Most people accept the everyday hassles that accompany daily activities.
What people don’t anticipate is slipping and falling while visiting a movie theater, post office, or other public establishments.
Unfortunately, slip-and-fall accidents are more common than people think.
Slip-and-fall injuries account for over 1 million emergency room visits annually. And sometimes, those accidents lead to severe and even life-threatening injuries.
Slip-and-fall accidents can also lead to overwhelming medical bills and lost time from work.
Luckily, the San Francisco slip-and-fall accident lawyers at the Law Office of Chuck Geerhart can help you recover the compensation you need for your injuries.
As a premier trial lawyer and member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, attorney Chuck Geerhart never handles more than 20 serious injury cases simultaneously, ensuring that all his clients get his undivided attention.
He has spent decades helping his clients achieve desirable results, and he will work tirelessly to help you pursue the compensation you need.
When you choose the Law Office of Chuck Geerhart, you will get the personal attention you deserve and an advocate who will champion your rights from start to finish.
What Is a Slip-and-Fall Claim?
The term “slip and fall” applies to personal injury cases that involve people who are injured because they slipped or tripped on someone else’s property.
Under California law, all property owners, managers, lessors, and occupiers have a legal responsibility to use ordinary care to maintain their property and keep visitors safe.
When a property owner or occupier neglects this duty, and that negligence results in injury, the injured party can hold them liable for damages. This area of law is called premises liability.
Though there are other types of premises liability claims, slip-and-fall cases are the most common.
Determining Slip-and-Fall Liability
In slip-and-fall cases, injured parties must provide evidence that the property owner, manager, lessor, or occupier knew about the dangerous condition that caused the injury and still neglected to take care of it. This is known as a duty of care.
To uphold this duty of care, one must:
- Exercise reasonable care in keeping the premises safe and free from hazards; and
- Exercise reasonable care in discovering any unsafe conditions and then repairing, replacing, or giving adequate warning of anything that they could reasonably expect to harm others.
When determining if an owner, manager, lessor, or occupier exercised reasonable care, a court may consider the following factors:
- The property’s location;
- The likelihood someone would visit the property;
- The possibility a visitor may suffer harm;
- The likely seriousness of any harm;
- Whether the defendant knew or should have known about the hazard that caused the risk of harm;
- The difficulty of protecting against the risk of harm; and
- How much control the defendant had over the condition that produced the risk of harm.
In premises liability law, visitors to a property are divided into three general categories:
- Invitees—invitees are members of the public who are invited onto the property. This invitation may be by express or implied invitation and usually extends to people who lawfully enter the property for commercial or economic reasons;
- Licensees—licensees enter the property with the owner’s knowledge but without an implied or express invitation. Examples include social guests like neighbors and family; and
- Trespassers—trespassers enter a property unlawfully or without the owner’s implied or express permission.
In many states, the level of care a landowner or occupier must use to keep a visitor safe depends on which category that visitor belongs in.
However, under California law, the status of a visitor does not automatically determine the level of care a property owner owes them.
In California, landowners and occupiers must use reasonable care to keep everyone who visits their property safe.
But, California courts can consider the injured person’s status when evaluating whether a property owner or occupier breached their duty of care.
When an owner, manager, lessor, or occupier fails to satisfy their duty of care, that is called a breach of duty.
Once an injured party establishes a breach of duty, the property owner, lessor, or occupier might be liable for damages.
Ultimately, what a property owner, manager, lessor, or occupier knew about the danger, when they discovered it, and what they did about it strongly influence the outcome of a case.
For this reason, finding an experienced attorney who can gather compelling evidence that shows a property owner breached their duty of care can increase your chances of getting the compensation you need.
What Kind of Evidence Will Help Me Establish Liability?
In a premises liability case, gathering evidence that can prove a property owner’s liability is essential.
A skilled slip-and-fall lawyer can carefully review the facts of your case and look for the evidence needed to strengthen your claim.
This evidence may include the following:
- Past complaints about the same hazard;
- Evidence of other accidents that have happened on the property;
- Footage from the property’s surveillance system;
- Eyewitness statements;
- Your incident report;
- Photographs of the property, the hazard if still observable, and your injuries.
Your lawyer must prove breach of duty, but they must also prove causation and damages to win a settlement or verdict.
This means they will have to show the hazard caused your accident and that your accident caused your injury and losses.
California Statute of Limitations
California courts allow an injury victim to file a personal injury claim within two years of their accident.
In most cases, this period starts running the day the accident occurs.
However, if an injury victim fails to discover the injury until sometime after the accident, the victim might have one year from the date they discovered their injury—not the date of the accident—to file a claim.
How Do Slip-and-Fall Accidents Happen?
Slip-and-fall accidents can happen anywhere. And many things can cause a slip-and-fall hazard.
