Everyday in California someone slips or trips and falls in a retail or commercial environment. Often times the cause is the neglect of the property or business owner in not maintaining a reasonably safe environment for patrons. Those who suffer injuries as a result of a slip or trip and fall accident have certain rights that need protecting. Preparing for the eventual possibility, if not probability, that you may have to prove your case in court, an accident victim should take certain steps to ensure their claim is perfected as well as it can be.
The first and most important step is to document the circumstances surrounding the fall. While it may not immediately occur to you to do this, you, a friend or family member should take the following steps as close in time to the happening of the accident as possible:
- Photograph the area of the fall and any slip/trip hazard present (i.e., water or liquid on a salesfloor, etc.)
- Gather names of witnesses to the fall
- Report the accident to management while at the scene, or as soon thereafter as possible
- Seek immediate medical attention for any injuries sustained
- Document as soon as possible what happened in notes intended to be shared in the future with an attorney
Every slip/trip and fall accident is different, and the victim's ability to accomplish everything on the list above will vary from case to case. However, it is important to as many of these things as soon as possible since the loss of evidence is often what compromises the merit of such a case. If the cause of the accident is not readily apparent, the scene should still be documented since some cases will depend on the eye and opinion of an expert. For example, while there may not appear to be anything dangerous on a floor when a victim falls, the co-efficient of friction (slipperiness) of the floor may have been the invisible cause. It would be important in such a case just to establish the cleanliness and general condition of the flooring so that later expert testing can simulate the same condition.
An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to evlauate the evidence collected, and perhaps collect additional evidence, in order to ensure the victim's case is fairly evlauated and thereafter presented, should the claim be meritorious. In some cases, only the investigation permitted after the filing of a lawsuit (civil discovery) will permit the attorney a fair opportunity to determine whether the case is truly valid.
Compensation for the victims of fall accidents, caused by another’s negligence, should be an important concern for all Californians. When a trip and fall occurs on someone else’s property because of the owner’s negligence, the owner should be held accountable. An Orange County injury lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has more than 19 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type. He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.
Have you or a loved one been injured in a slip or trip and fall accident?
- This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.