Gomez Trial Attorneys’ Successful Track Record in Slip and Fall Claims
Gomez Trial Attorneys, a highly regarded team of personal injury lawyers, has been advocating for San Diego residents who have suffered personal injuries for many years. Their expertise lies in handling slip and fall accident cases, and they have achieved outstanding results for their clients.
Here are a few noteworthy slip and fall case outcomes they have secured:
- Settlement of $16.2 million
- Jury award of $16.2 million
- Jury award of $7.5 million
- Settlement of $2.1 million
- Jury award of $2 million
- Settlement of $2 million
- Settlement of $1 million
- Jury award of $780,000
It is important to note that each case is unique, and the best way to determine if you have a viable slip and fall case and estimate its value is to schedule a free case evaluation with Gomez Trial Attorneys.
Slip and Fall Accidents are Common in San Diego
What Constitutes a ‘Slip and Fall’?
A “slip and fall” refers to a type of premises liability lawsuit that arises when someone is injured after slipping, tripping, or falling due to someone else’s failure to maintain a safe environment. For example, if an individual slips on a wet entryway that a grocery store should have promptly cleaned up, resulting in an injury, it is considered a slip and fall accident. The umbrella term “slip and fall” encompasses all unintentional falls, including accidents where the victim tripped over an object leading to the fall.
Slip and Fall Statistics
Slip and fall accidents are preventable incidents that can cause severe injuries or even death, particularly among older adults. According to the California Department of Health, over 90,000 adults aged 50 and above are hospitalized each year in California due to unintentional falls. In San Diego County alone, approximately 350 people die annually as a result of accidental falls, with around 300 of them being over the age of 65. However, it is essential to recognize that the elderly are not the only vulnerable group, as children and adults can also sustain serious injuries from slip and fall accidents.
Examples of dangerous conditions that can lead to slip and fall accidents and injuries include:
- Dilapidated structures with loose or torn carpeting, cracked hardwood, broken tiles, and other hazardous floor coverings.
- Unstable stairways, steps, and handrails.
- Unattended debris in storefronts, parking lots, and driveways.
- Spills of wet substances such as water, floor wax, floor cleaners, oil, and food.
- Spills of dry substances such as powder, sawdust, dirt, granules, and sand.
- Malfunctioning escalators, especially those lacking regular maintenance.
- Uneven, cracked, or broken walking paths and walkways.
San Diego’s Sidewalks Are a Common Cause of Slip and Fall Accidents
San Diego’s pleasant climate allows for year-round outdoor activities, making it one of the city’s most attractive features. With over 5,000 miles of sidewalks throughout San Diego, pedestrians are welcome. However, sidewalks also pose risks as they are among the most common locations for slip and fall accidents. Uneven, broken, and cracked sidewalks create trip hazards that can easily lead to falls.
San Diego’s sidewalks present a particular problem. During a survey conducted several years ago, city engineers and college students identified more than 39,000 potential tripping hazards within the first 3,100 miles assessed. The issues included broken pavement, curbs that did not conform to the requirements of the American Disabilities Act, and damage caused by tree roots, which is a common cause of sidewalk deterioration in San Diego.
The responsibility for ensuring the safety of sidewalks lies with both the city and property owners:
- The city is responsible for repairing sidewalk damage caused by motor vehicle accidents, water main breaks, grade subsidence, and trees within the right-of-way.
- Property owners are responsible for sidewalk damage caused by privately owned tree roots, heavy vehicle traffic, or drainage from private property.
- If sidewalk damage results from age-related deterioration, the city may share the cost of repair or replacement with the property owner.
Other Common Causes of San Diego Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can occur in various settings throughout San Diego. Here are some other common causes:
- Construction sites: San Diego continues to experience strong construction growth despite the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Falls on construction sites are a frequent occurrence and the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. Hazards on construction sites include electrical cords obstructing walkways, improperly constructed staircases, missing handrails, slippery areas, poor lighting, and scattered debris.
