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Slip and fall accidents are surprisingly common throughout Fresno. People trip on broken pavement, improperly installed carpet, wire and cords, damaged stairs or slick stairs, spilled liquid, and more.
If you or a loved one suffers injuries as a result of a slip and fall caused by the negligence of a Fresno property owner or manager, you may incur thousands of dollars’ worth of medical bills. Not only that, but far too frequently slip and fall accidents cause people to lose time from work as the injuries are treated or heal—which just compounds the financial turmoil a victim may undergo.
What’s the solution? Talk to the experienced Fresno personal injury attorneys at The May Firm. Over the past 22 years, we have handled slip and fall cases that have occurred in stores, hotels, malls, construction sites, rental apartments, government buildings, and more.
Our first consultation to discuss your case is always free.
Insurance companies can delay payments or try to pay you far less than the injuries are worth. At the May Firm, we know all the strategies insurance companies try to protect their bottom line at your expense. We can negotiate and work with you to achieve justice. Even across thousands of cases, we’ve achieved a 99 percent recovery rate for our clients.
Slipping and falling can happen almost anywhere, from an apartment building to an airport to a corner store. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) indicates that floors and flooring materials contribute to over 2 million fall injuries each year.
On construction worksites, falling is one of the most common injuries—enough to count among the Fatal Four most common types of accidents, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). More than one-third of deaths in the construction sector—one of the most dangerous work sectors—stem from falls.
More than one in five slip and fall accidents result in injuries that require victims to lose more than 31 days from work. An injury of that magnitude causes considerable economic pain as well as physical pain.
It’s only natural for folks who suffer a slip and fall injury, then, to wonder if they can receive compensation for their injuries.
They can if the accident was the fault of a negligent person or organization. Negligence is a legal term very important to slip and fall law. Negligence is a violation of the expected duty of care.
What’s a duty of care? That’s a good question! Property owners or their representatives, such as management and employees, are expected to keep their premises reasonably safe at all times. Property owners whose property is open to the public, such as store owners, are also expected to inspect their property for any potentially dangerous areas that need fixing. They need to fix those promptly to maintain an adequate duty of care.
If a condition suddenly becomes unsafe, property owners or their representatives need to first, clearly and transparently warn the public of the unsafe condition. They can put yellow safety tape around the affected area while it is being repaired, for instance, or put up warning cones.
We can see this most clearly in specific examples. Let’s say a child spills a bottle of juice in a grocery store. The liquid can easily cause people to slip, especially on the type of slick linoleum floor found in many stores.
The store managers and employees should take steps to clean up the spill as soon as possible. They should also place warning material around it so people cannot go in the wet area.
If managers or employees fail to perform these acts, they are arguably negligent, because they’ve violated the duty of care, which is keeping the store safe.
Negligent parties become financially responsible for the injuries the negligence causes. In other words, if you slip and fall in the liquid and break your arm, they are financially responsible for paying you damages, as long as your injuries stem from the accident.
What if they say they weren’t aware of the problem? The law uses not specific instances of awareness, but a “reasonable person” standard. If the law deems that a reasonable person would have known or should have known that an area was unsafe, the property owner or representative in question likely cannot use lack of awareness as an excuse.
At The May Firm we strive to be involved and connected to our local community. For example, this past holiday season we organized bicycle and Christmas tree giveaways for individuals in our community. Our goal is to be a positive force for good in the local community and give back in some small measure to those we can serve. We receive satisfaction and joy from serving our clients and will continue to look for ways to be of assistance to the community as a whole. We receive positive energy from the community when we are involved.
We have listed a few of the local organizations we support and look forward to growing our outreach in the future. If you have any suggestions for ways we can be of service or support, please reach out to us.
We take pride in working hard for each of our valued clients and will help you recover from your injuries and losses, including lost wages, mental anguish, future earning potential, disability or continued health care needs and lost or damaged property.
Our Fresno injury lawyers stay well-informed and up-to-date on all applicable legal changes, so you can be confident that you will always receive relevant, current legal advice.
If you have suffered a personal injury or are a victim of an accident that is not your at fault for, contact our award winning Fresno attorneys 24/7 to schedule your free case consultation. You can also call our Fresno office at 1-(559)-385-2090. Let us be your personal injury and accident advocate.
“My number one goal is to help others. When you step foot into our firm, you’ll be treated like family, period.”
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Where do slip and fall accidents occur?
They can occur anywhere, but these are some of the most common.
Under California law, injury victims can seek the following in damage compensation.
If your doctors believe that you will need medical care in the future, experts may testify about the expected treatment, its prognosis, and its costs.
