Can I Sue if I Slip and Fall on Public Property?
In California, you can sue if you slip and fall on public property. Under California law, “a public entity is liable for injury caused by a dangerous condition of its property if the plaintiff establishes that the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury.” For over 25 years, our lawyers from Ellis Injury Law have been representing Southern Californians who have been wronged, and we have the experience to take the fight to the defendant if you are injured due to slipping and falling on public property.
What is considered public property?
Government buildings may be what first comes to mind when you think of public property, but a number of different properties are also included in this category:
- Municipal parks or swimming centers
- Public elementary, middle, or high schools
- Public colleges and universities
- Community centers or senior centers run by the city or county
- Stadiums and arenas at public high schools or universities
What does it take to prove your slip and fall claim?
Slip and fall accidents can take place in a number of different places and be caused by a number of different dangerous conditions, such as slippery sidewalks, steep driveways, condensation on slippery marble floors, spilled food or drinks on grocery store floors, or oil on garage floors. In order for the public entity to be found liable, you must prove that it was negligent in allowing the dangerous condition to be present at the time you slipped and fell.
In order to prove negligence on the part of the public property owner, your Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer must prove that there was some sort of unsafe condition that rendered the property dangerous under those circumstances. Once you have proven that, you must then prove that the property owner or manager either knew or reasonably should have known about this dangerous condition and failed to take reasonable measures to remedy it. The last element to prove is that the property owner’s negligence caused your injury.
Why time is of the essence
In general, the statute of limitations for slip and fall cases in California is two years, meaning that you have two years from the date of the accident in which to file your lawsuit. However, if you are suing the government, you do not have nearly as long. Within six months of the injury, you must file an “administrative claim.” The government then has 45 days in which to respond to your claim, and if your claim gets denied, you may file a lawsuit within six months of the denial. If you never receive a response, then you may file your lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident.
Damages that you may recover in slip and fall cases
For victims of slip and fall accidents, several different types of damages may be available, including the following:
- Medical expenses both in the past and the future; calculating expenses already incurred is more straightforward, but an experienced slip and fall attorney can help you prove what your future medical costs are likely to be.
- If you have missed work due to this injury, you can recover for those lost wages. If the injury is serious enough to either temporarily or permanently limit your future earning potential, you may be able to recover for that loss of earning capacity.
- In addition to suffering from a bodily injury, it is possible that your accident caused significant damage to some valuable personal property, such as a wedding ring, watch, or necklace. You may be able to recover for this property loss as well.
- While physical injuries may be more easily documented and more obvious, the aftermath of a significant injury caused by a slip and fall can result in severe emotional distress as well. This can include any sort of psychological distress that you experience as a result of this accident.
- Punitive damages are sometimes awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious and needs to be punished and deterred both by the defendant and the public at large in the future.
A firm focused on results
One client of ours was at the movies with her children and went to buy popcorn at the concession stand. While she was in line, she slipped on a pool of liquid on the floor, hitting her head and requiring surgery. Even though the defendant vehemently denied its liability, her Los Angeles personal injury lawyer from Ellis Injury Law was able to recover a settlement of $865,000 on her behalf.
Do not be fooled. While no private citizen is particularly fond of being sued, public entities maybe even more aggressive in their defense against your claim. With that in mind, having slip and fall lawyers with extensive and successful experience dealing with these types of defendants in slip and fall cases can make all the difference when it comes to your financial recovery.
Call us today for your zero-cost consultation
If you or a loved one have been injured after slipping and falling on public property, call Ellis Injury Law today for your free consultation. Not only are our phone lines on 24 hours a day, but not a penny will come out of your pocket unless you win.