- Stair problems: San Diego boasts more than 150 high-rise buildings, primarily located downtown. Additionally, the city features mid-rise and multi-level low-rise buildings, all of which have stairs. Stairs often become accident hotspots due to hazards like clutter, debris, poor lighting, slippery surfaces, and loose flooring materials.
- Slick surfaces: Wet or slippery surfaces commonly cause slip and fall accidents. Spills, rain, improper floor maintenance, and specific flooring types that become highly slippery when wet can contribute to dangerous conditions. San Diego’s infrequent rainfall makes rain an especially hazardous factor, as store and property owners may use flooring materials that become extremely slick when wet. Failure to promptly address wet and slippery surfaces poses risks to the public.
These are just a few examples of common scenarios that can lead to slip and fall accidents. The experienced slip and fall lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys have witnessed a wide range of slip and fall cases and can provide expert legal guidance tailored to your specific situation.
Who is Legally Responsible for a San Diego Slip and Fall?
Liability Based on Negligence
While some accidents are mere accidents with no legal liability, many slip and falls can be prevented if property owners fulfill their duty to maintain a safe environment. Property owners must act with ordinary care and skill in managing their property to prevent injuries. Failure to do so constitutes negligence. According to California law, individuals and businesses are responsible not only for willful acts but also for injuries caused by their lack of ordinary care or skill. When someone is negligent, they are legally held accountable for any resulting harm.
What Victims Need to Prove to Win a San Diego Slip and Fall Case
To succeed in a slip and fall case in San Diego, victims must demonstrate the following:
- The defendant (the party responsible) owned, leased, occupied, or controlled the property where the injury occurred.
- The defendant failed to uphold their duty of care in maintaining the property.
- The plaintiff suffered harm.
- The defendant’s negligence was a significant factor in the plaintiff’s injuries.
Several factors are considered when evaluating whether a property owner breached their duty in a specific case, including:
- The likelihood and potential severity of an injury given the circumstances.
- The property owner’s knowledge of the specific hazard that caused the accident.
- The location of the property.
- The burden placed on the property owner to remedy the hazardous condition.
- The degree of control the property owner had over the hazard.
Slip and fall cases involve complex legal and factual issues, which is why it is crucial to consult an experienced and reputable slip and fall lawyer in San Diego who can carefully analyze your case and present it effectively.
Does the Premises Owner Always Bear Liability in a San Diego Slip and Fall Accident?
The premises owner is often the party legally responsible for injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident, but not always. Other parties, such as property management companies, tenants, or construction companies working on the property, may also be negligent and liable for the injuries. In certain situations, even if an injured individual believes they share partial responsibility for the accident, they may still have legal grounds to pursue a claim against the premises owner or other negligent parties under California’s comparative fault doctrine.
Determining liability can be complex, but a skilled slip and fall accident attorney in San Diego can help navigate these challenges. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today for a free consultation.
San Diego Landlord Liability for Injuries on Their Property
With approximately 39% of residential buildings in San Diego occupied by renters, landlords bear the responsibility of ensuring a safe environment for residents and visitors. Landlords can face liability if someone slips and falls due to a known, unmitigated, and unwarned hazard that was within their control. Examples of hazards under a landlord’s control include:
- Slippery floor surfaces that the landlord knows can become hazardous when wet or after waxing, without taking steps to mitigate or provide warnings.
- Weakened or rotted floorboards, unsafe surfaces on balconies or porches, or inadequate lighting in stairwells within apartment complexes.
- Broken asphalt or potholes in apartment complex parking lots or on paved pathways.
- Failure to address broken or poorly constructed stairs or stairwells within apartment complexes.
- Neglecting to address known sinkholes on the property or to provide adequate warnings.
- Failure to remove or rectify obstacles that the landlord knew about but failed to address.
State law in California requires landlords in San Diego to promptly repair known hazards and inform residents and guests about potential dangers. Regular property inspections are also mandatory to identify hazards before a tenant moves in, during lease renewal, when a tenant moves out, and at reasonable intervals throughout a lease. Landlords must also disclose any known hazards prior to a tenant signing a lease agreement.
