Bakersfield Slip and Fall Attorney

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Robert May

Founding Partner

Bakersfield Slip and Fall Lawyer

 
  • 25 + Years of Experience

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    Our firm maintains an impressive 99% win rate, even while accepting difficult cases other law firms have turned away.

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    We are not afraid of trial, and insurance companies know this. If it’s in your best interest, we are always trial ready.

While Bakersfield lacks land for the development of tall buildings and the cost of constructing high-rise buildings in the region may prove out of reach for many developers, plenty of homes and office buildings in the area contain staircases, parking lots with potholes, and other hazards that can lead to slip and fall injuries.

Slip and fall accidents may only result in minor injuries. Sometimes, when people imagine a slip and fall accident, they think of made-up situations to seek easy money. In truth, slip and fall accidents commonly result in death or serious injury, and the process of obtaining compensation for the expenses and impacts incurred in a slip and fall accident can prove quite complex.

If you sustained injuries in a slip and fall accident, a Bakersfield slip and fall attorney from The May Firm can ensure your right to seek the maximum amount of compensation available in your case. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

About Bakersfield Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents constitute the most common type of premises liability claim.

Under the rather vast umbrella of different types of accidents that make up personal injury law, premises liability refers to a case in which an individual sustains an injury because of the property owner or possessor’s failure to discover and mitigate dangerous property features that can injure guests.

Two types of slip and fall accidents account for the majority of injuries in this accident type, including:

  • Heel slips, in which—at the end of the stride—the individual’s lead heel slips until the lead leg is no longer able to support the body’s weight.
  • Toe slips, in which the individual’s trailing toe slips at push-off. This type of slip involves a smaller chance of falling due to the lead leg supporting the body’s weight.

Discussions of slip and fall accidents often commonly include trip and fall accidents. These occur when the individual trips over an obstacle and falls.

Common Causes of Slips and Falls

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls result in about eight million trips to hospital emergency departments in the U.S. each year. Slips and falls make up about 12 percent of those cases, accounting for around 1 million injuries each year that prove serious enough to require medical treatment. Falls constitute a particular concern for elderly individuals, who face a high risk of falling due to eyesight issues, balance problems, and physical weakness, all of which often accompany aging. In Bakersfield, individuals over age 65 account for about 10 percent of the population.

Some common causes of Bakersfield slip and fall accidents include:

  • Liquid or debris on floors.
  • Freshly waxed tile floors.
  • Loose floorboards, or torn carpeting or tile.
  • Potholes in parking lots.
  • Cracked or raised sidewalks.
  • Poorly constructed staircases.
  • Broken staircases, or missing or broken handrails.
  • Poor lighting, particularly in stairwells.
  • Clutter or obstacles in walkways or on stairs.
  • Broken furniture.

Injuries Sustained in Bakersfield Slip and Fall Accidents

As stated above, individuals over 65 face the highest risk of suffering a slip and fall injury. Broken bones constitute the most common slip and fall injury, with broken hips ranking first in elderly individuals.

A broken hip usually involves a fracture to the upper part of the femur, the thick bone in the thigh. The hip is a ball and socket joint, where the head of the femur forms the ball, and the curved pelvic bone forms the socket. Half of all elderly adults who experience a broken hip in a fall may never return home or live independently again.

