How Do You Prove Fault in a Slip and Fall Accident?
In order to prove fault in a slip and fall case, it must be established that the property owner or manager was negligent in allowing a hazardous condition to remain on the property that resulted in your accident, which caused your injuries. Slip and fall cases in particular can be quite complicated with regard to proving fault to the satisfaction of a jury. It’s in your best interests to consult an experienced Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer to review your case.
At Ellis Injury Law, we’ll employ the full resources of our firm to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your case. We’ll dig up all existing evidence and interview eyewitnesses, if applicable, to assess questions of liability. Our attorneys are aggressive litigators with extensive experience proving complicated liability issues in court. Some of the issues our lawyers will consider include the following.
Do you have the basis for a slip and fall lawsuit?
Before you can establish fault in a slip and fall lawsuit, you must first determine whether there is a basis to file that lawsuit. One of the first things our legal team will consider is where the accident took place. Were you on your own property, someone else’s property, or public property? If you were on your own property, you cannot file a lawsuit because there is no one to blame for the hazardous condition but yourself. However, if you were on someone else’s property or public property, you may have the basis for a lawsuit.
Three ways to determine liability in slip and fall lawsuits
After determining that you do have the basis to file a personal injury lawsuit, our attorneys will consider questions of liability. In slip and fall cases, there are three possible ways to prove that the defendant is at fault for your accident.
- The owner of the property (or an employee of the owner) caused the hazardous condition to exist. For example, if you slipped and fell in a restaurant, an employee of the restaurant must have spilled a liquid.
- The owner of the property (or an employee of the owner) knew the hazardous condition existed, but failed to render the area safe in a timely manner.
- The owner of the property (or an employee of the owner) should have known about the hazardous condition because a “reasonable person” would have known, yet failed to correct the situation.
In order to prove liability, one of these three scenarios must be true. Note that in the last scenario, the “reasonable person” standard can be applied. This standard is simply what any person would have done if they exercised an average degree of judgment, care, and skill.
Understanding negligence, liability, and contributory fault
Negligence, liability, and contributory fault are legal concepts that are central to personal injury lawsuits. Your lawyer must prove that the defendant was negligent in some way. In other words, the defendant disregarded the safety of others. For instance, if a store has torn-up carpeting, the store owner would be negligent in failing to fix this tripping hazard.
Liability refers to legal responsibility. Typically, the owner of the premises is liable for anything that happens on that property. However, some accidents are simply accidents. If a patron drops her own handbag and trips over it, the store owner cannot be held liable.
Lastly, contributory fault sometimes plays a role in the slip and fall cases we litigate in Southern California. California is a comparative negligence state. This means that awards may sometimes be reduced in proportion to the degree to which the plaintiff was responsible for the accident. For instance, a store owner may claim that you were partially responsible for failing to see the hazardous condition because you were using your phone while walking.
The good news about the contributory fault is that it can allow you to recover compensation even if you were indeed partially at fault. This is why it’s always best to consult a lawyer about your accident, even if you’re not sure whether the property owner can be held liable.
Request a free consult with the slip and fall attorneys in Los Angeles
Even if you aren’t sure whether proof of fault exists in your particular slip and fall case, it’s worth your time to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with the slip & fall attorneys at Ellis Injury Law. Our experienced legal team understands the nuances of tort law in California. We provide aggressive representation designed to bring favorable results for our injured clients—and we never charge a fee unless we secure compensation for you. Contact a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer today at 888.997.3132 to request a free case review.