Thousands of people are seriously injured each year by falling on various unsafe surfaces. It could happen anywhere. You could slip on the wet floor in a grocery store, or trip on a raised sidewalk in front of the bank, or on a rough patch of ground near your local pharmacy. However, just because you slip, and fall doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a case to pursue.
Liability for Falls
If you’ve experienced a fall, you have to determine whether someone is liable for any damage that you’ve suffered. People who own, lease, or control property owe a duty to reasonably protect people from harm when they enter that property. In some cases, the property owners will be responsible, and other times they will not.
Proving a Fall Case in California
In order to prove your fall case and recover damages, you must show the following:
- The defendant is the owner or person who leased, occupied, or controlled the property;
- The defendant was negligent in maintaining or using the property or failed to warn of known dangerous conditions;
- The plaintiff was harmed by slipping or tripping on the property; and
- The negligence was a substantial factor in causing the harm.
Negligence in California Slip and Falls
Under California law, a defendant is negligent in the use or maintenance of property in California if all of the following applies:
- Some condition on the property created an unreasonable risk of harm;
- The defendant knew, or should have known about it; and
- The defendant failed to correct the condition, protect against harm from the condition, or give adequate warning about the condition.
The Damages that are Recoverable for an Injury Suffered by a Fall
Your actual damages will depend on the details of your specific case, including the severity of your injuries, the amount of your income that was lost due to the event, as well as many other factors. However, in general, in a California slip and fall case, you can typically recover compensatory damages in two categories: economic and non-economic. Sometimes punitive damages are available as well.
The economic damages include past and future medical care costs, lost wages, reduced earning capacity and other verifiable expenses you have incurred or might incur later due to your injuries.
The noneconomic damages include compensation for things that money can’t buy, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and disability and disfigurement.
Under limited circumstances, California plaintiffs can recover punitive damages. These damages are intended to punish the defendant for especially heinous behavior, including acts that constitute fraud, malice, or oppression.
Have You’ve been Hurt in a Fall Accident? Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been involved in a fall, it’s a good idea to reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer. They can help with determining who is at fault, gathering evidence, and evaluating your chance at success. Please feel free to reach out to the skilled lawyers of Walton Law. Contact us now for assistance in personal injury matters.