Orange County Slip and Fall Attorney
With Offices in Huntington Beach
Do you need legal help?
Orange County Slip and Fall Attorney
With Offices in Huntington Beach
Do you need legal help?
- Georgia Cunradi
- D. Franklin Welch
- J. Weber
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Orange County Slip and Fall Attorney
When you’re on someone else’s property, you are expected to take a reasonable amount of care to prevent slips and falls. It’s the responsibility of the property owner, however, to anticipate potential problems that can cause slip and fall injuries to visitors and prevent them. If you’ve suffered a slip and fall injury on someone else’s property because of their carelessness or negligence, you may be owed compensation.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably suffered an injury from a slip and fall at a location someone else was responsible for maintaining. You may be in pain. You may be struggling financially due to lost income from missed work. In addition, you’re probably looking for someone to help you with a slip and fall claim.
We are here to help. Our firm offers free legal consultations. Call our Orange County slip and fall attorney today.
Don’t let concern about paying upfront for answers you need get in the way of contacting us. Give us a call as soon as you’re able and set up a free legal consultation.
The information on this page will give you an overview of your slip and fall claim. We’ll begin by showing you the many ways you can unwittingly damage your claim. After that, we’ll share a client story to answer additional questions you may have. Please read to the end to learn as much as you can about your claim.
Take Pictures Of The Accident Scene
When you are injured on someone else’s premises, you need to take pictures of any evidence to help make your case stronger. You can take pictures of the property area where you got injured to show how it happened. Make sure to take pictures of the condition that caused the accident, such as a wet floor or misaligned stairs. Also, you should take pictures of any injuries you suffered if they are visible, i.e., cuts, scrapes, bruises, etc. Pictures of your wounds and the hazardous area of the property can all be used as evidence.
Contact The Premises Owner
After you’ve suffered a serious injury, you should reach out to the premises owner to let them know what happened. You will need their contact information so that your attorney can reach out to them at a later date. If they are a business owner, their insurance company will be who your personal injury attorney will need to contact.
Get Medical Help
You need to get medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible. Delaying this step could cause your injuries to worsen. Plus, it could weaken your case since the at-fault party or their insurance company might claim that your injuries were not that serious since you delayed treatment. You will also find out the extent of your injuries so you will be fully compensated for their treatment. Your medical bills can be used as evidence as well.
Contact Your Attorney
With the help of a slip and fall attorney from Timothy J. Ryan & Associates, you can learn more about your slip and fall accident case and how much compensation you are owed. We will perform an investigation to find out more details about how the accident happened and whether you have a valid case. Based on the evidence and the factors surrounding your case, we can calculate how much your economic and non-economic damages are worth. We will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company on your behalf and represent you in court if that becomes necessary.
Common Injuries In Slip And Fall Accidents
Slip and fall injuries can cause several different injuries that can range from mild to severe. These are some common examples of slip and fall injuries:
Traumatic Brain Injury
The victim of a slip and fall accident can hit their head when they fall down. Brain injuries can result in concussions, hemorrhages, hematomas, and other severe injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can potentially create partial or temporary disability, and neurological and cognitive disorders can occur when the brain is injured, creating memory loss, difficulty processing information, and other issues.
The back muscles can get strained or sprained when the victim hits the ground. This can result in serious pain that can take a long time to recover. Injuring your back muscles can cause chronic back pain that may require rehabilitation and physical therapy.
Sometimes the hip bones can get injured in a slip and fall accident. The hip bone can fracture, causing severe pain and making it difficult to walk or move. For the elderly, this is more common if they have osteoporosis.
Gashes and Contusions
Slip and fall injuries can also result in gashes, cuts, and scratches. The victim might also get contusions, also known as bruises, which happen when blood vessels underneath the skin rupture and bleed without causing an open wound. This leaves painful areas that are tender to the touch.
Fractured or Broken Bones
Falling on a hard surface can result in fracturing or breaking bones in the hands, ankles, wrists, or arms. The victim could end up temporarily disabled for weeks and be required to wear a cast or use crutches.
Spinal Cord Injury
If the victim falls from a high place or in a way where they twist their spine, it could cause a very severe spinal cord injury. These injuries are known to cause temporary or permanent disability, such as hemiplegia or tetraplegia, which cause paralysis below the area of the injury.
Common Slip and Fall Claim Mistakes
There are numerous ways you can damage your slip and fall claim if you’re not careful. Read through the mistakes below to help you avoid making the same errors.
