Lawsuits for "slip and fall" accidents in California

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:

  1. Knows, or through the exercise of reasonable care should have known,
  2. About a hazardous condition on the property he or she owns or controls, and
  3. Fails to repair, protect against, or give adequate warning of the condition.1

Common causes of slip and fall liability in California include:

  • Spills,
  • 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:

man in a hard hat falling down a flight of stairs

1. Who is liable for a slip and fall in California?

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 a head injury. The nightclub was rented out to a promoter for the evening. Possible liable parties 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.

2. What do I need to prove to recover damages?

To recover damages for a slip and fall accident in California, a plaintiff must establish four things:

  1. The defendant owned, leased, occupied or controlled the property;
  2. The defendant was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property;
  3. The plaintiff was harmed by slipping or falling on the property; and
  4. The defendant's negligence was a substantial factor in causing the harm to the plaintiff.2

3. When is a property owner or occupant considered negligent?

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:

  1. A condition on the property created an unreasonable risk of harm;
  2. The defendant knew or, through the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about it; and
  3. The defendant failed to repair the condition, protect against harm from the condition, or give adequate warning of the condition.3

4. What damages can I get for a slip and fall?

Plaintiffs are generally entitled to recover all compensatory damages that result from a defendant's negligence.

Compensatory damages can include (but are not limited to):

In very rare cases a plaintiff might be entitled to punitive damages in a California slip and fall lawsuit.

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.
hands of someone destroying pulling tape out of mini-cassettes

5. How long do I have to sue for a slip and fall in California?

The statute of limitations for a slip and fall 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 a period 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.

6. How do I prove the accident was the defendant's fault?

The key to winning a slip and fall 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 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 us for help…

If you or someone you know was injured on someone else's property we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.

Call us at (855) LAWFIRM to discuss your case with a lawyer. Or complete the form on this page and we will contact you at a convenient time.

We can also help if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in Nevada or injured in a slip and fall accident in Colorado.

Legal references:

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The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

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Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

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