Slip and fall accidents occur frequently in California, often necessitating the expertise of a slip and fall accident lawyer. In many instances, these cases result in severe injuries requiring extensive treatment and resources. While not all injuries from slip and fall incidents lead to severe or traumatic brain injuries, they invariably cause significant inconveniences, affecting victims’ daily activities and overall quality of life.
Because numerous costs would often surround slip and fall cases, it is paramount that one sues so that they can recover compensation. For a slip-and-fall case to be successful, you must prove that the at-fault party’s negligence resulted in your losses. California’s laws and courts would therefore require you to prove that had it not been the at-fault party’s fault, you will not have suffered the pain and suffering, the extensive medical bills and any other damage that would largely emanate from the slip and fall case.
This article is aimed at ensuring that we get to give you the tips that would come in handy when prosecuting your slip and fall claim and more specifically how to prove negligence in a slip and fall case.
Understanding Negligence in California Slip and Fall Cases
The central element of personal injury law is negligence. Because slip and fall cases fall under the realm of personal injury law, the central concept for allocating liability is negligence. To establish negligence in California, the following crucial elements must be demonstrated:
The aspect of duty of care- In slip and fall cases, your personal injury lawyer must show that the oner of the property where you feel owed a duty of care to you. You must therefore ensure that you demonstrate the reason why you believe that the property owner owed you a duty of care.
Breach of the duty of care- After establishing that there was a duty of care that the property owner owed to you, you must then demonstrate that the property owner breached that duty of care. The law requires you to demonstrate the manner in which the duty of care was breached.
Causation: after demonstrating that the property owner owed you a duty of care and that there was a breach of the duty of care, you must then ensure that the breach of the duty of care by the property owner directly resulted in the slip and fall accident.
Damages- You are then required to proof that as the injured party, you suffered actual and material damages that principally arose from the slip and fall case.
Identifying the Duty of Care
Under California law, specifically outlined in California Civil Code Section 1714(a), a property owner and occupier of any property owes a duty of care to anyone who is on the property. This legal provision clarifies that the level of care provided by a property owner to someone on their property significantly depends on the visitor’s status.
Consequently, invitees, or people who have been invited to the property by the owner, are entitled to the highest duty of care. Social guests or individuals who have permission to be on the property also receive a duty of care, albeit at a slightly lower level compared to invitees.
Trespassers, or those who enter the property without permission, are owed the least duty of care. However, California Civil Code Section 1714(a) requires property owners to exercise caution to prevent harm to trespassers, who may still have grounds to sue for injuries incurred on the property. This nuanced approach highlights the importance of understanding the specific obligations and protections afforded under California law regarding property safety and liability.
Proving Breach of Duty
To demonstrate breach of duty in slip and fall cases, it must be demonstrated that the owner of the property failed to ensure that there is a safe environment on the property. The relevant factors that must be demonstrated for the breach of duty to be proven includes:
The property owner failed to warn the people on the property ort the people who are likely to come into the property that there are hazards in the property. If there are hazards on the property, the property owner must ensure that there are clear warnings on the property about the same.
The property owner failed to do proper maintenance or repair of the dangerous parts in the property while knowing or ought to have known that the same was likely going to cause slip and fall accidents.
The property owner ought to have known of the possibility of any part of their property that would likely cause a slip and fall or any other type of accident but did not take active steps to address the same. if this is demonstrated, the property owner shall be liable to compensate the victim of the slip and fall incident.
The process of establishing causation is a process that is aimed at linking the fact that the property owner breached a duty of care and because of the breach, you suffered a slip and fall accident. It follows from this that for one to establish causation, one must demonstrate that the hazardous condition on the property resulted in the accident.
For one to demonstrate that there were damages that emanated from the accident, they must sufficiently show evidence of the damages suffered. Demonstrating damages in a slip and fall accident would involve producing evidence of medical expenses that emanated from the slip and fall accident, there was lost wages, there was pain and suffering and that the slip and fall accident victim suffered inconveniences that they would not have suffered had there been no slip and fall accident.
It follows from the above that one must ensure that they keep proper medical records which should ordinarily include the extent of the injuries suffered, the length of treatment, the requirement for future medical treatment, the need for future medical visits and the expected recovery time. one must also ensure that they keep all the financial records associated with the slip and fall so that they can use the same when claiming for compensation.
Comparative Fault in California
California is a totally comparative negligence state. An injured party in California is able to get compensation even in instances where they contributed to the happening of the accident by 98%. It should be noted that the amount of compensation that they recover shall be directly proportional to the amount of fault of the other party.
Statute of Limitations
One is required to file their slip and fall lawsuits within two years from when the accident occurred. Filing a suit after the lapse of the two years shall result in your claim being declared stale. When a claim is deemed stale, it is very much unlikely that one shall get compensation for the slip and fall accident.
When one is a victim of a slip and fall accident, it is necessary that one consults an experienced slip and fall lawyer so that they can help you through the process of proving the slip and fall lawsuit. One is likely to proof negligence and get compensated in a personal injury case with the help of an experienced fall accident lawyer than on their own. You should therefore consult a slip and fall injury lawyer as soon as you are involved in a slip and fall claim.