There are always possibilities for you to slip at a staircase and take a nasty fall that lands you on your knees. There might have been a puddle which you did not see in the dark that made you slip. A few weeks later, you may wake up with a terrible pain in the back. When you consult your doctor over this, you might find a sprain in your pelvis or a major injury on your back. Later, when you cross-examine the cause of the injury, you might conclude that it was due to the fall that happened long time ago.
If the puddle was properly repaired, you would not have fallen. Similarly, if there was adequate light in the region, you would have seen the puddle and avoided the fall. Under these circumstances, you might want to sue the company responsible for the damage caused to you. This, however, is fully dependent on how you and your slip and fall lawyer present the case in front of the court.
In a successful claim, you need to prove the following defendant breached the duty and that the plaintiff was harmed in some way.
• Liability: The defendant had a responsibility of care and was at fault for not performing the duty of care.
• Negligence: you should prove that the plaintiff was injured or harmed.
• Responsibility/Fault: The breach of responsibility or the negligence shown by the defendant was the chief cause in the plaintiff’s damages.
Duty Of Care
According to California Law, everyone has the responsibility to execute their duty of care when they are doing something with the possibility of injuring another person.
An owner exercises different levels of duty of care for the entrants in their premises. This is determined by the category of entrant they are. An invitee is the highest type of entrant. It is anyone who has been invited by the tenant or the premises owner to pay a visit. This includes the customer at a store or a business. The premises owner has a considerable amount of duty towards the invitees so that they are not subject to any injury.
The other categories of entrants include licensees and trespassers. These groups get a reduced degree of duty of care. A licensee is someone who happens to be on the property in question with permission, while it is not open to the public.
Meanwhile, a trespasser is someone who happens to be on another person’s property without permission while the place is not open to the public either.
The owner must warn people of the possible dangers. Apart from that, they have a limited duty of care to uphold or revamp the property and prevent dangers. Although it is illegal to cause deliberate damage, the property owners have no duty of care to the trespassers.
When you pursue a claim over the damages caused, you can succeed if you can prove that you are an invitee or at least a licensee. In case you are an employer or a shopper, you have a high chance of being considered as an invitee if the circumstances oblige.
If you happen to be on their premises after the usual business hours without the permission of the owner, they will definitely try to convince the judge that you were trespassing. Note that the family members and social guests are also considered no more than licensees.
To prove the negligence, you have to prove that the defendant failed to act responsibly. If there was very little time for the defendant to recognize the danger, the decision might be in their favor. However, if they fail to act even after a considerable time after the danger arose, they would be adjudged guilty.
This is one of the most difficult parts of the case to prove. It establishes that the defendant is the main cause of the accident that injured the plaintiff. There is also the question of whether the plaintiff behaved in a way that further aggravated the effects of the accident.
California State has a Comparative Fault Rule. This allows the party suffering damage to recover their losses even if they are to be blamed for 99% of the accident. The recovered amount is reduced according to this proportion.
You can expect a positive outcome if all the above conditions are met. It is advisable that you consult an expert slip and fall attorney to do this successfully.