Every year, numerous residents and visitors in Bakersfield experience unexpected slip and fall accidents. Whether it’s due to wet floors, uneven sidewalks, or poorly lit parking lots, these incidents can lead to serious injuries. While some might see these accidents as simple missteps or a stroke of bad luck, the consequences can be far-reaching, from expensive medical bills to repeated physical therapy appointments.
That’s where a dedicated Bakersfield slip and fall attorney comes in. At Kuzyk Law, we understand the challenges you face after such an accident. It’s not just about recovering from the injury itself but also understanding the complexities of legal claims and insurance. Seeking professional legal assistance from a slip and fall lawyer isn’t just a wise choice—it’s essential. With our expertise, you stand a better chance of getting the compensation you rightfully deserve. Your well-being is our priority. Don’t walk this journey alone; let Kuzyk Law be your steadfast companion and guide.
Why Choose Our Bakersfield Slip and Fall Attorneys?
When you or a loved one faces the reality of a slip and fall accident in Bakersfield, the path ahead can seem daunting. Medical bills mount, lost wages take a toll, and the physical and emotional pain can be overwhelming. Amidst this, choosing the best slip and fall attorney to represent your interests is critical. Here’s why you should put your trust in the slip and fall attorneys at Kuzyk Law:
Deep-Rooted Expertise and Experience
Bakersfield isn’t just another location for us—it’s home. Our attorneys have spent years learning the intricacies of slip and fall cases and personal injury law right here in Bakersfield. We are familiar with local laws, know the ins and outs of the court system, and have cultivated relationships that can help build a strong case for you. Our depth of knowledge ensures we’re adept at handling the unique challenges of each case, tailoring our approach to maximize your chances of success.
Unwavering Track Record
Success isn’t an accident; it’s a result of dedication, hard work, and strategy. Our history speaks volumes. Time and time again, we’ve secured favorable outcomes for our clients, ensuring they receive the compensation they’re entitled to. While past results can’t guarantee future outcomes, our proven track record is a testament to our commitment and effectiveness in representing slip and fall victims in Bakersfield.
Personalized, Compassionate Service
At Kuzyk Law, we’re not just about legalities and paperwork. We understand the human element of each case. Every individual we represent is more than just a client; they’re part of our community. Our slip and fall accident attorneys take the time to understand your unique situation, concerns, and goals. We work closely with you, offering guidance, support, and transparency every step of the way. And because we know how challenging these times can be, we ensure our approach is as compassionate as it is professional.
What Is a Slip and Fall Accident?
A slip and fall accident, as the name suggests, refers to incidents where an individual slips, trips, or falls due to an unsafe or hazardous condition on someone else’s property. Imagine you’re walking through a supermarket, and suddenly your feet go out from under you because of a freshly mopped floor without a warning sign. Or perhaps you’re strolling on a sidewalk and stumble over a raised section of concrete. Both of these are classic examples of slip and fall accidents.
Common causes for such accidents can vary widely. Wet floors, whether from cleaning or spills, are frequent culprits. Uneven surfaces, such as cracked sidewalks, potholes, or torn carpeting, can also pose significant risks. Poor lighting in stairwells or parking lots can obscure obstacles or hazards, leading individuals to misstep and fall. In essence, any condition that disrupts the safe passage of a pedestrian can potentially result in a slip and fall accident.
According to the CDC, slip and falls make up roughly eight million emergency room visits each year, and fractures happen to around 5% of fall victims. These accidents are also the leading causes of occupational injury for people aged 55 and up and for worker’s compensation claims as well. Additionally, the CDC estimated that around 15,000 aged 65 and older died as a result of a slip and fall incident.
The Difference Between a Slip, Trip, and Fall
It’s worth noting the nuanced differences between the terms “slip,” “trip,” and “fall.” A “slip” usually happens when there’s too little traction between the footwear and the walking surface, like on icy or wet floors. A “trip” occurs when a person’s foot contacts an object or drops unexpectedly, causing them to lose balance. Meanwhile, a “fall” can be the result of a slip or trip but can also happen due to other reasons, such as a push or other external forces.
Determining Liability in Bakersfield Slip and Fall Accidents
One of the most important steps in seeking compensation after a slip and fall accident in Bakersfield is determining who is to blame. While the process may appear simple, many aspects require knowledge and expertise to navigate effectively.
Duty of Property Owners in Bakersfield
Every property owner in Bakersfield, be it private or public, carries a binding legal responsibility. They must ensure a safe environment for anyone who visits or lives on their premises. This responsibility stretches across conducting regular inspections, addressing potential hazards promptly, and signaling temporary risks with clear warnings. Failure in these duties can render a property owner liable for any injuries stemming from their negligence, aka premises liability.
The Process of Proving Negligence
Proving negligence is central to a slip and fall claim. It isn’t simply about verifying the accident and the resultant injury. The crux lies in establishing that the property owner either knew or should have known about the hazard yet neglected to address it. Whether it’s a store owner who overlooked a spill or a landlord who ignored complaints about a faulty stairwell, evidence is paramount. This evidence could range from surveillance videos and eyewitness testimonies to maintenance records.
Common Defendants in Slip and Fall Cases
Depending on where the accident occurs, you can hold different entities accountable. Commercial store owners, for instance, can be liable for hazards within their premises. On the other hand, government bodies might be responsible for accidents that happen on public properties like parks or government buildings. Landlords, too, have their share of responsibility, especially concerning reported yet unaddressed issues within their rental properties.
