Gas stations are prime areas for slip and fall accidents. Not only are there many different liquids spilled onto the ground, but uneven pavement can also contribute to instability. Many people suffer serious injuries when they slip and land awkwardly on the ground.
There are around 168,000 gas stations in the United States, so falls are to be expected at even the cleanest establishment. If you have been injured in a slip and fall inside or outside a gas station, please give us a call. Fisher & Talwar can help explain your options for receiving compensation.
Gas Station Hazards
Many different hazards confront the typical gas station customer. Some of the more common include:
- Spilled liquids, including oil, gasoline, diesel, windshield wiper fluid, and other fluids. These liquids can drip off cars, be spilled at the point of service, or splash onto the ground by careless customers.
- Freshly mopped floors inside the service station.
- Spilled liquids inside the store, including soda, ice, water, and cooking oil.
- Potholes, cracks, or uneven pavement.
- Power cords or other cords that light-up displays.
- Debris, litter, waste paper, and food that might spill out of overflowing trash cans and which can become slick underfoot.
- Condensation or ice from freezing rain.
Someone who is hoping to shoot in and out of a gas station could easily slip and fall, hurting themselves because of a hazard that should not be on the ground.
What Are Common Slip and Fall Accident Injuries?
When a person slips and falls, any part of their body may make contact with the ground, including an elbow, knee, tailbone, spine, head, and more. Depending upon the angle of the fall, the resiliency of the person, the surface on which the fall occurs, and the force involved in the fall, injuries that may result include:
- Bone fracture injuries, especially fractured wrists, elbows, and clavicles;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Soft tissue injuries, including ligament and muscle sprains and strains;
- Internal injuries; and
- Superficial injuries, including scrapes, cuts, and bruises.
Injuries like the above can be painful, challenging to live with, and expensive to treat. In some cases, injuries may also result in long-term disability; for example, a spinal cord injury will almost certainly leave the affected person with permanent partial or complete paralysis. Severe injuries of this sort can mean a diminished quality of life, lost wages and benefits, and psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, too.
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Top Causes of Gas Station Slip and Fall Accidents
$6 million – Auto Fatality
$1.5 million – Truck Fatality
$1.25 million – Drug Litigation
$3 million – Construction Defect
$4 million – Defective Tire
Gas stations may be a necessary location for the majority of Americans who drive to visit, but gas stations can also be dangerous, too. Hazardous conditions that may exist at a gas station and increase the risk of a slip and fall accident include spills of food and drink; spills of car fluids, including gas in some cases; wet or slippery walking areas; uneven walking surfaces; debris or objects in walkways; and loose cords and wires. Most of the time, conditions that exist at a gas station that contribute to a slip and fall, such as a spill, can and should be remedied by gas station staff. As such, the majority of slip and fall accidents are entirely preventable.
Liability for a Gas Station Slip and Fall Accident
A serious slip and fall, as discussed above, can leave an individual with major, long-term economic and noneconomic losses. For these damages, an individual who is involved in a slip and fall accident at a gas station deserves to be compensated.
If you have been involved in a gas station slip and fall, you may assume that there is nothing that you can do to recover compensation, and may even think that the fall was your own fault. However, in the event that the slip and fall was caused by a dangerous condition on the gas station property and not your own negligence or clumsiness, you may be able to bring a claim against the gas station for damages. In order for your claim to be successful, you must prove that:
- A dangerous condition existed on the property;
- The gas station owner (or staff member) knew or should have known about the dangerous condition;
- The gas station owner (or staff) failed to remedy the condition in a reasonable amount of time; and
- The dangerous condition was the proximate cause of your slip and fall accident and related injuries.
Note that the owner of a gas station/employer can be held liable for the actions of its employees, so long as those actions occurred during the course of employment. For example, if an employee on-the-clock should have cleaned up a spill of a soft drink in a gas station aisle and failed to do so, the employer could be held liable for any harm resulting from this negligent act.
