Experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers (“P.I. Attorney”) learn a lot over the course of their legal career. The most interesting first thing that comes to mind is the surprising fact that when clients recall slipping, falling and seriously injuring themselves, most of them recall that their very first thought was: “I hope that nobody saw me slip and fall … this is so embarrassing, so humiliating!”
As an experienced P.I. attorney, I wish their first thought was the exact opposite: “I hope people witnessed this … I’m going to get their names, phone numbers, and a brief statement right away, before they can leave the scene of my accident!”
With this ironic “dichotomy” in mind, here is a brief “Slip & Fall Advisory” regarding the key steps necessary to a Successful “Slip & Fall” Outcome:
DO NOT GET UP FROM THE GROUND. STAY RIGHT THERE. If someone offers to help you get up, just say, no, please, I’m not ready to move. Give me some time.” If you are unfortunate enough to have a serious spinal injury, getting up too soon could result in permanent paralysis. Your safest possible scenario would be for you to stay right where you are, and allow the Emergency Medical Technician (“EMT”) team assist you in getting up.
TELL EVERYONE NEARBY, “CALL 9-1-1” …. and then, YOU call 9-1-1 … the more calls the better, the more certain that an ambulance arrives quickly. If the 9-1-1 Operator asks how badly you are hurt, be honest, and if you’ve followed the above advice, you’ll say, I’m still on the ground, and I can’t get up.” Never say, “I think I’m OK.”
ASK EVERYONE NEARBY, DID YOU SEE ME FALL? Unless they deny it entirely, request that they write down their names, phone numbers, and in one sentence, a description of what they saw. Even if they deny seeing you fall, nevertheless, request their names and phone numbers.
THEN, ASK EVERYONE NEARBY, DID YOU SEE THE WET FLOOR? DID YOU SEE THE HAZARD? … and then get their names, phone numbers, and in one sentence, a description of the hazard that they saw.
DO NOT GET UP OFF THE FLOOR OR SIDEWALK, UNTIL THE AMBULANCE ARRIVES, AND TRAINED PARAMEDICS LIFT YOU UP! As discussed above, if you have a spinal injury, getting up too soon could have tragic consequences. Even if not, trying to get up, using your own muscle-power, which in this case probably means that you are using a different set of muscles than you usually do, could cause you a great deal of pain, which could last for days or even weeks.
INSIST ON BEING TRANSPORTED TO THE NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM (“ER”). Under NO circumstances, if they offer to transport you, should you EVER decline the offer of Ambulance Transportation.
CALL SOMEONE, IF POSSIBLE, BEFORE YOU LOSE CONSCIOUSNESS, OR ARE TOO MEDICATED TO CALL. If you have a Husband, Wife, or Significant Other, call them. If you have children, or parents, of an appropriate age, call them. If you have friends, call one of them. If you can, call your attorney … you can at least leave a message, saying what happened, and where the Ambulance is taking you.
Next, if you are lifted up by trained Paramedics, and placed on the Ambulance, tell whatever friend or acquaintance you were with, to stay behind and fill out a REPORT … if the location is a Store, Restaurant or other private business, or government agency, where a REPORT is possible. The REPORT need not be complete, exhaustive, 100% perfect, etc. … its main purpose is simply to confirm that something happened there.
If your friend requests a form on which to make the report, and none is provided, then your friend needs to write down themselves, on a plain piece of paper, what happened, and get an employee of the Store, Restaurant or other private business, or government agency, to simply sign or scribble their name, acknowledging that something happened there.
Of course, the procedures vary a bit from place to place, state to state, and depending on whether we are dealing with a private business establishment, or a City or County government.
Slip & Fall Claims Against City of Los Angeles. The City of Los Angeles is a dangerous place, in so many ways, even just walking down the street, since many of our sidewalks are poorly-maintained, with a myriad of hazards, which are almost never marked with warnings. Of course, we all love and appreciate trees, the oxygen that they generate, and the shade that they provide, but we – nevertheless – must admit that day-by-day, tree roots “buckle” sidewalks in more and more places, causing thousands of pedestrians to Slip and Fall each year. Every year, thousands of individuals file claims against the City of Los Angeles. But don’t forget there is a SIX (6) MONTH deadline for Personal Injury claims with the City of Los Angeles:
“Claim for Damages: Pursuant to Los Angeles Charter Section 350,
all claims for money or damages against the City must be filed within
six months for personal injury and within one year for property damages
after the occurrence from which the damages arose. Claims for Damages may be
submitted using this online form and are processed by Office of the City
Attorney. If you have any questions regarding already-filed Claims for
Damages or experience difficulties completing the online form, please phone
the Office of the City Attorney at (213) 978-7050.”