A “slip and fall” is a type of California premises liability accident. Not all falls lead to slip and fall liability. To recover damages, the accident must have been caused by someone else’s negligence.
Someone is negligent for a slip and fall in California when he or she:
- Knows, or through the exercise of reasonable care should have known,
- About a hazardous condition on the property he or she owns or controls, and
- Fails to repair, protect against, or give adequate warning of the condition.1
Common causes of slip and fall liability in California include:
- Plumbing leaks,
- Loose carpeting,
- Uneven floors,
- Uncovered cables and cords,
- Broken or missing railings,
- Broken furniture,
- Failure to rope off construction sites, and
- Failure to put up warning signs about known hazards.
To help you better understand how to recover damages for “slip and fall” accidents, our California personal injury lawyers discuss the following, below:
- 1. Who is liable for a slip and fall in California?
- 2. What do I need to prove to recover damages?
- 3. When is a property owner or occupant considered negligent?
- 4. What damages can I get for a slip and fall?
- 5. What is the statute of limitations for a slip and fall claim?
- 6. How do I prove the accident was the defendant’s fault?
People owe a duty of care in California to protect people who enter their property from harm. This duty applies to people who own, lease, occupy or control property.
There may also be parent companies or insurers who are liable to pay damages to people injured in slip and fall accidents in California.
Example: While attending an event at a hotel nightclub, Dylan slips on a spilled cocktail and sustains various fall injuries including a head injury and broken bone. The nightclub was rented out to a promoter for the evening. Possible liable parties in this slip and fall claim include the event promoter, the nightclub owner, the hotel, the hotel’s parent company, the parties’ insurers and perhaps even some of the nightclub’s or promoter’s employees.
To recover damages for a slip and fall accident in California, a plaintiff must establish four things:
- The defendant owned, leased, occupied or controlled the property;
- The defendant was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property;
- The plaintiff was harmed by slipping or falling on the property; and
- The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the harm to the plaintiff.2
To recover for a slip-and-fall, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent.
A defendant is negligent in the use or maintenance of property in California if:
- A condition on the property created an unreasonable risk of harm;
- The defendant knew or, through the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about it; and
- The defendant failed to repair the condition, protect against harm from the condition, or give adequate warning of the condition.3
An example of negligent behavior is a grocery store not putting out “Caution: Wet Floor” signs after they wash the floor since a wet floor is a dangerous condition.
Plaintiffs are generally entitled to recover all compensatory damages that result from a defendant’s negligence.
Compensatory damages for a slip and fall claim can include (but are not limited to):
- Medical bills for medical treatments, home health, rehab, etc.
- Lost wages,
- Lost earning capacity, and
- Pain and suffering.
In very rare cases a plaintiff might be entitled to punitive damages in a slip and fall lawsuit. An experienced California slip and fall lawyer can advise you as to this.
Examples of situations in which punitive damages for a slip and fall might be recoverable include:
- The defendant’s recklessness resulted in catastrophic injuries or wrongful death, or
- The defendant intentionally destroyed evidence of liability.
The statute of limitations to bring a slip and fall personal injury lawsuit in California is generally two years from the date of the accident.
In some situations, however, the statute of limitations might be “tolled” (suspended) — for instance, if the defendant is out-of-state for an amount of time, or the injured person is a child under 18.
An experienced California injury lawyer can advise you on how long you have to sue following an accident, depending on the circumstances of your case.
The key to winning a slip and fall personal injury case in California is to prove that a fall resulted from the defendant’s negligence. Evidence can include:
- Doctor’s treatment notes,
- Video footage,
- Witness statements, and
- Testimony from accident reconstruction experts.
Our slip and fall lawyers include former cops and investigators. We know how to find the evidence that others may overlook so that you can get the compensation you need and deserve.
Injured in a slip and fall in California? Call our law firm for help…
If you or someone you know sustained a minor or serious injury on someone else’s property, we invite you to contact our California slip and fall lawyers for a free consultation and legal advice.
Call us or complete the form on this page and we will contact you at a convenient time. Our personal injury attorneys have law offices throughout the state.
Disclaimer: Past results do not guarantee future results.
- California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) 1000. Premises Liability—Essential Factual Elements; CACI 1003. Unsafe Conditions; see, e.g. Ortega v. Kmart Corp., (2001) 26 Cal. 4th 1200, 36 P.3d 11, 114 Cal. Rptr. 2d 470; Kopfinger v. Grand Cent. Public Market, (1964) 60 Cal. 2d 852, 389 P.2d 529, 37 Cal. Rptr. 65.
- CACI 1000.
- CACI 1003; also see the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP).