Los Angeles Slip and Fall Lawyers
Slip and fall accidents occur every day in Los Angeles. The Insurance Information Institute, quoted in The Los Angeles Times, states there are nearly 3 million falls each year. Besides causing 14,000 fatalities, slips and falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in this country.
Serious slip and fall accidents occur in malls, grocery stores, private homes, sports arenas, colleges, gas stations, office buildings, hotels, parking garages, swimming pool areas, and potentially anywhere people go. When a property owner’s negligence causes the fall, the injured party may be entitled to hold the owner responsible for accident-related damages.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident in Southern California, our personal injury attorneys at Salamati Law are here to help. We take each case seriously and focus on positioning each claim for maximum compensation.
Slip and Fall Accident Information
Slip and fall injuries occur because of negligence– and in a variety of circumstances. Read more about our expertise in slip and fall accidents in Los Angeles:
- Stairwells and stairways
- Parking lots
- Nursing homes
- Wet surfaces
- Apartment buildings
- Shopping malls & stores
- Office buildings
- Government and city property
- Amusement parks
- Job sites
- Senior citizens
- Stadiums and convention centers
A slip and fall accident location can raise special questions of liability and how a claim must proceed. Our attorneys have a breadth of experience litigating serious fall injuries, including those involving the types of cases below.
When an injury occurs in a common area– such as the hallway or stairs–the landlord, property manager, or building owner may be legally responsible for any resulting injuries. Regardless of whether the victim was a resident of the complex, they must establish negligence to win a case. Proving negligence often means showing a defective or dangerous condition, such as a broken stair tread, that the owner or property manager knew about– but failed to address.
Shopping malls and stores
Liability for poor maintenance may fall on several parties depending on where and how the accident happened. Malfunctioning escalators, spilled food or liquids, poor lighting, and uneven floors are just some of the risks consumers face in indoor and outdoor shopping centers. Besides property owners and occupiers, potentially at-fault parties can include management or third-party contractors who failed to repair hazardous conditions, place warning signs where needed, or generally ensure the premises were safe for visitors.
Nursing home falls claim thousands of lives each year and leave hundreds more with serious and life-threatening injuries. Many factors– including decreased mobility and balance problems– can make the elderly more prone to such accidents. However, nursing home owners and staff have a responsibility to keep the residents safe. The facility may be liable for falls caused by employee negligence, poorly trained workers, or understaffing.
Falls in private and commercial office buildings can injure temporary staffers, visitors, and regular employees. Slick bathroom floors, broken tiles, slippery stairs, uneven pavement in parking lots, and other dangerous obstacles are preventable hazards. All of the above can lead to falls resulting in broken bones, torn ligaments, sprains, lacerations, and even traumatic brain injury. Falls that occur in staircases may raise questions about whether that area of the building meets the local building code. Technical issues like this may require the help of expert witnesses to prove your case– your Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer will coordinate with any necessary experts.
Parking lot falls make up a significant portion of California premises liability claims. A property owner or manager may be liable for slip and fall accidents caused by hazards such as potholes, inadequate lighting, broken gratings, missing paver stones, debris, and irregular surfaces (sand, gravel, or mulch). Those in control of the lot have a duty to promptly repair hazards, perform regular inspections and maintenance, or post warning signs or barriers as needed. They may be responsible for damages that result when they fail to do so.
Government and city property
The state, county, cities, and public institutions like schools and agencies are often responsible for areas where slips and falls may occur. If you are injured in a fall on a sidewalk, in a government building, or somewhere else that is public property– because the entity in charge did not keep the premises safe– you have a right to sue for damages.
However, California – like all states—has strict deadlines for filing a notice and claim against a government entity. There may also be limits on the amount of compensation allowed in such injury claims. To meet California’s notification requirements, speak to an attorney as soon as possible after your fall.
Premises liability law
Slip, trip, and fall accidents are in a category of negligence law known as premises liability. Under this theory, property owners are responsible for maintaining their premises safely. The Insurance Information Institute recommends that all property owners take steps to minimize their risk of being sued for slip and fall accidents, including addressing the common causes of slip and fall accidents:
- Ensuring all hallways, stairwells, parking lots, and service areas are well-lit
- Clearly marking, lighting, and removing obstacles from exits
- Building stair treads of uniform height and width with handrails, steps, and landings in good condition
- Keeping neat storage areas
- Laying down smooth and tight carpeting
- Clearly marking any changes in floor level and keeping walkways in good condition
- Addressing all spills immediately
- Cleaning and flattening slip-resistant doormats, especially in bad weather
- Repairing potholes, cracks, and uneven surfaces in parking lots
- Removing snow and ice from parking lots
- Adequately lighting outdoor areas
Determining liability in trip, slip, and fall accidents
An injured plaintiff has the burden of proving fault in a slip and fall lawsuit. This requires proving that the owner or occupier was negligent.
Elements of Negligence
There are five elements of negligence that the plaintiff must prove to win a lawsuit:
- Duty – The injured plaintiff must be within a category of people to whom the defendant property owner or manager owed a duty of care. In California, this duty extends to anyone legally on the premises, such as guests, patrons, or customers.
