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3 Places Slip and Falls Commonly Occur

Business man falling down set of stairs.

Slip and fall accidents are common, but that does not mean they are harmless. In fact, they are the leading cause of emergency room visits, leading to over a million ER trips per year.

Like other common causes of injury, many slips and falls are preventable. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, more than half of all slips, trips, and falls are caused by walkway hazards.

Here are some of the places slip and falls most often occur, why they happen, and how to avoid them.

Slip and falls in the home

Falls cause half of all deaths that occur in the home, and most happen at ground level, rather than from elevated surfaces like ladders. Slips and falls are so common that The Hartford lists it among the seven most common types of homeowners’ insurance claims. It advises homeowners to reduce the likelihood of an injury by repairing hazards like uneven front steps, loose hand railings and removing snow and ice from driveways and walkways.

Slip and falls in nursing homes

The older people get, the greater their risk of a serious fall-related injury. The likelihood of a fall increased with each decade of life so it should be no surprise that nursing homes and other places frequented by seniors are common places to slip and/or fall.

One out of ever three people over the age of 65 experiences a fall in any given year, and half of those falls will be a repeat by someone who has already experienced a fall. Hip fractures are the most dangerous, and the most likely to lead to death; half of those over the age of 65 who are hospitalized for a hip fracture cannot live on their own – or at home – after the injury.

Nursing home administrators and employees need to carefully watch and help residents and implement effective safety procedures to prevent falls.

Slip and falls at work

The vast majority of worker’s compensation claims – 85% – arise from employees slipping on floors and nearly a quarter of slip and fall accidents led to at least a month out of work.

The number of fatalities caused by occupational falls has been cut in half from 1200 per year in the 1970s to 600 per year, but occupational falls are still common in practically all manufacturing and service sector jobs. Employers can help reduce the likelihood of occupational slips and falls by enforcing safety procedures and providing training for dealing with on-the-job hazards.

Recovering from a slip and fall in southern California

Homes, nursing homes, and workplaces are the most common places people experience a slip and fall but they are far from the only places they occur. From shopping malls to city parks, slip hazards can be present anywhere people are.

Wherever they occur, slip and fall accidents can cause physical, financial, and emotional loss. The good news is the law often provides a remedy. Our experienced attorneys understand the challenges that these situations present and we have a 99% win rate for personal injury cases we take on.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a slip and fall accident in southern CA, call a California slip and fall lawyer at the Ellis Injury Law Firm in Los Angeles for a free case evaluation.

More info on where slip & fall accidents commonly occur:

  1. National Floor Safety Institute, Slip & Fall Quick Facts, https://nfsi.org/nfsi-research/quick-facts/
  2. The Hartford: The Extra Mile: 7 Common Home Insurance Claims and How to Avoid Them, https://extramile.thehartford.com/home/home-insurance-claims/

3 Ways Poor Lighting Can Cause an Injury

Business man falling down set of stairs.

There are infinite ways a person can sustain injuries, from plane crashes to sports collisions. But did you know that a simple lightbulb, or the lack thereof, can also cause injuries? Installing adequate lighting is an easy way to improve the safety of any home, office building, or nursing home, but plenty of property managers fail to take this simple precaution. The result is an increased risk of falls, potentially causing injuries as minor as bumps and bruises, or as major as fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and even spinal cord injuries.

Lighting-related injuries in and around the home

Busy homeowners may sometimes deprioritize minor maintenance tasks like installing new lightbulbs or upgrading the electrical wiring to install new lighting fixtures. As a result, people may trip and fall on the stairs or in a dark storage area, or they may fall over clutter that they were unable to see. When a homeowner or other household resident falls and sustains injuries, it’s assumed that the injured person has full responsibility for the hazardous condition. However, visitors to the residence probably won’t have advanced knowledge of the potential safety hazards, and won’t expect to need a flashlight to find their way down a hallway safely.

Lighting-related injuries at the workplace

Both indoor and outdoor workplaces can have lighting deficiencies that can lead to injuries. At an outdoor construction site, for example, employers are expected to set up high-powered, portable tower lights to give the workers enough lighting. In this scenario, the risk isn’t only that an employee may trip over equipment and fall, but also that an employee may make a mistake with heavy machinery. For example, an employee driving a backhoe without adequate lighting may strike and injure another worker. Or, a worker may slice off a finger with a circular saw because the work area isn’t properly illuminated.