Who is Responsible if I Slipped and Fell at an Airbnb or Vrbo?
San Diego is home to over 11,000 short-term rental units available through platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo. While injuries can occur at these rental units, both Airbnb and Vrbo provide hosts (property owners) with $1 million insurance coverage for property damage and personal injury. However, if you are renting through another company or have a private agreement with a homeowner, it is crucial to inquire about their insurance coverage before your stay. Insufficient coverage may limit your ability to recover full compensation for any injuries sustained during your rental period.
Getting Full and Fair Compensation for a San Diego Slip and Fall
Types of Losses You Can Seek Compensation For
If you suffer injuries in a slip and fall accident due to a property owner’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for losses related to the accident and your injuries. California law allows slip and fall accident victims to file personal injury lawsuits against negligent property owners, seeking compensation for various damages. Examples of compensable losses include:
- Medical treatment costs, such as ambulance services, emergency room care, hospitalization, X-rays, surgery, medication, and travel expenses related to medical appointments.
- Anticipated future medical expenses for ongoing treatment and care resulting from catastrophic injuries.
- Rehabilitation costs, including visits to specialists like physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and mental health professionals.
- Expenses for assistive devices like walkers, canes, and wheelchairs.
- Lost wages due to time away from work.
- Anticipated future lost wages when injuries prevent a victim from returning to work or seeking future employment.
- Home modification expenses to improve accessibility, such as installing handrails or wheelchair ramps.
- Compensation for physical pain and suffering.
- Compensation for mental anguish.
- Loss of consortium with a spouse.
- Decreased quality of life.
In cases where gross negligence or intentional harm led to the accident, the victim may also be eligible for punitive damages.
The specific types of compensation available depend on the claimant’s relationship with the deceased in cases involving wrongful death. For example, minor children who lose a parent may receive compensation for lost guidance and parental support, while widows and widowers may receive compensation for the loss of companionship. It is vital to consult a San Diego slip and fall accident lawyer to discuss the specific circumstances surrounding the injuries sustained.
The amount of compensation recoverable varies for each case, considering factors such as available insurance coverage, the extent of injuries, and the likelihood of success in trial. Gomez Trial Attorneys has achieved numerous multi-million dollar settlements and jury verdicts in slip and fall cases, demonstrating their commitment to fighting for just compensation on behalf of San Diego victims.
What to Do If the Liable Party’s Insurance Company Offers a Settlement
It is strongly advised to consult a San Diego personal injury law firm, like Gomez Trial Attorneys, when faced with a settlement offer from an insurance company. Insurance companies often present seemingly decent settlement offers that fall short of providing fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Speaking with an experienced slip and fall lawyer can help you understand the true value of your claim and negotiate with the insurance company to increase your chances of securing appropriate compensation. Gomez Trial Attorneys has a reputation for successfully pushing back against low-ball settlement offers and obtaining the best possible outcomes for their clients.
Common Defense Strategies for San Diego Slip and Fall Claims
After a slip and fall accident where a property owner may be held liable, the property owner, their business, or their homeowners’ insurance carrier will often go to great lengths to undervalue the injured person’s claim. In many cases, they may try to avoid paying the claim entirely, as insurance companies strive to limit their financial liabilities.
Insurance companies and their legal teams typically employ various defense strategies to minimize or eliminate financial liability, including:
- Arguing that the injuries are not as severe as claimed.
- Asserting that the fall did not cause the injuries, but rather, the victim had pre-existing conditions.
- Blaming the victim’s distraction (e.g., cell phone use, socializing, eating or drinking) for not noticing the hazard that caused the fall.
- Alleging that the victim was in a restricted area.
- Claiming that the victim ignored posted signs, markings, or verbal warnings about the hazard.
- Accusing the victim of trespassing if they lacked permission to be on the property.
- Arguing that the victim tripped due to their own clumsiness, suggesting that no hazardous condition existed.
- Insisting that a reasonable person would have seen and avoided the hazard.
