A “slip and fall” may sound like a minor accident, but the reality is that these incidents can easily cause devastating injuries. Slip and fall accidents can happen with little to no warning and cause significant losses to the victim and their family. If you or a loved one recently suffered a slip and fall injury on someone else’s property, you may have grounds for a civil claim against the property owner.
Legal Representation for San Diego Slip and Fall Accidents
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates have extensive experience representing San Diego, CA clients in a wide range of personal injury claims, including claims pertaining to slip and fall injuries. Our team can review the details of your recent slip and fall accident, help you determine whether the property owner is liable for your damages, and assist in calculating the full scope of your claimable damages.
Why Should I Hire a San Diego Slip and Fall Attorney?
It’s natural to wonder why you can’t simply file a personal injury claim without the help of an attorney, especially when fault for the incident seems readily apparent. California’s civil court system is quite demanding when it comes to the procedural requirements for a personal injury claim. The average person with no legal training is likely to make significant mistakes with the preliminary stages of their claim, potentially jeopardizing their ability to recover compensation for their losses.
An injured slip and fall accident victim would not only need to meet the demanding requirements of the civil court system but also manage the effects of their injury. If you are concerned about the potential cost of your legal representation, it is important to remember that you stand to lose much more than your legal fees would cost if you attempted to handle your claim alone. Working with an experienced San Diego slip and fall lawyer can significantly increase your chance of succeeding with your claim, and your legal team will likely secure far more compensation for your damages than you could have obtained by yourself.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability claims pertain to the legal obligations of property owners to prevent any foreseeable injuries of lawful visitors to their properties. A property owner owes a duty of care to guests they expressly invite to their properties for the property owner’s purposes, as well as licensees who have implied permission to enter their properties for their own purposes.
Property owners are expected to maintain their properties appropriately and address known safety issues in a timely manner. If a property owner discovers any safety hazard that could foreseeably cause an injury to a lawful guest or visitor, the property owner has a responsibility to fix the problem or, at the very least, warn lawful visitors of the problem if they are likely to encounter it while on the property. Many premises liability claims pertain to safety hazards such as:
- Broken staircases.
- Uncleared ice and snow.
- Areas prone to flooding in heavy rain.
- Damaged lights, causing poor visibility.
- Damaged floors, rugs, and carpets that present tripping hazards.
- Ditches, divots, and holes in the ground that are difficult to see.
- Exposed wiring.
- Toxic substances and carbon monoxide leaks.
Whenever a property owner discovers a safety hazard on their property, they must address it immediately. Appropriate action may include fixing the problem immediately, posting a warning sign that is clearly visible, or otherwise marking the hazard, so lawful visitors are unlikely to sustain injuries from it. It is important to note, however, that a property owner does not owe any duty of care to a trespasser or intruder. If someone enters private property illegally and sustains a slip and fall injury, the property owner is not liable for their damages.
California’s Pure Comparative Negligence Law
Premises liability claims revolve around property owners’ negligence. However, it is possible for a property owner to attempt to deflect liability for a plaintiff’s damages by asserting comparative negligence. California upholds a pure comparative negligence statute, which means that a plaintiff could lose a percentage of their compensation to reflect their partial responsibility. Unlike many other states, there is no threshold of fault that would prohibit a plaintiff from recovering compensation. A plaintiff could be 99% at fault and still be technically allowed to recover 1% of their damages.
If the defendant in your claim asserts comparative negligence, your San Diego slip and fall lawyer can help you leverage available evidence that minimizes your comparative negligence and preserves your overall recovery. If you are found partially liable for your slip and fall accident, you lose a percentage of your case award equal to the fault percentage assigned by the judge. For example, if you claim $300,000 in damages and the judge determines you are 10% at fault, you lose 10% of your case award for a net award of $270,000 instead. Depending on your level of comparative negligence, you could lose a significant portion of your case award or even become vulnerable to a counterclaim from the defendant.
Damages and Compensation in Your Slip and Fall Injury Claim
A “slip and fall” may sound minor, but the reality is these incidents often cause life-changing injuries, some of which can cause permanent damage or even death. A few of the most commonly reported types of slip and fall injuries in San Diego, CA include:
- Traumatic brain injuries. If a victim falls and hits their head, they may suffer a concussion, skull fracture, or a combination of head injuries that cause permanent damage.
- Spinal injuries. The human spinal cord cannot repair itself like the rest of the body, so spinal injuries are permanent and often entail devastating effects. Paralysis and loss of motor control or sensation are just a few possible effects a spinal injury might have.
- Internal organ injuries. A slip and fall can easily cause damage to the internal organs of the body, potentially resulting in internal bleeding and severe medical complications from disrupted organ functions.
- Bone fractures. Broken bones are some of the most common slip and fall injuries. These injuries may heal with appropriate treatment and rest, but some bone fractures are severe enough to require surgical correction and may cause permanent complications, like chronic pain and nerve damage.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the injuries a person might suffer from a slip and fall accident. These injuries can easily require extensive, immediate medical treatment and pose various long-term medical complications to the victim. These medical expenses—combined with the inability to work—can generate substantial economic strain on the victim and their family. If you have suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, it is vital to connect with a San Diego slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options for legal recourse against the property owner.
Fall Accident Injuries FAQ
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates have successfully represented many San Diego residents f in a wide range of premises liability claims. It’s understandable to feel uncertain and have many concerns about the difficult legal proceedings you face if you intend to file a personal injury claim against a negligent property owner. The following are some of the most common questions we hear from prospective clients regarding their legal rights following slip and fall accidents in San Diego.
Q: Do I Really Need a Lawyer for a Slip and Fall Injury Claim?
A: It’s natural to wonder whether you really need to hire a lawyer to help you with a slip and fall accident claim, especially if the property owner appears to be completely responsible for your damages. Ultimately, hiring an attorney makes your entire recovery process much easier. You will not only be more likely to succeed with your claim but will also secure more compensation than you could have won on your own.
Q: How Much Is My Slip and Fall Injury Claim Worth?
A: Every slip and fall injury claim is unique. Your San Diego slip and fall attorney can help you calculate the full scope of your claimable damages, which are likely to include both short and long-term damages. Many claimants are surprised to discover the full values of their claims once they have fall accident lawyers assisting them.
Q: How Long Will My Case Take?
A: Swift settlement is beneficial to both plaintiffs and defendants in slip and fall accident claims. Your case may only take a few weeks to reach a conclusion, but it is also possible for more complex claims to take several months or even more than a year to conclude. Once you hire a San Diego slip and fall attorney, they can provide you with a reasonable estimate of the timeline your case is likely to entail.
Q: What Happens If My Slip and Fall Occurred on Government Property?
A: Filing an injury claim against the government is very different from filing a claim against a private entity. Most government entities have sovereign immunity that insulates them from claims for civil damages. However, you may still have grounds for a claim if you can prove that your slip and fall accident occurred because of the negligence of a government employee. You face stricter filing requirements and a shorter deadline, so it’s crucial to consult a San Diego slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible whenever filing a claim against a government employee or agency.
Talk to Experienced San Diego Injury Lawyers About Your Case
You probably have many more questions specific to your recent slip and fall injury. Luckily, San Diego slip and fall injury attorney Kenneth M. Sigelman understands the difficulty of your situation. Dr. Sigelman and his team can provide the guidance and support you need to navigate your case successfully. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and learn how our firm can assist with your recovery.