Orange County Slip and Fall Attorney
Experienced Orange County Slip/Trip and Fall Attorneys Since 1984
Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common claims made in personal injury lawsuits. If you have sustained injuries in a slip or fall incident, contact an experienced Orange County slip and fall attorney to learn your options for recovery.
In many cases, the property owner may be responsible for the accident. An Orange County slip and fall attorney at Russell & Lazarus APC can explain to you that under the legal theory of premises liability, property owners owe a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe to visitors and guests. Failure to do so can lead to liability. We have 25 years experienced proving such claims.
Proving Your Case With the Help of an Orange County Slip And Fall Attorney
Slip and fall accidents are generally considered negligence claims. This means that property owners may be liable for carelessly maintaining their property or not meeting a reasonable standard of due care. An Orange County slip and fall attorney can tell you that in order to hold the property owner liable, you will generally have to prove that certain elements were present at the time of your accident.
Hazards on the Premises
Hazards that result in a slip and fall come in various forms. For instance, it’s common for gas stations to have areas where they dispense coffee or soft drinks. This area is very likely to have liquid spilled on the floor around it.
In other words, proprietors or employers of a proprietor should know that this area is likely to become wet and that can result in a slip and fall accident. Wet floors, however, are not the only reasons that a slip and fall can occur. Others include:
- Cracked or damaged concrete
- Debris that someone has left in an area that sees foot traffic
- Icy or slippery pavement, stairs, or concrete
The mere presence of these potential hazards, however, is not enough to prove that the property owner is liable for injuries that occurred due to the environmental hazard. Your slip and fall attorney must also be able to prove negligence.
Understanding the Role of Negligence
The majority of personal injury lawsuits are decided by the question of negligence. Slip and fall cases are among those where negligence plays a central role. In order for a slip and fall attorney to prove negligence, three factors must be present. Those are:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to patrons
- The defendant breached that duty of care
- As a result of that breach, the plaintiff has sustained an injury
What does that mean in a slip and fall case?
In Order for a Property Owner to Be Held Responsible, You Must Prove the Following:
- The property owner or agent working at the property — such as an employee — must have been the reason behind the dangerous condition; for example, if a grocery store employee spilled a bottle of cooking oil in a grocery store aisle.
- The property owner or employee must have been aware of the dangerous condition, yet chose not to do anything about it. For instance, perhaps the grocery store employee who spilled a bottle of cooking oil in the aisle tells her manager about the spill. The manager tells the employee that the spill can be cleaned up after the manager and the employee take a 15-minute break. During those 15 minutes, a customer steps in the oil and subsequently falls and breaks her hip.
- The property owner or employee should have been aware of the hazardous condition since a “reasonable” person caring for the area would have noticed the condition and made arrangements to remove or repair the condition.
The elements to prove a slip and fall accident are very fact specific. You will want to discuss the details of your case with an Orange County slip and fall attorney to learn your options for recovery and to calculate potential damages. Your attorney can also help review potentially mitigating factors like your own negligence and other roadblocks to recovery.
Your Responsibility in a Slip and Fall Case
If you sue a property owner for slipping and falling on their property, they can raise the defense that the environmental hazard that caused the slip and fall was “open and obvious”. In other words, you are expected to exercise reasonable care in order to avoid a potential hazard. You can’t simply throw yourself into a pothole and sue the government.
On the other hand, if there is a serious hazard that can logistically cause a slip and fall, and the property owner or employees cannot remedy the situation right away, the property owner has an obligation to post some notice that the area is potentially dangerous. For instance, a “Caution: Slippery When Wet” sign is commonly found when employees mop up a spill.
A slip and fall attorney will help you decide whether or not your slip and fall lawsuit is worth pursuing.
How Much Can I Recover in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
Let’s say that all the groundwork to prove your slip and fall lawsuit is there and your slip and fall attorney thinks that you can prove your case in court. What happens next and what can you expect as a settlement?
Typically, personal injury claimants make their claims against insurance policies. This can either be homeowner insurance or a company’s own liability insurance. If a homeowner is uninsured, it may be very difficult to collect damages. You can sue them directly, but you’re drawing directly from their assets. If they don’t have a lot of assets or money to sue for, it may not be worth the effort to go after them. That is something that you can discuss with your slip and fall attorney.
Damages in Slip and Fall Cases
In a slip and fall case, you are entitled to collect on:
- Present and future medical expenses
- Present and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment
Economic damages are relatively straightforward. If you miss time from work, you are entitled to collect for lost wages. If your injury prevents you from doing your job, then you are entitled to collect for lost future wages. You are entitled to collect for any medical expenses you might have. If you have to secure new employment, you are entitled to collect for training related to that employment.
What Are Non-Economic Damages?
Non-economic damages include elements like pain and suffering. For each day that you experienced pain, the jury will assign a number. They will then multiply it by the number of days you were in pain. That will be your compensation for pain and suffering.
Other non-economic damages can include loss of enjoyment. Let’s say you slipped and fell in an icy parking lot and you attempted to break your fall with your hand. As a result, you suffered a severe fracture to your wrist. You were an avid tennis player who enjoyed competing in amateur tournaments. The jury will consider this loss when calculating your damages.
For those that sustained severe hip injuries, they may no longer be able to walk properly without the aid of a cane or a walker. The jury will consider this when calculating damages.
In each case, having an experienced slip and fall attorney to litigate your case will help you manage stingy insurance companies and receive the full value of your claim.
You will only get one chance to collect damages on your accident. You need a slip and fall attorney who will advocate tirelessly on your behalf.
Contact the Experienced Orange County Slip and Fall Attorneys at Russell & Lazarus APC
If you have suffered injury in a slip and fall accident on another person’s property, talk to an experienced attorney. Liability for these accidents are very fact specific and you will want a knowledgeable Orange County slip and fall lawyer on your side to argue what is “reasonable.”
Contact a personal injury attorney at Russell & Lazarus APC to get started on your case. You can reach us by calling (949) 556-9824 to schedule a complimentary case evaluation with an Orange County slip and fall attorney.