Other serious injuries that can lead to permanent impacts or even death and can result from a slip and fall accident include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries: The brain is responsible for controlling all voluntary movement and involuntary responses relaying messages to the other organs through the spinal cord. Despite its importance, however, the brain has only a limited ability to heal from injury. Because of this, even mild brain injuries, such as concussions, can result in permanent impacts, including memory loss, inability to control one’s behaviors or emotions, lack of balanced and coordinated movement, and difficulty speaking or understanding spoken communication.
  • Spinal cord injuries: As explained, the primary task of the spinal cord—the bundle of nerves that extends down the back from the base of the skull—is to relay messages from the brain to the rest of the body. Like the brain, the spinal cord does not generally recover well from damage, which means the injury will likely result in permanent disabilities. Spinal cord injuries commonly produce a loss of sensation and function in the body below the injury, known as paralysis. If the injury occurs high up in the neck, it may paralyze the victim from the neck down, a condition known as quadriplegia or tetraplegia. If the injury occurs lower on the spine, it may paralyze the victim’s lower extremities, which is known as paraplegia. Spinal cord injuries come with a wide array of complications that result in a frequent need for medical treatment throughout the sufferer’s life. The most common cause of death for individuals who have suffered a spinal cord injury and resultant quadriplegia is pneumonia, due to paralysis in the chest and abdominal muscles, which prevents the individual from coughing up secretions from the throat and lungs.
  • Other broken bones, which can result in chronic pain and loss of mobility: In addition to the hips, the bones in the arms and wrists are often subject to bone fractures in slip and fall accidents due to the body’s instinct to catch itself when falling by outstretching the arms.
  • Soft tissue injuries, including damage to the muscles and tendons in the arms, legs, neck, and back: Common areas for individuals to sustain soft tissue injuries in a slip and fall accident include the knees, which face a risk of twisting during the fall.
  • Head and facial injuries: This includes fractures to the skull or facial bones, as well as damage to the eyes, dental damage, and cuts or lacerations to the head or face.
  • Damage to the spinal vertebrae or discs: These injuries often lead to chronic pain, mobility loss, and loss of stability in the spine. Surgery may prove necessary to strengthen the back or neck.
  • Internal injuries: Damage in a blunt-force collision or broken bones can scratch or puncture organs. A pneumothorax, for example, involves a collapsed lung that generally results from the lung suffering a puncture by the sharp end of a broken rib.

A Slip and Fall Accident Can Change Your Life

Twenty-two percent of workers who suffer slip and fall accidents will miss more than a month of work because of their injuries. For the elderly, falls rank among the leading causes of accidental death. Regardless of your age or position in life, if you have suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, the effects of your injury will likely extend to all areas of your life.

At Work

Slip and falls constitute one of the more common workplace injuries to experience and a leading cause of occupational injury in workers over the age of 55. However, even if your injury did not occur at work, it will likely impact your ability to earn an income, at least temporarily, as you recover. Some types of injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and broken hips, can also result in permanent disabilities that make it impossible for you to earn in the same capacity as you did before the accident.

At Home

Serious injuries often wreak havoc on the sufferer’s home life, as family members often must take on a caregiver role for the injured person. This proves particularly true for injuries involving the spinal vertebrae, discs, the spinal cord, or traumatic brain injuries, as all of these injuries can seriously diminish a person’s mobility and ability to complete personal tasks unassisted. Traumatic brain injuries also often produce an inability for the sufferer to control their behavior or emotions, which can leave family members nervous about the idea of having guests over.

In the Community

Serious injuries serve to bar individuals from participating in activities and events they previously enjoyed as they grapple with chronic pain, immobility, or even difficulty communicating or controlling behaviors. The societal cost of falls, including uninsured medical costs, court costs, and lost productivity, ranges from around $13 to $14 million per year in the U.S.

Finances

Falls don’t only prove costly for society, but they also result in high costs for the individuals who suffer them.

It costs at least $40,000 to treat a broken hip, with additional costs often incurred for long-term or rehabilitative care after suffering the injury. Traumatic brain injuries can result in up to $3 million in lifetime medical costs. Spinal cord injuries resulting in tetraplegia and occurring to a 25-year-old person will incur about $4 million to medically treat throughout the individual’s lifetime.

You may add any needed modifications to the injured person’s home or vehicle to accommodate the injury to the expense of the injury. If you can no longer work and earn an income or healthcare benefits, you can add those costs. too. This compensation can assist with the enormous expenses associated with a serious slip and fall injury.

How The May Firm Can Help With Your Slip and Fall Case

Robert May, the founder of The May Firm, strives to bring the good customer service he learned from his father—a concrete salesman—and the strong sense of values instilled in his upbringing to injured people of Bakersfield. The attorneys at The May Firm have earned many awards and recognition from peers for the quality and experienced legal services provided to all clients, but our attorneys pride themselves most on making their clients feel like family.

Slip and fall accidents can prove difficult to manage. For a successful outcome, you must not only show that a dangerous property condition existed and caused your injury, but also that the property owner or possessor knew or had reason to know that the hazard existed and breached the duty to promptly mitigate the risk.

Evidence in this type of case often includes:

  • The doctor’s notes about your injury.
  • Statements from individuals who witnessed the accident.
  • Video footage from the scene.
  • Testimony from experts in accident reconstruction who can verify that you incurred your injuries as you claim.

