Considering about 9 million people go to ER’s each year due to slip and fall injuries, it’s probably a safe assumption that the majority of Americans have either been injured in a slip and fall or know someone who has.
While slip and fall injuries are common, the severity of the resulting injuries varies greatly. Most people who slip or trip and fall do not suffer any injury. Even those who are hurt, usually suffer very minor injuries. Unfortunately, not all injuries are minor. In some cases, a slip and fall will result broken bones or severe sprains and many victims even suffer spinal cord injuries and brain trauma.
Premises Liability Negligence
If you are seriously injured in a slip and fall on someone else’s property, you may have a “premises liability” claim. Premises liability is an umbrella term that denotes an injury was caused by an unsafe or defective condition on someone’s property.
Breach of Duty of Care. In order to win a premises liability case, you must prove the owner (or other person in control) of the property where the slip and fall occurred was negligent with respect to ownership or maintenance of the property. A duty of care exists for property owners, which means they must keep the property safe and free of dangerous conditions that would reasonably result in injury (icy sidewalks, holes in surfaces, unsecured stairs, exposed toxic substances, inadequate lighting, poor security, etc.). A breach of the duty of care will be considered negligence if the owner of the property failed to correct or warn of an unsafe condition that he knew about or reasonably should have been aware of.
Property owners have a duty to warn visitors that a dangerous condition exists. If a shop owner mops the floor and doesn’t put down a “Caution” sign, the store owner would have breached his duty of care by failing to warn customers of the potentially dangerous condition.
Causation. A breach of the duty of care does not end the discussion. Even if the property owner was negligent, a premises liability claim only arises when the property owner was negligent and an injury was caused by that negligence.
Types of Slip and Fall Claims
Slip and fall accidents are the most common type of premises liability and may occur at a number of different locations:
- Parking lots
- Handicap ramps
- Parking garages
Liability in Slip and Fall Cases
Proving negligence in slip and fall cases can be particularly complex because multiple parties may be at fault. An experienced personal injury lawyer will examine the facts of the case and determine which party or parties may be held liable for the injuries that resulted from your slip or fall. Some premises liability claims may find fault with a property owner, property manager, an HOA, rental company, or even a government entity (if the fall occurs at a courthouse, public library, city park) that has ownership or partial ownership of property where the injury occurred.
Most often, liability usually falls on the property owners who have a duty to keep property safe and free from hazards; when they fail to do that, they may be held liable for accidents and injuries that occur. Often, the property owner or business has insurance to cover the claim and with effective representation, you can recover compensation from the insurance company.
If you or a loved one was injured in a slip and fall in the Los Angeles area, please call us for a free claim evaluation.