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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.

Los Angeles Slip & Fall Attorney

There are several types of slip and fall accidents including slippery surface falls, stairway accidents, fall from a terrace or balcony, parking ramp falls, sidewalk falls and bathtub and shower falls, to name a few.

A property owner has an obligation to keep their property in a safe condition for those invited onto the property. If it can be proven that a property owner was negligent and knew or should have known about the dangerous or defective condition that caused a slip and fall, you may be compensated for your injuries.

Every slip and fall accident is unique so, it is to your benefit to hire an experienced slip and fall attorney.

Gathering Evidence

When possible, we recommend the following:

  • Photos. Take photographs of the scene of the accident, your clothing and shoes and any bruising, cuts, scrapes or required stitches or casts to document your injury.
  • Witnesses. If someone witnesses your fall, try to get their name, address and telephone number.
  • Accident Report – If you suffer injuries in a store, whether a department store or grocery store, make sure you file an accident report. You can do this by asking for the manager. They will then document your version of the accident. This will prove to be valuable in representing you for your injuries. Unless you are unable, make sure you obtain a copy of the accident report before you leave.
  • Evidence – We recommend you save the item that caused your fall. For example, if you slipped on a piece of fruit or a vegetable, place the item in a plastic bag and freeze it. You may also want to safeguard the shoes you were wearing at the time of the fall. These can be placed in a plastic bag and taped shut to preserve any matter stuck to your shoe.

If you are unable to take photographs or obtain any statements, an attorney at Ellis Law will obtain as much information as possible. However, please keep in mind, obtaining information hours, days, weeks or even months after an accident scene has been cleaned up or your injuries have healed is much more difficult. Although your medical records will document your injuries, photographs and statements will prove valuable before a jury.

Fall Down Stairs

As slip and fall attorneys, we have many accident cases, which have occurred as a result of defective or broken stairs.

Property owners have the responsibility to make sure all steps have the same rise and depth, with visible edges. Also, stairs must be kept free of debris or other obstacles, which could cause an accident.

A property owner is also responsible for making sure all stairwells are well lit, with sturdy handrails on both sides.

We all have a responsibility to be careful and watch where we are going, however, a property owner needs to show reasonable care.

Who Is Liable?

For a property owner to be held legally liable (or responsible) for your injuries, one of the following must be true:

  • The owner of the premises (or an employee) must have caused a spill or other dangerous condition.
  • The owner of the premises (or an employee) must have known of the dangerous condition and failed to correct it properly.
  • The owner of the premises (or an employee) “should have known” a dangerous condition was present.

What is reasonable?

Did the property owner use their common sense? Was there something the property owner “should have known” was dangerous? Did the property owner use reasonable care to keep the property safe? A judge and jury will certainly take the answers to these questions into consideration.

If the property owner is careful in their efforts to keep the property safe and clean, they most likely have shown “reasonable” care. Here are some initial questions you can ask yourself to help determine if a property or business owner may be liable for your injuries:

  • Did you trip over a broken, or uneven area of carpet or floor or did you slip on a wet area? If so, was the dangerous condition in place long enough so the owner “should have known” about it? Has any accident happened there before?
  • Is there a schedule in place for regular maintenance and cleaning or repairing of the premises? If so, what proof does the owner have of this regular maintenance?
  • If you tripped over or slipped on an object someone placed or left on the ground, was there a good reason for the object to be there? If there was a good reason for the object to be there, but that reason no longer existed, could the object have been removed or covered or otherwise made safe?
  • Was there a safer place the object could have been located?
  • Could a barrier have been created to warn people of a potential danger?
  • Did poor or broken lighting contribute to the accident?

If the answer to one or more of these questions was in your favor, you may have a claim for compensation. Please remember, however, you need to think about whether your actions contributed to your accident. If you’ve suffered from a slip and fall call us at 1.800.INJURED.

Los Angeles Workplace Injury Lawyers: Top 10 Causes of Workplace Injuries

Here at Ellis Law we come across a lot of accidents that occur in the work place. Some of them are induced because of fatigue and stress while others are a result of negligence. Here are 10 reasons why work place injures happen. Remember if you’ve been injured while working call Ellis Law at 1.800.INJURED


If someone is pushed — or pushes herself — beyond reasonable limits to stay on top of workload, the results often are physical and mental exhaustion. This translates to impaired judgment, slower reflexes in operating machinery or motor vehicles, a delayed response to emergency situations and inattention to details and instructions.


Job security, finances, health issues and anxiety about personal relationships all factor into the stress equation. When an employee’s mind is too distracted by real or perceived threats, he is not only more likely to make mistakes that could cause injury but also invites an increased risk of a heart attack, stroke or hypertension.


Office kitchens and break rooms are common places for slips to occur because of the number of liquids that get splashed there and are subsequently not cleaned up. Linoleum, hardwood and tile flooring surfaces are particularly hazardous after they have been mopped or waxed. Another consideration is the type of footwear worn by employees.


Items left sitting out in a high-traffic corridor, extension cords that are not properly taped down and carpeting that has come loose all are contributors to tripping employees and sometimes causing more than just stubbed toes. Poorly lit hallways and stairs are danger spots, too, because they obscure the ability to see what is underfoot.

Toppling Objects

If tall pieces of furniture such as bookcases and filing components are not securely anchored, an earthquake could cause them to pitch forward and dislodge their contents, putting nearby workers in peril. Workplace injuries also can be caused by heavy objects such as supplies and file boxes that are stacked on high shelves and are shifted precariously to the edge each time they are put back or the structure gets bumped.

Hazardous Materials

Protective clothing, eye wear and gloves are mandatory for employees whose jobs require them to be around hazardous materials, chemicals and toxic waste. Slip-ups in these rules can result in burns, explosions, respiratory diseases, blindness and skin infections.

Repetitive Motion

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common occurrence for workers engaged in repetitive motion activities that put pressure on the median nerve, causing numbness and pain in the fingers, wrists and hands. Typists, key data operators and beauty salon employees are at particular risk for developing this excruciating condition.


Many back injuries and pulled muscles that occur in the workplace are the result of picking up something that is too heavy, not bending the legs, not asking a partner to assist or trying to lift or hold a heavy object above the shoulders.

Workplace Violence

Despite increased security measures and limiting office access to individuals who have a legitimate reason to be on the premises, innocent victims are often involved when estranged spouses, disgruntled former employees or even total strangers with a vendetta show up with an intent to commit harm. Managers and workers must likewise stay sensitive to suspicious mail or packages, phone threats and evidence of any security violations.


Opening a door too quickly or turning a corner too fast are the frequent setups for unintended collisions with co-workers. While it may not be with enough force to knock one or the other unconscious, the potential for injury escalates if there are hot liquids, sharp implements or heavy objects involved. Leaving file drawers pulled all the way out is as dangerous at shin level as chin level, especially if a co-worker won’t see it until the point of impact.