Many states limit the duty that a property owner owes toward a trespasser– but California is different. The duty of care may or may not extend to trespassers or those who are unlawfully on the property, depending on the circumstances.
Determining whether a defendant owed a duty to a trespasser requires a fact-specific legal analysis, so it is best to speak with an experienced slip and fall law firm if you are involved in this situation.
- Breach of Duty – A property owner can be shown to have breached a duty toward the plaintiff if they did not act as a reasonable party would under similar circumstances. Some relevant considerations include the property’s location and the likelihood that someone would enter it the way the plaintiff. Other factors include: did the owner know or should have known of the dangerous condition; how much control did the owner have over the situation that created the risk, and how likely was it that an injury would occur? Finally, what is the burden that reducing or eliminating the risk would have imposed?
- Proximate Cause –A defendant is only liable for harms they could have reasonably foreseen through their own actions. California courts impose a “substantial factor” test. This means that the action was not only a cause-in-fact (the accident would not have happened if not for the defendant’s act) and that a reasonable person would see a logical relation between the act and the injury as a consequence.
- Damages – The plaintiff suffered a physical injury that resulted in actual monetary damages.
It is important to speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. The quicker you act, the more likely you will be able to preserve evidence that establishes the elements of negligence in a slip and fall accident.
Defenses to a California slip and fall claim
Defendants– and the insurance companies paying their claims– often raise defenses to slip and fall claims. Property owners and other defendants often argue that the plaintiff was a trespasser, that the owner did not know about the dangerous condition, or that the plaintiff was partly to blame for the fall. Experienced slip and fall lawyers expect to respond to these types of defenses and are prepared to address them.
It is important to know that even if your carelessness was partly to blame, you might still be entitled to slip and fall compensation. However, the amount that you could receive as compensation would be reduced in proportion to your fault. For instance, if your damages total $100,000 and a jury finds that you bore 20% of the fault, it would be reduced to $80,000.
Most lawsuits are settled before trial, so negotiations with the insurance company will determine your compensation. Therefore, it is crucial to choose an experienced lawyer who can advocate for your best outcome.
California Slip and Fall Statute of Limitations
If you are considering a lawsuit following a slip and fall accident in California, there is a legal deadline known as the statute of limitations. If you miss it, your case for compensation will come to a disappointing end. Most of the time, you have two years to file your lawsuit. This two-year window begins on the day of your accident. If you file your case after the deadline expires, the court will likely dismiss your case with prejudice.
There are exceptions to this general rule. In some cases, you might have more than two years to file a lawsuit. For example, minors typically have more time to pursue legal action than adults. The statute of limitations generally does not begin to toll until an injured person reaches the age of 18.
In addition, some exceptions could decrease the time you have to file a lawsuit. These involve slip and fall accidents that occur on public property. If you fall and suffer an injury on government property, the amount of time you have to pursue legal action could be as little as 120 days.
Do not put your financial recovery at risk. When you hire experienced legal counsel, they will ensure your lawsuit complies with all requisite deadlines. Moreover, the sooner you speak to a lawyer about your case, the more likely you are to avoid the consequences of violating the statute of limitations.
Slip and fall accidents can lead to serious injuries
It is essential that you see a doctor after your slip and fall accident as soon as possible after an accident that may have caused an injury. What seems like a minor bump on the head may be a concussion that can become much more serious without medical intervention. An apparent sprain may be a broken bone that will worsen if you delay care. Slips and falls cause many minor injuries, but they also cause serious injuries and even death. Some of the injuries we have seen include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Hip fractures
- Skull fractures
- Ankle fractures
- Wrist fractures
- Other serious injuries
In addition to improving your prognosis, seeing a medical professional as soon as possible after suffering a fall-related injury adds credibility to your claim. Having early documentation of it helps validate your injury and damages to the insurance adjusters and jury.
Compensation available in slip & fall cases
A skilled trip and fall attorney will fight for full compensation for your losses, both economic and non-economic. Future damages can also be included but they must be shown with some degree of certainty. It is important to include anticipated damages before your case settles or goes to trial. Once the case is over, it is almost impossible to revisit the claim and increase compensation.
Economic Damages may include:
- Medical expenses, both past, and future
- Loss of income
- Home modifications to account for disability
- Lost earning capacity, including the financial effect of lost promotions or the cumulative effect of lost raises while recovering from the injury
- Psychological suffering
- Funeral expenses
- Punitive damages
Take Action As Soon As Possible
If you were injured on someone else’s property, find your next steps in our guide: What To Do After a Slip and Fall Accident. Acting as soon as possible can protect your claim and increase your chances of recovering full and fair compensation.
Call Salamati Law for a Free, No-Obligation Consultation Today.
Experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorneys will review your case for free, but it is important that you start the process soon. The statute of limitations for a slip and fall lawsuit may sneak up on you more quickly than you expect.
We serve all of California, providing aggressive representation to get you maximum compensation for your slip and fall injuries. Se Habla Español.
- Justia, Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2020 edition) CACI No. 1001. Basic Duty of Care, https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/1000/1001/