A slip and fall happens when someone loses their balance due to a slick spot on the floor or because the person tripped over some hindrance on the property. As a result, the person could be injured in some way. Back injuries are very common in slip and fall cases. However, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and other injuries can also occur from slip and fall.
There are many laws in place to help victims of personal injury in slip and fall cases. Nevertheless, some elements should be met to make claims. Below are a few legal elements for slip and fall cases in California. If the victim believes that what happened to him or her involves these elements, they need to call an experienced slip and fall attorney to file a claim as early as possible because these claims are time sensitive.
Duty in Slip and Fall
Duty is the first element that is to be met in California slip and fall cases, meaning that the business or the person owning the property had the obligation to keep the premises safe by taking reasonable steps and measures. The time where this duty exists is if you are eating at a restaurant, shopping at a retail store or an establishment, or if you were invited to an event taking place in the property. An attorney will listen to the recollection of the facts made by the victim and help find if the other party had a legal duty in keeping the place safe.
The Defendant Knew about the Danger
This condition is referred to as notice. This is an important issue, which should be determined in a slip and fall claim in California. At times, it needs the use of experts to testify about the maintenance procedures performed and about the property. If the defendant knew about the hazards, yet chose to ignore it, it would be established as notice. However, the usual argument is that even though the defendant should have known about the hazardous condition, they did not know about the same. This is where the experts come in and discuss the procedures that are involved in the claim.
Common sense actions will also include in the element. For example, if you own a grocery store, your employees will be expected to keep the floors and premises of the store dry and clean to ensure the safety of the customers. It is your duty to assign your employees the task of ensuring that any spills or other dryness is cleaned immediately.
Existence of Dangerous Condition
When you are involved in a slip and fall accident in California, you will know that a dangerous condition was present there. However, this should be proven in the court of law. As the plaintiff, you should be able to prove that you were in the property and making use of the same as it was intended to be used while you were hurt from the slip and fall.
There Should Be Actual Damages
In the state of California, a slip and fall claim will not be qualified to be heard in the court until and unless it meets the element of actual damages and injury. You need to be able to prove that there were actual damages as a result of the slip and fall, meaning that you should be physically injured from the fall or because something of yours was ruined or broken when you fell. This could be a device like a smartphone or some other thing that you own.
Before filing an insurance lawsuit or claim over the slip and fall case, you need to prepare yourself for the argument of the owner of the property that you also share some responsibility for the slip and fall incident and the damages incurred due to it. You need to prepare yourself to counter the argument of the property owner too, or it could take away a big portion of the claims and court awards. In addition, finding of shared fault will also cut down the value of your court settlement.
The property owner could make many arguments to pin some or all of the blame on the victim. Some of these arguments being:
- The victim was on the part of a property where visitors are not allowed usually or are not expected to be.
- The victim was not paying attention while walking. For instance, the victim was using phone while walking.
- The victim was using footwear that was unsafe or was inappropriate to be used on the property.
- The danger was obvious to the victim.
Despite of the arguments made by the property owner, the “pure comparative negligence rule” of the court will help to find out the amount of compensation that you can get from the defendant. In addition, having one of those proficient slip and fall attorneys at your side will make sure that you get maximum compensation in the lawsuit.