Indoor workplaces can also be hazardous if there is a lighting deficiency. Employees may trip and fall in a darkened stairwell, storage closet, or copy room—or anywhere else that lacks sufficient lighting.

Lighting-related falls in long-term care facilities

Lighting is especially important in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, rehab hospitals, hospice centers, and memory care residences. Seniors and those who are severely ill or injured are already at a higher risk of falls because of poor eyesight, eye vision disorders like macular degeneration, poor balance and coordination, poor distance judgment, and slow reaction times. The lack of proper lighting can substantially increase the risk of tripping and falling anywhere, even in an area without clutter or stairs.

Additionally, seniors with dementia may be prone to wandering and sundowning. Sundowning symptoms, as the term implies, worsen in the evening, when natural light is decreasing. Without enough lighting, the agitation, confusion, and pacing that are characteristic of sundowning can create the perfect storm for a serious fall.

Have you been injured on someone else’s property? If the property owner or manager failed to correct a hazardous condition, such as inadequate lighting, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. Call the Los Angeles premises liability lawyers of Ellis Law to request a consultation.

Additional Information on Injuries Caused by Poor Lighting Conditions:

  1. Chron, OSHA Lighting Standards, http://smallbusiness.chron.com/osha-lighting-standards-2641.html
  2. Mayo Clinic, Sundowning: Late-Day Confusion, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/expert-answers/sundowning/faq-20058511

4 Tragic Elevator Accidents

elevator technician at work in elevator shaftMany of us use elevators every day without a second thought, not realizing that these complex machines are a legitimate source of danger. Elevators are responsible for approximately 30 deaths and more than 17,000 injuries each year. These statistics are national, but there are many examples of elevator tragedies in and around Southern California — enough to remind all of us to take extra care when it comes to elevator safety measures.

Back-to-back unexpected elevator deaths

Both coasts were rocked by fatal elevator accidents within about a week’s time in December 2011. On December 7th, 48-year-old Annette Lujan, a Cal State University Long Beach employee, was crushed to death when she tried to crawl out of an elevator. The elevator had gotten stuck between floors and when Lujan tried to escape, the elevator unexpectedly shifted.

Just one week later, on December 14, 41-year-old Suzanne Hart was the victim of a fatal accident thousands of miles away in Manhattan. Hart’s foot or leg was reportedly caught in the elevator’s closing doors in her office building. The elevator started and dragged her into the shaft, killing her. A later investigation uncovered that mechanics had disabled a safety switch shortly before the accident.

Elevator accident leads to multi-million dollar award

In December 2017, a jury in Contra Costa awarded a Dublin woman $5.6 million in compensation for injuries she suffered in an elevator accident. The elevator, in a Walnut Creek office building, had been previously repaired with zip ties. When 48-year-old Amy Zapotoczny was riding the elevator, it suddenly dropped two times. Zapotoczny suffered a torn labrum and several herniated discs. The jury apportioned liability as follows: 60% for the property manager Sierra Pacific, and 40% to Schindler Elevator Corporation.

Elevator worker suffers fatal blow to head

Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara was the site of a fatal accident involving 63-year-old elevator mechanic Donald White. According to reports, White had been standing on a ladder below the counter-weight of an elevator, until the counter-weight lowered and and struck him. White had been a long-term employee of Schindler Corp. An initial investigation of the company found no violations, but when a second worker was later killed on the same project, Schindler was fined $54,000 by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health Department for three “serious violations”.

Discuss your case with a Los Angeles elevator accident lawyer

The Los Angeles premises liability lawyers at Ellis Law put the rights of injury victims first, fighting to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. We have been fighting for the rights of accident victims for over two decades because we understand the pressure that a serious injury or death of a loved one places on the victims. We fight for maximum compensation, whether that means negotiating a full and fair settlement or taking the case to trial. To discuss your rights and find out whether filing a lawsuit is the best move for you, please call our office at 1-800-INJURED for a complimentary consultation. You owe us zero fees, unless we win money for you!