Refusing a Medical Exam
It’s important to take a slip and fall injury seriously. Because of the mundane nature of many slip and fall accidents, people sometimes fail to realize the necessity of getting an exam as quickly as possible.
Even if you don’t see injuries and don’t feel a lot of pain, it’s best to get checked out as soon as you can. The adrenaline flowing through your body after a traumatic experience can mask pain that otherwise would let you know you’re hurt.
If you wait a day or two and then start to hurt, by the time you get to the doctor, you’ll have given the insurance company a valuable gift. The insurance company can exploit the gap in time between the accident and when you showed up at the doctor to suggest your injuries had nothing to do with the accident.
Getting an exam right after the accident will safeguard your health by enabling you to get any unseen injuries treated. It will also prevent the insurance company from squirming out of their responsibility to compensate you. The closer your exam is to the accident, the more your exam paperwork will tie your injuries to the accident. This is proof you can use to support your claim of how and when you were injured.
Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you. Establish a medical record of your injuries as quickly as possible after a slip and fall.
Not Following Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan After a Slip and Fall
When you are discharged from your medical exam, the doctor will give you a treatment plan. This is an outline of what to do and what to avoid doing to help you heal as quickly as possible.
Treatment plans can take many forms. It’s important to be diligent about yours. Take your medications according to schedule and show up for all of your treatment appointments. If you don’t, you’ll not only risk your recovery, but also jeopardize your claim.
The insurance company will be on the lookout for ways to reduce the amount they are required to compensate you. The easiest way to do this is to shift responsibility for your injuries away from the insurance company. The more responsibility you bear for your injuries, the less they have to pay you.
If the insurance provider finds out you’ve neglected to attend physical therapy appointments, for example, they can try to blame you if your recovery hits a rough patch. The same goes for discovering you’ve engaged in activities too strenuous for your condition.
Doing your part to assist in your recovery will help you heal and protect your claim from being devalued.
Allowing the Insurance Provider to Record Your Statement
When you are injured in a slip and fall accident, expect the insurance company to contact you and ask to record your statement. This may seem like a good idea. You may believe it will ensure that your claim is processed as quickly as possible. Agreeing to provide a statement without the guidance of an attorney, however, is a mistake.
The insurance adjuster may imply that the call is to make sure you are okay and that all of the details of what happened are included in your claim. You may get the impression that you are required to talk to the adjuster to get your claim processed. This is not true.
What the insurance representative is actually looking for is information that can be used to lower the value of your claim.
Sadly, they are hoping you will unwittingly provide that information during the conversation. Adjusters are trained in interviewing techniques. The longer you stay on the phone, the more likely it is you’ll let your guard down and say something they can turn against you.
You are not obligated to speak with the insurance adjuster.
You are within your rights to decline the conversation. It’s to your advantage to refer communications with the insurance company to your Orange County slip and fall attorney.
Not Choosing a Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Sometimes when people are injured in a slip and fall, they wait to pursue a claim. They may look at the California statute of limitations on filing and decide they’ve got plenty of time to get the process going. This is a mistake.
No matter how long you’ve got to get your slip and fall claim off the ground, remember that evidence will only get harder to find with the passage of time. The scene of your injury is going to get cleaned up. If there’s evidence to be found, you’ll want to make sure your lawyer can get hold of it before it disappears. Sometimes, even evidence collected by the police is misplaced. If you’ve got witnesses, you’re going to want to get their testimonies when their memories are clearest.
The sooner your Orange County slip and fall attorney can get started building your claim, the stronger your claim will be.
Selecting the Wrong Attorney
By its very nature, being injured puts people in a vulnerable place. This can make it tempting to stick with the familiar. Turning to recommendations is understandable, but hiring your sister’s best friend who happens to be a lawyer isn’t going to help your claim if that lawyer isn’t experienced both in personal injury and in winning at trial.
If you consider a referral, make sure it’s for a qualified personal injury trial lawyer with a record of winning slip and fall accidents claims. The trial experience is critical. Most claims are settled before going to trial; if yours doesn’t, however, you need someone who is ready to step into a courtroom with confidence.
Orange County Slip and Fall Client Story
We are sharing the story that follows to give you more information about slip and fall claims. Please read it through to learn as much as you can. Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of our clients, but the value of the information remains. When you’re done, please give us a call to schedule your free legal consultation as soon as possible. We’d love to discuss the details of your particular claim.
On a sunny day in the recent past, Andrea Johnson met her soulmate and went to the emergency room.
