What are My Rights if I Tripped and Fall on a Small Crack in California? LA Slip and Fall Lawyer Explains
Trip and falls can result in some of the most serious, debilitating, and catastrophic personal injuries. Even if a person trips over a small crack on a sidewalk or in a store, the ramifications could be life-changing. Most people do not realize this either. But according to government statistics, falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, the second largest cause of spinal cord injuries, and result in over 800,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States. Even though 36 million falls each year are to adults, falls are also the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in children under 19 years of age. This includes in trip and falls on what would appear to be a small crack on the ground in California.
But here at the Broadway Law Firm, our experienced Los Angeles trip and fall lawyers know that there is no rush thing as a small crack. If a crack is large enough to cause a person to trip and fall, that crack is not so small so as to be non-actionable. This means that a landowner, possessor, or maintenance company could be required to discover, repair, or warn entrants onto the land of this defect. Unfortunately, this is often done after a person has suffered serious personal injuries. If you or a loved one have suffered serious personal injuries as a result of a trip and fall on a crack in California, learn how we can help you recover medical bills, lost wages, and compensation for your pain and suffering during a FREE call by dialing 213.444.3155.
California Law Involving Trip and Falls
Under California law, all landowners, possessors (tenants), or property managers must maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition under the circumstances free of defects, hazardous conditions, or otherwise dangerous conditions. This includes preventing harm to foreseeable individuals who could come into contact with the defect.
This standard is a flexible standard based on reasonableness. As a result, a trip and fall case generally must be reviewed by a trier of fact such as a judge or jury. However, it is a simple truth that between 90%-95% of all lawsuits settle before trial, including trip and fall cases.
Can I Sue for Tripping and Falling on a Small Crack?
Yes, you can absolutely sue for tripping and falling on a small crack if you suffered personal injuries as a result of the accident. However, this is a difficult type of case to prove. This is because the defendant will claim that the trip and fall was a result of a trivial defect. Under California law, landowners or tenants are not responsible for trivial defects in most instances.
But what makes a defect trivial is very subjective. This often requires a trier of fact to review the claim and expert witness opinion to explain why the defect is not trivial and how it violates a building maintenance code, ordinance, or other body of law.
Although this can make a trip and fall claim more difficult to prove, that does not mean that it is impossible. This is particularly true when a trivial defect causes a catastrophic injury such as a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury. It makes it harder for a defendant to claim that the defect was small and trivial when the damages are so large and significant.
Cracks in Stores
A crack in a store is the strongest type of trip and fall claim in California. This is because store owners owe their customers (also known as invitees) a stronger duty of care to prevent them from coming into contact with foreseeable defects that could cause foreseeable injuries. This is specifically because store owners invite others into their store to buy goods and services. The law expects store owners to ensure that they protect customers from defects.
Special Rules for Municipal Defects
If you suffered personal injuries as a result of a trip and fall on a cracked sidewalk, often you may have a case against a municipality. When it comes to these types of cases, a municipality has a more lenient standard that is more forgiving. All a municipality must show is that it exercised due diligence in the upkeep of the sidewalk and that there are no egregious or grossly defective sidewalks. Some municipalities have requirements for prior written notice of a defect before they will be liable. While other municipalities shift liability from themselves to the adjacent landowner. All municipalities have a special notice of claim provision which requires them to have a chance to investigate and settle a claim before a victim is allowed to file a lawsuit. These are all complicated hurdles in municipal defect cases.
Injured in a Trip and Fall Accident? Call Our Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers
As an injured person, it is not up to you to determine whether or not a crack was “small” and actionable. It is also not up for the defendant or the insurance company either. This is a jury or judge question that must be assessed based on the reasonableness of the maintenance and the actions by the defendants.
Therefore, if you were injured in a California trip and fall accident, ask our experienced Los Angeles trip and fall lawyers at the Broadway Law Firm to review your claim and determine what compensation you may be entitled to. We will protect your rights to compensation under California law against lazy landowners or reckless tenants who fail to properly maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for you. Call for a FREE case evaluation by dialing 213.444.3155 or sending us a message with our easy-to-use contact us box available by clicking the link here.