Slip & Fall and Premises Liability
Though most people don’t necessarily expect to slip and fall, trip and fall, or otherwise injure themselves while entering upon another’s property, accidents happen. Whether it is a slip and fall in a slick grocery store aisle, a tumble down a poorly lit stairwell, trip on an object or mishap at a local pool, these accidents can come with serious injuries for anyone involved. They also raise complicated legal questions about who may be responsible. At Banafshe Law Firm, a Los Angeles premises liability lawyer is always available to represent people who have been injured in a wide range of accidents.
We combine decades of legal experience handling these cases to help clients get the compensation they deserve. Each premises liability lawyer also works diligently to ensure that those responsible for the unsafe conditions that caused the accident are made fully accountable. We have recovered millions of dollars for slip and fall victims.
We understand the pain and stress that can come with being injured in an accident, especially when it happens through no fault of your own. Premises liability is a form of personal injury law, and our personal injury attorneys fight for the people that we represent in the courtroom and at the bargaining table so that clients can focus on their physical recovery.
Premises liability generally refers to a legal theory that holds property owners responsible for a wide range of accidents. It is a form of negligence that is based on a “duty of care” that property owners owe to most people who step foot on the premises.
Property owners are generally required to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. That means clearing clutter from convenience store aisles, drying wet or slippery walking surfaces and addressing other property defects that may pose a safety hazard. Owners are also required to alert people to any hazards that the owner knows about or should know about through reasonable inspection.
A property owner that does not live up to these obligations is likely to be considered negligent and responsible for any accidents that happen as a result. An injured person seeking compensation based on premises liability has to prove not only that the owner was negligent, but also that this negligence directly caused the person to be injured.
Premises liability covers a broad range of disputes, including:
Each dispute can play out differently in the litigation context. For example, a slip and fall accident in the parking lot of a supermarket must be litigated differently than a third-party assault that occurs in the same parking lot (due to inadequate security).
Slips and falls are a common type of accident in which, as the name suggests, a person slips, trips, tumbles or otherwise falls to the ground and is injured. They happen in a variety of settings, including:
These accidents can be caused by a number of factors, including wet floors, cluttered aisles, poor lighting, rickety handrails, icy surfaces and damaged walkways. They can cause a number of injuries, such as:
Anyone who is injured in a slip and fall should seek medical attention, even if the injury appears to be relatively minor. The full impact of an accident may not be entirely clear in the immediate aftermath. It is also important to consult an experienced Los Angeles premises liability lawyer to consider your rights and options.
In California, plaintiffs in premises liability disputes can be precluded from recovery in situations where the dangerous condition at-issue (that caused them to sustain injuries) was “open and obvious” at the time of the accident.
Suppose that you are injured while walking through an aisle in the defendant’s grocery store. As it turns out, the aisle was covered in a bright red liquid spill. You chose to walk over the spill anyways, however, and thereby slipped and fell, resulting in the injuries at-issue.
Under these circumstances, it seems clear that the hazard (e.g. the liquid spill) was open and obvious at the time of the accident. You either knew of the spill hazard or reasonably should have known. As such, you would not have a right of action against the defendant store owner for damages.
If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident, you might be wondering what steps you should take in seeking compensation for your pain and suffering, medical care, etc. While the legal process can be a bit daunting, taking the right actions following the accident can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. With that in mind, here are the basic steps you should take if you have been (or ever become) injured in a slip and fall accident.
#1 – Inform the property owner or manager.
It is always a good idea to have a formal record of the incident, even if you don't think your injury is serious. The details of the accident should be documented, and you should review what is written down before you agree to the details in the accident report.
If a formal accident report is not generated, send a notarized letter to the property owner outlining the details of the accident as well as any other relevant details regarding necessary medical care or treatment that results from your injury. Keep a copy of this letter for your personal records.
#2 – Be seen by a medical professional immediately.
Even if you feel fine and don't think you were badly hurt, it is imperative that you see your doctor or visit the ER to be thoroughly checked out. Do not decline any test, procedure, or therapy. Request and retain copies of all relevant paperwork. If you send a notarized letter to the property owner, include copies of all medical documents with it.
#3 – Decline any offer of settlement provided by the property owner's insurance carrier.
Insurance companies operate in their own and their clients' best interests, not yours. In most cases, insurance settlements do not provide adequate or reasonable compensation. Lump sum settlements do not take into account things like long-term treatment or care, loss of wages over time, or other financial hardships your injury could cause.
Even if the insurance agent tells you that you won't get a better deal going through a lawyer, don't be fooled. It is important that you know your rights and understand the terms of any settlement to which you agree. That leads to our last and most important bit of advice...
#4 – Contact a personal injury attorney immediately.
You owe it to yourself to understand your rights as an injured person. An insurance agent will only give you half the story. A seasoned personal injury or premises liability attorney can explain all of your legal rights and work with the insurance company to get you the settlement you deserve, not the one they want to give you.
The monetary damages available in premises liability cases are intended to put an injured person back in the same place they would have been in had the accident not happened.
Damages include compensation for medical expenses (past and future), property losses, wage loss, and loss of earning capacity, as well as more subjective losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In the tragic situation in which a person is killed in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, their loved ones have the right to seek compensation for wrongful death. A Los Angeles premises liability lawyer can assist a surviving spouse, domestic partner, minor children and other heirs can essentially sue on behalf of their loved one.
At Banafshe Law Firm, our Los Angeles premises liability attorneys take a personalized approach to representing clients. We take the time to understand what happened and how we can help you. Our personal injury lawyers have had significant success in the courtroom and at the negotiating table for the people that we represent.
We are pleased to offer free initial consultations from our office in Beverly Hills. Our lawyers will review your case with you and let you know what you are likely to receive in money damages. Contact us to make an appointment by calling 310-273-7300 or requesting a consultation online.