Similarly, if the slip and fall injuries disable you from working again, experts may determine the estimated value of your lifetime earnings (what you could have expected to earn over your working life if you were not injured).
People can suffer almost any type of injury from a slip and fall in a Fresno business or residence. Some, such as skidding on a floor and catching yourself, may result in minor injuries, such as bruises. Others, such as a fall down a flight of stairs, can cause catastrophic injuries—injuries that earned the term because the effect on a victim’s life is immediately and significantly negative.
Victims of catastrophic incidents such as skull fractures or spinal cord injuries (SCIs) may lose the ability to live independently and work at their former jobs.
Potential injuries from a slip and fall include:
What should you do if you’re injured in a slip and fall accident? First, take care of yourself! Many people are embarrassed about falling in public and they tend to want to hurry away unnoticed. But there are certain steps you should take to protect your rights.
If you are seriously injured, call an ambulance to take you to a Fresno immediate care or emergency room. Always, always put your well-being first. A serious injury that isn’t addressed quickly can turn life-threatening. Don’t put your life at risk just because you’re embarrassed.
If you aren’t seriously injured, you should still visit your doctor as soon after the accident as possible. But you should also do some things while you’re still on the premises.
First, take pictures of the area if you have your smartphone with you. The fact is, if you decide at some point to pursue compensation from the negligent party, you will need evidence. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words. The property owner, manager, or employees may deny the circumstances that led to your accident. If you have pictures, it can greatly help your case.
Second, notify the manager or an employee about the situation and your injury. You want them to know of the circumstances if they don’t already, so they can fix it.
But you also want them to know about your injury. If you know you are injured and don’t tell them, it could raise questions about your case later on. Believe it or not, an insurance company could make an issue of the fact that you didn’t tell anyone in charge of the property about the accident.
In fact, an insurance company can actually try to make the fact that you didn’t speak to anyone proof that you weren’t injured at the time. Be sure you alert someone in authority on the premises of your injury.
Third, if there are any eyewitnesses, talk to them about what they saw. Obtain their contact information if they are willing. They can speak to the circumstances that caused your slip and fall.
Finally, be sure to go to a doctor to receive a thorough examination as soon as possible after the accident. This is important even if you don’t feel particularly injured. The world is, unfortunately, full of people who thought they were injury-free, gone to bed, and woke up in serious pain, immobile, or with headaches or some other symptom. Many injuries don’t make their presence known until the shock of the fall has worn off.
Tell the doctor you fell and tell them what happened in detail.
It’s very important to follow your doctor’s recommendations. If they advise physical therapy, or seeing a specialist, be sure to go. The primary reason is to optimize your health. But the secondary reason? To forestall an insurance company trying to minimize your claim by saying you clearly weren’t that injured because you never did what the doctor said.
Keep all the paperwork related to your medical care, including diagnoses, dates that you received medical care, who from, and what followed. It’s important in terms of paying your bills and in keeping track of potential claim amounts.
Most of the discussion above pertains to property open to the public, such as Fresno businesses, or properties owned by one individual and rented to another who pays for the rental, such as apartment buildings.
But what if you slip and fall on private property, such as a neighbor’s house?
Private property owners also owe a duty of care, just as business property owners do. But in California, the duty of care is slightly different.
Private property owners such as homeowners have a duty of care about any known hazards or dangers. They must either fix them or warn visitors and people who may be in their homes for a specific purpose (such as installing furniture) about those hazards and dangers.
In other words, if your neighbor knows that there is a loose step leading up to the deck, he should tell every visitor to the home about it. Failure to do so is negligence. The property owner’s potential negligence would result in the same financial responsibility as any other incident of negligence.
But private property owners do not have the same responsibility to inspect their property. Business owners must make sure their premises are safe by regularly scheduled inspections. Homeowners have no such requirement.
As a result, they can argue that they weren’t aware of any unsafe condition that causes you to trip and fall. If this occurs, it’s a good idea to consult a lawyer. The prudent person standard applies here as well. If an unsafe condition is very obvious, it may not be plausible for an owner to deny knowledge of it.
If you or a loved one has slipped, tripped, and fallen in Fresno or the surrounding areas, contact The May Firm. We have more than two decades of experience helping victims obtain just settlements for their injuries and other harm suffered.
Our first consultation to discuss your case is always free.
If a Fresno slip and fall accident injures you or a loved one, it’s only natural to have questions. Below, we provide answers to the most frequently asked questions we’ve received.
Any more questions? Ask the compassionate Fresno slip and fall attorneys at the May Firm. We’ve recovered damage compensation for 99 percent of our clients for more than two decades. Contact us at (559) 385-2090 today for your free consultation.