Can I Sue if I Fell at a Gas Station? Questions to Consider After a Gas Station Slip and Fall
If you think that you may have a Los Angeles gas station slip and fall claim, it’s important to consider the following questions:
- What was the cause of your slip and fall accident? Remember, in order to bring a claim against a gas station, you must be able to prove that a dangerous condition was the proximate cause of your fall.
- Did the gas station owner/staff know of the dangerous condition? Sometimes, conditions exist on a property that are indeed dangerous, but that a property owner has no way of knowing. A property owner cannot be held liable for harm resulting from a condition of which they were not aware and did not have a duty to be aware of. For example, if the slip and fall was caused by an assault that happened at a gas station, and no assault had ever occurred on the property before and there was nothing the gas station staff could do to present the assault, the business likely cannot be held liable.
- How much time passed between when the owner learned of the condition and the accident happened? If the gas station learned of a spilled soft drink and took three minutes to finish up with a customer before cleaning the spill, and another customer slipped and fell in that three-minute time frame, the harmed customer may have a hard time proving that an unreasonable amount of time passed between when the staff learned of the condition and when the accident happened – only three minutes had passed. However, if 30 minutes had passed, that’s a different story.
Bring a Claim Against a Gas Station
Bringing a lawsuit is often the best option after a slip and fall. Gas stations owe their customers a very high duty to use care to make sure that the property is safe for all customers. When gas stations do not meet their obligation to use adequate care, then they can be sued.
To bring a claim, you will need to file appropriate legal documents in court, in which you explain the surrounding circumstances that gave rise to the accident. Remember to meet with an attorney soon after falling, because California law gives you a limited amount of time to protect your rights.
Receiving a Settlement
Many gas station slip and fall cases end up settling outside of court. A settlement should provide adequate compensation so that our clients have their medical bills and other economic losses compensated for. When a gas station is to blame, innocent people should not suffer the economic consequences.
A settlement should also provide enough in pain and suffering, which might be hard for most people to estimate the value of. However, pain and suffering often make up a large percentage of a settlement amount, often greater than medical bills and lost wages combined. This makes perfect sense. The physical pain, inconvenience, mental anguish, and suffering that accompanies most physical injuries is clearly worthy of significant compensation.
Most gas stations have large business insurance policies that can provide a fair settlement. Negotiations can sometimes be difficult, but a savvy slip and fall attorney will understand what evidence is necessary for getting maximum compensation.
How Fisher & Talwar Can Help
Establishing liability for an accident is often like fitting together pieces of a puzzle. You need an attorney who understands how to make the pieces come together in a way that makes sense.
Often, injured victims struggle the most at finding helpful evidence for their claim. All they really know is that they have fallen on the ground and been hurt in the process. They might not know other critical pieces of evidence, such as how long the liquid or other material was on the ground, or whether the staff at the gas station was aware of it and for how long.
This is where an attorney plays a critical role. An attorney can interview those involved who might have witnessed your fall. An attorney can also search for other helpful evidence. Gas stations often have surveillance video that shows both inside and outside the premises. This video can help establish how long the dangerous condition has existed on the premises and whether the store staff deliberately failed to clean it up.
Pitfalls when Bringing a Claim
As experienced lawyers, we have seen some victims and other lawyers make critical mistakes when suing gas stations. For example, they might fail to properly find evidence or notify the gas station to preserve evidence, which can make establishing liability that much harder.
Many victims immediately give recorded statements to the gas station’s insurer, which is not required. Or they readily agree to a settlement without fully understanding the extent of their injuries or their financial losses. Injured victims can avoid these mistakes by meeting with one of our slip and fall attorneys for a free consultation.
Attorney Vibhu Talwar
Call an Experienced Gas Station Slip & Fall Lawyer Today
Bringing a claim against a business like a gas station on your own can be daunting. At the law offices of Fisher & Talwar, our experienced slip and fall lawyers in LA can review your case free of charge today and help you to understand your rights and options. From there, we will build your claim and work hard to get you the recovery amount you deserve. Call or send us a message today to learn more.
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