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Can a Building Code Violation Help Prove My Slip and Fall Claim?

Evidence of a building code violation can be powerful evidence in your slip and fall claim. State and local building codes provide minimum standards for both the maintenance and construction of a building– a violation of these standards usually represents a risk of serious injury.

Building code violations are public records that can be submitted as evidence at trial. If the violation relates directly to the hazard that caused your slip and fall claim, the jury could rely on it as proof that the owner or manager was negligent. Often, violations are the strongest evidence available to a personal injury lawyer when taking on a slip and fall accident claim.

Common Types of Building Code Violations

Cracked and broken cement steps

Building codes exist for a reason. These safety standards are in place to protect innocent parties from a wide range of serious harm—including slip and fall injuries. A property owner who fails to maintain their buildings up to code could be liable when these failures result in an accident. Some of the most common types of building code violations include the following:

  • Inadequate lighting. There should be enough lighting for you to clearly see when you are in the public areas of a building. This is especially true when it comes to stairways. One wrong step in the dark could result in a dangerous fall.
  • Improper permitting. Permits are necessary for most construction jobs. Unpermitted work means it has not been inspected, which could result in dangerous conditions. For example, an uneven floor that could cause a visitor to lose their balance and fall.
  • Defective drainage. Part of the building code process involves ensuring that drainage and water pipes are properly functioning. If drains are clogged or defective, water could pool. This standing water could be a significant risk for an accident.
  • Missing handrails. Most communities have standards regarding handrails on stairs of a specific size. If a property owner fails to install them or allows them to fall into disrepair, it’s easy for people to trip and fall.  
  • Hazardous flooring. There are multiple ways that flooring could result in a fall. For example, loose steps, broken tiles, or uneven flooring represent a hazard.

These are only a few of the code violations that could result in a slip, trip, and fall. When an accident happens, your attorney could review the facts to determine if a code violation impacted your case.

How Building Code Violations Can Indicate Negligence

An investigator writing on a clipboard while inspecting a building

Building codes exist for a reason. These standards are considered the minimum level of construction and maintenance necessary to ensure a building is not unreasonably dangerous to those that enter it. These codes regulate the maintenance of public and private spaces, including electrical errors, missing or broken smoke alarms, storage of hazardous chemicals, faulty guardrails, broken stairwells, dangerous windows, improper ventilation, and many others. A violation not only penalizes the owner it also requires further steps to fix the issue.

Further, proof of a building code violation could be the very center of a slip and fall accident lawsuit. The plaintiff must establish that they suffered an injury due to a dangerous property condition. Often, defendants dispute that the condition was there or claim they were unaware of it. However, a violation serves as documentary evidence that the hazard exists and that they were aware of it at the time of the fall. Given this evidence’s strength, it should come as no surprise that researching potential building code violations is an integral part of the investigation for a Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer.

Where Building Code Violations Can Occur

Century City skyline in California during the day

It is easy to assume that building code violations will primarily occur in slip and fall cases in a public space. It is worth noting that it could still be evidence of negligence regardless of the type of property in question. Building permits are necessary for private residences and apartment buildings— particularly in cases of major renovations. If, for example, the owner or manager of a rental unit failed to meet the standards of local building codes, it could serve as evidence of negligence in a lawsuit. 

Contact Our Team of Los Angeles Slip and Fall Lawyers at Salamati Law

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Whether your injuries stem from a slip and fall on a staircase or elsewhere, evidence of a building code violation could dramatically strengthen your injury claim. If you are considering a lawsuit after a fall, we are ready to help. Reach out to our team as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation and discuss your claim’s strength. There are no upfront legal costs because we work on a contingency-fee-basis.

No Obligation, No Fees Guaranteed, Unless We Win

We are committed to negotiate your case aggressively, strategically and creatively. Personal injury lawsuits are retained on a contingency fee agreement, and plaintiffs will pay no legal fees unless the firm is able to recover damages on your behalf.

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