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Filing a Lawsuit against Slip and Fall Accident in CaliforniaDecember 22, 2019 0 Comment Category: Personal Injury
Slip and fall accidents are categorized under premises liability accidents in California. However, not all kinds of falls lead to a slip and fall liability. The slip and fall must have happened due to the negligence of someone else in order to give the right to the injured person to file a lawsuit and claim compensation for the damages. In general, the defendant is found to be negligent if he/she did not perform the reasonable duty of care as required by California premises laws. This could include cases where the defendant knew about the risk of a potential slip and fall on the premises but did not address the problem or issue a warning about the risk.
The most common causes of slip and fall accidents in California include plumbing leaks on the property, loose carpeting, spills, uneven flooring, inappropriately laid or uncovered cords and cables, broken furniture, missing or broken handrails, etc. As per the slip and fall laws in California, the property owner has a duty of care to keep the premises safe for all the people who lawfully enter the property. In fact, this duty of care is applicable not only to the property owner but also to those who occupy, lease, or control the property. If the property owner has an insurance policy to cover such damages then the insurance company may be liable to pay damages to the person injured in the slip and fall accident directly.
In order to claim compensation for the injuries and damages sustained in the slip and fall accident, the plaintiff needs to prove four main things.
- The property is owned, occupied, leased, or controlled by the defendant;
- The defendant failed to perform his/her duty of care and was negligent in using or maintaining the property;
- The plaintiff was physically injured due to slipping and falling on the property; and
- The negligence of the defendant played a significant role in the slip and fall accident that happened on the premises.
The defendant is considered to be negligent by California law if he/she knew or should have known of the hazardous condition as part of the duty of care. Not only that, but the defendant will also be considered negligent if they did not attend to the problem or fix it, which could have avoided the slip and fall accident, or give adequate warning about the hazardous condition to people entering the premises. If you are a property owner who has been accused of negligence and are fighting a premise liability claim it is important that you reach out to a California defense attorney and talk to them about your case in order to get the adequate protection from any false claims or accusations that may hurt you or your business.
Recoverable Damages in Slip and Fall Lawsuits
You are entitled to recover most of the compensatory damages if you prove the defendant’s negligence in court. This can include medical expenses, doctor’s fees, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, etc. In some cases, you may also be entitled to punitive damages for sustaining injuries due to a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property. However, punitive damages in California slip and fall lawsuits are generally imposed when the defendant’s negligence leads to catastrophic long-term injuries or wrongful death. Also, the court can also enforce punitive damages on the defendant if they intentionally tried to destroy evidence of the liability.
Remember that the statute of limitations for filing a slip and fall lawsuit in California is only 2 years from the date of the accident. However, in some cases, the statute of limitations may be “tolled” or suspended, such as when the person injured in the slip and fall accident is a minor or if the defendant is out of state for some time. That is why it is recommended to hire a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible and have a clear idea of how to proceed with the case.
A reliable lawyer can also help you to collect all the pieces of evidence necessary to prove the fault of the defendant in court. In most cases, the doctor’s treatment note on your injuries and video footage of the slip and fall accident on the property will be enough to prove your claim. However, if there is no video footage then your lawyer can help you to collect witness statements and testimonies from the accident reconstruction experts to prove the negligence of the defendant.
In most of the cases, the insurance company of the defendant will try to offer a compensation amount for your damages and settle the case out of court. This is where an experienced California injury lawyer can be of great help. Your lawyer will help you to calculate the rightful compensation amount for all the damages that you have sustained because of the slip and fall accident. They know how things work and can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf as well to get a reasonable compensation amount. If the insurance agency denies your claims or offers a lesser settlement amount, then you can ask your California personal injury lawyer to take the case to the court for further action. A California defense attorney will similarly fight to make sure that a defendant is adequately protected from false claims and help settle the case out of court if necessary.