Additional Los Angeles Elevator Accident Resources:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Deaths and injuries involving elevators or escalators (revised), https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nioshtic-2/20039852.html
  2. Los Angeles Times, Graphic details emerge in deadly elevator accident in Long Beach, http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/12/elevator-death-cal-state-long-beach.html
  3. The Mercury News, Jury awards woman $5.6 million after Walnut Creek elevator owned by Seeno company fails, https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/14/jury-awards-dublin-woman-5-6-million-after-seeno-companys-walnut-creek-elevator-fails/

I Fell at Work: Can I Sue?

Business man falling down set of stairs.

In most cases, falling down and injuring yourself on someone else’s property is covered by premises liability law. You might be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the owner of the property, if that owner can be found liable for a pre-existing hazardous condition on the property. However, injuries that occur while on the job are governed by workers’ compensation regulations.

Because every case is subject to unique circumstances, it’s best to consult a personal injury lawyer about your particular situation. Ellis Injury Law invites you to contact our offices for a no-fee, no-obligation case consultation. We charge no fees unless we win your case. Take advantage of our 99% success rate, and call today!

Documented losses

First, your lawyer will need to verify that you did suffer a loss because of the accident. If you fell at work and didn’t sustain an injury, then you have no workers’ compensation claim and no grounds for a lawsuit. This is why lawyers urge injured individuals to seek medical care right away after an accident. A doctor’s findings can be instrumental in substantiating your claim. Additionally, many people mistakenly think that they’re less injured than they truly are. It’s always best to err on the side of caution, and get examined—just in case. Remember to save all of your receipts for your related medical expenses, keep track of lost work time, and retain any other related documents.

The cause of the fall

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that the workers’ comp insurance carrier is required to pay an employee’s medical expenses for a covered injury or disease, in addition to a portion of lost wages if the employee is out of work for a minimum length of time. There are some exceptions, however. If the employee intentionally self-inflicted the injury, it’s not covered. But in most cases, workers can receive workers’ comp after sustaining an injury while on company time.

Can you file a premises liability lawsuit?

There’s one tradeoff for employees who are covered by workers’ comp. Because of this coverage, they almost always forfeit their right to sue after becoming injured. But there are exceptions, and your premises liability lawyer can determine if you might have a case after all. For example, you may be able to sue your employer if you were injured because of their intentional or egregious conduct. If your employer doesn’t carry workers’ comp, but is legally required to, you can sue your employer. You may be able to sue a third party if that person caused your injury, such as an independent contractor who caused you to trip and fall down the stairs at work. You should also be able to sue the manufacturer of defective equipment, such as a defective ladder, as well as the manufacturer of a toxic substance if it caused you to become ill.

Premises liability and other personal injury cases are notoriously complicated. If you’ve been injured at work, you need seasoned litigators on your side. Call our Los Angeles premises liability lawyers at 1-800-INJURED. We invite you to schedule a free, no-obligation case review to become familiar with your situation and discuss how you can secure compensation for your injuries.

Additional resources for injured plaintiffs

  1. State of California Department of Industrial Relations, Injured Worker Guidebook, http://www.dir.ca.gov/injuredworkerguidebook/chapter1.pdf
  2. Society for Human Resource Management, Workers’ Compensation: Eligibility: If an employee slips on ice in the parking lot is it covered by workers compensation? https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/hr-qa/pages/cms_022560.aspx

How Many People Have Died From Falling Down Stairs?

Business man falling down set of stairs.According to the most recent data on stairway accidents in the United States, an estimated 12,000 people die from falling down steps each year. Following motor vehicle accidents, falls are the second leading cause of accidental injuries in the home and workplace, and stairs present numerous opportunities for people to hurt themselves.

Who is most at risk for falling?

Elderly people are most at risk for injuring themselves on a staircase. Statistics from the National Safety Council show that Americans over the age of 65 are more prone to fatal injuries from falling down stairs. Poor balance, low vision and impaired coordination and strength put thousands of seniors at risk for debilitating injury as they ascend or descend steps.

Data suggests that a broken hip is the most common injury from stairway falls, and in senior citizens this injury is often devastating. A shocking 30 percent of elderly die from these fractures and more than two-thirds will never regain their previous level of mobility.

While using stairs is a part of our normal routine and rarely viewed as a hazardous endeavor, one misstep can take away a person’s health and independence, especially those who are older and already frail.