California’s Statute of Limitations and Pure Comparative Negligence
Time is of the essence when pursuing a slip and fall claim. In California, the statute of limitations (Civil Procedure section 335.1) dictates that victims generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If the claim is against a government entity, however, this window shrinks to just six months. Failing to meet these timelines can result in the forfeiture of your right to file a suit. Our attorneys ensure that every necessary action gets taken promptly, safeguarding your rights and opportunities for recourse.
Pure Comparative Negligence in California
In some slip and fall cases, the victim may be found partly responsible for the accident. This doesn’t mean you’re ineligible for compensation. California operates under a pure comparative negligence system. This means that a plaintiff (the injured party) can recover damages even if the court finds them to be 99% at fault for the accident. However, the court will reduce their recovery by their percentage of fault.
For example, if the court finds the plaintiff to be 30% at fault and the total damages are $100,000, they would let the plaintiff recover $70,000. Our slip and fall injury attorneys are skilled at arguing these subtleties, ensuring that you receive the highest possible compensation, even in cases of shared fault.
Compensation You May Be Entitled To
Experiencing a slip and fall accident can be a life-altering event, carrying with it not only physical pain but also a host of financial and emotional burdens. Understanding what compensation you might be entitled to is crucial as you start your recovery. Below, you’ll find the common forms of compensation available to victims of slip and fall accidents.
Medical Bills and Future Care
One of the most immediate and tangible impacts of a slip and fall accident is the burden of medical expenses. Victims often face substantial bills for emergency care, surgeries, physical therapy, medications, and other treatments. But the costs don’t just stop at present bills. Many victims require ongoing care, follow-up appointments, and even long-term therapies to recover fully. Compensation aims to cover both current medical expenses and anticipated future care needs, ensuring that victims aren’t financially burdened due to another’s negligence.
Lost Wages and Future Earnings
When recovering from a slip and fall injury, victims often need time off work. This absence can result in significant lost wages, adding financial stress to an already challenging situation. In more severe cases where the injury affects one’s ability to return to their job or pursue their career, there’s a loss of future earning potential. Compensation claims consider both these aspects, aiming to restore victims to the financial position they would have been in if the accident hadn’t occurred.
Pain and Suffering
Beyond the tangible costs lie the emotional and psychological impacts of an accident. The trauma, distress, and prolonged pain a victim endures can be immeasurable. While no monetary value can truly compensate for this suffering, the legal system recognizes the need for redress. Compensation for pain and suffering offers a means to acknowledge and address these profound non-economic impacts.
Wrongful Death Claims
In the tragic event that a slip and fall accident results in a fatality, the surviving family members have a right to pursue a wrongful death claim. This compensation seeks to cover funeral expenses, loss of companionship, lost income, and the profound grief and suffering experienced by the family.
How Our Bakersfield Attorneys Can Help
When dealing with the effects of a slip and fall accident, it’s essential to have an experienced legal team on your side who understands the complexities of personal injury claims. Here’s how our Bakersfield slip and fall attorneys can help and guide you every step of the way:
Case Evaluation and Strategy
Every slip and fall case is unique, with its own set of circumstances and nuances. Our attorneys start by thoroughly evaluating the specifics of your situation. This foundational understanding allows us to craft a robust legal strategy tailored to maximize your compensation and improve your chances of a favorable outcome.
A successful claim is backed by concrete evidence. Our team is skilled at meticulously collecting and preserving essential evidence. This might include photographs of the accident scene, obtaining witness statements that corroborate your account, and securing expert testimony to bolster the validity of your claim. Such comprehensive evidence gathering can profoundly influence the trajectory of your case.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies, often focused on their bottom line, can be challenging to deal with. Our attorneys are seasoned in the art of negotiation, ensuring you don’t settle for less than what you rightfully deserve. With a keen understanding of insurance tactics, we work diligently to advocate for your best interests.
Litigating in Court if Necessary
While many slip and fall cases are settled outside the courtroom, some may require litigation. If that’s the best course of action for your case, you can rest assured that our Bakersfield attorneys are ready to represent you with tenacity and skill. We’re prepared to present compelling arguments, expert testimonies, and airtight evidence to ensure justice is served.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How soon after my accident should I contact an attorney?
As soon as you possibly can, the better it is for your case. Quickly contacting a slip and fall attorney ensures evidence gets preserved and they can file everything within legal time frames.
2. How much does it cost to hire a Bakersfield slip and fall attorney?
Most attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing upfront and pay any fees from the final settlement or award.
3. What if I was partially at fault for the accident?
California follows a pure comparative negligence system. Even if you were partially at fault, you can still seek compensation, though the court may reduce it based on your percentage of fault.
4. Can I still claim if my slip and fall occurred on government property?
Yes, but there are special rules you have to follow to sue the government, and your time to file shrinks to six months instead of two years from the accident date.
5. How long do I have to file a slip and fall claim in Bakersfield?
Generally, there’s a two-year statute of limitations from the date of injury, but some situations can alter this. It’s best to consult with an attorney to be sure.
Bakersfield Slip and Fall Attorneys
If you’ve suffered from a slip and fall incident in Bakersfield and are searching for a “slip and fall attorney near me,” look no further. Our dedicated attorneys are right here in the community, ready to advocate for your rights.We urge you to reach out for a free consultation, allowing us to evaluate your unique situation and guide you through the legal process. With our no-win, no-fee promise, you can be confident that we’re wholly invested in your cause. We aim to secure the compensation you deserve without any upfront financial burden on you. Your path to justice and recovery is just a call away.