A slip and fall accident is one of the most common, and also one of the most serious kinds of personal injury. The fact that it is so common should not make anyone underestimate how dangerous these kinds of accidents can be. The reason is that slip and fall injuries can include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, and more.
A slip and fall injury can even lead to a wrongful death. That means slip and fall injuries could cause serious problems for the victim, such as high medical expenses, damaged property, lost wages if they are unable to work, pain and suffering, and more.
Fortunately, if the slip and fall accident was caused by the negligence of another person, you can receive compensation from the insurance company of the party that caused the accident. You will need the help of slip and fall lawyers in order to get that compensation and the Grossman Law Office can provide you with the attorneys you need. That is because we are a professional law firm with decades of combined legal experience among our personal injury lawyers. That means we have the knowledge and experience to help you with your case no matter who you are up against.
Since a slip and fall accident can take place on commercial or residential property in Fresno, CA, you could be going up against a business like a supermarket, or you could be holding a private individual responsible for the accident. No matter who is responsible for your slip and fall injury, we will fight on your behalf to get you the compensation that you need.
So call the Fresno slip and fall lawyers of the Grossman Law Office if you have suffered serious injuries on someone’s property that were caused by the owner’s negligence.
The Elements of a Slip and Fall Case
A slip and fall accident falls under the umbrella of premises liability, which in turn falls under personal injury law. That means a slip and fall accident has similar elements to a personal injury case, which are as follows:
- The property owner owes visitors a duty of care. A duty of care simply means that property owners should behave in the way a reasonable person would in similar circumstances. That goes for whether the property is commercial like a store, or residential, like a home. The owner has a duty to make sure that the premises are safe, well maintained, inspected regularly, and free of any hazards that could cause harm to visitors.
If property owners in Fresno, CA are unable to fix any hazards in time, then they should provide a clear warning that there is a dangerous condition on the premises that could cause slip and fall accidents.
- The owner’s negligence caused a dangerous condition on the premises. That condition could be anything that increases the chance of a visitor slipping and hurting themselves. The key is that the owner knew (or should have known) about the condition but failed to address it in any way.
- The dangerous condition caused a slip and fall accident. While the dangerous condition is certainly bad on its own, it has to actually cause a slip and fall accident for a visitor.
- The accident caused losses for the victim. Those losses are the expenses caused by the slip and fall accident, such as medical bills, repair bills, or lost income.
Are Trespassers Owed a Duty of Care in Fresno, Ca?
In most states, trespassers are not entitled to the duty of care owed to those who were on the property legally. That means they cannot file an injury claim or lawsuit against property owners if they get hurt because of hazards on the property.
However, California is an exception to that rule. In 1968 the California Supreme Court made a ruling that holds property owners responsible for injuries suffered by anyone who enters their premises, even trespassers. Rather than considering whether a person was on the premises legally or illegally, California law instead considers the following factors:
- The location of the property
- The possibility that a trespasser would enter the property
- The possibility of serious bodily injury
If a court in Fresno or anywhere else in California decides that the owner of a property should have anticipated that a trespasser might enter the premises and that they were likely to get injured, then the court could hold the property owner liable for any damages suffered by the trespasser.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
There are many different kinds of hazards that could lead to a person slipping and hurting themselves. The following are some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents:
- Freshly waxed floors
- Uneven flooring
- Poor lighting
- Ripped or torn carpeting
- Lack of railing on staircases
- Broken or uneven steps
Injuries Caused by Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip and fall injury might not seem like it would be too serious, but it could end up causing severe injuries. In the worst-case scenarios, those injuries could even be life-threatening, which means that a wrongful death case could be the result of a slip and fall accident.
The following are some of the injuries that could result from a slip and fall:
These are fairly common, especially if the person falls down a flight of steps or from a long distance onto a hard surface. Broken bones in the hands and wrists are common because people will try to brace themselves as they are falling.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
TBIs can happen when the person’s head strongly impacts a hard surface when they fall. A TBI could be any serious head injury like a concussion, skull fracture, or brain haemorrhage.
These are bruises that could be caused by the accident victim slamming against a hard surface when they fall. They can be more serious than they look because there could be nerve damage beneath the surface.
Soft Tissue Injuries
These are injuries to the joints or ligaments. They could happen when a joint gets hyperextended as the person falls.