Common causes of stairway falls

The majority of stairway accidents are caused by a loss of balance. This may happen when we are rushing, trip over a stationary object on the ground, carrying a heavy load, or are distracted and not watching our footing. Because our perception of risk is so low, we often fail to use handrails, which are designed to help mitigate falling, tripping or slipping dangers.

Given that stairwell falls can lead to major injury and even death, building codes for staircases are very demanding. A well-designed staircase with proper hand rails can help promote better safety, but this cannot eliminate falling dangers entirely. It is also necessary to ensure that treads and step surfaces are routinely inspected for trip hazards. A failure to perform regular maintenance or conduct repairs in a timely basis can be a recipe for disaster and potential litigation in the event a guest or patron falls and is seriously injured.

Wet spots and spills should be cleaned up, loose carpet mended, and eroded treads fixed quickly. In addition, broken lights need to be replaced to ensure the stairs are well illuminated.

Other causes of stairway falls include:

  • Damaged or faulty handrails
  • Hazardous stair risers
  • Broken steps
  • Slippery treads

Premises liability lawyers in California

When negligence plays a role in a staircase fall or injury, victims have the right to seek legal reparations. Whether the accident occurred in a commercial or residential setting, property owners are required to ensure that their premises are reasonably safe for use, and to warn guests about possible dangers.

If you or a loved one were injured in staircase fall, and want to discuss your case with experienced legal counsel, we invite you to reach to Ellis Injury Law.

Call 1-800-INJURED to request a free consultation with a Los Angeles premises liability attorney today.

Additional Resources on Stairway Fall Injuries and Deaths:

  1. Journal of Industrial Health, Case Study on Possible Falling Patterns of a Fatal Fall from Stairs https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4246532/
  2. Auburn University, Stairway Safety https://cws.auburn.edu/shared/content/files/1472/STAIRWAY%20SAFETY.pdf
  3. BBC News, 1,000 Die from Stair Falls http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/790609.stm

My Child Was Hurt at School: Who Is Liable?

School classroom with blackboardSchool is supposed to be a sanctuary for all students, yet millions of children sustain injuries on school grounds every year. Regardless of how your child was injured, you have the legal right to consult a premises liability lawyer to review the situation.

A personal injury lawyer in California can determine if any party may be held liable for the harm your child suffered.

Common examples of school-related injury liability

Your lawyer will consider all aspects of the case, including whether the injury occurred due to negligence, or whether it was an intentional act. On school grounds, intentional acts of harm are often attributed to bullying. Depending on the exact circumstances, the parents of a bully who physically harmed another child might be held liable. If school staff knew or should have known about the bullying, and did nothing to stop it, then the school might be held liable.

It’s hard to imagine anyone intentionally harming a child, but sometimes adult employees of the school are to blame for a child’s injuries. If this is the case, you should reassure your child that they aren’t going to get in trouble for being honest about who caused them harm. The lawyer might sue the school for failing to conduct a background check on the employee, failing to take action after past allegations of abuse, or failing to provide sufficient supervision.

Elements of premises liability

Premises liability attorneys must prove that the three basic elements are met. The party named as the defendant must have been in control of the school grounds, and the injured party must have been an expected occupant of the property. Since students are naturally expected to be on school grounds, this element essentially fulfills itself.

Third, the party in control of school grounds must have been negligent in some way. For instance, the school might have known or should have known of some hazardous condition, and failed to fix it in a timely manner. Legal negligence is the deviation away from a reasonable standard of care.

School liability exceptions

The court recognizes at least a couple of exceptions to the liability of school districts for injuries sustained by students.

The first is the organized sports exception. Student athletes are presumed to knowingly accept the normal risks associated with sports activities. If a student tears a ligament while playing basketball, the school generally won’t be held liable.

Second, schools aren’t usually held liable for injuries that occur after normal school hours. If a child falls off a swing on the school playground on a Sunday afternoon, there is no expectation that a teacher would have been there to supervise, and so there is no legal negligence.

Legal advocacy services for your family

Ellis Law has built a reputation as a tireless advocate for injured individuals and wronged families throughout the Los Angeles area. Our premises liability lawyers in L.A. have access to a reliable network of investigators, experts, and support staff to help us build a bulletproof case on your behalf.

No amount of money can make up for the pain your child has suffered, but you can hold the responsible party accountable for their negligence. Call 1-800-INJURED today for a case review at no charge.

