Slip-and-fall accidents can happen anywhere, at any time. In fact, they make up roughly 30% of all reported injuries. Slip-and-fall accidents can occur in a grocery store, a restaurant, a mall, or even on a sidewalk. In California, however, property owners have a legal duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for those who are legally on the property. This includes taking steps to prevent slip-and-fall accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip-and-fall accident in California, talk to a slip -and-fall lawyer or at least read on to make sure you understand your legal rights.
What is a Slip-and-Fall Accident?
A slip-and-fall, as the name describes, is an accident that occurs when someone slips, trips, or falls. The injured individual may have a claim if the accident was due to hazardous conditions on someone else’s property. These accidents can result in serious injuries, including broken bones, back, and neck injuries, and even traumatic brain injuries.
Premises Liability Law in California
In California, property owners have a legal duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for those who are legally on the property. This includes taking steps to prevent slip-and-fall accidents. The duty of care that a property owner owes to visitors on their property depends on the visitor’s status on the property.
An experienced California slip-and-fall lawyer can likely help you with your case, no matter the category you fall into. However, you should still know the different types of visitors on any given premises. Visitors can be classified into three categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
Invitees are individuals who are invited to the property for business or other lawful purposes. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees and must take reasonable steps to discover and fix any dangerous conditions on the property.
Licensees are individuals who are on the property with the owner’s permission, but for their own purposes. Property owners owe a moderate duty of care to licensees, meaning they must warn them of any dangerous conditions on the property that they know about.
Trespassers are individuals who are on the property without the owner’s permission. Property owners owe the lowest duty of care to trespassers and are generally not liable for injuries they sustain on the property.
Proving Liability in a slip-and-fall Accident
In California, slip-and-fall injury cases are based on the legal concept of negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to another person. To prove negligence in a slip-and-fall case, the plaintiff (the person who was injured) must show that the property owner had a legal duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, that the property owner failed to fulfill that duty, and that this failure was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
In order to prove liability in a slip-and-fall accident case, the plaintiff and their lawyer must prove negligence by showing that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition on the property and failed to take reasonable steps to fix it.
Proving that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition can be done through various ways:
- The hazard existed for a long period of time, and the property owner should have discovered it through regular inspections.
- The hazard was created by the property owner or an employee, then the property owner would have known about it.
- The hazard was brought to the attention of the property owner or employee, but they failed to take reasonable steps to fix it.
The injured individual must also show that the property owner’s failure to take reasonable steps to fix the dangerous condition was the cause of their injuries.
Examples of slip-and-fall Accidents
- Slippery floors due to a spill or leaking roof
- Uneven sidewalks or pavement
- Poorly lit stairwells or walkways
- Dangerous or broken handrails
- Loose carpet or rugs
How Much Could My Case Be Worth
There’s hardly such a thing as an exact average in cases like slip-and-fall claims which have so many factors with their own nuances. However, the average settlement for slip-and-fall cases in California can range from $15,000 to about $50,000.
One of the most important factors is the category of visitor the plaintiff falls under, as it determines the degree of negligence on the part of the defendant. Your attorney’s experience with slip-and-fall cases will influence what legal details they can leverage to make sure you fall under the right category and receive more compensation.
Types Of Damages
All of the above factors will determine whether or not you can win your case. However, in a California-based slip-and-fall case, attorneys seek compensation for the plaintiff based on certain types of damages including:
- Medical expenses: This includes all costs associated with the plaintiff’s treatment and recovery, such as doctor’s visits, hospital stays, surgeries, and physical therapy.
- Lost wages: If the plaintiff is unable to work due to the injuries sustained in the slip-and-fall accident, they may be able to recover compensation for the wages they would have earned during that time.
- Pain and suffering: This includes compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life as a result of the injuries sustained in the slip-and-fall accident.
- Punitive damages: In some cases, the court may award punitive damages if the defendant’s conduct was particularly reckless or malicious.
How To Estimate The Potential Compensation Available For Your Unique Claim
Slip-and-fall compensation in California depends on the specifics of the case. Aspects taken into consideration include:
- The severity of the injuries
- The impact of the injuries on the plaintiff’s daily life
- The amount of insurance coverage available.
Generally speaking, the graver the injuries and impact on the plaintiff’s life, the potential for compensation rises to reflect damages. Always consult with an experienced slip-and-fall attorney to evaluate the potential compensation in a specific case before taking any legal action.
Contact A Slip-And-Fall Lawyer To Help You Win Your Slip-And-Fall Case
There are many legal nuances factoring into whether your claim can win out and by how much. Regardless, staying aware of your legal rights is an absolute must if you want to build a winning case. Attorneys help navigate the complexities of slip-and-fall accidents and cover your legal blindspots through expertise. However, not all California attorneys will be the right fit for your slip-and-fall case. With so much on the line, you need to choose the right representative from the right law firm.
Kuvara Law Firm has established itself as a leader in resolving personal injury claims throughout Northern California. For the last 40 years, our sole focus has been on obtaining compensation for those injured by others’ negligence. Through the years, we have recovered millions of dollars for victims resulting from car accidents and other wrongdoings. Whether you’re near our San Rafael headquarters, or elsewhere in Northern California, we have law offices across the region. Our experienced slip-and-fall attorneys are ready to fight for your claim.Have you or a loved one suffered a slip-and-fall accident due to someone else’s negligence? Don’t leave your case to chance; contact us today to win the compensation you deserve.