Do I Have a Slip and Fall Case?
San Jose Slip and Fall Attorney Explains Recovery Options
Slip and fall accidents are listed among the top causes of serious injury among all age groups. Injuries from a fall can range from minor bumps and bruises to traumatic brain injuries and even wrongful death. Older adults are especially at risk for serious and life-threatening injuries. Due to these risks, property owners and occupiers have a duty to ensure their property is reasonably safe and free from fall hazards. Depending on the circumstances, this means that property owners may have to routinely inspect their property and take steps to correct dangerous conditions. When these parties neglect their duty to secure their premises and you sustain injuries in a fall as a result, then you have grounds for a legal claim.
Slip and fall injury cases are often particularly difficult since evidence is usually scarce. Property owners may quickly correct or remove the fall hazard after the accidents. Additionally, valuable evidence such as video footage may be erased or lost after only a few days. Therefore, you should always consult a San Jose slip and fall attorney as soon as possible after an accident. At the Law Offices of Braid Pezzaglia, we have experience negotiating favorable settlements and litigating injury cases concerning fall accidents. We understand how to investigate these particular personal injury cases and can take steps to preserve valuable evidence.
What Are Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents?
When most people think about slip and fall accidents, they picture someone slipping on spilled liquid on the floor. While spills are a common fall hazard, many different conditions can cause slip and fall accidents when left unaddressed, including:
- Uneven surfaces on the floor or ground. Even small variations, such as dips or bumps, in a walking surface can cause a slip or trip and fall accident. For example, variations can be as simple as a change from carpet to tiling.
- Unmarked height changes in the floor or ground. A single step up or down between levels can cause a serious accident, if visitors are not warned of the height change. Property owners should clearly mark these level changes to prevent accidents.
- Wet floors. A particular hazard in grocery stores and restaurants, property owners and staff must address spills and puddles quickly. Additionally, they should put up warning signs until the area is completely dry.
- Snow or ice. Property owners may be unable to completely eliminate slip hazards from snow and ice. However, they must take reasonable steps to minimize fall dangers.
- Cracks in floors or pavement. Unaddressed cracks in stores, parking lots and other walking areas can cause serious slip and fall injuries.
- Stairs that are in disrepair, including broken or missing handrails. Slip and fall accidents that occur due to defective or poorly lit stairs often cause catastrophic personal injuries.
- Hazardous objects and/or debris in walkways. Property owners have a duty to keep walkways clear from clutter to prevent falls.
- Potholes. Holes or defects in the road or on sidewalks can cause serious injuries; in these cases, the city or government agency in charge of the area may be liable.
How Do I Prove Fault in a Slip and Fall Accident?
For a successful slip and fall claim, you and your attorney must be able to demonstrate that the property owner failed his or her legal obligation to make the premises safe. This can be difficult, and property owners are generally not liable for accidents that a reasonable person could have avoided. For example, if you fall on a stairwell after the owner warned you that the stairs were in disrepair and roped off the area, then you may not have a claim.
To recover damages after a slip and fall accident, you and your attorney generally must prove:
- The person responsible for the property and/or employees knew or should have known of the dangerous condition.
- The person responsible for the property and/or employees failed to correct or warn of the dangerous condition.
- You sustained significant injury due to the accident caused by the uncorrected dangerous condition.
Determining liability for a slip and fall accident usually requires an investigation into the property conditions. However, this may be difficult, especially if the condition that led to your injuries no longer exists. Therefore, it is best to document the accident by filing a report with the property owner and taking pictures of where you fell, if you are able. Ask for a copy if you file an injury report with a business.
A premises liability attorney in San Jose will know, based on your circumstances, what documentation and evidence you need to proceed with your claim. The time you have to file your claim is limited; if a public entity is at-fault, then the time limit may be even shorter. To protect your right to compensation, you should speak with a San Jose slip and fall lawyer right away.
Slip or Fall on Someone Else’s Property? Call Our San Jose Slip and Fall Attorney
If you were injured after slipping, tripping or falling on someone else’s property, then contact an experienced San Jose premises liability lawyer at the Law Offices of Braid Pezzaglia. We can start an investigation right away to preserve necessary evidence. Then, we can assist you in determining the liable party and filing a claim. Call our office at (408) 650-8955 or contact us online to discuss the circumstances of your injury.