Additional Resources for School Premises Liability:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Playground Injuries: Fact Sheet, https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/playground-injuries/playgroundinjuries-factsheet.htm
  2. Check Your Health, School Injuries, http://www.checkyourhealth.org/articles/Archive/school%20injuries.php

Tips on How to Document a Slip and Fall Personal Injury Case

slip and fall accident on wet floorIn California, property owners can be held liable for slip and fall accidents that occur because of negligent maintenance, or a willful failure to warn patrons of a potentially dangerous condition. Premises liability law states that individuals who lease, rent or own a property are negligent if they fail to use “reasonable care to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. “ Property owners have a duty of care to discover potentially unsafe conditions and to repair them or give sufficient warning of anything that could possibly harm others.

If you are injured under these circumstances, and want to file a slip and fall lawsuit against the negligent party, there are some important steps you need to take to help substantiate your claim for damages.  The following will help your premises liability lawyer document your case and prove your injuries and losses.

Report the slip and fall accident

Whether you fell in a department store, a wet supermarket aisle or another public venue, you are encouraged to report the accident immediately. Ask to speak to the manager or property owner, who may be on site. If emergency responders and police are called, make sure to get a copy of the written accident report.

Document every detail

In order to prove that a hazardous or unsafe condition existed, you want to gather as much information about the scene where the accident occurred. If possible, use your cell phone to take photos or video of the hazard (such as uneven flooring, a spilled liquid or debris blocking an aisle). Make notes about every detail that can help paint a picture and establish fault. For example, did the property have any warning signs alerting you to a potential hazard? Was there a broken handrail or piece of loose carpeting that caused you to trip?

Gather eyewitness information

If the trip and fall occurred in a public place, there were likely other patrons who witnessed the accident who may be willing to testify about the dangerous conditions on your behalf. Be sure to get their full names, addresses and contact information so that your attorney can speak with them on your behalf.

Call 911 and seek medical attention

One of the most crucial aspects to recovering compensation in a personal injury lawsuit is having documentation of your injuries, no matter how minor.  For this reason, it’s wise to call 911 right away and explain the circumstances of your fall. Be sure to save all medical records, test results, medication receipts, co-pay receipts and out-of-pocket expenses related to your injury diagnosis, treatment and recovery. These will be factored in when calculating a settlement or verdict.

Speak with a premises liability attorney

Navigating a slip and fall claim without the experience of a qualified premises liability lawyer can leave victims at risk for paltry insurance settlements. An experienced attorney will know exactly how to document the extent of your injuries and financial losses and help victims maximize their monetary recovery for damages like emotional pain and suffering.

Victims may sue for a host of damages including past and future medical bills, loss of income and future earning potential, as well as emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life.  Slip and fall injuries that are catastrophic in nature can result in substantial, seven and eight-figure payouts.

California premises liability law firm

For more than 25 years, Ellis Law Corporation has represented plaintiffs in slip and fall cases throughout Southern California. If you or a loved one was injured on someone else’s property, you deserve skilled legal advocacy. For a complimentary consultation with a Los Angeles premises liability lawyer, please call  1-800-INJURED.

Additional California Premises Liability Resources:

  1. Justia, California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/1000/
  2. California Courts, Cause of Action – Premises Liability http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/pldpi0014.pdf

Swimming Pool Dangers: Who is Liable after a Drowning?

swimming pool injurySwimming pools, hot tubs and even kiddie pools can be dangerous places for young children, particularly during the summer months. A 2011 study printed in the journal Pediatrics concluded that above-ground pools and plastic kiddie pools pose a major threat to kids younger than 5 years old. According to the researchers, more than 10 percent of pool-related fatalities in young children occur in inflatable or plastic kiddie pools — oftentimes filled with just a few inches of water.

When the unthinkable happens, and a child accidentally drowns or suffers serious harm in a swimming pool accident, who is held accountable? Whether the pool is located at a private club, or in a residential or public setting, the pool owner may face legal liability when a visitor is injured or killed.