A person can easily sprain or strain a joint when they hit the ground after slipping and falling.
How Much Is Pain and Suffering Worth in a Slip and Fall Case?
In personal injury cases, the damages are divided into economic and non-economic categories. Economic damages are measurable things with a financial value, like bills for medical care, repair or replacement costs for damaged property, lost wages, and so on.
Non-economic damages include things like pain and suffering and any psychological or emotional problems caused by the accident, like PTSD. Since pain and suffering and other non-economic damages do not have a financial value, they are calculated using a different method.
The most common way of calculating non-economic damages is using the multiplier method. This is when the economic damages are multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5 in order to determine the financial value of the non-economic damages. The value of the multiplier is determined by the severity of the other injuries and the intensity of the pain or suffering experienced by the victim.
What Is the Average Payout for a Slip and Fall in Fresno, CA?
There is no average payout for a Fresno slip and fall case because there are many different factors that can affect the settlement amount that victims receive from insurance companies. That means payouts could range from tens of thousands, to hundreds of thousands, to millions of dollars. Some of the factors that could affect the settlement amount include the following:
The Severity of the Victim’s Injuries
Medical bills and medical care will likely be among the biggest expenses of accident victims. That means the more seriously the victim is injured, the higher their medical expenses will be, and the higher their payout needs to be.
The Effect the Injuries Have on the Victim’s Life
The mental health of the victim is just as important as their physical health. So if their injuries prevent them from enjoying previous activities, or leave them in constant pain, or have any other negative effects on their life, then that will be a big factor in their settlement amount.
Injured victims who are unable to work while they recover should get compensation for the wages they would have earned. The longer they are unable to work, the higher the payout will have to be in order to compensate them.
How Long Do Slip and Fall Settlements Take in Fresno, CA?
Before a Fresno slip and fall case can get started, it has to be filed before the statute of limitations expires. The statute of limitations is the amount of time the injured person has to file their case. According to Section 335.1 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, a premises liability case has to be filed within two years from the time of the injury; if the case is not filed within that period, then the courts will not hear it. Once a case has been filed on time, there are many different factors that could affect the length of the case.
First of all, there are the settlement negotiations between the two parties, namely the plaintiff’s slip and fall lawyer and the insurance company of the defendant. The slip and fall lawyers for the plaintiff and the defendant will try to come up with a settlement amount both parties can agree on. If they manage to do so, then the case concludes, but if they do not agree on an amount, then the plaintiff will have to file a lawsuit against the defendant. Once the lawsuit has been filed, the plaintiff will have to wait for a response from the defendant. Once the response has been received, the lengthy pre-trial discovery process begins.
Once discovery is finished, the next legal procedure is that the two parties will attempt an alternative dispute resolution in order to avoid a trial. That resolution is usually mediation, which is a process where a neutral third party handles negotiations between the slip and fall attorneys of the defendant and the plaintiff.
If the two parties can agree to a settlement amount, then the case is resolved, but if they cannot, then the case goes to trial. A trial is a rare legal outcome in any kind of personal injury case, whether it is a premises liability case or otherwise. But if the case does go to trial, then it will likely be about a year or longer after the accident and will last for a few days or a few weeks.
What all of this means is that a settlement in a premises liability case could take a few months or a few years depending on the factors of the case. No matter how long the case takes, the slip and fall attorney representing the plaintiff will be by the side of their client the whole time.
Call the Grossman Law Office if You Need a Fresno Slip and Fall Attorney
A slip and fall injury could cause serious problems that could negatively affect a person’s life; it could even lead to a wrongful death. That is why anyone who has suffered a slip and fall injury in Fresno should contact the Grossman Law Office as soon as possible.
We are experienced personal injury lawyers who are well versed in various practice areas including premises liability. That means we can provide you with a highly knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who is not afraid to take on the insurance companies on behalf of their client.
It does not matter if the accident took place at someone’s home or at a place of business, our Fresno slip and fall attorneys will make sure that their clients are treated fairly by fighting to get them the compensation they deserve.
So if you were injured in a Fresno slip and fall accident, call the Grossman Law Office for a free consultation of your case. Once you become a client, we will provide you with the legal services and professional representation that you need. And we will never stop fighting for our clients because we know how much they need compensation for the losses they have suffered.
So call the Grossman Law Office if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident; our attorneys are ready and willing to help you.