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All across San Bernardino businesses, it can happen in an instant. You’re browsing in a grocery store, round the corner, and before you know it, your legs fly out from under you. The culprit? A bottle of spilled liquid in the aisle.
You’ve just suffered a common type of accident known as a slip and fall. Slip and falls, and related accidents such as trip and falls, pose dangers in retail establishments, hotels, theme parks, construction sites, workplaces, and homes.
Property owners in San Bernardino owe a duty to their visitors and customers to maintain a safe and hazard-free environment. If you or a loved one is injured in a slip and fall accident, call the experienced San Bernardino slip and fall attorneys at Gomez Trial Attorneys. We can advise you of your rights and fight to see that justice is done. Our initial consultation is always free.
Slip and fall incidents in San Bernardino can severely injure people, leading to a pile-up of medical bills and the inability to work and earn. The cumulative effects can lead to substantial stress and financial hardship—even mountains of medical debt and bankruptcy. With an attorney fighting for you, you are in a better position to receive the compensation to which you’re entitled.
Gomez Trial attorneys have secured numerous settlements and awards in slip and falls for past clients:
Note that these are only past results and do not necessarily guarantee any future claims, awards, or settlements for prospective clients. Our lawyers can discuss your case with you and advise you of potential next steps.
If you’ve suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, your ability to achieve compensation for your injuries and other harm hinges on the concept of negligence.
All property owners owe a duty of care to the public. The duty of care is simple: owners must keep their premises (the building and related grounds and public areas) safe. These areas must not contain any area where someone could slip, trip, and fall—or suffer any other injury.
According to California law, “Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person.” If property owners do not make their premises safe, they have breached the duty of care required, and, as a result, may be considered negligent. Negligent parties become liable (financially responsible) for injuries caused directly by their negligence.
San Bernardino property owners must routinely inspect, maintain, and repair their property to ensure this safety. According to California law, a property owner’s unawareness of unsafe conditions is not a defense, because the law follows a reasonably prudent person standard. If a reasonably prudent person knew or should have known about unsafe conditions, the property owner should have known.
Now, what happens if a property suddenly becomes unsafe for the public? For example, in the incident we mentioned initially, a child may have dropped the liquid just seconds before.
Generally, property owners are responsible for ensuring safe conditions by fixing anything that could trigger a slip and fall. If someone spills a liquid, a cleanup should follow. But because fixing any unsafe condition generally takes at least some time (even if only a few minutes), the law also holds that the property owner needs to warn the public during the interim between an unsafe condition occurring and the repair.
A store owner, for instance, needs to place warning signs and cones around the spill. The warning should consist of not only verbal or signage warnings, but making the area inaccessible to unwitting members of the public.
Property owners also need to ensure appropriate training and instruction for all staff so that they understand the duty of care and will take appropriate steps to ensure it. Ignorance of staff on duty is not a legal defense if an unsafe condition harms someone.
These laws concerning slip and falls and negligence apply to every property owner. Slip and falls can occur in retail establishments like stores, malls, hotels, theme parks, gyms, construction sites and other workplaces, rental properties, private homes, and more.
Conditions that can cause slip and falls include:
Slip and fall injuries range from bruises to catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury.
A catastrophic injury is one where the victim’s ability to work, perform the activities of daily living like getting dressed and eating, and enjoy life is severely compromised. Someone who suffers a catastrophic injury may require medical care for the rest of their life.
Potential injuries include:
Victims of slip and fall accidents in San Bernardino and surrounding areas can seek damage compensation.
This provides financial compensation to folks for physical, emotional, and mental harm.
Damage compensation is sought either from the at-fault party’s insurance company or through a premises liability lawsuit in civil court.
Total damage compensation for any specific slip and fall accident depends on the type of injuries suffered, how serious complications are, and their effects on the injured person’s life.
In other words, there is no standard amount a person injured in a slip and fall receives. We can, however, provide a guide to how monetary damages are determined.
Bills and loss of income are determined by tabulating the loss to the victim. Medical and related bills are added up. If future medical treatment is likely, expert opinion is sought to find out first, what the standard treatment is, and second, what the likely future cost be.
If the injured person had to take time from work, the amount of time is multiplied by the current salary. If time away from work is expected in the future, the anticipated time is multiplied by your current income. If the person is disabled and can no longer work, expert opinion is solicited to determine the estimate of lifetime wages.
Assessing all the other damages is slightly more subjective, as it’s complex to quantify mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, and so on. Here, you will want our experienced San Bernardino slip and fall lawyers to carefully assess all of the impacts you fall had on your health, your job, and your activities and make certain that the insurance company doesn’t offer an unfair lowball settlement.
Tragically, some slip and fall accidents prove fatal. In those cases, specific family members are entitled to bring a wrongful death suit for damages.
While no amount of money can compensate loved ones for a death, the law also recognizes that the final injury may have resulted in expenses which it is not just to expect the family to bear. The death also can economically harm the family.
Wrongful death suits are designed to compensate economically for such harm.
If the deceased could have brought a premises liability lawsuit had they lived, the following family members can bring a wrongful death suit.
They can seek damages in the following categories.
Owners of private homes in San Bernardino also owe a duty of care to guests as property owners of businesses or rental property open to the public. They must ensure that their homes and grounds are safe.
However, in all cases, the law also looks at the circumstances surrounding the slip and fall. Businesses are always open to the public, during the hours of operation. Private homes, on the other hand, aren’t always open to the public.
Consider the following example. A homeowner is building a swimming pool. The deck surrounding the pool is slippery tile and potentially dangerous were someone to slip and fall in the empty pool. However, the homeowner and his family don’t enter the area because they know it is under construction, and they don’t have neighbors over. A thief enters the property at night. Not knowing of the empty pool and slippery tile, he slips and falls.
While ordinarily the law would consider the area dangerous and thus consider the homeowner negligent, the homeowner has less liability to a person who illegally entered the property.
On the other hand, if the family has friends over during the construction and one of the invited children falls and hurts him or herself there, the family may bear liability to the injured child.
If you or a loved one is injured or otherwise harmed in a slip and fall accident in San Bernardino, contact the experienced slip and fall lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys at (619) 237-3490. We offer a free first appointment to discuss your case, and are ready to hold San Bernardino property owners accountable when their negligence causes harm to innocent parties.
No Fees Unless We Recover Money On Your Behalf