Slip and Fall Lawyers in Ventura, CA Can Help You Get Justice
If you’ve been injured on a property in California, a slip-and-fall lawyer in Ventura may be able to help you get compensation. Contact dedicated Ventura personal injury attorney Craig Murphy for a free one-on-one consultation today.
Think about the last time you were out running errands. Maybe you went to a convenience store to get something to drink, or perhaps you were out grocery shopping. Whatever you were doing, did you pay close attention to the ground you were walking on? Did you make absolutely sure the surface was perfect — with no standing water, ice, cracks, or other imperfections? Most people don’t, and if they do, such attention rarely lasts the entirety of the time they’re completing errands. Unfortunately, not knowing every fault on the ground can easily lead to a slip-and-fall accident.
If you were walking to your car, down a store aisle, or out the door of a property and were suddenly airborne, you know how painful fall accidents can be. From the moment you land, you likely feel every last bit of damage that your body just took. Unfortunately, such falls are often due to the negligence of property owners. They should have taken steps to ensure the premises were safe for people to be present. When fall accidents occur, there’s a good chance it’s because they failed in this responsibility.
So what now? What you thought was a 30-minute trip has turned into an overnight stay in a hospital’s emergency room. Now your mind is racing about the things that you need to get done but can’t because of your injury. Will you be able to complete that project at work by the deadline? Who will be able to take care of your family while you’re healing from your injuries? What about paying for your medical bills? Even with medical insurance, your deductible could be thousands of dollars — and lots of people don’t have that kind of cash sitting around in a bank account.
To top it off, you’re going to have to deal with an insurance company if you decide to seek compensation — which you certainly should. The good news is that California law provides legal relief for these types of situations. The bad news is that getting maximum compensation isn’t always easy — especially with business owners and insurance companies trying to play hardball. That’s where a slip-and-fall lawyer in Ventura can be extremely helpful. Reaching out to a law office may be your best chance of being compensated for your losses.
And since Murphy & Murphy Law Offices offer a free initial consultation, you have zero excuses for not reaching out for help.
Slip and Fall Law in California
Like many other states, California’s slip and fall liability law is based on the theory of negligence. Personal injury attorneys focus entirely on proving negligence when they move forward with a fall accident lawsuit. Of course, they can also present the facts to insurance companies in order to secure a fair settlement before going to trial is ever necessary. To prove premises liability and get a fair offer, though, it all comes down to arguing that negligence occurred.
The theory of negligence imposes legal liability when:
- A duty exists;
- There is a breach of that duty;
- There are damages incurred; and
- There is a causal connection between the damages and the breach of duty.
If each of these elements exists, an insurance company would not be wise to take on a law firm in open court. That’s one of the reasons why the majority of personal injury cases end with settlements rather than trials. Let’s apply the theory of negligence to a hypothetical situation where a grocery shopper slipped on a wet floor because the property owner didn’t practice reasonable care in cleaning the water:
- There was a duty for the premises to be kept safe for customers;
- This duty was breached when there was standing water left on the store floor;
- Someone was injured and incurred medical bills, lost wages, and other damages; and
- The injuries were caused by the failure to clean up the standing water.
If you are the plaintiff, you will have the burden of proving all of these things in court. At any one of these steps, you could encounter arguments from the defendant that could interfere with your ability to recover damages. These could include:
- They didn’t own, possess or control the premises where you were hurt, so therefore they had no duty to clean up the floor.
- Your injuries weren’t caused by the fall.
- You were partially responsible for the fall.
Whenever a property owner knows their negligence created a dangerous condition, it’s highly likely that they’ll use the last of these defenses. That’s because California is a comparative negligence state. Having the legal team of Murphy & Murphy Law Offices on your side may be able to minimize the effect of such a defense, but it’s still important to understand what this could mean for your personal injury case going forward.
Take us up on our free consultation offer, and we’ll help you do just that.
How Does Comparative Negligence Work in California?
The basic idea of comparative negligence is that everyone involved in an accident should only be responsible for their particular level of fault. There are different versions of comparative negligence, but California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that a plaintiff’s monetary recovery in a lawsuit will be reduced by their level of fault. The law can have significant implications for slip and fall accidents in certain situations.
For example, imagine that you suffer $100,000 of damages as a result of your slip and fall on a pool of water at one of your local grocery stores. Perhaps these relate to treatment for your injuries, lost wages from work, potential future medical costs, and significant pain and suffering. It’s possible that the court could conclude, however, that you were 40% at fault because you were staring at your phone when the accident occurred. In such a situation, premises liability would still exist — but you would only recover $60,000 of damages. This is because your $100,000 award would be reduced by your level of fault — which is 40%.
What Damages Are Available for a Slip and Fall Accident
While the chance does exist that your personal injury claim could be reduced due to comparative negligence, it’s important to remember that significant damages are still possible. If you were injured in such an accident, there are a variety of compensation types you could recover as a result of the defendant’s negligence. These damages can include things such as:
That’s because you may be entitled to more than just having your medical bills covered. You could also get compensation for:
- Lost income
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Wrongful death claims
- Punitive damages
Punitive damages are fairly rare in a slip-and-fall case, and they’re usually reserved for situations where the court feels the defendant’s conduct warrants additional punishment. For instance, what if your slip and fall attorney can prove the store owner deliberately left the water on the floor because he thought it would be funny to see a customer fall? Such reckless behavior by property owners would warrant punitive measures, and that could result in a higher court award for fall victims.
The specifics of your case are what matter most, so schedule a free consultation with Murphy & Murphy Law Offices today so we can review the facts.
Deadline to Bring a Slip and Fall Lawsuit
A slip and fall accident can lead to personal injury legal actions. Under California law, this means you would have two years from the date of the injury to bring a lawsuit. If you suffered property damage in addition to personal injuries, you would have three years to file your claim, but you would only be able to receive compensation for property damage if two years had already elapsed.
These deadlines are commonly referred to as statutes of limitations. When a lawsuit is brought after the applicable statute of limitations deadline has passed, it becomes difficult to continue with a case. Additionally, premises liability cases become more difficult to prove as time passes. It’s an unfortunate fact, but evidence can disappear over time. Witnesses move, memories fade, and photographic evidence can become lost. This means you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Even in cases where the statute of limitations has expired, though, there are limited circumstances when filing a lawsuit may still be possible.
To successfully argue such a case, though, the services of a slip and fall lawyer in Ventura may be necessary. Unfortunately, such exceptions are difficult for injured parties to argue on their own.
Are You Looking for a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Ventura, CA?
After suffering injuries due to a property owner’s lack of reasonable care, dealing with everything on your plate may seem like a daunting task. This is where a slip-and-fall attorney can help. You deserve compensation for your injuries, and you deserve a team of lawyers ready to fight to ensure you get it.
Speak with a slip and fall accident lawyer in Venture today at Murphy & Murphy Law Offices. Contact us by dialing (805) 330-3393 for a free initial consultation. You deserve a staunch legal advocate on your side, and that’s what we strive to provide for each of our clients.