After an accident, your injury can leave you stuck with pain, medical bills, and emotional distress. Injured individuals should seek compensation from liable parties to cover their losses. In a slip and fall claim, it is imperative to prove that someone else (typically the property owner) is liable for your injuries.
To prove that someone is liable for the slip and fall accident, the injured individual must prove one of the following:
- The property owner (or their employee) did not recognize a dangerous condition that led to the accident. For example, a man trips on a pothole outside of the office where he works.
- The property owner was unaware of a pothole on the property’s pavement.
- The property owner (or their employee) purposefully or negligently caused the conditions leading to the accident. For example, a woman slipped on the pavement made wet by a broken sprinkler. The owner was aware of the faulty sprinkler but did nothing to fix it.
- The conditions must have been foreseeable in the eyes of a reasonably sensible person to potentially cause an accident.
Although the word “reasonable” can be considered completely subjective to some, the term plays a significant role in slip and fall cases. In order for a property owner to be held liable for an injured individual’s damages in a slip and fall case, the injured individual must prove that the property owner (or his employee) did not act as a reasonable person would under the given circumstances.
Answering the following questions may help in revealing if the property owner acted negligently:
Did the property owner attempt to eradicate the dangerous obstacle or impediment?
Does the property owner (or his employee) routinely monitor the property for possible hazards?
Could the property owner have made the hazard less dangerous, either through warning or eradication?
Was the hazard’s presence justified?
Did poor visibility play a role in causing the injury?
How to Prove the Accident Was Not Staged
Often in slip and fall cases, property owners argue that the individual’s injury was caused by his own negligence or malintent. It is often true that individuals do purposefully injure themselves in order to seek compensation from the property owner. Due to California’s contributory fault laws if the injured individual is partially to blame for the accident, then the property owner will pay his own portion of fault for the incident. For instance, a court values a defendant’s damages at $100,000. If a court finds the plaintiff (the injured individual) 40% at fault for the slip and fall, the defendant (the property owner) will pay only 60% of the damages, or $60,000.
Answering the following questions may help in revealing if the plaintiff may be partially at fault:
Was the plaintiff unaware of the hazard due to a distraction, such as texting on his or her cell phone?
Was the plaintiff restricted from being in the area in which the slip and fall occurred?
Did the property owner place reasonably adequate warning signs to notify individuals of the hazard?
If the defendant has the ability to prove that the individual was injured due to his or her own negligence, the injured individual’s chances of winning the slip and fall case are decreased.
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one has been involved in a slip and fall accident, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.