While some people with vision problems are happy to stick with glasses and contacts, others want a more permanent solution. As a result, there is growing demand for surgical procedures like LASIK and PRK eye surgery. These procedures are usually performed at laser eye centers, which use a specialty laser to cut and reshape your cornea, thereby improving your vision.
Many people are understandably nervous about the prospect of undergoing surgery. However, patients rarely think about the possibility of a slip and fall accident while they’re being examined or waiting to be seen by a doctor. Medical facilities are full of hazards that can cause people to fall, and the laws of premises liability require businesses to ensure the safety of their property for guests and visitors. If someone is hurt as a result of the medical facility’s negligence, they can be sued for the victim’s financial and emotional losses.
If you fell down at a LASIK eye center due to a dangerous condition that the facility knew about or should have known about, contact us to learn about your rights and legal options.
How do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur at a Laser Eye Center?
Most slip and fall accidents at laser eye centers occur due to an act of negligence. Negligence refers to a property owner’s failure to exercise reasonable care, such as regularly inspecting and maintaining their property. Of course, owners of commercial facilities often hire managers and staff to supervise the premises, but ultimately, the owner is responsible if those acting on their behalf fail to take care of a dangerous situation.
As an example, let’s say that a patient is using the bathroom while they’re waiting for an appointment. There is a leaking sink that’s been slowly dripping water onto the floor. However, employees at the center have been lazy about inspecting the bathroom on a nightly basis, and thus, were unaware of the leak. This is clearly a situation they should have known about, so if the patient slips on the puddle, the laser eye center is liable for their injuries.
Keep in mind that patients at a laser eye center have compromised vision to begin with, so they are more likely to slip on something that will cause them to fall. Common slip and fall hazards at medical facilities include:
- Wet floors or lack of warning signs to indicate that the floor is wet.
- Clutter on the floors, like pens, pamphlets, medical supplies, etc.
- Poor lighting, especially in bathrooms, hallways, and corridors.
- Stray cords and wires
- Uneven / warped flooring
- Worn tiles and carpeting
- Old or ineffective anti-slip mats and floor runners
- Improper use of cleaning materials
- Inadequate / defective handrails on staircases
Improper patient protocols can also lead to a slip and fall accident. One of the most commonly administered tests at an ophthalmology center is known as a pupil dilation test, in which the pupils are enlarged so that the doctor can examine your retina and optic nerve. However, the test impairs your vision on a temporary basis, which can be very dangerous for a person who already has limited vision. Patients should be escorted back to a seat, to the bathroom, etc., and warned that they should not walk around by themselves. If the patient is allowed to walk around on their own, there’s a very good chance that they may slip or trip on something.
The circumstances of your accident may be different than what we’ve discussed here. That’s why it’s essential to find an attorney who can investigate your case and determine your eligibility for monetary damages. Call DTLA Law Group and schedule a free case review.
Possible Injuries from a Slip and Fall
Medical facilities are full of hard objects and surfaces, like tile floors, tables, sinks and medical equipment. This is not counting outside surfaces, like sidewalks, concrete steps, and the parking lot. The impact of falling onto a hard surface can be brutal on various parts of your body, such as your knees, hands, head, and back. In addition, you may encounter other hazards on your way down, like sharp objects and corners or a glass window / doorway. As a result, you may end up with one or more of the injuries listed below:
- Broken tailbone
- Collarbone / shoulder fracture
- Hip fracture
- Spinal cord damage
- Fractured ribs
- Wrist / hand sprain
- Broken fingers / toes
- Broken facial bones
- Dental injuries
- Torn ligaments and tendons (soft tissue injuries)
- Knee injury
- Sprained ankle
- Deep lacerations
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injury
- Permanent scars
- Loss of function in the limbs
Falling down in public can be pretty embarrassing, and many people are too flustered to think about going to a doctor. However, putting off treatment can cause your injuries to worsen and leave you with long-term complications, including disability. In some cases, putting off treatment can cause death (hip fractures in the elderly, for example), so please go to an emergency room or to an urgent care center as soon as possible. Contacting an attorney is another step you should take right away, since you will want to initiate an injury claim as soon as possible.
Can I Sue for a Slip and Fall Accident at a LASIK Center?
You may have grounds for a lawsuit against the laser eye center if your accident can be traced to negligent or reckless conduct by the business owner or someone acting on their behalf. This sounds simple in theory, but liability for a slip and fall injury can be very challenging to prove. For one thing, you would have to show 1) that the eye center failed to take precautions that any other business would have taken, and 2) had they taken these precautions, your accident would not have happened.
