Slip-and-Fall Accident? Here’s What to Do
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), one out of five falls in the United States result in a serious injury. Older adults are especially at risk—in fact, injuries related to falls account for approximately 3 million hospital visits among seniors every single year. In 2015 alone, fall injuries totaled more than $50 billion in medical costs. If you’ve slipped and fallen due to a dangerous condition on another person’s or company’s property, you should know that the owner may be liable for your injuries. It’s essential that you speak with a personal injury lawyer in Bakersfield right away in order to protect your rights.
Slip-and-fall accidents can be serious occurrences that result in:
- Broken bones
- Hip fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Bleeding, bruising, and cuts
Property owners must comply with a legal obligation that is referred to as duty of care. This means that they are required to keep their premises safe for people who are using a “reasonable” amount of watchfulness, or caution, on the property. If the owner knew about an unsafe condition on their property but has not taken measures to address it, they could be considered negligent by the court. There are certain situations where you could have justification to pursue a lawsuit for your injuries.
If your trip and fall was the result of any of the following, you should reach out to a Bakersfield lawyer for advice:
- Poor lighting conditions
- Uneven or slippery flooring
- Potholes or substantial debris on the property
- Extremely damaged sidewalks
- Other dangerous conditions
A qualified personal injury lawyer has the experience and knowledge needed to inform you of your rights and advise you on what your next steps should be. Working with a lawyer early on will help to ensure that you take the appropriate measures to maximize any potential compensation that you might be owed for the incident.
Report the Accident
The first thing you need to do is inform the property owner or manager about the accident. If you’re unable to get up due to the extent of your injury, ask another customer or passersby to do so, or you can call 911 for assistance. To protect their liability, the property owner may ask you to write up an official statement of the incident. However, you should exercise extreme caution here and inform the parties involved that you will write the statement after you speak to a lawyer.
Collect On-Site Evidence
To win a personal injury case, the most important thing you will need is strong evidence that the property owner knowingly created an unsafe environment for you. Per duty of care, you’ll also have to show that you were using a reasonable amount of care to avoid getting hurt in the first place. While you are on the property, make sure to take plenty of photos of the hazardous conditions that caused your slip and fall. First-hand accounts can also help to strengthen your case, so if there were any witnesses to your incident, you should have them write down exactly what they saw happen before they leave. Be sure to gather their contact information as well as the contact information of the property owner so that you can give it to your lawyer when the time comes.
Don’t Delay Getting Medical Assistance
Even if you didn’t obtain an obvious injury like a broken or fractured bone, it is crucial to seek medical help immediately following a slip-and-fall accident. You might first believe that you’re fine, but it is very common for slip-and-fall victims to feel much worse the days following the accident. You might have internal medical issues that need to be addressed, but those symptoms might not present until hours or even days after the initial incident.
Holding off on getting medical care can negatively impact the outcome of your case. Have a medical professional evaluate and treat you as soon as possible and ask for a copy of their observations and all of the tests that were performed. You should also take your own photos of any obvious injuries like bleeding, cuts, bruises, and broken bones to further prove that you were harmed. Give all this documentation to your lawyer to assist with your case.
Track Any and All Expenses
You should also keep records of any expenses you incur that are related to the slip-and-fall accident. This includes any medical care you might receive such as emergency room visits, surgery, follow-ups, x-rays, physical therapy, etc. Taking time off work to fully recover? Depending on your case, you could be compensated for those lost wages. Additionally, if your injury is so severe that you have been unable to work in the same manner as you did before the incident, you may also be able to sue the property owner for your future lost income.
You may also be able to obtain compensation for any serious pain and suffering that was inflicted upon you due to the accident. The best way to know what you might be eligible to pursue is to contact a personal injury lawyer in Bakersfield.
Get Legal Help in Bakersfield
It’s in your best interest to hire a lawyer as soon as possible after a slip and fall on someone else’s property. Your lawyer can review the circumstances of your specific case, protect your rights under personal injury law, and work to get you the compensation that you deserve. Keep in mind that California has a statute of limitations—from 6 months to 2 years—on filing a personal injury case, so you need to act promptly to have a better chance at achieving a settlement for your injuries.
Should you experience a serious injury following a slip and fall, don’t delay in getting legal representation. Contact the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones in Bakersfield for a comprehensive case assessment. We’ll work hard to get you the compensation that you’re entitled to under personal injury law.