Thousands of people are injured each year when they slip or trip on a wet floor, defective stairs, or a rough patch of ground. Injures caused by slip and fall accidents can be serious. A natural question when faced with injury from a slip and fall is whether the property owner can be held responsible for the accident.
It’s a normal occurrence for things to fall or drip onto the floor or ground. It’s also natural for smooth surfaces to become uneven. Sometimes, the presence of things on the ground, like drainage grates, serve a lawful purpose and cannot be removed. So, a property owner can’t always be held responsible for immediately picking up or cleaning every slippery substance. However, property owners must be careful in keeping up their property. The question in every slip and fall case turns on whether the property owner was negligent.
A slip and fall accident is a type of California premises liability accident. To hold the property owner legally responsible for damages caused by the slip and fall, you must prove that the property owner was negligent.
In California, a property owner is negligent when he or she knows about a hazardous condition on the property and fails to repair, protect against, or give adequate warning of the condition. Usually, one of the following must be true to show negligence:
- The owner of the premises or an employee causes the spill, or a slippery or dangerous surface or item to be underfoot.
- The owner of the premises or an employee knew of the dangerous surface and did nothing about it.
- The owner of the premises or an employee “should have known” of the dangerous surface. Implying what the owner or employee “should have known” is usually decided by the actions of a “reasonable” person. So, if a reasonable person in that circumstance would have discovered and repaired it, then the owner can be held legally responsible.
The third situation is not as clear as the first two scenarios because “reasonable” is a question to be decided by looking at many factors. In deciding what is “reasonable” the judge or jury may look to whether the owner or employee made thorough efforts to keep the property safe and clean. Having an experienced attorney to evaluate what the courts have held to be “reasonable” will help determine whether there was negligence in your particular case.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall
Some common causes of slip and fall accidents include:
- Plumbing leaks;
- Loose carpeting;
- Broken or missing railings;
- Uncovered cables and cords;
- Failure to rope off construction sites; and
- Failure to put up warning signs about known hazards.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, it is necessary to obtain evidence showing the connection between the slip and fall and the property owner’s negligence. Necessary types of evidence usually include doctor’s notes from a treating physician, video footage, witness statements, and testimony from accident reconstruction experts.
Don’t Face Insurance Companies Alone
The best way to ensure that your claim is successful, and you recover the compensation you are entitled to is to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Christopher Kreeger has successfully handled countless slip and fall cases, winning favorable settlements and judgments for his clients.
To schedule a complimentary consultation today, contact us at 916) 782-8400.