Accidents on SidewalksThose who own businesses or other properties are responsible for the land they directly own, but they also have a duty to care for the immediate land in front of their locations. Sidewalks, for example, must be properly and adequately maintained by property owners, and to a certain extent, sidewalks and the street. One of the universal rules is that the sidewalk should be kept free of hazards, such as debris, and that it should be repaired if there are any cracks or holes in it. Property owners also must make sure that inclement weather does not negatively impact people who use the sidewalk. A snowstorm could result in ice building up on the sidewalk, while some rain may mix with grease and oil and make the walking areas slick. Many individuals may not be aware that the property owner has a responsibility for caring for the sidewalk. However, other parties can also be responsible, such as construction crews. Some of the most common reasons for trip and falls can be attributed to cracks and raised sections of the sidewalk, tree roots, uncleared dirt and debris, wet leaves, and more. There are numerous injuries that you can sustain if you fall on the sidewalk. These could be compounded if you fall into the street, down a staircase, or onto hard pavement. Some examples include:
- Broken arm
- Broken wrist
- Broken fingers
- Sprained ankle
- Dislocated shoulder
- Bruises and abrasions
- Lacerations and cuts
- Nerve damage
- Torn muscles and tendons
- Knee damage
- Torn ACL and MCL
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Herniated and bulging discs
- Traumatic brain injury
Learn more about your options for compensation by calling (213) 389-3765.
Negligence of a Property OwnerIn order for you to be able to sue a property owner for negligence concerning your fall on a sidewalk, you must be able to show that the hazard was his fault. The laws of premises liability can be viewed as such:
- The owner caused the hazard to exist on the sidewalk
- The owner knew the hazard existed and did nothing to remedy the issue
- The owner should have reasonably known that the hazard existed as any other careful property owner would have
- You were owed a duty of care by the property owner
- The duty of care was breached by the property owner not adequately or sufficiently taking care of the sidewalk
- The breach of duty led to an accident, such as a trip and fall
- The accident resulted in physical injuries
Steps to Take after a Slip and FallIt is often frustrating in the wake of a slip and fall accident, especially if you were seriously hurt. You will likely be angry that there was a problem with the sidewalk and scared for your health. As long as you have access to a phone or someone nearby can call for help, you will be safe. If you follow these steps, you will also be protected for when you choose to pursue legal action.
- Immediately seek medical attention for your injuries. The paramedics can come and treat you at the scene or transport you to the hospital. Some people get right back up and do not go to the doctor at all; this is a crucial error, and it can prevent you from receiving the compensation you deserve. Your injuries may not appear immediately, so a doctor’s visit is extremely important. The longer that you wait, the more likely it will be that the property owner will claim that you were hurt in an incident separate from the sidewalk fall, and you are merely trying to place your blame elsewhere.
- Take pictures of the sidewalk and the scene of the accident to document the defect, crack, debris, hazard, or whatever else is relevant to your case. You should have ample photographs and videos as evidence.
- Photograph your injuries to show the extent of your damages from the fall.
- Take down the personal information and insurance details of the property owner so you can contact him and his insurance company to pursue a claim.
- Contact a qualified slip and fall lawyer in Los Angeles so your claim will be properly handled. Many individuals try to file claims with no legal help and wind up out of luck with rejected lawsuits and lost cases. Enlisting the help of a professional attorney will benefit you in numerous ways.
Call (213) 389-3765 to set up a free, no obligation consultation to find out if you have a case.
Time Limit on Your LawsuitIt is important that you file a claim as quickly as possible to ensure that all of your evidence remains intact and that there are no large gaps between the injuries and the treatment you receive. In California, there’s a statute of limitations of 2 years from the date of the injury, after which you won’t be able to file a claim. The deadline exists so that each party has ample time to prepare for the case and because waiting too long is unfair for all involved. Evidence may get corrupted or lost, the establishment may go out of business, and the injuries you suffered may have been so minor that pursuing compensation years later is not worth it. However, it is important to understand that the statute of limitations is different for any government or municipal buildings and land. In this case, you only have 6 months from the time of the injury to take action. If the government agency denies your claim, you then have 2 years to file a civil case. You must go through the agency first before you can take additional action. You may be eligible for an exception to the statute of limitations if your circumstances allow it. For example, you may have been underage when you slipped and fell, so your statute of limitations would begin counting down from the day you turned 18. The property owner may have left the state for a period of time, so the deadline would be changed to reflect the date he returned. Speak with a lawyer for more information on if you have enough time to file your claim. We will make sure that all necessary documents are submitted on time.
Compensation You Can ReceiveA slip and fall lawsuit against a property owner can result in numerous kinds of compensation for your damages. You should not be forced to pay for any expenses resulting from the incident; the property owner or building manager can be held responsible for your bills and debts. A personal injury claim can net you the following:
- Coverage for medical expenses (surgery, hospitalization, anesthesiologist, x-ray costs, physical therapy, medication, etc) from the past and future
- Lost income from the past and future
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering (PTSD, anxiety, psychological trauma, fear, emotional scarring)