What You Must Prove to Win a Slip and Fall Injury Claim
Slip and fall incidents can lead to severe injuries that leave people with major medical bills and extensive pain and suffering. If a person slips and falls due to the negligent actions of a property owner, they should be able to recover compensation for their losses. However, determining the property owner’s negligence can be difficult, and we want to review what it takes to win a slip and fall claim.
1. Duty of Care
The first step in proving a slip and fall injury claim in California is establishing whether or not there was a duty of care between the plaintiff (the injury victim) and the defendant (the alleged negligent party).
Concerning slip and fall claims, the duty of care typically falls to a property owner. This can include a private homeowner, a municipality for public property, or a company for commercial property. One of the tenants of premises liability law is that property owners have a duty of care to ensure the safety of those who have a right to be on the premises, whether that be invitees or licensees.
If a person is lawfully on someone else’s property, then the property owner likely has a duty of care to ensure that the person is safe and free from any known hazards. This duty of care extends to inspecting and maintaining the property to ensure that there are no hazards that could cause harm or warning visitors about a known hazard if it cannot be fixed immediately.
2. Breach of Duty
After establishing that there was a duty of care between a defendant and a plaintiff, winning a slip and fall claim involves showing that the defendant breached their duty of care in some way. This breach can occur in a variety of ways for a slip and fall claim, including failing to warn guests of a slip and fall hazard (including not putting up a wet floor sign).
A breach of duty can also include a property owner failing to establish adequate policies for employees concerning the handling of wet floors and warning guests of the hazards.
After establishing that the defendant did breach their duty of care, it has to be shown that this breach of duty directly caused a person’s injuries. For example, let us suppose there is a spill in a grocery store that has not been promptly cleaned up by an employee. We would think that if a person slips on this spill that the store would be responsible for paying any injury expenses, but what if the injury victim was horse playing all throughout the store and was running at a high rate of speed through the area where this spill was?
It could be the case that the injury victim was responsible for causing their own injury, either completely or partially. This can affect how much compensation a person receives, if they receive any at all.
The last step in winning a slip and fall claim in California revolves around showing that the plaintiff sustained some sort of monetary loss as a result of the incident. This can include a wide variety of losses, including medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, property damage expenses, as well as pain and suffering damages.
Call us today to speak with a Los Angeles slip & fall lawyer.