Experienced slip and fall injury attorneys can anticipate these defense strategies based on the circumstances of the accident, allowing them to build a strong case for their clients.
What to Do After a San Diego Slip and Fall Accident
Prioritize Your Health:
After a slip and fall accident, your first priority should be seeking medical care and treatment to address any injuries sustained. Promptly attending to your health is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment, as well as for preserving evidence related to the accident.
Preserve Your Claim:
To protect your legal rights and enhance your chances of success in a slip and fall claim, consider the following actions:
Seek medical attention: Even if you do not believe your injuries are severe, it is essential to consult a doctor. A medical professional can assess your injuries and ensure nothing is overlooked or left untreated. Medical reports also serve as crucial evidence.
Report the accident: If your slip and fall occurred on a business premises, inform the management and complete an incident report if necessary. This report can serve as valuable evidence supporting your claim.
Collect evidence, if possible: If your injuries allow, gather evidence at the accident scene. Take photographs of the hazardous conditions that caused your fall, and gather contact information from any witnesses present. This evidence can help establish liability.
Contact an attorney: Consult an experienced San Diego slip and fall accident attorney at your earliest convenience. They can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and pursue fair compensation on your behalf.
Managing Medical Bills:
It is essential to make arrangements for managing medical bills after a slip and fall accident. While a slip and fall injury claim can provide compensation, it is your responsibility to handle your medical bills. Medical insurance coverage can assist with expenses related to ongoing care, durable medical equipment, and specialized treatments. Discuss your coverage with your insurance provider to understand your options and how your injury circumstances may affect your coverage.
Frequently Asked Questions About San Diego Slip and Fall Cases
My Slip and Fall Occurred on a Friend’s Property in San Diego. Can I Still File a Slip and Fall Injury Claim?
Yes, you can file a slip and fall injury claim even if the accident occurred on a friend’s property. Private homeowners have a duty of care towards visitors, including friends. If your friend’s negligence causes a slip and fall accident, such as failing to repair hazardous stairs, you may have grounds for a claim. Most homeowners carry insurance policies that cover injuries to visitors, so filing a claim typically does not financially harm your friend.
I Slipped and Fell Due to a Spill, But Did Not Think I Suffered Serious Injuries. Later, I Found Out That I Had Suffered a Serious Injury to My Back. Can I Still File a San Diego Slip and Fall Injury Claim?
Yes, you can still pursue a slip and fall injury claim even if you did not immediately seek medical attention. It may be more challenging to prove the extent of your injuries, but it is still possible. Consult an attorney as soon as you discover your injuries to discuss the necessary steps for proving your claim and pursuing compensation.
What Happens If the San Diego Premises Owner Does Not Carry Insurance? Can I Still File a Slip and Fall Claim?
You may still file a slip and fall claim against a premises owner who lacks insurance coverage. However, collecting compensation can be more challenging, especially if the accident occurred on a private homeowner’s property. It is advisable to contact Gomez Trial Attorneys to understand your right to compensation and how the property owner’s insurance (if any) affects your claim.
Do I Really Need an Attorney to Handle My San Diego Slip and Fall Accident Claim?
While you have the right to represent yourself, it is highly recommended to seek professional legal assistance. Slip and fall accident claims involve various legal complexities, and having an experienced attorney on your side can significantly enhance your chances of obtaining fair compensation. An attorney can help collect evidence, build a compelling claim, and provide advice and support throughout the entire process.
At Gomez Trial Attorneys, their slip and fall accident lawyers possess the expertise and dedication to ensure your rights are protected and pursue the compensation you deserve. Whether you need immediate legal assistance or require help after initiating your claim, Gomez Trial Attorneys is here for you.
Get the Help You Need from Gomez Trial Attorneys After a San Diego Slip and Fall Injury
For any further questions or concerns about slip and fall accidents in San Diego, Gomez Trial Attorneys is ready to provide answers during a free case consultation. Contact them at 833-GET-GOMEZ or visit Garrity Traina to set up your evaluation.
Remember, in the face of an accident, get a real trial lawyer. Get Gomez.