In the best-case scenario, video surveillance at the accident scene captured footage of your accident, your attorney can easily obtain a copy of it, several witnesses saw your accident happen and can provide similar details about your accident, and the property owner had received previous complaints about the property hazard that caused your injury. Unfortunately, slip and fall cases often don’t come with such compelling evidence. However, rest assured, the experienced Bakersfield slip and fall accident attorneys from The May Firm will put their experience in this type of claim to work for you to prove your case.

Bakersfield Slip and Fall Accidents FAQs

More than 13,000 commercial businesses operate in Kern County, and Bakersfield has more than 116,000 households. Additionally, the public does business or congregates in some government offices. Thus, Bakersfield has many locations where a slip and fall accident could occur.

Read on for answers to questions that our Bakersfield clients ask us most often about seeking compensation after a slip and fall, and then contact us for your free, no-obligation case evaluation, so we can learn more about your case and explain the services that we can provide you.

Individuals who sustain injuries in Bakersfield slip and fall accidents can seek compensation for the expenses and quality-of-life impacts of their injuries through the personal injury claims process. This process involves seeking compensation through a claim to the at-fault party’s insurance provider. If the insurance provider fails to pay the claim or negotiate a settlement with the claimant, the claimant can file a personal injury lawsuit.

California allows those injured in slip and fall accidents to seek the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages. In the legal arena, recovering damages refers to the payment one receives in compensation for harm. Economic damages refer to the payment you receive in compensation for the expenses of your injury, while non-economic damages refer to the payment you receive in compensation for the quality-of-life impacts you have experienced because of your injury.

Some expenses and impacts that commonly appear on damage claims for Bakersfield slip and fall accidents include:

  • Medical expenses, such as the cost of ambulance transport, emergency treatment, diagnostic testing, hospitalization, the services of your physician or surgeon, your medical supplies, prescription medication, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and needed assistive devices, such as crutches or a wheelchair.
  • Lost wages that result from missing work due to your injuries and/or to attend an injury-related medical appointment.
  • Loss of future earning capacity if your injury results in a permanent disability and you can no longer earn what you did before the accident.
  • Physical pain and suffering.
  • Emotional distress.

Slip and fall accidents constitute a type of premises liability case. Premises liability involves the legal responsibility of a property owner to protect guests from hazardous property features that can cause injury to guests. While property owners constitute the most common defendants mentioned in conversations about this type of case, in truth many other potentially liable parties could exist, as well.

These include:

  • Homeowners or business owners.
  • A residential or commercial tenant.
  • A property management company tasked with maintaining a property on behalf of its owners.
  • A retail establishment, such as a store or restaurant.
  • An employee of any business in which members of the public come to do business.
  • The agencies tasked with maintaining and controlling public buildings and properties, and the employees who work for that agency.

To have a positive outcome to your Bakersfield slip and fall claim, you must show that the property owner bears liability for the hazard that caused your injuries.

To do this, you must prove the following elements in your case:

  • The at-fault party owned, leased, occupied, or controlled the property where the accident occurred.
  • The at-fault party negligently maintained the property, which resulted in a hazardous condition that he or she knew about or had reason to know about.
  • The unmitigated property hazard that resulted from the at-fault party’s negligence led to the accident in which you sustained injuries. You incurred impacts and expenses as a result of this accident.

We cannot tell you how your friend will take having a claim filed against him or her. However, we can tell you that you will seek compensation from the insurance company that provides your friend’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, not from your friend personally. Filing the claim with insurance removes a lot of the personal aspect from the issue.

In most states, property owners do not have a duty of care when it comes to trespassers, beyond not deliberately luring trespassers onto the property to harm them. However, in California, statutes state that property owners bear responsibility for ensuring the safety of all visitors from hazards resulting from the property owner’s lack of maintenance or care. Accordingly, property owners can bear liability for injuries incurred by a trespasser in a slip and fall accident.

This situation may constitute a premises liability claim if the fall resulted from a hazard that the nursing facility staff knew about or had reason to know about.

This may also lead to a nursing home negligence case if your father’s fall resulted from age or medical conditions, the nursing home knew or should have known of his propensity for falling, and nursing home staff failed to provide the proper supervision or assistance to prevent the fall from occurring.

