WHAT HAPPENS IF I WAS HURT WHEN I FELL IN A STORE OR BUSINESS? WHO IS LIABLE?
Each day 2,000 people in the U.S. seek emergency medical care for injuries related to a fall. Falls are the leading cause of injuries for people over age 24. They are the second leading cause of injury for people ages 10-24. Common injuries from a fall include wrist fractures, knee injuries, concussions and broken bones. 95% of all hip fractures are caused by falls. In 70-80% of all falls, the injured person will heal with time, but 20-30% of the injuries are severe requiring ongoing medical care and significant time off work. Understanding you right to recovery for injuries occurring as a result of a fall in in a store or business may take help from a personal injury lawyer in Fresno who specializes in premises liability.
WHEN A FALL HAPPENS AT A BUSINESS
Every business is required to keep their walking surfaces, such as their store aisles, paths, sidewalks, entry area, steps and stairs in reasonably safe condition. Every business must maintain their walking surfaces in a reasonably safe condition. For example, juries have found businesses were liable for having uneven walking surfaces, raised sidewalks, broken tiles, uneven stairs, poor lighting, slippery floors due to recent mopping or leaks, and unexpected tripping hazards. The business is also required to do reasonable inspections to look for dangerous conditions created by others. For example, juries have found businesses liable for spills or hazards caused by customers which the store unreasonably failed to discover and clean up.
THE BUSINESS PROBABLY HAS INSURANCE
Most stores or businesses have premises liability insurance to cover people who are injured when the business was negligent. Whether the business was negligent will depend whether the business created the dangerous condition or if they knew about it and failed to fix it or warn about it. Some insurance policies have Medical Payment coverage, which pays the medical bills for people injured on the business’ property. Most chain stores do not have Medical Payment coverage, but many smaller businesses and most offices have it.
If you are injured, you should immediately report the injury to the store or business, so they can report it to their insurance company. The insurance company will usually try to make contact with you. The insurance company will not usually volunteer that they have Medical Payment coverage. You or your attorney will need to ask about Medical Payment coverage.
EVIDENCE OF FAULT
You or your attorney will have to prove the injuries from your fall were caused by the negligence of the business. If you are injured in a slip and fall (or trip and fall) you should gather as much evidence as possible. Take pictures of the area, including anything you believe may have contributed to your fall. Take down the names of witnesses and/or store employees. Look for video cameras and take pictures of any video cameras. As soon as possible you or your attorney should make a written request that the business preserve all evidence of the fall, including preserving the video from before, during and after the incident.
If the negligence of a business caused your injuries, the business owes you compensation. California is a negligence-based insurance state, meaning you or your lawyer will have to prove the business was negligent before bringing a claim. Hire a Fresno personal injury attorney with premises liability experience for assistance with your claim.
In 2004 with a verdict exceeding $1,000,000 as a result of a grocery store slip and fall, Rene’ Turner Sample positioned herself as the attorney to whom other attorneys referred their premises liability cases. She is respected by her peers for having taken more slip and fall cases to trial than any other lawyer in the area. Although most cases do not go to trial, it is her thoroughness in investigating incidents and her willingness to go to trial, which lead to so many successful settlements.
Jane Doe v. Grocery Store: Establishing Negligence with No Physical Evidence
The store’s video captured Jane Doe fall, but the store employees were not able to find anything on the floor. Depositions of witnesses established the wet floor cone seen in the video were only used when an employee had recently cleaned up a spill. Our experts established the floor was not slippery when dry, which allowed us to establish the employee failed to ensure the floor was dry before he left the area. Jane Doe required shoulder surgery. Settlement $425,000.
Jane Doe v. Shopping Mall: No Video of Fall, but Video Shows Clean Up.
Jane Doe slipped on a large amount of water near a fountain in a shopping mall. The roaming mall video camera did not capture the fall. The mall initially denied there was water on the floor, but when we requested video for the hour before and after the fall, we discovered the cleaning crew at the scene cleaning up the mess. Jane Doe had an SI Injury requiring with Spinal Cord Stimulator. Settlement $1,800,000