Were you hurt in a slip and fall on someone else’s property? If so, they could owe you compensation for the harm they caused you — and the legal team with The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP is here to help you demand it.
According to the National Safety Council, falls are by far the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in the United States today, sending millions of people to emergency rooms annually. These accidents can lead to painful, even life-changing injuries like broken bones, severe sprains and strains, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord damage. What’s worse, they are entirely preventable, often the result of property owners who carelessly let their premises fall into disrepair or fail to keep them clean and tidy.
Our personal injury lawyers have decades of experience getting injured Californians the money they need for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While you focus on resting and recovering, we can handle all the legal work of your case, aggressively pursuing the accountability and justice you deserve.
Call our law firm today or fill out our contact form for a free consultation with a Bakersfield slip and fall accident lawyer. Hablamos español.
What to Do if You’ve Been Hurt in a Fall on Someone Else’s Property
If you slipped and fell on someone else’s property, taking the following steps can help you as you pursue the compensation you could be owed:
- Report the Accident – If you’re able to, talk to the property owner or manager before you leave the scene and ask them to file a written accident report. Ask for a copy and write down your own account of the incident while your memory is still fresh.
- Seek Medical Treatment Promptly – If you haven’t already, see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you don’t feel hurt. First and foremost, you may have internal injuries that require immediate treatment. Second, seeking medical attention shows the insurance companies that you took your injuries seriously, which can help when you file a slip-and-fall claim.
- Save All Your Medical Records and Receipts – These documents are essential evidence in a slip and fall claim, as they demonstrate the extent of your injuries and their financial impact. Store these records in a safe, secure place for later use.
- Avoid Giving Statements to Insurance Companies – If the insurance provider of the property owner contacts you, it may seem like they are checking on you or asking for a statement for their records. However, it is important to be careful with your words and not agree to a recorded statement without speaking to an attorney first. Additionally, if the adjuster offers you a settlement, it is best to decline politely. The initial offer from an insurance company is often lower than the fair value of a claim, so it is best to keep the conversation brief and avoid any statements that might imply fault on your part for the accident.
- Stay Off Social Media – It’s understandable to want to share what happened to you after an accident with family and friends. Still, anything you say online could be used against you later, and a seemingly innocuous comment or photo could disrupt your case. Your best option is to stay off social media until your case ends.
- Talk to a Lawyer – The person who owns or manages the property where you fell could owe you money for the harm they caused you. But pursuing your claim could prove challenging on your own, especially if the at-fault parties or their insurers dispute liability. Our Bakersfield slip and fall attorneys serve as valuable assets during this difficult time. They will conduct an investigation of the accident, collect evidence to strengthen your case, and recover the financial compensation for your losses.
Who Might Be Liable in a Slip and Fall Accident?
According to the California Civil Code, property owners are responsible for any injuries a visitor might suffer due to the owner’s neglect or failure to exercise “ordinary care or skill” in property maintenance. Property owners are expected to adhere to prudent measures, maintaining their premises satisfactorily and safeguarding visitors against any foreseeable hazards.
However, liability may shift when an individual or entity other than the property owner possesses or oversees the property. In such instances, the possessor or manager might be held accountable for any injuries incurred by a visitor. For example, a shopkeeper who rents their business space from a real estate investor would typically bear responsibility for ensuring the general cleanliness and specific aspects of maintenance. If an accident occurs because the shopkeeper failed to clean up a spill, they would likely shoulder the liability for your injuries rather than the property owner.
It is worth noting that more than demonstrating the responsibility of a property owner to maintain safe conditions is required to secure compensation. You must also substantively illustrate their dereliction of duty, such as their failure to repair a faulty railing or clean up a spill on the floor that they could reasonably be expected to be aware of.
Our slip and fall accident lawyer in Bakersfield can gather evidence to argue that you were not to blame for your injuries and maximize your potential compensation.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Some common hazards that can cause a slip and fall or trip and fall accident include:
- Unsafe Walking Surfaces – These could be freshly mopped floors, uneven sidewalks, or cracked pavements without proper warning signs.
- Unattended Spills – Any liquid or slippery substance that isn’t promptly cleaned up can cause a dangerous loss of traction.
- Poor Lighting – Insufficient light in staircases, parking lots, or other walkways can make it challenging to spot potential hazards.
- Cluttered Floors and Walkways – Obstacles like boxes, wires, or debris left in walkways can pose a significant tripping hazard.
- Adverse Weather Conditions – Rain, ice, or snow can make outdoor paths and walkways dangerously slick, increasing the risk of a fall.
- Worn or Torn Carpeting – Carpets can fray, tear, or develop wrinkles over time. These conditions can create unexpected tripping hazards, particularly in businesses with a lot of foot traffic.
- Loose or Broken Floorboards – In older buildings, floorboards can become loose or break, leading to uneven walking surfaces and increasing the likelihood of a fall.
- Improperly Constructed Staircases – Staircases with worn or broken handrails or stairs of irregular heights or depths can make it hard to find one’s footing, increasing the chances of a dangerous misstep.
- Open Drawers and Cabinet Doors – Open file cabinet drawers or doors left ajar in offices can present serious tripping hazards.
- Improper Use of Floor Mats and Runners – Floor mats and runners curling at the edges, sliding, or getting bunched up can cause a fall.
- Construction and Renovation Sites – These work sites often have tools, materials, and debris scattered around, creating dangerous walking conditions.
- Escalators and Elevators – Uneven steps and unsafe gaps can cause someone stepping onto or off an elevator or escalator to lose their footing and trip.
Common Places Where Slip and Falls Occur
While slip and fall can occur almost anywhere, these are some of the most common places where these accidents happen:
- Grocery stores and supermarkets
- Retail stores
- Restaurants, bars, and nightclubs
- Public sidewalks and streets
- Parking lots and garages
- Residential properties
- Hospitals and nursing homes
- Schools and universities
- Construction sites
Types of Compensation for a Slip and Fall Injury in Bakersfield
An attorney will need to investigate your claim before they can estimate how much it might be worth. That said, you could be entitled to money for the following losses:
- Medical expenses related to the accident, including the cost of future care.
- Any lost income or reduction in your future earnings caused by your injuries.
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional and psychological distress.
- Diminished quality of life due to a long-term injury or disability.
What Is the Timeline for a California Slip and Fall Accident Lawsuit?
It’s difficult to say how long a particular slip and fall accident case might take because each one is unique. In general, though, slip and fall claims take a few months to resolve. One that goes to trial will take much longer than one that settles outside of court, sometimes a year or more.
You should also know that California gives you two years from the date of a slip and fall accident to file your lawsuit. If you file after this deadline, the court could dismiss your case as untimely, costing you your shot at compensation.
How Can a Bakersfield Slip and Fall Lawyer Help Me?
Handling a slip and fall case yourself is risky, especially if you’re still recovering from your injuries. Instead, turn to a Bakersfield slip and fall accident lawyer, who can help you by:
- Explaining the claims process and answering your questions during a free consultation.
- Independently investigating the incident to determine all potentially liable parties and applicable insurance policies.
- Gathering your medical records and other evidence to substantiate your claim.
- Taking care of all the paperwork, motions, and other legal procedures related to your claim and filing it on time in the proper court.
- Negotiating for a settlement that adequately compensates you for all the harm you suffered from the accident.
- Representing you in court if going to trial is the best way to pursue the money you’re owed.
The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP provides legal representation for your case without any upfront fees. You will only have to pay us if we successfully recover the compensation you deserve. This ensures you receive excellent, caring representation without financial burden during this challenging time.