slip and fall

Accidents do happen, but sometimes they are avoidable. If you have been in a slip-and-fall accident in Petaluma that occurred because of someone else’s negligent action or inaction, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. 

What Are Slip-and-Fall Accidents?

Slip-and-fall accidents occur when someone slips or trips and is injured on someone else’s property. This type of personal injury claim falls under the umbrella of premises liability law.

In California, in order to bring a claim for premises liability, there must be proof the property owner or possessor acted negligently in maintaining the safety of their property. Here are the elements that must be present in order to bring a claim for premises liability when a slip-and-fall injury occurs: 

  • The property where the accident occurred is owned or possessed by the defendant;
  • The defendant was negligent in providing “ordinary care” to make the property safe;
  • The plaintiff was harmed because of the negligent care of the property; and
  • The negligence was a substantial factor in causing the injury.

California Civil Code 1714 covers the obligations of property owners to provide “ordinary care” and states that everyone is responsible for this obligation. California is one of few states that, in some circumstances, will hold property owners liable if the injured person was trespassing on their property. 

Who Is Held Liable for a Slip and Fall?

Property owners can be held liable for injuries that occur because of unsafe premises, but any person who rents, leases, possesses, or works on the property can also be liable. For example, if a person slips and falls on frozen yogurt at a dessert shop, the shopkeeper who is renting the space would be liable rather than the property owner because the shopkeeper was responsible for maintaining the property. If a manager was responsible for making sure the shop was clean, they could also be liable. In some cases, multiple people or entities could share liability for your injuries. An experienced Petaluma slip-and-fall injury attorney can help you determine who is legally responsible for your injury. 

Where Do Slip-and-Fall Accidents Happen?

Slip-and-fall accidents can happen anywhere. If you are on someone else’s personal property, at a business, or in a publicly maintained facility when the injury occurred, the person or entity that owns or operates the property could be liable. Here are some examples of how and where slip-and-fall accidents happen:

  • A convenience store has spilled slushie on the floor, and someone trips and falls;
  • A pool at a private residence has a poorly maintained diving board that has no grip and causes a visitor to slip;
  • A public sidewalk is full of big cracks which cause a person to trip and fall; or
  • A grocery store bathroom has slick tile that causes someone to slip.  

There are a lot of situations that could result in slip-and-fall accidents when a property is not reasonably maintained. A Petaluma slip-and-fall injury lawyer can help you determine if the circumstances of your slip and fall might allow you to seek compensation for your injuries. 

Common Injuries Caused by Slip and Falls

The types of injuries sustained from slip and falls vary depending on a number of factors which may include the angle of the fall, the age of the person, the type of surface they fall on, and much more. These are a few of the most common slip-and-fall injuries:

  • Hip or pelvis injuries are common in senior citizens, though they can happen to anyone. This type of injury often requires surgery. 
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a person hits their head when they fall. TBIs can be difficult to diagnose and can cause symptoms ranging from a small headache to life-changing impacts on brain function. 
  • Torn ligaments, tendons, and muscles usually happen when a person overexerts themself while trying to stop the fall. These extremely painful tears can require surgery and years of physical therapy to heal. 
  • Spinal cord injuries can happen when someone twists their back as they try to stop themself from falling. Slipped discs, hernias, and even paralysis can occur. These can be very difficult injuries to treat. 
  • Neck and shoulder injuries result from the angle at which you land when you fall. These types of injuries can have a wide range of consequences, including limited mobility and long-term pain.  

The severity of your injury will impact the amount of monetary compensation you can receive for your case. A Petaluma slip-and-fall injury attorney can help you determine how much compensation to seek according to your medical needs, financial hardship, and the overall impact of the accident on your quality of life. 

What Is the Statute of Limitations in CA for Slip and Fall?

In California, you have up to two years to file a lawsuit for a slip-and-fall accident. The clock starts from the date the accident occurred. There are a few exceptions that could potentially apply. It is best to file your claim as soon as possible, but your Petaluma slip-and-fall injury attorney can determine if an exception applies if you missed the statute of limitations deadline.

If the government was to blame for your slip-and-fall accident, you need to file a claim within six months of your injury. This reduced time limit can apply if your injury occurred on property maintained by a local, state, or federal government entity, such as a city-owned sidewalk or a Department of Education building. 

In California, you have three years to file a claim for personal property damage caused by a slip and fall. This would apply to items like an expensive watch you were wearing or a laptop you were holding that broke when you fell. 

How a Lawyer Can Help You with Your Slip-and-Fall Accident

An experienced Petaluma slip-and-fall injury lawyer can be crucial to the success of your case. Henderson Law has been representing victims like you for over 20 years. We will guide you through the steps to take following a slip and fall in California, conduct a thorough investigation of your case, help you calculate the full value of your claim, and help you make a strong case for compensation. Contact us today by phone or online to schedule your free case consultation.