Slips, Trips & Falls on Another's Property
If you have been in a slip and fall accident, you may be facing recovery from a serious injury such as a fracture, dislocated shoulder, or traumatic brain injury (TBI). The road to recovery may be lengthy and costly. If someone else's negligence was responsible for your slip, trip, or fall, you deserve compensation for your injuries and losses.
A Santa Barbara personal injury lawyer at Andrade Law Offices can make sure you receive the compensation that you are due after a fall. We can investigate the circumstances of your accident, how the property owner contributed to the unsafe conditions, and the expenses you have had incurred and will face in the future.
Our slip and fall accident investigation will include such steps as interviewing witnesses, searching for security camera footage, and determining whether previous incidents similar to yours indicate property owner negligence. We may subpoena maintenance records. Meanwhile, we will review your medical records and discuss your prognosis for recovery with medical consultants. With evidence of the property owner's failure to maintain a reasonably safe premises and a calculation of accident-related expenses and losses, we will work to negotiate a settlement – but will be ready to go to trial on your behalf if necessary.
Andrade Law Offices has helped the injured in Santa Barbara and across California recover hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for all types of injuries. Our attorneys have more than four decades of combined litigation experience.
Call (805) 962.4944 today to put this experience to work for you. Your slip and fall accident case evaluation is free and completely confidential.
California Law Protects Slip & Fall Accident Victims
Under the general principles of premises law, property owners in California have a legal obligation to maintain their premises in a safe condition. This requires either removing/repairing hazards in a timely manner or adequately warning visitors that hazards exist. If a property owner fails to meet this legal duty, he or she can be held liable for any injuries or other losses a legal visitor to the premises suffers, such as in a slip and fall accident.
Slip and fall accidents lead to about 9 million emergency room visits every year and are the second-leading cause of unintentional death in the U.S., according to the National Safety Council. About 29,500 people died from falls in 2013, and the vast majority of those victims were over age 65. Falls are also among the most common causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Slip and fall accidents often occur at retail establishments such as stores, shopping centers, restaurants, hotels, motels, banks, theaters, stadiums, arenas, as well as in parking lots, parking garages, on sidewalks, and at other sites. While many fall injuries occur on commercial and business properties, it is important to understand that premises liability also applies to government properties, private residential properties, and to your workplace as well.
Investigating Slip & Fall Accident Claims in Santa Barbara, CA
Andrade Law Offices investigates slip and fall accidents in Santa Barbara caused by:
- Wet and slippery floors: Property owners (often through business managers) need to promptly clean up spills or tracked-in rain and mud to ensure visitors' safety. After floors are mopped, signs should warn visitors of wet floors. Certain types of stone, ceramic tile, hardwoods, or other smooth flooring materials are inherently more slippery and perhaps should not be used at all.
- Cluttered walkways: Merchandise, supplies, equipment, boxes, or debris present tripping hazards if left in store aisles, corridors, or other walkways. Overstocked shelves and retail displays that are erected where they are unexpected or from which items fall are also sources of clutter and slip or trip and fall accidents.
- Damaged floors and stairs: Property owners cannot neglect repairs required by loose floorboards, tiles or rugs, torn carpet, broken or loose stair treads, or unstable handrails. Anyone can fall if broken flooring shifts under their weight, a handrail collapses, or warped flooring or bunched carpet trips them.
- Damaged sidewalks: Cracks and chips in paving stones or gaps between sidewalk segments can cause pedestrians to trip and fall. Broken and loose stones that slip and slide underfoot can cause falls as well.
- Landscaping debris: Gravel, mulch, and sand that is scattered from landscape features can be slippery on sidewalks and parking lots.
- Ditches and potholes: Holes, trenches, and other openings in the ground, parking lots, and other paved areas should be filled, covered, or well-marked with warning signs and/or fencing. Holes in medians or islands that can be obscured by overgrown vegetation are a particular hazard requiring maintenance.
- Elevators and escalators: Escalators, elevators, and moving sidewalks that stop or start abruptly or otherwise lurch can cause passengers to lose their footing and fall. Elevators that do not properly align with the floor when stopping create a tripping hazard. The hard surface of a steep escalator is a potentially treacherous fall hazard.
- Inadequate lighting: Insufficient light can cause someone to not see a stair or another change in elevation, or obstacles in their way. As people move from lighted spaces into dark areas, they suffer from temporary vision loss that can lead to a fall. Property owners should properly assess lighting needs and keep up with maintenance such as burned out lights.
Was the Property Owner Negligent?
If the owner or manager of the site where you suffered a slip and fall injury knew about a hazard and failed to take reasonable steps to mitigate it or warn visitors about it, you may be able to pursue a legal claim.
It is important to make sure you did not contribute to the fall, for example, that you were not:
- Failing to watch where you walked; or
- Carrying something that obscured your view or threw you off balance.
The hazard that caused your accident must not be one that would be described as open and obvious, such as a construction pit or a natural seaside cliff. You would not have a claim if you had climbed over a safety barrier, such as a balcony railing or fence, where you fell. The law assumes that a reasonable person can be counted on to avoid the danger of certain obvious hazards on their own.
In California, personal injury law (which includes premises liability) adheres to a “pure comparative fault” standard. This means the accident victim's “negligence” will be counted against their compensation. For instance, if you tripped and fell on a loose stair tread at a restaurant, but had enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, a jury might decide your coordination was compromised. You may still obtain compensation but see it reduced by 10 percent, for example, if the jury decided that you were 10 percent responsible for your own injury.
Act Quickly to Involve a Santa Barbara Personal Injury Lawyer
It is important to move quickly and involve a Santa Barbara injury lawyer after an accident. When you work with our firm, we can conduct a thorough investigation of your slip and fall accident and pursue compensation for your injuries and other losses. We are tenacious lawyers and support staff with a track record of success in personal injury cases.