In addition, the business will likely go out of their way to avoid responsibility instead of making you a fair settlement offer. In many cases, medical facilities blame the patient for doing something that caused or contributed to the accident. Even if this is true, California operates under the standard of pure comparative negligence. This means that each party involved in an accident is assigned a percentage of fault. As long as the laser eye center bears some level of responsibility for the accident, you can still go after them for compensation based on their percentage of fault.
As for how fault is determined in a laser eye center slip and fall accident, that’s something you will need to discuss with our attorneys. For a free one-on-one consultation, please give us a call at our office.
Average Case Value for a Slip and Fall Accident
Questions about the value of a slip and fall injury settlement is a very popular topic during our consultations, which is understandable when you’re struggling to recover from an accident. However, the real question that we need to answer is, “How are settlements for slip and fall cases determined?”
The elements that are used to calculate a slip and fall injury settlement are specific to each client, so it would be a disservice to quote an average value that applies to these accidents in general. On the lower end, we’ve settled cases for $25,000 to $75,000. But serious injury claims involving permanent damage (traumatic brain injury and spinal cord damage, for example) may be worth anywhere from $500,000 to several million dollars. These amounts are determined by a variety of factors, such as:
- Medical expenses to treat the initial injury
- Future medical costs for long-term / severe injuries
- Your level of pain and suffering
- Lost wages from time missed at work
- Loss of earning potential and/or future lost wages
- Mental health issues from the trauma of your accident – PTSD, insomnia, depression, etc.
- The other party’s level of negligence
- Your percentage of responsibility for the accident, if any
This is not a comprehensive list, so there may be other issues we will need to examine in order to calculate an approximate value for your accident claim. If you have questions or concerns about your case that you would like to discuss, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
How long does it take to Settle a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
The case resolution process for a slip and fall lawsuit can vary widely, ranging from a few months to a few years. The majority of our cases settle within 6 to 12 months, meaning we are able to negotiate a payment amount with the defendant’s insurance company. If it’s clear that the other side is unwilling to make a fair offer, we will proceed with a lawsuit in order to recover your losses. At that point, two or more years may be needed to bring you the compensation you deserve.
Free Second Opinion
Do you feel like your attorney isn’t giving your case the time and attention that it deserves? Do you lack confidence in your lawyer’s ability to win your case? Sometimes, a client’s issues with their lawyer are due to personal conflicts that can be resolved through an honest conversation. On the other hand, your lawyer may be incompetent or apathetic to you as a client, which are not qualities that are going to help your case. A second opinion at our law firm will help you gain clarity on these issues and do what is necessary to put your case on the right path. However, you are under no obligation to do anything beyond speaking with us. The consultation is free of charge even if you decide to stay with your attorney, so there’s nothing to lose by contacting us for a free second opinion.
What is the Statute of Limitations to File a Slip and Fall Case?
Under California law, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a slip and fall injury lawsuit. If your injuries do not appear until a later date, you can rely on the discovery rule, which means you have two years from the date of discovering your injuries to file a lawsuit. Either way, it’s imperative to begin the legal process by speaking with an attorney at our law firm. The sooner you act on an injury claim, the better chance you’ll have of gathering evidence and building a solid case for damages. Keep in mind that a lawsuit takes time to prepare, and the courts rarely grant you additional time to pursue a compensation claim. Essentially, if you miss the two-year deadline to file your claim, you will most likely forfeit your right to sue the laser eye center.
Speak to a California Slip and Fall Lawyer
Sustaining an injury is the last thing that’s on an average person’s mind when they’re at a medical center. After all, these are professionals who have committed themselves to ensuring your safety and well-being. Sadly, slip and fall cases are more common at these places than most people assume. As injury lawyers, we believe it’s our duty to hold these businesses responsible and fight for the maximum payment our clients are entitled to.
Of course, the legal process involved doesn’t come cheap, but you should not be burdened with the cost of hiring an attorney. Rest assured that you are protected under the Zero fee guarantee, which means you pay nothing for the entire duration of your case. Our fees are paid by the laser eye center, and that’s only if we win your case. If we lose, you won’t be responsible for any of our expenses.
A free case evaluation is just a phone call away, so contact us today and speak with a slip and fall lawsuit attorney.