Slip and fall accidents and trip and fall accidents are the third leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. In 2014, the most recent year for which statistics are available, approximately 32,000 people died from these types of incidents. Thousands more were injured, some of them so severely their lives will never be the same. Sometimes, no one is at fault for the accident other than the person who fell. Other times, the fall and its resulting injuries are caused by the carelessness of a property owner or manager.
Premises Liability Law: Duty of Property Owners
Property owners have a legal duty to keep their premises safe from conditions that may cause harm to those who are authorized to be on their property. If the dangerous condition cannot immediately be fixed, the owner has an obligation to warn people about it. Some of the most common dangerous conditions leading to slip and fall accidents are slipping on:
- Liquids that were spilled on the floor or sidewalk.
- Debris on a sidewalk that should have been removed.
- Clutter or another obstacle left in the aisle of a store.
- Uneven or cracked sidewalks.
- Stairway with missing or broken handrails.
- Inadequate lighting in areas that are common passageways.
In order for you to be able to make a claim for damages, so that your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses are paid for by the person at fault, you must be able to prove the accident was caused by the negligence of the property owner.
Proving Fault in a Slip and Fall Accident in California
Under California law, there are situations that do not give rise to a lawsuit. For example, if you are at the grocery store and you ignore a “Caution Wet Floor” sign and slip and fall as you walk right through a puddle on the floor, the store owner may not be liable for your injuries. You may be able to collect under California’s comparative fault law. This means that fault will be apportioned. For example, if you were 25 percent at fault and the owner 75 percent at fault, and your damages equal $100,000, you will only collect $75,000, not the full $100,000, since you were partially at fault for the accident.
In order to prove fault and collect for your damages, you must prove all of the following:
- A condition on the property created an unreasonable risk of harm.
- The owner or manager of the property knew or should have known about the dangerous condition.
- The owner or manager’s failure to repair or warn you about the dangerous conditions was the cause of your accident.
- You incurred financial damages due to the owner’s failure to correct or warn about the dangerous condition.
If you were injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, and believe the accident was caused by the negligence of a property owner, contact Pasadena personal injury lawyer Greg Aslanian, Esq. at The Aslanian Law Firm, PC for a FREE consultation. Call us at: (626) 345-7210 or visit us online.