But the majority of slip-and-fall accidents are caused by:
- Rutted and uneven sidewalks and other pavement defects,
- A lack of “wet floor” signs after an area has been mopped,
- Unattended cords or other loose wires or cables lying on the floor,
- Oil or grease splatters that create slick floors,
- Food and drinks spilled on walkways,
- Loose or torn carpeting,
- Insufficient or absent handrails,
- Uneven or loose steps or loose floorboards,
- Slippery or icy walkways, and
- Inadequate lighting.
Understanding the cause of your injury will help your Bay Area slip-and-fall lawyer identify relevant evidence and determine who the liable parties are.
With decades of experience under his belt, slip-and-fall accident lawyer Chuck Geerhart knows how to gather the evidence needed to make your slip-and-fall accident claim stronger.
How Much Is My Claim Worth?
Personal injury compensation is divided into two categories: economic damages and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages compensate injured plaintiffs for monetary losses caused by their injury.
All personal injury settlements and judgments include economic damages, which are concrete losses like medical expenses, long-term care costs, rehabilitation therapy costs, and current and future lost wages.
It is a good idea to keep copies of your hospital and doctor bills, pharmacy receipts, pay stubs, and any other documents that show how much your injury has cost you.
You might also be able to collect compensation for your noneconomic damages.
Noneconomic damages compensate injured plaintiffs for the mental, emotional, and psychological harm caused by an injury.
Noneconomic damages often include an award for emotional pain and suffering, physical pain and suffering, and the loss of self-esteem if the injury caused scarring or permanent disability.
Because these losses are not tangible monetary losses, they can be harder to calculate and demonstrate.
An experienced San Fanscio slip-and-fall accident lawyer can help you identify, calculate, and prove your noneconomic damages.
The amount of compensation a victim receives hinges on the specific details surrounding a slip-and-fall accident.
This means the worth of a slip-and-fall accident depends on factors like a victim’s injury type, the evidence supporting the claim, and the victim’s medical bills.
Other factors, such as whether a victim can work, their loss of current and future wages, their amount of pain and suffering, and long-term disability or impairment, can also affect slip-and-fall settlement amounts.
Do I Need a Slip-and-Fall Lawyer?
If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident caused by the negligence of a property owner, manager, or occupier, you need the best slip-and-fall accident attorney to represent you.
Hiring an experienced advocate who understands premises liability law and who is willing to take on aggressive insurance companies will help you achieve the best possible resolution.
With decades of experience as a San Francisco personal injury lawyer, attorney Chuck Geerhart has represented clients in all types of premises liability cases.
He has helped numerous slip-and-fall victims struggling to manage crushing medical bills, missed work, and persistent discomfort, achieve favorable results.
If you suffered an injury in a slip-and-fall accident, you need an attorney who knows how to play hardball with insurance companies and who can hold the property owner who caused your injuries accountable.
When you have the Law Office of Chuck Geerhart in your corner, you can rest assured that you’ll be represented by one of the finest legal teams in California.
Contact us today to learn more about how attorney Chuck Geerhart can fight for you.
- A friend recommended Chuck Geerhart. It was an excellent recommendation.
As a British journalist, recently based in San Francisco and without medical insurance, things seemed pretty messy after I found myself in an airport shuttle, driven by a lunatic, who struck a parked cab. I had to go to hospital, who diagnosed a head injury – as, later, did a neurologist – but the shuttle company’s insurance company continually balked at paying the bills.
A friend recommended Chuck Geerhart. It was an excellent recommendation. He was a great lawyer to have on my side, persistent in his battles with the insurance company, supportive of his client and a pleasure to work with, resolving the claim with the minimum of fuss.Susan
- Chuck made sure I was fairly compensated for this life altering injury.
I was working as an air traffic controller at SFO when a notoriously faulty elevator slammed to a stop between floors, throwing me against the wall and rupturing discs in my neck. I had to have major surgery on my neck. The City and the elevator maintenance company denied liability, until Chuck Geerhart obtained copies of all prior repair records which showed the elevator was continually resetting due to a power supply issue.
During the discovery phase of the case, to protect my privacy rights, he filed a motion with court to block a subpoena issued by the defense that sought to obtain my complete confidential employment file and complete health history in violation of the law. We ultimately settled the case for $1,000,000 after mediation.
I feel that Chuck did a great job making sure I was fairly compensated for this life-altering injury.Denise
- Chuck Geerhart dealt with my case in the most humane way I could imagine.
I was fortunate to have been referred to Chuck Geerhart when I was dealing with a very painful and tragic case of abuse by religious leadership, which was stretched over five years.Frank
Chuck Geerhart dealt with my case in the most humane way I could imagine. He was intelligent and strategic in his approach, always very communicative; an attentive ear, fearless and confident support for someone who was very confused and seeking answers where there were only walls. He always involved me in the process, sharing crucial information with me and allowing me the time and space to decide and move forward. He treated me like a partner, which helped me recover the power that was taken away from me.
At the same time he provided the professional expertise which I needed in order to win the case. The process of winning this case was as empowering as the actual outcome. It was a healing experience in itself. I am very happy with the support and guidance I got from Chuck as well as with the monetary result from such a serious injury. It has truly helped me move on in a good way.