Did you slip and fall? Were you seriously injured? Once you've had a chance to process and heal a little, you've probably began to wonder whether you can sue for whatever caused your fall.
Every day people slip and fall. There are many reasons for this. You may have been running and lost your balance, you may have been wearing the incorrect shoes for the surface you were on, or something or someone was negligent creating an environment that resulted in your fall. Any slip and fall lawyer can tell you, the most critical factor in any serious slip and fall case is to prove that an action or any area fostered negligence, which directly caused your injuries.
There are two key words in any slip and fall personal injury case: negligence and liability. Merriam-Webster defines negligence as, “failing to exercise the care expected of a reasonably prudent person in like circumstances,” and liability as, “the state of being legally responsible for something.” You will see these two words consistently throughout this article and any slip and fall personal injury case.
Was someone to blame for your fall?
There are two typical scenarios that a person who has sustained an injury can prove to show that a property owner or employee has been negligent and therefor liable.
In the first scenario, the property owner should have been aware of a physical condition that could be hazardous to the safety of the surrounding area. For example, lets say a property owner has a deck and one of the steps on the stairs has broken due to old age. A reasonable and prudent homeowner should realize that having a broken stair in the staircase to his deck obviously poses great risk for injury. If the property owner did not fix the stair, then he may be liable for the injuries sustained.
In the second scenario, someone is the direct cause for a hazardous condition that resulted in your injury. For example, lets say an employee at a grocery store has just sprayed the vegetable section with water to maintain the freshness of the vegetables. While doing so, he has created a large puddle in front of the vegetable section. In his absentmindedness, he forgot to place a wet floor sign. It is reasonable for him to assume that someone might slip in the water and standard procedure would be for him to dry the area and place a wet floor sign. If someone were to slip and fall in this area, the grocery store could be liable as reasonable and prudent precautions were not taken to avoid a hazardous condition.
Is there proof that it was not your fault?
In any serious slip and fall case, you need to be ready to prove that you were not negligent in your actions that may have caused the slip to occur. In California, there is a concept, comparative fault that allows for claimants to sue for the percentage of negligence that the defendant was in a certain situation. Should it be determined that the claimant was 30% responsible for an accident and the defendant was 70% responsible for creating or allowing a hazardous condition, then the claimant would receive 70% of the attributable damages.
Assistance for California victims
Have you fallen and suffered serious injuries? Timothy J. Ryan & Associates has been helping injury victims for more than 34 years get the compensation they deserve. We've helped recover over $1 billion and provide free case evaluations to every injury victim that calls our firm.
Call (800) 838-6644 today to obtain a free consultation and get help with your case.