Liability in swimming pool accidents

When a swimming pool accident happens, pool owners and their insurance carriers may attempt to blame the victim. Under the legal theory of premises liability, pool owners may face legal responsibility in the wake of an accidental drowning or injury if:

  • The injured party was invited or allowed on the premises
  • The property owner failed to properly maintain their swimming pool

Under the right circumstances, a premises liability lawsuit can be filed against pool owners or municipalities for transgressions such as:

  • Lack of perimeter safety fencing to keep young children out
  • Failure to provide adequate supervision
  • Lack of emergency safety equipment like life preservers
  • Failure to provide adequate warnings such as “swim at your own risk” signage
  • Allowing the pool or its surrounds to fail into a dangerous state of disrepair

Pool drains and product defects

Equipment used inside and around the pool can also be defective and potentially hazardous to young children. For instance, a strong underwater pool drain can entrap a child, causing them to drown. Poorly manufactured or defective water slides can result in falls. When faulty or defective equipment is the culprit in a drowning, the following parties may be held responsible in a product liability claim:

  • Manufacturer of defective equipment
  • Retail chain or distributor

Steps to improve pool safety

Pool owners can take steps to reduce the risk of accidental injury or drowning by:

  • Providing supervision when children are present
  • Ensuring pool perimeter fencing is in tact
  • Keeping the premises well maintained with proper signage
  • Having life preservers at the ready
  • Draining kiddie pools when they’re not in use

California has several ordinances regarding the construction and maintenance of residential swimming pools with the purpose of preventing accidents. Despite these regulations, the state has one of the highest rates of swimming pool-related injuries and deaths in the United States. In the wake of a drowning or pool-related injury in Los Angeles, victims are encouraged to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss their legal rights.

For more than 20 years, Ellis Law has successfully represented injury victims in Southern California. With thorough investigations, we can identify if defective equipment, hazardous conditions or negligence contributed to a swimming pool injury or death.

Call us toll-free at 1-800-INJURED to set up a free consultation today.

Proving Fault in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit in Los Angeles

If you were injured after a fall on someone else’s property, a slip and fall lawsuit in Los Angeles can be filed with the help of experienced attorneys. Premises liability law establishes the requirements for a slip and fall claim to be filed within California.  The law provides protection to any victims who were harmed because of negligence or carelessness of property owners.

What must you prove in a slip and fall lawsuit in Los Angeles?

When you file a slip and fall lawsuit, you must prove that you are entitled to compensation for your losses under premises liability laws. This means you need to prove:

  • That the property owner had an obligation to you. 
  • That the property owner failed to live up to that obligation.
  • That you got hurt as a result of the failure.

Los Angeles slip and fall attorneys can assist you in gathering the proof you need.

A property owner’s obligations

All property owners have certain basic obligations to ensure that their property is reasonably safe.  Renters, too, can sometimes have a requirement to ensure safety of their space.

The specific duty that an owner or renter has will vary depending upon what the property is used for. Stores, hotels, restaurants and other public places that open their doors to customers have the highest obligation to their patrons. Owners or renters who run these types of establishments have a duty to regularly inspect the premises and to ensure it is safe. If there are hazards, the property owner or renter has a duty to warn guests about the risk or to correct the danger.

Homeowners who invite friends or acquaintances over also have a legal obligation to make sure they don’t create a dangerous situation for visitors. While these property owners don’t have to inspect the premises, they do need to fix hazardous conditions or warn guests about any dangers that the owner knows about or reasonably ought to be aware of.

To win a slip and fall lawsuit, you need to first establish the relationship you have with the property owner so that you can show the duty owed to you.

Failure to maintain the property

Once you have established the property owner’s obligation, you must show that the owner or renter failed to live up to his duty. Slip and fall attorneys can help to gather evidence by subpoenaing maintenance records, talking to employees or reviewing employment schedules, interviewing witnesses about conditions, reviewing accident reports and presenting photographs of the property conditions in the area where the injury took place.

To prevail in court, you will need to demonstrate not just that there were unsafe conditions but that these conditions were the direct cause of your fall.

Veteran Los Angeles slip and fall attorneys

Finally, you will need to show just how badly you were hurt as a result of the negligent property maintenance. You can present medical records and testify in court as to how the fall injury has affected you.

With the help of Ellis Law firm personal injury attorneys, you can recover compensation for the monetary and non-economic damages that occurred as a result of the slip and fall caused by negligent property maintenance.Call 1-800-INJURED today for a complimentary consultation.

