Common ways to get injured
Slip and fall in store
Stores, especially grocery stores, carry a lot of products that, if spilled, can easily cause you to slip and fall and hurt yourself. Spilled milk or a leaky fridge or freezer unit can deposit slippery and hard-to-see liquids on the floor. Also, boxes of small, round food products, such as popcorn kernels or gumballs, can be equally hazardous as they roll around acting like little ball bearings waiting to be slipped on.
Torn or raised carpet in store or house
Over time, carpets can tear or bunch-up to create a hazard that is easily tripped on. As this wear and tear takes time, the condition of the carpet should come as no surprise to the owner or maintainer of the area, who may have used duct tape to temporarily address the problem. Such remedial action is an acknowledgment that there is a problem, and if you are injured, you can receive compensation for your injuries.
It is common for trees to be planted alongside sidewalks in neighborhoods in Santa Monica and the greater Los Angeles area. However, the roots from growing trees, coupled with soil settling beneath the sidewalk, can cause the sidewalk to rise or sink in a way that makes it uneven with other sections. This can be a hazard to an individual walking or jogging down the sidewalk, especially at night.
Most sidewalks are on public property, and thus maintained by a state, county or local governmental entity. Making a claim against the government has special requirements. First, you must make a claim with the appropriate agency within 6 months of the accident. If this claim is denied or not answered within 45 days, then you have 6 month from the date of rejection or the running of the 45 day period to file a lawsuit.
The current state of the law is that height irregularities of more than 1 inch are considered a hazard, and injuries resulting from trip and falls on such hazards are compensable.
Being constantly impacted by car tires and the bottoms of bumpers can caused a sidewalk curb to wear out faster than the rest of the sidewalk, and leave an uneven surface. It is easy to roll your ankle or trip and take a tumble when stepping up from or down to the road. The same 1-inch threshold that applies to uneven sidewalks also applies to broken curbs.
Uneven stairs, improper height stairs or stairways without handrails
Under the California Building Code, there many requirements to be met for stairways to be considered up to code. Private stairways must be 36 inches wide. Handrails are required for stairways with over 3 stairs. The stairs themselves must be uniform, and not more than 8 inches high or less than 4 inches high. They must also be 9 inches deep at a minimum. There must be a head clearance of 6 feet 8 inches.
Guardrails to protect from falling off the side of a stairway are required where the stairway is open to the side and more than 30 inches off of the ground. The vertical guard bars or ornamental design must not be wide enough such that a 4-inch sphere could pass through anywhere.
These are just some of the California Building Code requirements for stairways. As these building code requirements are usually designed for safety purposes, there are many ways to violate a building code in a way that can lead to injury. Therefore, a violation of the California Building Code establishes liability per se if related to the injury.
Bills from healthcare providers
If you are injured, you will likely require medical attention. This can include the initial emergency care as well as follow-up therapy as your body heals. A doctor’s opinion is critical to make sure you have a proper treatment plan in place, but doctors are expensive, even if you have health insurance. If another person was responsible for your injuries, they are also responsible for your medical costs.
Serious injuries can cause you to miss work and lose out on income, which, in these economic times, can have a devastating effect on the rest of your life. If another person is found to have caused you your injuries, then they will be responsible for the income that those injuries caused you to lose.
Harms suffered personal to you
While medical bills and loss of income can cause you stress, nothing is worse than the pain you feel from an injury and the suffering that feeling such pain causes you. Pain can put a strain on your mental health, your relationships and your quality of life. Unfortunately, no person, insurance company or jury can undo these feelings. The law, however, does give you a right to monetary compensation, which you can use to seek medical care and other comforts to mitigate the harms.
What if I don’t have health insurance?
If you have no health insurance, or your health insurance does not cover the type of care that you need (chiropractic), then you can seek treatment with a medical care provider who will not ask you to pay anything out of pocket, instead electing to be paid out of the settlement with the at-fault party. This is called “treating on a lien.”
When would someone not be liable for injuries that they have caused me?
There are many defenses that someone can be raised to try to escape or reduce your claim, but two of the main ones are (1) that something you did contributed to your injury or (2) that you assumed the risk of injury due to the nature of your actions. The validity of an assumption of risk assertion is pretty limited, and is mainly applied to things like sports, where you participate “at your own risk.” Contribution to your own injury, known as “comparative negligence,” is a defense that is asserted to say that you also acted unreasonably, and in a way that caused or worsened the extent of your injury. Defeating a claim of comparative negligence is all about showing that you acted as a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances would.
California slip/trip and fall laws
With respect to the liability of the owner or maintainer of a premises, such as a house or business, the most crucial aspect to establishing liability is called “notice”. Notice means that the owner or some employee knew, or should have known, of the dangerous condition that caused that accident, but did nothing to remedy it. Failure to address such a known dangerous condition is usually considered unreasonable, and thus compensation is owed. Therefore, if you are injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall, try to find anyone who could be a witness to how long the dangerous condition was present before you were injured by it. Once you contact our office, we can also do an investigation regarding maintenance and clean-up inspections as well as security camera footage to determine how long the dangerous condition was present before you were injured.
California Civil Code Section 1714 is the law that gives rise to all negligence claims in California, particularly slip and fall or trip and fall accidents. California Civil Code Section 1714 states simply that everyone must exercise ordinary care to prevent others from being injured by their actions or inactions.
How we can help
For the past 40 years, our firm has been helping those injured in slip and fall and trip and fall accidents. Such cases can be very tricky, so it is important that you have an experienced firm representing you.
Will we provide you top-notch legal representation, and will do so with a personal touch. Our attorneys are very accessible to their clients, and believe in strong and active communication with the client.
We work on a contingency basis, which means you will never pay out of your pocket for our legal representation. Instead, we will be paid if, and only if, we recover, and our fee will be paid out of the proceeds of the case. Our interests are served by getting you the maximum recovery possible.
We offer free consultations to help you learn more about your rights and what lies ahead. An educated client is our best asset. Call us today for a free, no obligation, case evaluation.