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Minor Embarrassment, Major Problems: How Everyday Trip and Falls Can Lead to Serious Problems

Let’s face it, we’ve all had a shameful public display of the awkward trip and fall. Whether a result of our own clumsiness and distraction, or if we’re totally innocent in the whole debacle,  it’s hard to prevent that blush of embarrassment from creeping over you.

The harmless instances of trip and falls may result in a little injured pride, but the more serious cases can be life altering in the worst kind of way.

I have a close friend, a  guy in his early 40s, who was a photographer for his friend’s wedding. He was beyond healthy: always running, biking, swimming, and snowboarding. You name it-  if it was active, he was doing it. So he’s running down the meadow in the middle of a national park trying to capture “the shot”, and he stumbles over a small pothole. Long story short, he has to be medevaced to a nearby hospital where he undergoes a hip replacement and the only activity that he’s cleared for FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE is swimming. Now that’s rough.

In this case no one was at fault and no claims were made. It’s pretty obvious that a meadow would have some potholes and uneven surfacing, and was just terribly bad luck for that fellow. But slip or trip and falls are very common, and in some cases the property owner is liable for the fall. We refer to this as a premise liability case.

What are my rights if I’m injured in a slip and fall?

There is no way to tell who will be found at fault for your slip-and-fall accident. In order for premise liability claim to be made one of the following must be true:

- The property owner caused the problem that caused you to fall.

- The property owner knew of the problem but did not fix it.

- The property owner should have known about the problem if he or she was doing what was reasonable to care for the property.

 Thousands of people are injured each year from slip and fall accidents. Injuries from a slip and fall can include fractured wrists, broken hips, head injury,  brain injury, back injuries and even death. Sixty percent of slip and falls are the result of uneven pavement. If you’re living in San Francisco or the surrounding Bay Area, you’re likely to notice many of the culprits of slip and fall accidents due to the hilly terrain and city dynamics:

  • slippery or uneven sidewalks, cobblestone or pavement

  • steeply sloping driveways

  • foreign objects

  • potholes

  • poor lighting

You’ve been the victim of a trip and fall: what do you do?

Act Immediately. If you’re a pedestrian injured on a public sidewalk or property of a government agency, you have just six months to file a claim. If you’re injured on private property you typically have two years before the statute of limitation expires. Slip and fall injuries can be horribly expensive, sometimes requiring months off of work and steep medical bills. If someone is at fault for your slip and fall injury we want to be sure that you’re taken care of. Due to strict time constraints resulting from the statute of limitation, if you or a loved on has been injured from a trip and fall accident contact a personal injury attorney immediately.

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