The law requires any place open to the public to be free from dangerous or hazardous conditions that would lead to an injury. If the owner caused the hazard or didn’t take steps to eliminate the hazard, and someone is injured as a result, the owner could be liable to pay for damages.
In Visalia, a fall is one of the primary causes or personal injuries, and they happen in many ways. Some of these come from slipping on wet floors, sidewalks, and pathways. Other falls occur from tripping over objects on the ground or even the ground itself.
Similar to a slip-and-fall is a trip-and-fall. Both are a cause of injuries to people who are on another person’s property such as a public store, sporting arena or outdoor public space like parks and sidewalks. In any of these places, the owner of the place must keep the floor or ground clear of objects and hazards that someone could trip over.
When a fall happens, if the injured person wants to make a claim for compensation for their injuries, they need to prove one of two scenarios:
- That the owner directly caused the hazardous object or item on the floor to be where someone could trip over it, or
- That the owner knew or should have known the hazardous object was there and did not attempt to remove it in a reasonable time.
The key word is reasonable. To determine if the owner was negligent, the law will look at whether the owner took reasonable steps to prevent or remove the hazard. Most stores and public places have plans in place to check for hazards. If these steps were reasonable, and the owner could prove that he or she took those reasonable steps, they might not be held liable even if the person tripped over an object and got injured.
However, if you live in Visalia and were hurt in a trip-and-fall, don’t take the owner or insurance companies word that the owner did everything reasonable to prevent the fall. This isn’t their first trip-and-fall, so they know what to do. But most likely it is yours.
What to do after a Trip-and-Fall Accident
- If you are able and have a camera or your phone, take pictures of the hazard and try to get the names and contact information of anyone who saw the incident. Also get the names of the employees around at the time.
- Don’t talk to the store’s insurance company or any of their representatives until you have spoken to an attorney and have been made aware of your rights.
- Document everything so that you can later recall things that you saw, heard or felt.
- Make an appointment with a competent, experienced trip-and-fall attorney.
Trip and Fall Injuries
The number one fall injury is a bone fracture. When someone falls, they instantly feel out of control and will brace themselves for the impact. This is natural, but it also causes broke bones. Other injuries happen as well because of the dynamics of a fall. Some of the most common trip-and-fall injuries are:
- Broken Wrists/Forearm
- Broken Hip
- Broken Collarbone
- Broken Ankle/Leg
- Sprains and Strains
- Back Injuries
- Head Injuries/Concussion
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Nerve Damage
Common Trip-and-Fall Locations
While a trip or a slip can happen anywhere, there are some locations that are inherently more susceptible to a fall or slip due to owner negligence. Some of these locations include:
- Grocery stores
- Gas stations
- Shopping malls
- Parking lots
Objects left out in the public walking area are the most typical hazards that lead to a trip-and-fall. Next are structural areas that are either in disrepair or poorly designed. Basically, a trip-and-fall hazard can be just about anything that could lead to someone tripping. Some of the most common of these are:
- Boxes (empty or full of product)
- Uncovered Hoses, Cables
- Drawers left open
- Mops/Cleaning Equipment
- Signs including improperly placed Caution Signs
- Maintenance Equipment
- Uneven Flooring/Sidewalks
- Uneven Mats/Upturned Carpet Corners
- Gaps in Floors like Cracks and Missing Material
- Poorly Maintained Floors
Do I need an Attorney if I Trip and Fall?
Trips and falls can be terrifying incidents, not to mention painful. When you fall, you should consult an attorney who can inform you of your rights. These types of claims can be tricky to prove, so it is imperative that you speak with a lawyer who is knowledgeable and has experience winning these types of cases.
The insurance companies will use every tool they have to demonstrate that their clients aren’t at fault. Maison Law attorneys are experienced in these types of claims and know how to effectively defend you against insurance company tactics.
Talk to an attorney that you can trust to give you trusted advice. Contact Maison Law at 559-203-3333 for your free consultation so that you can start focusing on the important things – like recovering from your injuries.