Not every slip and fall accident is the result of another party’s negligence. However, a plaintiff can only recover compensation for injuries when they can prove that a defendant was directly negligent or legally responsible for someone else who was. Liable parties may be responsible for some or all of the economic and non-economic damages caused by the fall, so it is important to know what you need to prove in a California slip and fall case.
In the aftermath of a slip and fall injury, talk with an experienced Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer. At Salamati Law, our team has extensive experience handling these and other types of personal injury cases. Speaking with an attorney as soon as possible means you have a better opportunity to preserve evidence, establish liability, and recover the monetary compensation that you deserve.
In most types of personal injury lawsuits in California, an injured party needs to demonstrate negligence on the part of the defendant. Los Angeles slip and fall lawsuits are no different. Proving a defendant’s negligence means establishing that:
In most slip and fall negligence cases, the defendant is a property owner, like a landlord, or property occupier, like the store renting space. These entities are usually responsible for the negligence of their employees as well under a theory known as respondeat superior or vicarious liability. Other individuals or businesses may also be liable if they had the responsibility to keep the area safe.
Slip and fall cases come under the heading of “premises liability” cases; the central question is whether someone in charge of the premises breached a duty. A landowner or occupier in California has a legal duty to repair, protect against, or give warning of dangers that he or she either knew about or reasonably should have known about.
Some of the elements that your lawyer will look for include:
Knowing exactly how you were injured in a slip and fall accident is the starting point of proving negligence. Some of the most common causes include:
You will also be required to explain how the defendant’s actions caused or contributed to these causes. For example, a customer may have spilled a fountain drink in a restaurant, and an employee waited an unreasonably long time to clean it up or post a warning sign. Without making the connection between the cause and the defendant’s actions, your case may not be successful.
California recognizes the doctrine of comparative negligence; owners and occupiers are not responsible for damages that you caused by your own negligence. If you are partly to blame for your fall, you may still recover damages, but they will be lowered in proportion to your share of the fault.
Expect to see property owners and their insurance companies raise arguments to shift some or all of the blame to you. Common arguments include:
If your case goes to trial, it will be up to a jury to determine how much of the fault each party bears for the accident and reduce your damages in proportion to your responsibility. For example, if your damages total $100,000 but you bear 30% of the blame, your award will be reduced to $70,000. If your case is one of the vast majority that is settled with the insurance company, the insurance adjuster or defense counsel will negotiate the issue of responsibility with your attorney. In either case, you are best served by having a strong advocate on your side.
It seems simple: you were injured in a slip and fall accident and believe someone else’s negligence caused it. However, bringing a successful claim means following tedious court rules and deadlines, and producing evidence of each of the elements of negligence. A seasoned personal injury attorney at Salamati Law understands this process and will package the information most persuasively so that others recognize the value of your case.
Unless an exception applies, you only have two years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit in California. This time can pass quickly and it does not take long for evidence to disappear. Take action as soon as possible to protect your case. Do not delay; call Salamati Law to schedule a free, confidential case review.