California Slip and Fall Laws
If you suffer an injury in a slip and fall accident in California and the property owner played a role by failing to properly use or maintain the premises, you may be able to get compensation for your losses. To recover compensation, however, you must obey California’s slip and fall laws. Following these rules can be made easier with assistance from an experienced Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer.
What Is Premises Liability Law?
A slip and fall accident is a type of premises liability lawsuit. Premises liability law states that a property owner has a legal responsibility to protect others from dangerous conditions or defects that may cause injury. If a property owner fails to fulfill this responsibility, he or she could be held liable – financially accountable – when injuries take place on the property. Other common types of premises liability cases besides slip and falls are elevator accidents, dog bite injuries and swimming pool accidents.
What Do I Need to Prove in a Slip and Fall Case?
You or your premises liability attorney must prove four main elements as more likely to be true than not true (a preponderance of the evidence) for a successful slip and fall accident case in California:
- The defendant owned or was in control of the property. Only certain parties, such as property owners, landlords, occupiers, leasers and business owners, have a responsibility to keep a premises safe.
- The defendant was negligent. Negligence describes any form of careless or reckless behavior that a rational person would not commit in the same or similar circumstances.
- The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing your accident. Your lawyer must be able to establish causation between the defendant’s negligence and your slip and fall accident. In other words, that your accident would not have happened but for the defendant’s negligence.
- You were harmed by falling on the property. You must have evidence of compensable losses that you suffered in the slip and fall, such as physical injuries, medical bills and lost wages.
You may have grounds for a case against a property owner’s insurance company after a slip and fall accident if the owner failed to take reasonable care to maintain a safe premises. For example, if a property owner knows that a swimming pool cover is broken, the owner could be responsible for a child drowning if the owner ignored the problem for an unreasonable amount of time.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence is a law that deals with a plaintiff’s own percentage of fault for an accident. This rule can reduce a plaintiff’s settlement by an amount that is equivalent to his or her degree of fault. California is a pure comparative negligence state. This law allows a plaintiff to recover a portion of compensation at any degree of fault (besides 100 percent). This means that even if you were partially to blame for your slip and fall accident, you could still be eligible for financial compensation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Slip and Fall Accident Case in California?
One of the most important slip and fall accident laws to know in California is the statute of limitations. This is a law that places a deadline on a plaintiff’s ability to file a civil claim. The courts take the statute of limitations seriously, meaning that they will refuse to hear a case that is filed too late, in most cases.
With only a few exceptions, the statute of limitations on a slip and fall lawsuit in California is two years from the date of the fall. Certain circumstances may extend the deadline, such as if the victim is a child under the age of 18. In addition, the deadline may be shorter than two years if you are filing a lawsuit against a government agency, such as for a fall in a public park. Discuss your case with an attorney for more information about California’s slip and fall laws.