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How Do I Know If I Have a Valid Slip and Fall Case in California?

When you are injured in a slip and fall accident, whether in Southern California or elsewhere in the state, you will likely wonder if you have a valid slip and fall claim against the owner of the California property where your accident happened.

There are many factors that play into the validity of having a slip-and-fall case, and the best thing you can do is speak directly with a  Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer at Salamati Law. Our accident and injury attorneys have extensive experience in personal injury lawsuits and can evaluate your right to collect compensation for your injuries from all parties whose negligence contributed to your accident.

The Legal Elements of a California Slip and Fall Claim

Your right to collect compensation from a negligent California property owner is a function of your ability to demonstrate the four necessary elements that are a part of California’s slip and fall laws:

Your Accident Must Have Occurred Due to a Hazard on Someone Else’s Property

Cracked and broken cement steps

    Hazards and dangerous conditions include, for example,  wet floors, broken stairwells, and inadequate lighting. If you can establish that a hazard was unreasonably dangerous and that it led to your fall, you will have a solid claim for monetary damages. You may also be required to show that you did not know about the hazard and were unable to detect it by exercising reasonable caution and care for your own safety.

    The Property Owner Knew or Should Have Known About the Hazard

    A yellow caution sign in the entryway of a building with water on the floor

    Property owners have an obligation to maintain their premises and must exercise reasonable diligence to keep a premises safe for guests and authorized visitors. If an owner knows about a spill or property damage and fails to address the hazard in a timely manner, and someone gets hurt because of it, they can be held liable. However, if the spill/damage occurred and there wasn’t reasonable time for the owner to be informed and take action, then they may not be held liable.

    The particular facts of each case will determine if the owner failed to take the necessary action to keep guests and visitors safe or to warn them about dangerous conditions.

    The Hazard Caused Your Slip & Fall Accident

    You will have to show a direct and proximate connection between the hazardous condition and your slip and fall accident. Merely showing that you fell on someone else’s property is not sufficient to merit a damages award. This is a great reason why having an experienced attorney handling your case can be the difference between you receiving compensation or not.

    You Were Injured as a Result of Your Slip and Fall Accident

    A close-up of a doctor bandaging a person's hand and wrist injury

    If you incurred expenses and incurred non-economic damages as a result of your slip and fall accident in the form of medical bills, lost wages, and discomfort due to pain and suffering from your injuries, you will have a valid claim for compensation. In other words, if you face little more than a bruised ego, you will not be entitled to compensation, even if an unsafe condition caused you to fall.

    Keep in mind that injuries may not be immediately obvious after a slip and fall but may become more apparent in the days or weeks afterward. Even if your injuries seem minor, you should always have a medical examination as soon as possible after your accident to establish a baseline for medical claims. If you wait for several days or weeks to visit a doctor, a negligent property owner might argue that some intervening accident caused your injuries.

    Important Evidence in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit

    File folders with a tab labeled "evidence"

    A Los Angeles slip and fall accident lawyer will use all available evidence to prove your injury claims and to argue for the largest damages award that may be available given the facts of your case. That evidence includes:

    • Photographs and surveillance video of the property where the accident occurred, with emphasis on the hazardous condition of that property
    • The property owner’s maintenance and inspection reports
    • Statements from eyewitnesses
    • Any reports you filed with the property owner or manager, or any law enforcement or medical personnel who attended to you at the accident scene
    • Information about similar accidents that previously occurred on the property
    • Medical records and results of diagnostic tests that show the nature and extent of your injuries
    • Your bills and invoices from hospitals, doctors, and therapists
    • Pay statements that show reduced earnings while you recuperate from your injuries
    • Testimony from you and your family members to describe how the pain you experienced as a result of your injuries affected your day-to-day activities.

    Evidence and witness memories can fade quickly after a slip and fall accident. Your best opportunity to secure critical information will come when a Southern California personal injury attorney collects and analyzes the evidence promptly after your accident. Even if you are not sure if you have a valid claim for compensation, you should consult with an attorney to preserve your claim.

    Can I Still File a Claim if I Was Partially at Fault?

    Blaming yourself for falling and admitting that you were partially at fault for your accident are natural reactions, even if a property owner’s negligence was the primary cause of your fall. Nonetheless, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit in California if you were partially at fault.

    California follows a comparative negligence standard that allows you to recover compensation even if you were 99% at fault for the accident. Under that standard, your damages award will be reduced in proportion to your relative contribution to the cause of the accident. So if you are found to be 25% responsible for the accident, then your total payout will be calculated then reduced by 25% .

    The California slip and fall lawsuit process allows defendants in personal injury cases to assert an affirmative defense of contributory negligence. In a slip and fall accident lawsuit, negligent property owner who argue that an accident victim was partially at fault has the burden of proving that argument with the available evidence. Given this, you should refrain from making any statements to insurance company investigators and other parties that can be interpreted as an admission of fault.

    When you are represented by a slip and fall accident lawyer, your lawyer will manage all communications with investigators and protect you from aggressive questioning that aims to get you to admit fault.

    Slip and Fall Statute of Limitations in California

    A legal document on a table with a pen, magnifying glass, and an hourglass

    You have two years from the date of your accident to file a slip and fall negligence lawsuit against a private party in California. That deadline is much shorter if your claim is against a government entity that owns or manages the property where your accident occurred.  Whether or not you have sustained compensable damages and who owns the property where your accident happened are legal questions best left to an experienced slip and fall lawyer in Los Angeles. Speak with a lawyer before you forfeit your right to recover the damages you deserve.

    How a Skilled Los Angeles Slip and Fall Lawyer Can Help

    A group of young lawyers sitting around a conference table with papers discussing a case

    Making claims for compensation, dealing with property liability insurance companies, and arguing for the full amount of damages you deserve as a remedy for your injuries can be intimidating processes. In particular, California liability insurers hire hundreds of claims adjusters who have substantially more experience than you do with slip and fall accident claims. When you get a Los Angeles slip and fall accident attorney from Salamati Law on your side, you will level the playing field and increase the odds of a favorable settlement or lawsuit verdict in your favor.

    The slip and fall accident attorneys at Salamati Law have prepared these general guidelines to help you organize your thinking when you are considering a personal injury claim. If you have suffered injuries in a fall, your best chance of recovery involves the guidance of skilled legal counsel. Call Salamati Law right away to schedule a free consultation.

    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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