How To Prove A Slip And Fall Claim
November 5, 2019
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and fall injuries result in nearly one million people seeking treatment in hospitals each year in the United States. These incidents are fairly common and have a variety of causes, many of them due to the negligence or carelessness of property owners.
Necessary elements to prove in a slip and fall case
The following four elements must be present in order to prove a slip and fall case:
- Duty to the victim: In these cases, there must be a duty owed to the victim by the property owner or manager. For example, a grocery store owner or manager has a duty to the patrons of the establishment. They are responsible for maintaining the property ensuring that no harmful conditions exist. They should deal with any unsafe conditions within a reasonable amount of time, or place warning signs to let patrons know of potential dangers.
- Known potential for danger: An important aspect of these claims is that there was a known potential for danger. Returning to the grocery store example, it is generally understood that there will likely be slip and fall hazards throughout a normal working day. Because of this, owners and managers must take steps to prevent potentially hazardous conditions from arising and have protocols in place to handle hazards that arise.
- There was a dangerous circumstance: the plaintiffs must still prove that the defendant knew or had “reasonable suspicion” that there was a dangerous condition that could harm somebody.
- Damages relevant to the case: The last element of these cases is proving that the injury was directly caused by the slip and fall incident. This element of slip and fall cases proves why it is so important to seek medical attention immediately following an incident.
Who can be held liable for a slip and fall case?
There may be various parties at fault in a slip and fall accident case. This can include:
- store employees who do not follow proper protocol
- managers and supervisors who do not take steps to ensure patron safety
- owners and operators of a business or entity.
Regardless of who allowed a dangerous condition to arise and exist, the property owner and their insurance carrier will usually be the party responsible for covering a slip and fall accident victim’s injury expenses.
Proving you did not cause the accident yourself – comparative negligence in California
While you may not think it is important to prove that you were not at fault for your injuries, you can be sure that the defendant will raise this issue. In fact, the defendant’s insurance carrier or legal team may try to place most or all of the blame for a slip and fall incident on you.
California follows a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that the injured victim (the plaintiff) can cover any portion of the damages caused by the defendant. Even if you did contribute to your injuries, you could still recover compensation from the defendant.
However, the amount of money you receive in damages will be reduced based on your percentage of fault. For example, if you are awarded $10,000 in damages for your slip and fall accident injuries, but it is determined that you were 20% at fault for the incident, you would only receive $8,000 in total damages.
To see if you have a case, contact the Orange County slip and fall lawyer at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn today.