While slip/trip-and-fall injuries are one of the most common types of injuries (millions of Americans will be injured by slip-and-fall accidents this year and approximately 14,000 people will die as a result of their injuries), they can also be one of the most difficult for attorneys to win. They are often undervalued by defense counsel and insurance companies, and many plaintiffs' attorneys don't know how to properly establish these claims.
Experienced Personal Injury Counsel For All Types Of Slip, Trip Or Fall Accidents
Slip/trip-and-fall accidents can occur in a variety of locations: supermarkets, restaurants, private residences, commercial buildings, parking structures, airports, bus terminals, train stations, public sidewalks and roadways, etc.
There is a reason for every fall, but these reasons may not always be obvious or clear. In order to be successful in a slip/trip-and-fall case, the plaintiff must establish that the reason for the fall was a dangerous condition or hazard that existed on the premises, which created an unreasonable risk of harm to the plaintiff, and that this unreasonably dangerous condition was either created by the defendant or had existed for sufficient time that the defendant should have become aware of the condition and rectified it.
But, very often in slip/trip-and-fall cases, the only witness to the incident is the victim. In such cases, proving that a dangerous condition caused the plaintiff's fall will often depend entirely on the effectiveness of the available evidence (such as pictures of the site), documenting the nature of the condition, gathering useful discovery responses from the defendant regarding the premises and its upkeep, and employing skilled and experienced experts to prove that the condition was a dangerous slipping or tripping hazard.
For example, where a fall occurs due to a slip on a surface that has been made wet by liquid (such as rain or water from sprinklers), the plaintiff will need to show that the surface created a dangerous condition when wet. This can best be done through the measurements of an experienced expert showing that the coefficient of friction on the surface was too low when wet, which created an unreasonable slipping hazard, taking into account other factors such as the presence of handrails, treads, risers, etc. as well.
Defective Public Sidewalk
Where a fall has occurred as a result of an elevated lip on a public sidewalk, the plaintiff must show that the defect in the sidewalk is not trivial, usually by showing that the increase in elevation of the lip was more than ¾ of an inch. The plaintiff's expert may also consider other factors like the demographics of use, the reasonable expectations of a pedestrian in that area, and any features in the area likely to distract the pedestrian's attention or disrupt the pedestrian's line of sight.
Spilled Liquid In A Store
Where a fall has occurred in a store due to a slippery condition created by something that was spilled on the floor by some unknown person, the store may be held liable for the fall if the plaintiff can prove that the store had notice of the spill or should have had notice of the spill under the circumstances because of how long the spill had been present on the floor. Experienced attorneys and experts know how to prove this through eyewitness testimony, market sweeping logs and cleaning records, and other forms of evidence.
All of these types of cases require special elements of proof to establish that the condition causing the fall was an unreasonably dangerous hazard for which the defendant had notice and should be held liable.
How We Can Help You
Attorneys at Easton & Easton, LLP have many years of experience in handling slip/trip-and-fall cases. We know how to use the tools of the law and reputable experts to our clients favor in proving that a slip/trip-and-fall accident was caused by a dangerous condition on the premises. Our years of experience also allow us to seamlessly assess and coordinate medical care to make certain the full extent of our clients' injuries are identified, treated, and provable.
We understand the tricks, stratagems, and defenses the insurance companies and their attorneys use to defeat or minimize a claim, and at Easton & Easton, LLP we utilize our experience, skill, and dedication to make certain our clients do not fall victim to the insurance companies' tricks and stratagems.
Please call our dedicated premises liability lawyers at 800-461-8259 or contact us online for a free initial consultation. If we do not take your case, there is no charge.
Fall From Ladder Placed On Scaffolding By Our Client
Easton & Easton recently acquired $2,000,000 for a client who fell from a two story scaffolding while assisting the HOA President in trying to remove eaves on the second story of a townhome façade. The HOA President had negligently erected the scaffolding, but the Defendants contended that our client had negligently brought a ladder to the top of the scaffold and was working on the ladder when he fell. The Defendants also argued that our client had actually climbed onto the roof of the building and become dizzy before he fell, such that they believed he was 100 percent liable for his own injuries, regardless of whether he fell from the roof or the ladder he negligently brought on top of the scaffold.
In the litigation process, we discovered that the HOA had no workers compensation insurance and that the HOA President did not have a contractor's license for this kind of work. Because work on a scaffold requires a contractor's license, we used regulations under the Labor Code to show that our client was technically an "employee" of the HOA at the time of his injury, such that this was actually an employment-related injury. However, because the HOA had no workers compensation insurance to pay for employee injuries, this employment-related injury was therefore presumed to result from employer negligence under the Labor Code. Additionally, we showed that these laws prevented the employer from claiming any comparative negligence, assumption of the risk, or co-employee negligence defenses that they would have used to shift the blame to our client, thereby essentially making the HOA strictly liable for our client's injuries, which included multiple skull fractures and a traumatic brain injury. Through this intricate strategy of legal of reasoning, we convinced the HOA's insurance carrier of their liability in this matter, even if our client had been on the roof or a ladder on the scaffolding when he fell, such that they paid their full $2,000,000 policy limits.