Slip, Trip and Fall Injury Frequently-Asked Questions


If someone falls on a crack in a city sidewalk and is injured, can they sue the city?

"Slip, Trip and Fall" injuries are some of the most common personal injury cases. They can happen on private or government property and it is important to be aware that different rules apply in each setting. One of the most important differences in suing a government entity (whether it is the city, county or state), the legal action must be brought within a very short period of time. These deadlines are called "statutes of limitations" and missing one of them can bar any legal action against the government entity. That is why if you have been injured on government property you should consult with a personal injury lawyer immediately as time is critical. In California, the general rule is that these actions must be filed within six months of the injury. The city has a legal duty to keep the sidewalk in good repair. However, it is now common in many California municipalities that the legal responsibility for maintaining the sidewalks is on  neighboring or adjacent businesses.

What should I do if I am injured after a trip and fall?

The law requires that an injured person "mitigate" or minimize their damages. It is very important that you seek immediate medical attention so that you may receive the appropriate medical treatment for your injuries. It is also important that you document your injuries by taking photographs. Also, it is very common in these types of accidents that the location of the fall is quickly repaired by the city or property owner. The result is that critical evidence may be lost. By contacting an attorney immediately after the fall, steps can be taken to preserve any physical evidence that can be lost with the passage of time.

What damages can I recover for my injuries in a slip, trip, and fall?

Generally, a person is entitled to recover damages for past and any future medical expenses, past and any future wage loss, and for pain and suffering. 

When is it best to hire a personal injury attorney?

If your injuries are minor and you quickly recover, there probably is no need to hire an attorney. There are good guides on the internet or resources at the county law library on how to present a small claim to an insurance company. However, if you have serious injuries or you feel you're not being treated fairly by the insurance adjuster, then it is a good idea to have a consultation with an injury attorney to discuss in detail your situation and learn what your options and rights are. The sooner you meet with an attorney, the sooner he or she will be able to protect your rights. In some cases, especially "trip and falls", critical evidence can be lost very quickly. Meeting with an attorney as soon as possible can prevent this from happening. It is rarely a good idea to conduct your own investigation or attempt to preserve important evidence. A good personal injury lawyer will use professional investigators and accident re-constructionists to protect your rights.

Do I have to pay for the initial consultation?

At the Phillips Law Offices, we do not charge for the initial consultation and there is no obligation to retain the firm. We gladly will meet with you in person at our office or if you prefer at your location. We also can answer initial questions by telephone or through video conference such as Skype or Facetime. We also can schedule appointments in the evenings and weekends.


WHAT THE BIG PRINT GIVETH, THE SMALL PRINT TAKETH AWAY: This content is intended for educational purposes only. Phillips Law Offices is authorized to practice law only in California and the above content is intended for California residents only. This content provides only general information, which may or may not reflect current legal developments and you are advised to directly speak with an attorney who is familiar with all the facts and circumstances of your specific case and relevant laws. Phillips Law Offices expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any of the contents of this website. The above content DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship and the Phillips Law Offices does not represent you unless you have expressly retained us in writing.