Slip and Fall Accidents in California
A slip and fall accident occurs when a dangerous condition on another’s property causes a person to trip, slip, or fall, and be injured. Slip and falls are, unfortunately, quite common, and can result in serious injuries or even death. In order to recover damages in a slip and fall lawsuit, the victim must show that the accident was due to another’s negligence.Negligence
To prove negligence, a slip and fall victim must prove that:
- The defendant had a duty to keep the premises reasonably safe;
- The defendant breached that duty by allowing a dangerous condition to exist on the premises;
- The dangerous condition caused the victim’s accident; and
- The victim suffered injuries as a result of the accident.
Sometimes, slip and fall victims are also negligent, perhaps by running through a store or by walking on an icy road instead of on a cleared sidewalk. In that case, the amount of the damages may be reduced to account for the victim’s negligence.Who Can Be Held Liable
When a person is injured because of a dangerous condition on another’s property, he or she may sue the owner, occupier, or possessor of the property. This may include homeowners, businesses, landlords, and other property owners.
In order to recover damages, the victim must show that the property owner either:
- Caused the dangerous condition;
- Knew of the dangerous condition but did not take action to fix it; or
- Should have, as a reasonable person, known of the dangerous condition and taken action to repair it.
A dangerous condition on property can cause an accident either directly or indirectly. A direct cause of an accident could be, for example, a cracked sidewalk or uneven floorboards that cause pedestrians to trip. An indirect cause exists when the condition does not directly cause the slip and fall, but does contribute to the accident. For example, poor lighting in a staircase does not cause a person to fall, but it can make it harder for a person to see where he or she is stepping, and make it easier to trip.
Dangerous conditions that commonly lead to slip and fall injuries include:
- Liquid, food, or grease on floors;
- Snow or ice;
- Objects or debris left on floors or walkways;
- Missing railings in stairwells or on balconies;
- Slippery, cracked, or uneven pavement, floors, or cobblestones; and
- Poor lighting.
A person who has been injured in a slip and fall accident can recover money damages to compensate for the injuries suffered. Damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. If the defendant’s conduct was especially egregious, the court may order punitive damages, which are designed to punish the wrongdoer.
If you have been injured by a fall on someone else’s property, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. Please contact the dedicated Monterey County personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. for a free initial consultation, at (408) 289-1417.Sources