I am frequently asked by clients in slip and fall accidents and other premises liability accidents what they need to do when involved in one of these injury accidents.
A “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” accident is a class of premises liability case where a person is injured by slipping or tripping and falling due to a dangerous condition on the premises. The incidents can take place inside or outside the actual building and can be caused by cracks and other separations of concrete or other surface, debris and garbage and other obstructions placed in the path of travel, poor lighting of the walking area, potholes, ice, snow, and water just to name a few.
I tell my clients that just because they tripped and fell on someones property the property owner is not automatically liable for their injuries.
In a successful slip or trip and fall case, we must establish that there was a dangerous or defective condition on the property which caused the fall. That’s usually the easy part. We must also show that the property owner or tenant in control knew about the defect before the accident or should have known about it because the defect existed on the property for a long enough time for them to have discovered it. This is the more difficult part and which involves review of business records including sweep logs, and any prior accidents in the area
I tell my clients after a fall to call the police and ambulance if necessary. I also suggest that all evidence is gathered including pictures of the area and the hazard/defect and obtaining of witness information. Witnesses may leave the scene of the accident right away to go about their business never to be seen again. You also want to report the incident to the property owner or tenant. It is important when taking pictures to try and document the shape, size, location and color of the area where the fall occurred along with the general weather and lighting conditions at the time.
It is important that you seek medical treatment immediately following the accident. Any delay or gap in treatment could adversely impact your case. Be sure to document any physical injuries with photographs of things such as bruises, scrapes, cuts and broken bones.
Talk to a lawyer immediately for a consultation and do not talk to the insurance company.
Please call the Law Office of Kevin S. Sullivan at 415-441-1052 or by email to discuss your situation. We handle cases in San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara (San Jose), Contra Costa and Alameda (Oakland) counties.