Proving Slip and Fall Accidents
Slips and falls can cause severe injuries, significant medical bills, and loss of income. If you’re a victim of a slip and fall accident in Los Angeles or Orange County, discussing your case with an experienced Southern California slip and fall attorney can help you understand the elements and evidence required to prove your case.
When you’re dealing with a slip and fall accident, proving that the property owner was careless or negligent is central to your case. You need to show that the owner had a responsibility to keep their place safe and failed to do so, causing your accident and resulting injuries.
You also need to prove that the poverty owner had notice of the dangerous condition, meaning that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition.
The last important element you need to prove is that you suffered actual damages because of the property owner’s failure to keep their place safe.
Under California law, property owners have a duty to act with “ordinary care or skill” when it comes to managing their property.
To win a slip and fall case, you must prove that the owner was negligent. This could mean they didn’t take proper care of their property or failed to warn you about any hazards they knew about. If the property owner did not know about the dangerous condition, you must also prove that they should have known of the dangerous condition.
What counts as “proper care” can vary depending on the situation. For instance, if you’re at a supermarket and you slip because they took too long to clean up a spill, the court would likely say the store was negligent. But if you ignored warning signs about a wet floor and fell, you’d have a hard time making a case.
When the Property Owner Creates a Risky Situation
Sometimes, the owner or their employees might be the ones who actually make the place dangerous. For example, they might use a type of flooring that’s unstable or uneven, or maybe they waxed the floor to the point where it’s so slippery that it’s unsafe to walk on.
The Owner’s Awareness of the Risk is Crucial in a Slip and Fall Case
Another key factor in a slip and fall case in California is whether the defendant was aware—or should have been aware—of the hazardous situation. This is commonly known as “notice.” Often, expert witnesses may be called upon to discuss standard maintenance practices for similar properties. If it turns out the defendant was aware of the danger but chose to ignore it, establishing notice becomes straightforward. However, more commonly, the defendant claims ignorance. This is where expert opinions can be invaluable, shedding light on what a reasonable person would typically do in similar circumstances. For example, if you run a grocery store, it’s common sense that you or your staff should keep the floors clean and address spills as soon as they happen.
Proving Your Damages
To get compensated for your injuries, you’ll also need to show proof of your medical expenses and any other costs you’ve had because of the accident. This could include medical records, bills, and proof of any lost wages for missed work.
Collecting evidence is crucial for substantiating your claim:
1. Photographs: Take pictures of the accident scene, including the hazard that caused your fall.
2. Witness Statements: If there were witnesses, get their contact information and statements.
3. Medical Records: Keep all medical bills, reports, and any other evidence of the injuries you sustained.
4. Incident Report: If the accident happened in a commercial establishment, make sure to file an incident report.
Legal Time Limits in Los Angeles and Orange County
In the majority of instances, California law grants you a two-year window from the day of the slip and fall incident to initiate legal proceedings. However, if your accident occurred on government-owned land, the time frame shrinks dramatically to six months. For example, if you trip over a broken section of a public walkway, you’re up against a tighter deadline. Government-owned land encompasses municipal, state, and federal territories.
Contact Matchtinger Law for a Free Consultation
Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. They can help you gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a slip and fall accident in Los Angeles or Orange County, contact us immediately. The legal experts at Machtinger Law are here to help you every step of the way, from gathering evidence to representing you in court. With over 30 years of experience in personal injury law, we have the expertise to secure the compensation you deserve.