Slipping and falling can injure folks in many ways, ranging from bruises to concussions. If you slip or trip and fall due to someone else’s negligence in keeping premises safe, the negligent party is responsible for compensating you for injuries and other harm done to you. This is legally known as damage compensation.
Victims can seek damage compensation in the following categories.
Pain and suffering for physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering
In California, victims can receive damage compensation via several avenues. You can approach the negligent party’s insurance carrier. If you slip and fall in a store where the liquid spilled, for example, the store owner should carry insurance to cover liability in case of customer injuries.
You can also approach your own health insurer and indicate that your injuries are a result of a slip and fall accident caused by negligence. Your insurance company might file a claim with the negligent party’s insurer to compensate them for what they pay you.
Finally, you can bring a Fresno slip and fall claim against the negligent party in civil court. While this can constitute your first move, many people end up bringing Fresno slip and fall claims against both the responsible party and the responsible party’s insurance company, as a result of unjust and unfair settlements from the negligent party’s insurance carrier. Insurance companies fight hard to minimize settlements because that maximizes their own profits. Judges and juries are often far more sympathetic to slip and fall victims than insurance companies are.
Tragically, some slip and fall accidents are severe enough either to kill the victim immediately or cause injuries that lead to death. One only has to think of a fall down multiple flights of stairs to realize the dangers slip and fall accidents can pose.
Under California law, specific people can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party if the deceased could have brought a Fresno slip and fall lawsuit had they lived.
We understand that no damage compensation can take away the pain of losing someone to an accident that never should have occurred. But wrongful death suits can keep families afloat financially in the aftermath of a death, particularly if the victim was the sole or primary breadwinner in the family.
The following people are entitled to bring a wrongful death suit in civil court.
If the deceased leaves behind none of the above, then family members who are entitled to the deceased’s property by “intestate succession” become eligible to bring a wrongful death suit, including the victim’s parents or siblings.
The state of California also allows the following parties to bring a wrongful death suit if they can show financial dependence upon the deceased.
Some wrongful death damages are analogous to Fresno slip and fall suit damages, such as medical bills. Others compensate surviving family members for the financial loss caused by the negligent party.
Eligible parties can seek the following in damages.
Fresno slip and fall suits must be brought within two years of the date the slip and fall accident occurred. After that, the court will refuse to hear a suit. This is known as the statute of limitations.
Wrongful death suits also need to commence within two years of the date of death of the victim of a slip and fall.
The sole exception is property damage. The statute of limitations to seek compensation for any property damage is three years from the date of the accident.
While two years seems like a long time, the most prudent course of action is to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident, rather than waiting until the statute of limitations is nearly up.
Why? Because the successful outcome of all cases relies on evidence, both of how the accident occurred and the victim’s injuries. Evidence can all too easily fade or become lost. Your memories, the memories of eyewitnesses, and more can become unreliable. Any pictures or medical records can become lost. Your doctor or other medical providers can move away from the Fresno area or retire and become unavailable.
The most prudent move is to talk to an attorney shortly after your injuries.
There’s a common perception floating around that lawyers are expensive. As a result, many people who could really benefit from talking to a lawyer are, frankly, afraid to reach out to them.
Our Fresno slip and fall lawyers are not expensive. In fact, working with one doesn’t cost you out of pocket for lawyer’s fees.
Here’s the way slip and fall injury lawyers work in terms of payment.
You make a completely free initial appointment to discuss your case. Fresno slip and fall attorneys need to know what happened, who or what was at fault, and the nature and extent of your injuries before they can give you any advice on whether you have a case that can result in damage compensation or not.
If you and the lawyer decide to work together, the lawyer doesn’t charge you upfront for working on the case. They work on a contingency fee basis. Their fees are contingent (dependent) upon your receipt of an insurance claim payment or a Fresno slip and fall award in court. Their contingency fees are taken out of your insurance payment or claim, as a percentage.
The contingency fee is why you don’t pay them; they are paid via a percentage of what you receive.
If you don’t receive anything from the insurance company or the court, you do not owe your lawyer anything in attorney’s fees. That’s right: You owe your attorney $0.00.It’s actually more prudent to think of the lack of a lawyer as costing you money. Without a lawyer’s advice, you may receive far less than you deserve as a result of your slip and fall accident.
Lawyers help slip and fall victims in many ways.
First, your lawyer can provide basic advice on what you can reasonably expect as a result of your slip and fall. Many people focus only on medical bill compensation, for example, and don’t fully realize that they should also receive compensation for the morning they fell and couldn’t get to work on time.
