Falling on someone else’s property or even a place of business such as a coffee shop or grocery store can result in serious injuries. When most people hear the term “personal injury lawsuit” in California, it is not uncommon to assume that the case involves an Orange County car accident lawyer or even a Los Angeles defective product lawyer.
But many individuals are unaware that they can sue for a slip-and-fall. With that in mind, we have described California’s slip-and-fall accident laws in further detail below.
Premises Liability in California Lawsuits
Slip-and-fall accidents are considered premises liability cases. This means that the injury victim will be bringing a claim against the property owner and/or those who are responsible for ensuring the safety of the property on which the victim was injured.
Any property owner, whether it be of a private residence or a place of business, has an obligation to ensure that their premises are safe at all times for their invited guests or patrons. When they fail to uphold this duty of care, injuries can occur and the property owner can be held accountable for the damages of the injury victim.
Some examples of property owner culpability could be if you were at a restaurant and slipped due to a spilled beverage. If there was no wet floor sign to adequately warn you of the spill, then the owner of the restaurant or even some restaurant staff could be held accountable.
Another example could be if you tripped on some broken pavement outside of a store. The store owner, or owner of the building being rented by the store, is responsible for maintaining the property, and could be found liable for your damages for failing to repair the broken walkway in a timely manner.
Can Property Owners Escape Liability in CA?
There are certain instances in which the property owner may be able to avoid being found liable for the injuries of someone who fell on the property.
The first falls under the “open and obvious” doctrine. Here, if a hazard is obvious or you were notified of the danger but proceeded anyway, the property owner cannot be found liable. In the spilled beverage example above, if the restaurant had placed a wet floor sign by the spill, they would likely have been able to escape culpability under the open and obvious doctrine.
Other times a property owner cannot be held accountable for slip-and-fall injuries include instances involving trespassing and criminal activity. The property owner can only be expected to ensure the safety of their invited guests. Anyone entering a property without permission of the property owner or after hours cannot expect the property owner to cover their losses when they fall.
Get Help from a California Slip-and-Fall Lawyer
Slip-and-fall injuries are often far more impactful than people realize. If you are considering legal action for injuries you sustained in a fall, a qualified slip-and-fall lawyer should be able to help.