An experienced attorney from The May Firm can help you determine the case that you should pursue given your specific circumstances and explain the process of seeking compensation.

Most individuals who sustain injuries in accidents occurring in the workplace receive compensation through California’s worker’s compensation program. Worker’s compensation constitutes a form of no-fault insurance policy that state law requires most employers in the state to purchase on behalf of their employees. This policy provides coverage of medical expenses and temporary or permanent wage replacement. In exchange for these benefits, most workers cannot also seek compensation for their injuries through a lawsuit against their employers.

However, certain circumstances may justify filing a lawsuit after a workplace slip and fall accident, such as when the accident resulted from a third party’s negligence. Third parties include anyone other than your employer or coworker. Some examples of third-party liability for a workplace accident include delivery drivers who suffer injuries in transportation accidents caused by another motorist during working hours, or an employee of a subcontractor on a construction site who becomes injured due to a hazard caused by the general contractor.

The at-fault party’s insurance adjuster, either during settlement negotiations or during the trial, will use defensive tactics to reduce or eliminate the insured’s liability for the accident.

Common defenses used in slip and fall accident cases include:

  • The open and obvious doctrine, which holds that the defendant does not bear liability for your injuries because the property hazard that caused you to slip and fall was so open and obvious that a reasonable person would have noticed it and taken steps to avoid it.
  • Lack of constructive knowledge. Another common defense used in slip and fall claims involves the property owner/possessor arguing that he or she did not have time to notice the hazard during a routine inspection of the premises and take steps to mitigate the risk. Consider a slip and fall accident that occurred due to liquid spilled on the floor of a commercial business. The property owner would likely argue that the liquid had not been on the floor long enough for business staff to discover it and mitigate the risk by wiping it up.
  • Liability arguments. Insurance companies often turn to certain tactics to avoid paying out on claims regarding injuries caused by insured parties. One tactic employed by insurance companies involves shifting the blame to the victim. In slip and fall cases, this can mean that the defense will argue that you wore the wrong shoes, failed to pay attention to the road, or some other reason why someone else caused the accident other than the insured party.

The court will consider whether the claimant has shown the elements of property owner negligence.

The court will consider additional factors, as well, including:

  • The property’s location and whether most visitors access it in the same way the plaintiff accessed the property.
  • Whether the property owner or possessor knew or had reason to know that the hazard existed.
  • The likelihood of the particular hazard causing an injury. If the slip and fall accident occurred because of some unforeseeable circumstance, the court will prove less likely to find liability on the part of the property owner, as he or she may have had no reason to believe that the hazard could cause injury.
  • The difficulty in trying to mitigate the risk. Some hazards prove particularly difficult to mitigate, requiring more time or money than the property owner has. If you sustained injuries due to a hazard that the property owner knew about but found too difficult to repair, you must next consider whether the property owner took steps to warn guests of the hazard, such as cordoning off the area surrounding the hazard or placing a prominent warning sign in the area.

A Bakersfield slip and fall attorney from The May Firm can provide:

  • A free case evaluation, which provides you with a no-obligation opportunity to speak with one of our experienced attorneys about your case, obtain answers to your legal questions, and learn more about the personal injury claims process.
  • The determination of all liable parties in your case and all insurance resources that you may qualify to access to receive the compensation that you need to cover the full cost of your injuries.
  • The establishment of a value to your claim based on the expenses and impacts you have already experienced from your injury, as well as those you will likely face.
  • Negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster in an attempt to gain a fair settlement offer for you.
  • Ample guidance as to what constitutes a fair settlement offer, and assistance in understanding the pros and cons of accepting or rejecting an offered settlement.
  • The gathering and organization of evidence and witness testimony needed to prove your claim in court.
  • Litigation services, including making opening and closing arguments, presenting evidence, and examining witnesses.
  • Assistance with collecting your settlement or award.
  • Contingent fee pay, which means you do not have to pay your attorney for his or her services until you have received a positive resolution to your case.

Let an experienced Bakersfield slip and fall attorney help you make sense of the legal process of obtaining compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injuries. For a free case evaluation, contact The May Firm online or call (844) 629-3476. During your initial meeting, you can discuss the details of your accident and injuries, ask questions about your legal options, and determine your best path forward. Don’t hesitate; reach out today.

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