Slip and Fall Accident Attorneys in Long Beach
Wet floors, poor lighting, potholes, and damaged stairs are just a few of the conditions that can easily lead to slipping, tripping, or falling and suffering a devastating injury. Even in a best-case scenario, a slip and fall can take you out of the workplace for weeks or months while putting you through intense pain and trauma. In more severe cases, these injuries can significantly impact your ability to function for the rest of your life.
However, laws exist in California to protect victims of slips and falls, and you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries and related damages. If a negligent property owner caused you to suffer a slip and fall injury, then you should not hesitate to contact a Long Beach slip and fall accident attorney at The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV. Our lead attorney has extensive experience in achieving sizable settlements for California accident victims and is not afraid to take a case to trial. Call us at (562) 901-0840 or toll-free at (888) 454-5569 to learn about your legal rights after a slip and fall accident.
When someone envisions a slip and fall, they often think of a light stumble on an overturned carpet or crooked step, but accident victims know first-hand that these incidents can be far more damaging. While minor cases can end in strains and sprains, a fall down a flight of stairs or on hard concrete can lead to serious injuries.
While there are many types of injuries people sustain during a slip and fall, some of the most common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage and paralysis
- Broken bones
- Shoulder injuries
- Contusions and lacerations
- Hip fractures
Slip and fall injuries cannot simply be walked offed and often lead to extensive medical treatment for victims. If you live paycheck to paycheck in California, you may find it difficult to keep up with your daily job while dealing with an injury, especially if you require surgery and physical therapy. That is why it is important to investigate your case and determine what caused your injuries, so that you can prepare a personal injury claim.
Slip and fall accidents fall under the legal field of premises liability, which refers to accidents and injuries caused by negligent property owners. Guests, visitors, and tenants all expect a property owner to make sure their business is free of safety hazards and, if they identify one, they must fix it in a timely manner. Otherwise, the owner can be held liable for any injuries that occur on their property as a result of the hazard.
When reviewing a slip and fall case, it is important to note where and how an accident occurred. Some of the common hazards that cause a person to slip and fall include:
- Uneven sidewalks
- Broken steps or handrails
- Slippery floors
- Merchandise on the floor
- Inadequate lighting
- Improperly installed carpet
- Lack of warning signs
In each case, you must understand that property owners and occupiers have a legal responsibility to provide a reasonably safe environment—and these conditions are a violation of that responsibility.
Some slip and falls result in short-lived embarrassment and a bruised ego, but in some cases, a slip and fall leads to serious or fatal injuries. A wet floor in a commercial or public building puts visitors and guests at risk of injury. Any establishment that fails to clearly warn visitors of an area that is wet or slippery, has an uneven walking surface, or other problem, can be dangerous.
A fall can cause soft tissue injuries like severe sprains and torn ligaments, fractures and broken bones, spinal cord, or brain injuries. Medical bills can skyrocket. A California personal injury attorney will fight to recover full and fair compensation for serious slip and fall injuries.
Personal injury claims and lawsuits hinge on the legal concept of negligence. To establish negligence, evidence must be presented to prove:
- The property owner in question had a duty to ensure the premises were safe for visitors, guests, and others on the property.
- The owner failed to maintain the property within California's definition of reasonable care.
- The property owner failed to warn of a known danger on the premises.
- The dangerous condition caused the slip and fall.
- The injured person suffered damages.
Reasonable care is defined as acting within the expected standards of behavior. Unfortunately, there is no exact definition of what reasonable behavior means in court. Reasonable care to a judge and jury is best described by what a person in their right mind would do when placed in a similar situation.
In a lawsuit, the court will decide:
- If reasonable care was breached on the property
- Whether the lack of care on the premises and subsequent injury stemmed from the owner's negligence
- To what degree the victim is owed legal damages for the injuries incurred
There are some limitations when filing a lawsuit after a wet floor slip and fall. If the visitor to the property was present in an area that is very clearly dangerous, the behavior could be considered reckless. If the injured party was trespassing, they cannot bring suit against the property owner as they should not have been on the property.
There is no law in California that states property owners must display wet floor signs. Regardless, if spills or slippery surfaces do not have signage stating that caution is needed, the property owners may be held liable if someone slips and falls. Falls can, unfortunately, lead to very significant injuries. If you or your loved one sustained an injury in a wet floor area that should have been clearly marked as dangerous, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV should evaluate the facts in your case immediately.
Under California law, property owners have a duty of care to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. They must routinely:
- Maintain their property
- Inspect their property
- Repair any dangerous conditions
- Give adequate warning for any dangerous condition that has not yet been resolved
If there is any violation of this duty of care, and this violation results in your injury, the property owner or occupier can be held legally responsible for the accident and you might be eligible to file a claim.
On the other hand, if the property owner posted sufficient notices about dangerous conditions, and someone decides to ignore the notices and place themselves at unnecessary risk, the property owner will likely not be held liable. Sufficient notices can be as simple as wet floor signs or blocking off a dangerous stairwell. If a victim chose to walk into such an area despite the warnings, then they could not hold a property owner liable.
Recovering compensation for your injuries hinges on your ability to prove that the property owner is responsible for your injuries—and that requires evidence. If you or a loved one suffer a slip and fall accident, it is essential that you:
- Take photographs of the unsafe conditions that resulted in the accident, including the lack of signage or warnings.
- Obtain the contact information of any witnesses, as their testimony can help prove your case.
- Fill out an accident report with the property owner or manager. Even if you were injured outside a business like a restaurant or bar, it is important to log the details of the incident for future reference. Older reports of accidents can demonstrate a history of negligence. At the same time, you will want to get the liability insurance information from the property owner.
- Even if your injury seems minor, go to the doctor and get a full checkup. Medical records that establish the injury and indicate that the fall caused your injury can be crucial for your case.
- Avoid throwing away or cleaning your clothes or shoes. Wet paint, mud, or any other damage could be used as evidence in your case. Instead, seal your clothing and shoes in an airtight plastic bag until an expert can review it.
Your attorney may also be able to recover additional evidence while investigating your case, such as maintenance reports, social media posts, or surveillance footage that catalogs how your injuries occurred or if there is a history of accidents at that property.
The financial damages you deserve depend entirely on the severity of your injuries, any long-term impact they may have, and any effect they have on other parts of your life. Typically, slip and fall victims are eligible to be compensated for:
- Present and future medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Disfigurement and disabilities
- Any alterations to a vehicle or home to accommodate permanent injuries
At The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV, we will perform a comprehensive analysis of your case and work with your doctors to determine the maximum fair compensation you deserve for your injuries.
If you or a loved one have suffered in a slip and fall accident, the last thing you want to think about is filing a claim and dealing with legal battles. Sadly, medical bills tend to pile up fast. At The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV, our talented trial lawyer is on your side and here to help. The firm can take over every aspect of your case and fight on your behalf, allowing you to focus on what really matters: your recovery.
Mr. Low is a nationally-recognized Long Beach premises liability lawyer, former US Marine, and has been practicing law for over two decades. When you bring your case to us, you can trust that you are in the best hands. Contact The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV today at (562) 901-0840 or toll-free at (888) 454-5569 to schedule your free consultation.