If possible, document the accident immediately afterward. If you are on your way to the hospital, ask a friend or your attorney to take care of this step. The documentation should include:
- A detailed account of the incident, including location specifics and any mitigating factors such as stormy weather or a power outage
- Photos of the scene
- The names and contact information from witnesses to the accident and accounts of what they saw
Keep in mind that you or your representative should remain impartial and not infer or accept blame for what occurred. Do not confront the manager or property owner with accusations. Your slip and fall lawyers will handle all that later in a professional fashion. Above all, do not accept an initial offer from the liable parties or their insurance company. Speak with your personal injury attorney first.
If you have not already done so, get in touch with a law firm that specializes in accident liability to find out what your options are. Because there is no charge for your initial consultation, you have nothing to lose, and you may find out that you are legally entitled to financial compensation for your losses.
Statistics, Causes, and Facts
The statistics show that slip and fall injuries are no laughing matter. On the positive side, only one in five falls results in a serious injury. On the other hand, slipping and falling generate more than 8 million emergency room visits annually, accounting for more than 20 percent of all ER visits. Slip and fall accidents are problematic in the workplace, in public places like shopping malls and at private residences alike. Some of the recent statistics about this type of accident tell a dramatic tale:
- Most traumatic brain injuries are the result of falling.
- More than 800,000 adults over age 65 are hospitalized each year for injuries from falls, primarily hip fractures or head injuries.
- On average, a typical serious fall injury costs $30,000 or more.
- Five percent of slip and fall accidents cause broken bones.
- Falls account for the majority of time lost from work due to accidents.
- With each decade, a person’s risk of slip and fall injuries rises.
- Most slip and fall accidents occur on a single level rather than from an elevation.
People over the age of 65 are at higher risk for slipping and falling than younger individuals. In addition to age as a risk factor, other conditions that heighten your risk of this type of accident include:
- Weakness in the legs
- Balance problems
- Poor vision
- Deficiency of vitamin D
- Inappropriate or painful shoes
- Use of some prescription medications
If any of these conditions are apparent, they may provide the liable party’s attorneys with an opportunity to try and reduce their client’s legal responsibility for your accident. However, by taking proactive steps to mitigate your risk of a slip and fall, you put yourself in a stronger position, both physically and legally, should an accident occur. For example, staying fit through physical training helps with your lower body strength. You can improve and maintain your balance through activities such as yoga and Tai Chi. If you have poor vision, be sure to wear corrective lenses whenever you leave home.
Depending on when, where and how it happens, a slip and fall can result in a number of different injuries, ranging from mild to severe. You could sustain any one of the following or a combination of two or more from an accidental fall:
- Soft tissue injuries, such as muscle strain, a torn ligament or a sprained wrist
- Head injuries, from mild concussions that heal quickly to TBIs that may cause permanent disability
- Skin injuries, including cuts, scrapes or chemical burns
- Spinal cord injuries that could result in chronic pain, partial paralysis or full paralysis
- Bone fractures
Why Hire an Attorney? – Proving Liability
You must prove that your accident was the result of someone else’s negligence or intent to be legally eligible for compensation. In a personal injury case, you will likely be up against a team of attorneys representing the other party, and eventually, you may find yourself in court. Unless you are an expert in such cases, you need the help of experienced slip and fall lawyers to obtain the full damage award you are entitled to by law.
The first opponents you will face are out to save their clients as much money as possible. Insurance adjusters have a wealth of experience doing just that, and chances are very good that their first offer will be insufficient to cover your current and future injury-associated expenses. You need a strong legal advocate whose negotiating skills are equal to the task.
A liability case hinges on somebody’s negligence or intent. Sometimes, the circumstances surrounding an identical incident determine whether you are entitled to compensation. For example, if you drop a jar of pickles in a grocery store aisle and immediately slip on the liquid, your accident is due to no one’s negligence but your own. However, if you slip on a spill that happened earlier and nobody has cleaned up, the store’s management has been negligent and is likely liable for your accident.
Once you and your attorney have established negligence, you must provide evidence that validates such damages as:
- Medical bills
- Time lost from work
- Physical therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability, if applicable
- Loss of future earnings
For each item, you need documentation such as bills, receipts, tax returns and medical records from your doctor. Your personal injury lawyer has the necessary experience to calculate your current and future losses and prove your legal entitlement to compensation. Although part of your ultimate settlement will go to your slip and fall lawyers as payment for services rendered, most people find that it is well worth the cost to obtain the full compensation they are entitled to.
The Help You Need in California
If you suffer a slip and fall accident in California, Rizio Liberty Lipinsky can help. We specialize in personal injury cases and pride ourselves on getting our clients full compensation for accidents caused by someone else. We understand what you are dealing with in the aftermath of an injury accident, and we offer compassionate representation with your best interests at heart. Get in touch today by calling 1-888-292-8888 or submitting our contact form, and schedule your free initial consultation.