It was the three-year anniversary of the implosion of her marriage. Far from wallowing in self-pity, Andrea was determined to celebrate. In fact, she’d woken up inspired.
She’d been dreaming of walking in a sunny grove of lemon trees, the air fragrant with the smell of citrus. She followed a winding path to the end, where a man was waiting in front of a small pond. Lily pads floated on the water and a tiny waterfall gurgled through the cracks in a rock wall at the back of the pond. She didn’t know the man, but somehow, she knew he was waiting for her.
The man held out his hand, but she couldn’t make out his face beyond knowing he was smiling at her. Andrea stepped closer, but was startled by the sound of an alarm. The scene evaporated and Andrea found herself in her bed, her phone alarm competing with the gurgling brook emanating from the sound machine on her nightstand.
Taking a moment to get her bearings, she shook off the cobwebs and laughed at herself. She actually felt disappointed she hadn’t gotten to meet the man in her dream.
“Back to reality,” she said, shuffling off to shower her coffee maker with well-deserved adoration. A steaming cup and a half later, however, the dream did give Andrea a wonderful idea.
She would plant lemon trees today. What better way to celebrate starting your life over than with a “lemons to lemonade” analogy?
Andrea made a quick search of the garden centers in the area. Forty minutes later, Andrea was in the corner of a large garden center in Hollywood, looking at a cluster of five-and-a-half-foot tall lemon trees, already laden with fruit.
Definitely. She asked a store associate about making the purchase, and was given a ticket and told to pay inside the store. As she headed back toward the sliding doors, her attention was drawn to the fountains on her right. She stepped over, enjoying the relaxing gurgling sound. Much better than her sound machine. Maybe she would get a fountain, too.
“Nice, aren’t they?”
Startled, Andrea turned to look into the face of a gentleman about her age and quite handsome, in her opinion. She tried to think of something to say and failed. The man introduced himself as “Arlo,” and said he’d been considering a koi pond himself. That idea appealed to her greatly and she began asking him all kinds of questions about koi.
Three yards away, a young employee was using a large green hose to spray the anti-slip, honeycomb floormats in front of the glass doors to the store. After a few minutes of competing with the loud hissing sound of the hose, they realized they were shouting and began to laugh.
The hose stopped suddenly as the young man dropped it, leaned the mats against the wall to dry, and re-entered the store. The silence was deafening as they stood together, not knowing what to say next.
“It was nice to meet you, Arlo,” Andrea said, finally, and turned to leave. He watched as she headed toward the sliding doors, kicking himself for not asking her to join him for a cup of coffee.
The glass doors swung open in front of Andrea. As she stepped through, her foot landed in the puddle on the concrete and she took flight. She landed hard.
Andrea found herself in the hospital that evening, more than a little confused. Her daughter, Bonnie, was beside her.
Andrea had broken her elbow, had a slipped disc in her back, and had suffered a moderate traumatic brain injury. She had no memory of the fall. She remembered Arlo, though, and a hissing sound.
She remained in the hospital for ten days, undergoing observation for her brain injury and recovering from surgery to relieve the herniated disc.
To everyone’s relief, Andrea’s brain swelling was soon subsiding and her motor skills were okay. The doctors transferred her to a rehabilitation facility before going home, however, because a week and a half after the accident she was still struggling with balance.
As she settled into her room at rehabilitation, Bonnie suggested her mom consider finding a lawyer for a slip and fall claim. Andrea rejected the idea at first, but Bonnie reminded her that she’d already missed over a week of work and could expect to miss another week, at the very least.
Now that Andrea thought about it, she admitted it was going to be a difficult recovery, financially in addition to physically.
“I wouldn’t even know where to start with a claim, though, Bonnie,” Andrea said after giving the idea some thought. “How would I even prove what happened? More than a week’s gone by.”
“We have that witness from your work,” Bonnie said, helpfully. “Remember you got some bouquets from your co-workers?”
“Unh-unh,” said Andrea, skeptically. “I remember you said the flowers were from work, but I didn’t read the cards. I guess I should write some thank you notes soon, too…”
“The note on this one says, ‘let me know if you need me to tell anyone what I saw’” said Bonnie, pointing at a cheerful bouquet of daisies.
Complete confusion washed over Andrea’s face. “There was no one from work there that day, Bon; it was Sunday.”
“Don’t you work with a guy with an ‘A’ name?” Bonnie said.
“Aaron?” Andrea said, still lost. “Aaron’s on family leave. Let me see, Bon,” said Andrea, reaching for the bouquet to read the message:
“So sorry you got hurt! Let me know if you need me to tell anyone what I saw.
