What Are Common Causes Of Slip-And-Fall Accidents?
Research based on insurance industry claims reveals the major causes for the majority of slip-and-falls are:
- Slippery, wet or oily walking surfaces
- Debris and other obstructions in the walkway
- Uneven surfaces or steps
- Loose carpeting
- Poor lighting
- Lack of hazard warnings
- Lack of training
- Unusual features such as loud music or strobe lighting
As an example, a high-end restaurant can reasonably expect at least some of the women to wear high heels in their establishment, therefore should reasonably protect against impairments or obstacles, which could lead to a slip-and-fall. While these may be the larger issues, there are a wide variety of reasons people still slip and fall.
Who Is Responsible For My Slip-And-Fall Injuries?
In order to show your slip-and-fall was caused by a dangerous condition which existed on the property in question, the owner must have been aware of the dangerous condition. A reasonable person must not have been able to anticipate the condition which led to the slip-and-fall and had the responsibility to be alert to obvious hazards or notice signs of existing hazards. Therefore, it must be shown that:
- The owner or manager of the property in question was aware of the hazardous condition, yet failed to take the necessary actions to correct the condition
- The hazardous condition existed for enough time that a reasonable property owner should have discovered the hazard, making immediate corrections to the condition, or placing a warning sign to the public regarding the hazard.
Both the property owner and the person walking, have a degree of responsibility regarding any slip-and-fall accident. As an example, if there was a spill immediately prior to your fall, then the property owner might not be liable, as he or she might not have known about the spill in time to have it cleaned up before a customer slipped and fell.
If, on the other hand, a liquid was spilled, and store employees walked around the spillover a significant period of time, prior to your fall, then those employees knew, or should have known, that the spill was a hazard and should be cleaned up, or, at the very least, hazard signs posted.
If the owner of a property fails to install safety features, such as railings, negligence on the part of the owner may be apparent when a person slips and falls. This means the following factors will determine whether the owner was responsible for your injuries:
- Was the hazard which caused your slip and fall in evidence for a sufficient period of time that the owner was aware of the hazard — or should have been aware of the hazard?
- Does the owner of the property have a normal procedure for looking for hazards on the property and is there proof of that procedure?
- Did a legitimate reason exist for the hazard?
- Was there a way to increase the safety of the specific area where you fell?
- If your fall was caused by an object in your path, was that object normally in that position or could it have been placed in a safer area?
- Was a warning sign or barrier in place regarding a known hazard?
- If it can be shown you were careless, this will certainly play a part in determining the overall liability for your accident.
What Are The Statutes Of Limitations For Slip-And-Fall Accidents?
In California, victims of a slip-and-fall accident have two years from the time the accident occurs, to file a slip-and-fall claim. Minors who have suffered a slip-and-fall accident have two years from the time they turn 18 in which to file a claim.
If the injury occurred on government property, then your claim must be filed within six months from the time your slip and fall occurred. If your claim is denied by the government administrative board, you have two years from the time the accident occurred to file a civil claim. There are certain exceptions to the statute of limitations to this time limit due to:
- Your suffering did not manifest until the statute had run
- The slip-and-fall victim is physically or mentally incapacitated
What Damages Are Available For My Slip-And-Fall Accident Claim?
The damages you are able to collect in your slip-and-fall accident claim are dependent on the specific circumstances surrounding your accident, as well as the extent of your injuries. You may be entitled to one or more of the following:
- Lost wages — if your injuries were severe enough that you were unable to return to your regular job, you may be entitled to lost wages, both past, present, and future.
- Medical expenses — You may be entitled to medical expenses, including physical therapy, physician bills, prescription drugs, hospital bills and any other medical costs.
- Pain and suffering — You could be entitled to noneconomic damages related to the pain and suffering you have experienced as a direct result of your slip-and-fall.
What Should I Do Following My Slip-And-Fall Accident?
If you are able you should take photographs of the site of the accident which clearly shows the conditions which contributed to your fall. If you are unable to take photographs because of your injuries, see if you can have a friend or family member do it for you. If there were any witnesses to your slip-and-fall, get names and numbers if possible.
The photographs and witness contacts can be an invaluable resource for your personal injury attorney to build your case. An experienced attorney will have the necessary knowledge of California laws which pertain to your fall and will use their skills to help you recover an equitable settlement from the negligent party. Call the Law Offices of John Rapillo at 949-652-2604 today for a free consultation.