settle outside of court and before a trial. Unsurprisingly, defendants and insurance companies will want to pay as little as possible toward your slip-and-fall claim and will often present a lowball offer early on. It is essential to speak with an attorney before accepting any settlement offer. The parties will consider many factors in determining a fair settlement, including:
- Present and future medical costs,
- The severity of your injuries,
- Lost wages,
- Pain and suffering,
- Insurance policy limits, and
- Applicable law.
A skilled slip and fall attorney in San Luis Obispo can negotiate the best settlement on your behalf. If the parties cannot agree, a judge or jury will consider these same factors when rendering an award.
What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?
In the moments following a slip and fall accident, you might be in shock, hurt, and confused. It is common to feel overwhelmed after being involved in a traumatic accident such as a slip and fall.
It can take time to figure out precisely what to do and how to proceed.
In addition to seeking legal advice, here are three simple steps to take if you are injured in a slip and fall accident.
Get Medical Attention
You should always seek medical attention after a slip and fall. Even if you do not initially feel hurt, injuries can be less obvious but still severe. Your injuries should be examined, documented, and treated in the emergency room or your primary care physician’s office.
Let the Property Owner or Manager Know
Always tell the property owner, manager, or someone in charge of the premises what occurred. This individual will differ depending on the circumstances and where the fall occurred. Sometimes it may be the property owner themselves, a tenant, a manager, or even an employee.
Document the Accident
If you can, document the accident scene, including taking note of any potential witnesses and video surveillance. Snap photos of the scene and jot down anything you can remember from right before the fall, during, and after.
San Luis Obispo Slip & Fall Lawyer
If you are the victim of a slip and fall, you should not have to bear the physical, emotional, or financial impact alone. Focus on your recovery, and let us do the rest. For over 32 years, Frederick Law Firm has been helping accident victims throughout the California central coast. We are not afraid to go to bat for you. Contact us to schedule a one-on-one consultation today.