Slip and fall accidents, also known as premises liability, can often get stuck with an undeserving negative reputation. Some people may feel that if you fall and injure yourself, it’s simply your fault for falling down. Others may believe that property owners or businesses should not be held liable for people who just weren’t watching where they were going. Because these points of view are generally comprised of half-truths and misinformation, it’s important to understand the facts of slip and fall injuries.
Falls are the leading cause of brain injuries and the number one cause of overall injuries within certain age groups. Injuries from a fall make up over 35 percent of all traumatic brain injuries within the United States. Slip and fall accidents cause 50 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among children up to the age of 14 and 61 percent of all traumatic brain injuries in adults age 65 and up. Clearly, slip and fall accidents can leave permanent and life-threatening damage in their wake.
Details of Premises Liability
The catalyst for most slip and fall injury cases is careless conduct on the part of a business or property owner. That carelessness, known as negligence, breeds an extremely dangerous condition or environment, ultimately posing an unreasonable amount of harm to you or anyone else walking in the area. Under California law, no one is completely responsible for ensuring your safety while on someone else’s property or shopping in a store. California law does demand, however, a certain amount of reasonable action be taken to protect you from accidental injury. In essence, a property or business owner is legally required to exercise a reasonable amount of care when performing construction, daily operations or simple maintenance on the grounds.
Owners are also legally bound to take the necessary steps of inspecting their property for any dangerous hazards and their repair when discovered. When a reasonable and acceptable amount of care is taken, property and business owners cannot be held accountable for slip and fall injuries. So, for example, if the retail stores of San Francisco’s Westfield Mall complete regular inspections, keep the area free of dangerous conditions and repair or warn you when a dangerous condition is present…they are exercising reasonable care to ensure your safety while on their property.
The Science of Walking
Walking is something you likely do every day. You walk to the kitchen, the bathroom or to your car when leaving the house. You walk into a grocery store, walk while you are shopping and then walk back out to your car in the parking lot. Walking may be an activity that you generally take for granted, but it’s actually quite a complex and detailed process that requires each of your five senses. If you doubt that statement, all you have to do is ask someone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury, a stroke or a spinal cord injury how easy it is to walk. Think about that for just one minute. Even when your body itself is working properly, a brain or spinal cord injury can make a “simple” task like walking almost impossible. In order to walk safely and without difficulty, all of your faculties need to be in working order.
Many different situations can cause slip and fall accidents. Ice on sidewalks, grease on a restaurant floor or freshly polished retail store floors pose great dangers. In addition, things like loose gravel, floor rugs, electrical cords and uneven sidewalks can make it extremely difficult to maintain both your footing and balance.
Slip and fall cases can be challenging and difficult to prove. In order to give yourself the best chance of recovering the compensation you deserve, it’s vital to contact an experienced Bay Area slip and fall attorney.
The law office of Nelson C. Barry has both the substantial experience and the necessary resources to best handle your San Francisco slip and fall case. For your free consultation and case evaluation, please call us at (415) 587-0550 today.