If you suffered a severe injury in a slip and fall accident due to a property owner's negligence, you might have questions about your right to compensation for the losses that followed. A slip and fall lawyer helps victims of devastating accidents get the help they need and avoid paying the price for someone else's mistake. They act as your legal representative and protect your rights during every step of the insurance claim or litigation process. To understand how they can help you specifically, you can schedule a risk-free, no-obligation consultation, but first, consider how they help build a case around premises liability.
How Does Premises Liability Apply to Slip and Fall Cases?
Premises liability is a legal concept that governs torts occurring on someone else's property due to the property owner's failure to maintain conditions safe enough for lawful visitors. Additionally, premises liability in California defines a legal visitor as:
- Someone directly invited by the property owner, such as a friend or relative, invited into their home
- Someone indirectly invited by the property owner, such as guests at a hotel, patrons at a restaurant, or shoppers in a supermarket
- Someone with implied consent to be on the property, such as a public works employee
Under premises liability, if you can prove that the property owner failed to uphold the duty of care owed to you and that breach of duty resulted in an accident that caused your injuries and losses, you can file a claim or lawsuit against them for damages. However, not all cases are straightforward when trying to establish liability. To help you get the compensation you need to heal and move on, you can contact a personal injury lawyer with experience in slip and fall accidents.
What Tasks Do Slip and Fall Lawyers Perform?
Slip and fall lawyers guide victims of a property owner's negligence through the legal process of getting the compensation they need. Some common tasks they perform include:
- Negotiating with the property owner's insurance company to reach a fast settlement
- Adequately valuing your losses to ensure you receive a fair settlement
- Investigating the accident to establish liability and prove the property owner is at fault
- Gathering evidence to support your claim for damages
- Drafting a list of questions to ask the property owner about the accident
- Preparing all the paperwork necessary to file a lawsuit if the insurance company is combative
- Preparing the case for trial if the adjustor fails to offer a fair settlement
- Protecting your rights and navigating you through the legal process, so you understand what happens in each step
Insurance companies are known to respond to claims with a substantial payout by trying to shift blame away from the property owner and back to the victim. Sometimes, they may even use bad-faith tactics to avoid paying for a valid claim. The best way to combat these tactics is not to engage with them personally but to hire a slip and fall accident attorney. They will protect you from attempts to entice an admission of guilt and ensure the company does not get away with any wrongful actions.
How Does a Slip and Fall Lawyer Establish Liability?
The burden of proof for a personal injury case is lower than that of a criminal case. You and your attorney only need to show that the property owner is more likely than now responsible for the accident that resulted in your injuries and losses. First, they start by asking you questions the insurance company could use to redirect blame:
- Were you paying attention to where you were going when the accident occurred?
- What footwear did you have on, and was it appropriate for the space?
- Were you carrying anything at the time? If so, what was it, and in which hand did you have it?
- Was there a handrail or something near you could use to guide you?
- Were you on the phone when the fall occurred?
- Did you reach for anything to stop your fall?
- Was there any signage in the area to signal a potential hazard?
- Were you in an area permissible for visitors?
- Is there a camera covering the area?
Some of the most common slip and fall accidents occur on construction sites. Unfortunately, it can happen to construction workers or passersby, and these are some of the most dangerous accidents, given workers' elevated heights and vulnerability. If you slipped, fell, and suffered an injury on a construction site, a slip and fall accident lawyer can help you understand how to access compensation for your losses.
What Laws Govern Slip and Fall Accidents in California?
Apart from the premises liability rule, a few laws govern slip and fall accident cases in California. First, you can access more than one way to get the compensation you need. Second, you can still receive a settlement or award if you are partially responsible, and finally, you have a definitive timeframe to file a lawsuit.
Avenues to Compensation
When making a slip and fall accident claim, you have a few avenues to compensation you can access depending on the circumstances of your case. For example, if the fall occurred in a store or other public business, you could file your claim with the owner's commercial liability insurance policy. If the fall happened in another person's home, you could file a claim with their homeowner's insurance policy. Finally, you can file a lawsuit against the property owner at any stage.
Shared Fault Law
Suppose the court finds you partially at fault for the accident and your injuries. In that case, you can still access a lesser amount from the total damages per the pure comparative negligence rule used to govern shared fault in California tort law. This means you could be more at fault than the property owner and still recover some compensation. Therefore, the amount deducted will equal the percentage of liability you possess.
Statute of Limitations
According to California law, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim for a slip and fall accident. In addition, if the fall resulted in damage to your property, you have a three-year deadline to file a suit to repair or replace it. If you fail to meet either deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case without a review.
When Should You Hire a Slip and Fall Lawyer To Handle Your Case?
It is never too soon to talk to a slip and fall lawyer about your case and learn all the options available to get the compensation you need. Suffering a severe injury in any situation is devastating, but knowing the cause was someone else's negligence only makes it more frustrating. Accident attorneys specializing in slip and fall cases know the burdens victims face and can help build a case to get the compensation they deserve. At Johnson Attorneys Group, we have helped victims of negligent property owners recover millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts within recent years. We are confident in our ability to build a strong case, which is why we charge no upfront fees for our services. We only get paid if you win a settlement or award. Contact us at (800) 208-3538 to schedule your free case review today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about your case.