Los Angeles Slip and Fall Accidents: Proving Fault

Who is responsible for an injury resulting from a slip and fall accident? Many thousands of people are injured each year — some very seriously — when they slip or trip and fall on a dangerous floor, a flight of stairs, or a rough patch of ground. Sometimes the property owner is responsible for the accident, and sometimes he or she is not.

If you have been injured in this way, first consider that it is a normal part of living for things to fall on or to drip onto a floor or the ground, and for smooth surfaces to become uneven. Also, some things put in the ground — drainage grates, for example — serve a useful purpose there. So a property owner (or occupier) cannot always be held responsible for immediately picking up or cleaning every slippery substance on a floor. Nor is a property owner always responsible for someone slipping or tripping on something that an ordinary person should expect to find there or should see and avoid. We all have an obligation to watch where we’re going.

However, property owners do need to be careful in keeping up their property. While there is no precise way to determine when someone else is legally responsible for something on which you slip or trip, cases turn on whether the property owner acted carefully so that slipping or tripping was not likely to happen — and whether you were careless in not seeing or avoiding the thing you fell on. Here are some general rules to help you decide whether someone else was at fault for your slip or trip and fall injury.

Determining Liability

To be legally responsible for the injuries you suffered from slipping or tripping and falling on someone else’s property, one of the following must be true:

  • The owner of the premises or an employee must have caused the spill, worn or torn spot, or other slippery or dangerous surface or item to be underfoot.
  • The owner of the premises or an employee must have known of the dangerous surface but done nothing about it.
  • The owner of the premises or an employee should have known of the dangerous surface because a “reasonable” person taking care of the property would have discovered and removed or repaired it.

The third situation is the most common, but is also less clear-cut than the first two because of those pesky words “should have known.” Liability in these cases is often decided by common sense. Judges and juries determine whether the owner or occupier of property was careful by deciding if the steps the owner or occupier took to keep the property safe were reasonable.

What Is “Reasonable”?

In determining a property owner’s “reasonableness,” the law concentrates on whether the owner makes regular and thorough efforts to keep the property safe and clean. Here are some initial questions you can ask to determine whether a property or business owner may be liable for your slip or trip and fall injuries:

  • If you tripped over a torn, broken, or bulging area of carpet, floor, or ground, or slipped on a wet or loose area, had the dangerous spot been there long enough that the owner should have known about it?
  • Does the property owner have a regular procedure for examining and cleaning or repairing the premises? If so, what proof does the owner have of this regular maintenance?
  • If you tripped over or slipped on an object someone had placed or left on or in the floor or ground, was there a legitimate reason for the object to be there?
  • If there once had been a good reason for the object to be there but that reason no longer exists, could the object have been removed or covered or otherwise made safe?
  • Was there a safer place the object could have been located, or could it have been placed in a safer manner, without much greater inconvenience or expense to the property owner or operator?
  • Could a simple barrier have been created or a warning been given to prevent people from slipping or tripping?
  • Did poor or broken lighting contribute to the accident?

If the answers to one or more of these questions come out in your favor, you may have a good claim for compensation. However, you must still think about whether your own carelessness contributed in any significant way to your accident.

Your Own Carelessness

In almost every slip or trip and fall case, you must decide whether your carelessness contributed to the accident. The rules of “comparative negligence” help measure your own reasonableness in going where you did, in the way you did, just before the accident happened. There are some questions you should ask yourself about your own conduct — an insurance adjuster will almost certainly ask them after you file your claim.

  • Did you have a legitimate reason — a reason the owner should have anticipated — for being where the dangerous area was?
  • Would a careful person have noticed the dangerous spot and avoided it, or walked carefully enough not to slip or trip?
  • Were there any warnings that the spot might be dangerous?
  • Were you doing anything that distracted you from paying attention to where you were going, or were you running, jumping, or fooling around in a way that made falling more likely?

You don’t have to “prove” to an insurance adjuster that you were careful, but think about what you were doing and describe it clearly so that an insurance adjuster will understand that you were not careless.

The concept of premises liability stipulates that those who own or who are in control of property must ensure that their grounds are reasonably safe and free of potential hazards.  If you have been injured and have experienced physical harm while on another party’s property,  call us at 1-800-INJURED to speak to experience Los Angeles premises liability attorneys. We look forward to assessing the facts of your case and helping you determine your legal options.