Under the area of law known as premises liability, property owners and property management companies are responsible for the safety and well-being of their invitees and guests. In most instances, they are even liable for the safety of trespassers. The property owner or their designee has the duty to maintain the premises in a manner that is reasonable and safe. For example, if an individual walks into a store in the mall and trips over defective, uneven flooring, they may seek monetary compensation in an Inland Empire personal injury slip and fall case.
The Property Owner Owes a Duty to the Public in Slip and Fall Situations
Whether in a private home, store, mall, school, office building or other property, property owners owe a duty to those who enter their premises:
- Flooring must be maintained in a safe manner, without protruding nails or bumps
- Stairways must have floorboards that are sturdy and safe
- Floors must not be covered with slippery substances
- Walkways, driveways, parking lots and other frequented areas must be properly maintained
- Property owners have the duty to pay attention to the condition of their premises
- The property owner should make frequent inspections of the flooring and premises to ensure safety
Slip and Fall Accident Causes:
- No Wet Floor Signs
- Cracked sidewalks
- Uneven carpets or rugs
- Ice covered sidewalks
- Poorly-marked steps or ramps
- Stairways without adequate handrails
- Malfunctioning elevators and escalators
Injured Parties from a Slip and Fall Accident May Seek Compensation From the Property Owner or Management
Businesses open their doors to the public and have a duty to maintain the premises safely. If a person trips on a broken tile or slips on a greasy spot, the property owner may be liable for the damages that result. The injured party may seek compensation for medical costs, doctor’s bills, hospital costs, pain and suffering, loss of earnings and other damages in a person injury claim. It is important to contact your injury attorney at the earliest possible time to preserve your rights.
Slip and Fall Accidents in California FAQ
In California, a “slip and fall” is a type of premises liability accident that can provide grounds for a lawsuit if the accident was caused or resulted from another person’s negligence. As the name implies, you as the petitioner necessarily must have experienced a fall on someone else’s property that resulted in serious physical or material harm.
Who is to blame is truly the crux of the issue and it’s the most important slip and fall accident question. People frequently are injured in an accident, but sometimes there is no one else to blame. In the case of a slip and fall accident in California, you must demonstrate that someone else is responsible for being negligent and contributing to the accident. You will need to prove that they knew or should have known – through the exercise of reasonable care – about a hazardous condition on their property and they failed to repair, protect against, or give adequate warning of the condition.
In certain cases, multiple parties could be held responsible. For instance, if you slipped on a spill caused by a waiter at a nightclub inside of a hotel that was rented out for the night, possible liable parties could include the nightclub owner, the hotel, the hotel’s parent company, the renter, the parties’ insurers, and even potentially individual employees. You may also be held partially or fully responsible, though, if you ignored warnings, went into an off-limits area, or were wearing inappropriate footwear.
Regarding what to do after a slip and fall accident, you should follow a couple of steps, even if you’re unsure at the time whether you plan to start a slip and fall injury claim.
Report the accident to the property owner or manager where the accident occurred.
- Collect the names and contact information for witnesses and take pictures of everything including your footwear before you leave the scene.
- Seek medical treatment if you need it and be sure to tell your healthcare provider how you were injured.
- Contact a California slip and fall accident attorney to discuss the merits of filing a lawsuit.
Just as important as what to do in a slip and fall accident is what NOT to do. You should not give a tape-recorded statement to an insurance adjuster or agent without talking to your lawyer first.
Many property owners, especially for public organizations or commercial businesses, will ask you to fill out and sign an accident report at the time of the incident. You are not required by law to do so, but you benefit by reporting the incident and filling out an accident report as soon as you can – unless you are incapacitated. An accident report is one more crucial piece of evidence to help you establish a record of the accident for your slip and fall injury case.
The most important thing to remember if you’re wondering how to write a slip and fall accident report is to be detailed and accurate. Consistency is going to be key throughout the course of the lawsuit, so make sure you present information in a factual, straightforward manner. Include the date and time of the incident; the exact location of your fall; the mechanics of the fall; and what injuries were sustained.
If you prove the defendant’s negligence, you are entitled to recover all compensatory damages, which can include but are not limited to:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Very rarely would you be entitled to punitive damages in the state of California. If you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, however, then any damages you receive will be reduced accordingly. For instance, if the jury finds your damages total $100,000 but you are 20 percent to blame for your slip and fall accident, then the property owner would only have to pay $80,000.
This depends on what sort of physical or mental harm you sustained or if personal property – such as a watch or jewelry – was also damaged in the process. If the injuries caused by the accident cause you to lose work or suffer a long-term medical condition, you could be looking at recovering substantial damages. You should talk to a California slip and fall accident lawyer to find out the exact value of your specific slip and fall case.
According to California’s statute of limitations, you have two years from the date of the accident to sue the defendant(s) in a slip and fall case. A government entity must be notified within six months from the date of the accident.
As the plaintiff, you have to prove your fall resulted from the defendant’s negligence. The key to building a case is compiling evidence, such as video footage, witness statements, treatment notes from your physician, or testimony from accident reconstruction experts.
Highly qualified slip and fall accident lawyers in California can play a crucial role by walking you through the process, collecting evidence on your behalf, and helping you build a strong case to prove the defendant was negligent.
In slip and fall cases in California, you generally have to establish or prove four things in order to recover damages from the accident:
- You were harmed by slipping or falling on the property
- The defendant(s) owned, leased, occupied and/or controlled the property where the accident occurred
- The defendant(s) demonstrated negligence in the use or maintenance of the property or specific area on the property where the accident occurred
- That negligence on the part of the defendant(s) was a substantial factor in causing you harm
It is not enough to prove only one or two of these items. You must establish all four to show the defendant was responsible for the accident and your injuries.
Contact our California Slip and Fall Attorney for a Free Case Evaluation; No Fees Unless We Win
Johnson Attorneys Group represents victims of slip and fall accidents. They have recovered more than $98.4 million dollars in settlements and verdicts for their clients in personal injury cases over the past few years. At Johnson Attorneys Group, there are no up-front fees and there are no costs at all unless your case is successfully settled or won in court. They offer a free consultation to discuss your case and to help you understand your potential courses of action. To schedule your complimentary consultation, call Johnson Attorneys Group at 1-800-208-3538.