Lawyers can also help you assess who or what exhibited negligence and caused your fall. It’s all too common to try and blame victims for a slip and fall. Your lawyer can help you pinpoint the actual causes.
Gathering evidence. Winnable cases always need evidence. You may have suffered embarrassment or simply been too stunned to even think of the need to gather evidence when your slip and fall happened.
A lawyer can help you put together evidence. If you slipped and fell in a store, hotel, parking lot, sidewalk, or other place near surveillance cameras, they can request any surveillance footage.
They can also investigate to find any eyewitnesses. Eyewitness testimony about conditions or your slip and fall can be as important as pictures.
Similarly, if you slipped and fell in a rental building or business establishment, they can investigate by talking to patrons about the usual standard of care provided by the property owners and their staff.
Attorneys also work with forensic analysts who can reconstruct how your accident occurred from your and eyewitness testimony, as well as your injuries.
Lawyers can also compile evidence from the records of your injuries and the treatment required.
Negotiating with insurance companies. One of the most valuable services your lawyer provides is that of advocacy. They can negotiate with insurance companies as your advocate: one who believes that the highest level of compensation is justice and what you deserve.
It’s sad but true: All too often, insurance companies approach slip and fall injury victims in the opposite way. Insurance companies want you to receive the lowest possible amount, not the highest.
Why? Because insurance claim adjusters are explicitly told to favor the bottom line of the company, not injury victims. The less you receive, the more robust company profits are.
We’re not kidding: insurance company representatives receive training in how to deny claims, how to delay claims, and how to defer claims. They use sophisticated strategies to give you less than your injuries and harm are worth.
Let’s say that you are hurt in a store. You leave without telling the store manager or any staff person or your injury. Perhaps you’re in a rush, don’t know how injured you are, embarrassed, or just don’t realize that someone should receive the information.
On your part, it’s a very innocent move. But in the hands of an insurance company? They may try to make it look as if you really weren’t injured at all. After all, injured people say something or make some kind of fuss, right?
Or let’s say you don’t go to the emergency room or doctor. You may have just wanted to get home and forget about the accident—again, because of embarrassment, or even lack of health insurance or a regular doctor.
But in the hands of an insurance company? Again, they may try and twist this information so it’s evidence that you weren’t hurt at all or weren’t hurt as badly as you say.
Other tricks? They can act sympathetic and process your claim right away. Only they know that the amount they process right away is far below what you should receive. That’s a common tactic known as “low-balling.”
Or they can paint you as entirely responsible for your slip and fall. Damage compensation is only possible if another party was negligent and either caused the conditions that made you slip or contributed heavily to them.
Finally, if a delay strategy, they can just draw out the time between when you file a claim and when you receive a check by months, months, and months or even years. They can make it very hard to access a representative, via phone or email, never responding to you.
Frankly, they may hope you’ll forget or decide to put the accident behind you.
Lawyers have heard all these arguments before. They are standard insurance tactics.
Slip and fall lawyers know how to argue against them. They know how to demand appropriate compensation. They can stay on the insurance companies in a way busy people can’t. Assessing your damage compensation total. Finally, your Fresno slip and fall lawyer can work with you to assess all the damage compensation you are due, so you don’t end up seeking too little.
Clients were rear ended by a utility vehicle.
Judgment for wrongful death of pedestrian struck by motor vehicle.
Wrongful death of pedestrian struck while walking his dog.
Clients were rear ended by a utility vehicle.
Car accident causing a traumatic brain injury resulting in a policy limits settlement prior to filing suit.
Policy limits settlement for clients’ who suffered spinal injuries. No surgeries required. The case settled before suit was filed.
Client was rear-ended resulting in low back injury.
Client rear-ended and suffered neck and low back injuries.
Bike vs. motor vehicle collision resulting in low back injuries. Disputed liability.
Speeding vehicle struck client’s parked car.
For client whose truck struck a tire that had fallen from a defective tire assembly.
Motor vehicle vs. bicycle resulting in death of cyclist. At fault driver was underinsured.
The staff was friendly and very helpful throughout my entire case. Sienna stood out with her great customer service and help. I would recommend The May Firm to anyone looking for a personal injury attorney.
A friendly and professional firm. Always answered questions quickly. Highly recommended to anyone who needs a personal injury lawyer. Extremely satisfied with the outcome.
Robert, Cameron and his staff are great. From day one the expectations were explained and updates were always provided. Robert put me at ease by reassuring me the case would be handled appropriately from beginning to end. I give him and his staff credit for the quick resolve to my case.