All the best, Arlo”
There was a phone number beneath the message.
Andrea sat blinking at the card. “Wow,” she said. Then proceeded to explain who Arlo was.
Bonnie called our law firm that afternoon and made an appointment for a free legal consultation for her mom.
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?
Attorney Ryan met Andrea and her daughter the next day at the rehab facility. Andrea explained that she’d already missed over a week of work, and money was bound to get extremely tight before she could return.
“How much do you charge?” She asked anxiously.
Attorney Ryan explained that there is no upfront charge. “Our firm works on a contingency-fee basis. We cover the expenses for your entire case: administration, investigation, research, and, if necessary, litigation. We’ll work your case up as though it’s going all the way to trial, to make sure we’re ready for anything.
“In the end, we only get paid when we bring your claim to a successful resolution.”
“Well, I guess I can’t ask for a better answer than that,” Andrea said.
How much is my claim worth?
Andrea’s next question was how much could her claim be worth. Ryan explained that it’s not possible to answer that question accurately without first conducting a thorough investigation and having a clear understanding of Andrea’s damages.
“We can jump into the accident investigation immediately,” Ryan said. “But your damages won’t be clear until you reach what’s called ‘maximum medical improvement.’ That means when you’ve recovered to the point that your doctors declare you back to your former level of ‘normal’ health.”
Andrea thought about that for a moment. “What if I never fully recover my balance or the full range of motion in my back?” She asked.
“Reasonable questions, Andrea. In that case, when the doctors have determined you’ve recovered as much as you’re likely to, that will be considered your ‘new normal.’ That will be your maximum medical improvement.
“It will mean you’re finished with surgeries and we have a reliable understanding of what the future care of your accident injuries will involve,” Ryan said.
“When you reach maximum medical improvement, we’ll know what your damages are— both economic and non-economic. That is when I can give you an accurate estimate of your claim’s worth.”
How long will my slip and fall claim take?
Andrea thought about what would be involved in determining the value of her claim and decided it was realistic. She then asked, “How long do you think my claim will take?”
“The timeline of your claim is going to depend on two things,” said Ryan. “The first is how long it takes you to reach maximum medical improvement.
“Every claim is unique to the person and the accident circumstances. People heal at different rates. Your job, Andrea, is to get all the rest you can and follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Don’t push it; we’re looking for you to recover at the speed your body needs to. This means refraining from any activities you aren’t medically cleared for,” said Ryan.
“So, no bull-riding,” Bonnie asked, from over the attorney’s shoulder, winking at her mom.
Ryan looked the two women to find them watching him with somber expressions. “Ah, that would not be suggested with a back injury or any type of brain injury, no,” he said slowly. Then, unable to resist, he asked, “You bull ride?”
Andrea hit him with a stone-cold poker face.
“No. But we play poker,” then she and Bonnie cracked up.
“Obviously,” said Ryan, laughing.
“Senior center league champ, three years running,” crowed Bonnie with obvious pride.
“Good for you! Just make sure you follow your doctor’s treatment plan,” laughed Ryan.
“After you reach maximum medical improvement, we’ll know your damages and will send a demand letter to the insurance company. From that point, the timeline of your claim will hinge on how they respond.
“If they work with us on a fair and reasonable settlement, we’re all set. If they refuse to settle, we’ll drag them to court.
“Please don’t worry about the possibility of a trial, though, Andrea. Our firm has a long, very successful record of handling slip and fall claims both in court and via settlement. In fact, once the insurance company sees you’ve retained our firm, it’s possible they’ll consider settling to avoid us in the courtroom,” said Ryan. “There are no guarantees, but it’s happened before.”
“Whatever happens, rest assured our firm will be ready. That’s why I advise you to hire an experienced personal injury trial attorney, whether you go with us or another firm.”
Andrea was content with the answers she received during her free legal consultation. She retained our firm and we are happy to say we got her over seven times the amount initially offered by the insurance company.
Call Our Orange County Slip and Fall Attorney Today
We hope this page has given you clarity about your slip and fall claim. No two cases are identical, of course, so please contact our Orange County slip and fall attorney as soon as possible to schedule your free legal consultation.
You don’t have to take on the burden of managing your claim while recovering from your injuries. Let us fight for your right to compensation.
Tim Ryan took my small personal injury case and turned it into a “win” for me. I appreciate his time, patience, and professional expertise in resolving this neighborhood dog injury issue for me. I feel safer because of Tim Ryan. Thank you!