When they slip and fall, most people’s first instinct is to feel embarrassed. The awkward feeling often results from assuming that you were at fault for the fall. But in reality, many slip and fall accidents in public spaces happen because someone failed to address a hazard.
A slip and fall accident isn’t just embarrassing – it can be excruciating. Notably, many victims of this type of accident find themselves in the Emergency Room. Establishing the liable party is the first and most crucial step towards compensation for your injuries, which an Orange County personal injury attorney can help with.
How Can I Tell if My Slip and Fall is Someone Else’s Fault?
Simply tripping and falling is not enough to file a civil lawsuit in California. It has to be clear that, indeed, it was someone else’s fault.
Accidents that end up with compensation often result from:
- Fallen objects and other hazards
- Flooring issues
- Rails and stairs
- Outdoor issues
Victims can file a claim with the court if they are convinced that someone else failed to:
- Warn the public about known hazards
- Address hazards in a timely and reasonable manner
- Monitor for safety hazards
- Insect the property
Common culprits in personal injury cases of this nature include:
- Property owner
- Commercial tenants
- Property manager
Which Evidence is Critical in Proving Liability and Getting Compensation?
Like all other California cases, the judge relies on evidence to make a decision. And if you do your part, your case will be easier to prove and will take a shorter time to conclude.
The Shoes Worn on that Day
The shoes worn on the day of the accident are critical evidence. Your Orange County slip and fall lawyer and an outside team of experts might need to scrutinize the shoes to build up your case.
Other Equipment Related to the Accident
If the accident involved a bicycle or Segway, you might need to keep them as well. They might determine the success of your lawsuit.
Getting and Staying in Contact With Any Witnesses
Your witness could be a bystander, a friend, or a family member. Their testimonies regarding the incident are critical to the success of the lawsuit.
Photos of the Site
It is common for the fall site to undergo repairs after an accident. So, make sure that you take pictures as soon as possible and use a ruler to measure defects.
Financial and Medical Records
These documents can show the severity of your injuries. Your banking statements and bills from your insurance company and doctors could ensure you get fair compensation.
What do I need to Prove to Sue a Party?
Suing the wrong party for your slip and fall injuries can be a waste of time and resources. To win the case and receive compensation, you need to make sure you take the right person or institution to court.
Here are the primary questions to ask yourself regarding the potential defendant:
- Do they control or own the property?
- Have they shown negligence in the maintenance or use of the property?
- Was their negligence a substantial contributing factor in the accident?
If the answer to all the above questions is yes, then it’s safe to go ahead and file a civil case against the party or parties. The assistance of an Orange County slip and fall law firm might be instrumental in putting together the evidence and filing them in court.
How Much Time Do I Have to Prove Liability in Orange County?
Once you get injured in a slip and fall accident, it is critical to act quickly before running out of time. If you intend to sue a government-owned institution, you can only file within six months. But if it is against a business or individual, you have two years to file.
Two years could seem like more than enough time to do what you got to do, but it can also be disadvantageous. Over time, your memory of the incident might fade, and the defendant’s attorney might use it to defend against your claim. So speak to your Orange County injury attorney as soon as possible to avoid being locked out.
What Damages Can I Get After Establishing Liability?
Once the court establishes that your slip and fall injuries were out of someone else’s disregard of their legal responsibilities, it could award you compensation. You are likely to receive both economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
In rare cases, the judge awards punitive damages in a slip and fall accident. This could happen if the defendant demonstrated egregious behavior, was extremely careless or caused intentional harm.
How Can an Attorney Help in Establishing Liability?
Successful personal injury cases are built on in-depth knowledge of California’s laws and thorough investigations of the specific incident. Additionally, a slip and fall attorney in Orange County is well-connected with experts who add value to the investigations. Thus, building a claim that isn’t easy to dispute will be much easier.
Besides, victims don’t have to worry about paying legal fees with money they don’t have. First, the initial consultation is often free of charge. Secondly, legal representation fees are only charged if you win the case. Therefore, victims don’t have to worry about attorney payments and costs.
Aggressive Attorneys Fighting for Your Compensation
Establishing liability is complex and requires a lot of resources. Compensation can only be obtained if the judge is convinced that your injuries are directly related to another party’s failure to act responsibly. Notably, the defendant’s legal team might try to dispute the claim.
The Santa Ana personal injury attorneys at Gibson & Hughes can put together an award-winning case to ensure that you are eligible for compensation. We will also prepare for possible defenses against the claim if the other parties decide to pose a challenge. Importantly, they will document all your losses so that you get damages in full.