From skydiving to horseback riding, there are all kinds of activities that require an assumption of injury risk—and for good reason. Extreme sports and other recreational activities are inherently dangerous, even when you take all recommended precautions.
Chances are, however, most of the things you do on a day-to-day basis aren’t especially risky. You don’t have to sign a waiver of liability before entering the grocery store, for example, or when visiting a friend’s apartment complex.
This is because property owners and occupiers have a duty to maintain their premises to a reasonably safe standard. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean they always do.
If you slipped and fell on someone else’s property, sustaining a serious back injury in the process, you may be entitled to compensation for the resulting losses. Before you can recover a payout, though, you will have to prove how the defendant did, in fact, breach the duty of care. You will also have to prove causation and damages.
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when facing such an undertaking, but if you hire the right premises liability attorney, you will be able to focus on your health and family while your case proceeds in good hands. Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about slip and fall back injury claims so you know what to expect along the way:
1. Who May Be Liable for the Slip and Fall Accident in Which I Was Hurt?
The facts of the case will ultimately determine whom you name in your claim. Thankfully, an experienced personal injury lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation to identify all responsible parties.
When it comes to slip and fall accidents, there are generally a few individuals or organizations that may be to blame. Such parties include:
- The property owner;
- The individual or business occupying the premises;
- The property manager;
- The maintenance contractor; and
- The construction crew that performed work on the property.
2. How Can I Prove Liability for My Back Injury?
The strongest evidence of liability will depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident. Generally speaking, though, it will probably include some combination of the following:
- Footage from surveillance cameras near the scene;
- Photographs of the condition or hazard that caused you to slip and fall;
- The incident report;
- Deposition from eyewitnesses; and
- The property’s maintenance records.
3. What Kinds of Damages Might Be Available in Slip and Fall Claims?
In successful personal injury claims, California allows for the recovery of both monetary and non-monetary losses. As long as you can prove you incurred them, you should be able to seek compensation for the following:
- Ambulance fees;
- Hospital bills;
- Ongoing rehabilitation;
- Prescription medication;
- Home care;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future earnings;
- Home and vehicle modifications;
- Domestic help;
- Child care;
- Property repairs;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of enjoyment in life; and
- Pain and suffering.
Your spouse or registered domestic partner may also be entitled to compensation for loss of consortium. This encompasses the loss of moral support, intimacy, and companionship he or she incurs as a result of your injuries.
4. How Can I Prove the Extent of My Damages?
You can use relevant bills, receipts, and invoices to demonstrate your total monetary losses. If your back injury is so severe that you’re unable to return to the workforce, you may also need expert deposition from various specialists, like economists and industry forecasters who can speak on your career trajectory. Their analyses can help your legal team approximate the value of lost earning capacity.
Because they’re not accompanied by any receipts, proving non-monetary losses poses more of a challenge. There are ways, however, to contextualize such damages.
For example, your attorney will likely advise you to start a personal injury journal as soon as possible. Detailed entries discussing the everyday hurdles you now face will highlight the ways in which the incident has hurt your quality of life. You can also use deposition from friends, loved ones, and colleagues discussing the changes they’ve noticed in you. Professional evaluations from medical providers like therapists can help prove the extent of your non-economic damages, as well.
5. How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Following a Slip and Fall?
Most premises liability claims are resolved without filing suit. If the insurer is uncooperative or denies liability, however, filing a formal lawsuit may be the only way to pursue the compensation you deserve—and in the state of California, you will have a limited amount of time to do so.
The standard statute of limitations for personal injury suits is two years from the date on which the cause of action occurred. If your back injury was not apparent right away, though, you may have just one year from when it was discovered—or should have been discovered through reasonable diligence—to file suit.
Like most statutes, there are several exceptions to these deadlines, so it’s wise to consult an attorney as soon as possible. If you slipped and fell on government property, for example, you may have just six months to file an administrative claim. Should the agency deny your claim, you will have six months from the date on which the rejection letter was mailed to file a formal suit.
6. How Can I Strengthen My Premises Liability Claim?
After evaluating the situation, your legal team will provide specific strategies for contributing to the strength of your claim. Regardless of the circumstances, though, you will likely be advised to:
- Follow your doctor’s orders;
- Refer all correspondence with the opposing party to your lawyer;
- Avoid posting about the incident, the pending claim, or your social life online;
- Save relevant records and receipts; and
- Write daily journal entries about the road to recovery.
Call (562) 206-1939 to Discuss Your Case with a Long Beach Premises Liability Attorney
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
If you sustained a serious back injury after slipping and falling on someone else’s property, turn to the Law Office of Michael D. Waks. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident, interview eyewitnesses, obtain evidence of negligence, track damages, and help you pursue a fair settlement or verdict. Call (562) 206-1939 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a premises liability lawyer in Long Beach.