Say you stepped on a puddle that you did not see in a dark stairwell at a mall, slipped consequently, and fell over. After a few weeks, you felt an agonizing back pain as a result of the slip and fall.
When a doctor diagnoses sprained pelvis, you make a connection between your fall and injury. If the stairwell had been properly lighted, you might have possibly seen the puddle there. If it had not been there, then you might not have even fallen in the first place.
So, can you sue it to recover damages for lost wages for time off work and medical expenses? To win a case like this in a court of law, the following three things have to be proved.
- Liability: A defendant in slip and fall injury case had duty of care, which defendant was negligent in carrying out.
- Negligence: Defendant breached the duty and plaintiff was harmed.
- Responsibility or Fault: The duty’s breach, or negligence on defendant’s part, was a key factor in causing plaintiff’s injury.
Duty of Care
In California, everyone has a duty to exercise care while doing something where a different party may be injured. An owner of premises has different duty of care toward entrants on their premises, depending upon which type or entrant category they belong to. The highest entrant level is an invitee, one who is invited by its owner or tenant to visit it. A premises’ owner has a reasonable duty of care to both maintain as well as repair it so that the invitee is not injured.
While pursuing a claim for damages, the injured person’s best chance of having a successful result is if they can prove they are an invitee. In case they are an employee or a shopper, they stand a fair chance of qualifying for an invitee’s status, but only under the correct circumstances.
In case they were at the property outside normal business hours without the permission of its owner, then the defense lawyer might attempt to convince the jury that they were just trespassing.
To show negligence on the defendant’s part, the plaintiff and the lawyer have to prove that the other party failed to act fairly prudently to avoid the injury. For instance, did the danger exist for enough time for the defendant to discover and thereby avoid it? Was poor lighting one of the factors that lead to slip and fall? Did the defendant keep a log showing that they checked their property routinely for hazards?
Responsibility or Fault
This is arguably the toughest part to prove in the court, that the defendant caused the accident whereby the plaintiff was injured. Did the plaintiff behave in a way it contributed to slip and fall accident?
The state recognizes Comparative Fault Rule. It permits the injured person to recoup even if it is as much as ninety-nine percent responsible, but the amount of damages granted might be reduced accordingly. If the plaintiff and their personal injury lawyer can prove all the above-mentioned conditions were met, it may lead to positive result in the court or even an out-of-court settlement.