Understanding Your Rights After a Slip and Fall in a Store in California
When people think of a serious personal injury accident, they think of trucking wrecks, high-speed auto crashes, or construction site accidents with explosions or construction equipment. People do not often think of a slip and fall as being particularly dangerous or debilitating. But the truth is that slip and falls are some of the most devastating types of personal injury accidents in California and the United States. Specifically, falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. and almost tied in first for the most common cause of spinal cord injuries. Falls are also the leading cause of injury to adults over 55 years old and to children under the age of 19. Falls are also more common than you may think, with the CDC reporting over 800,000 patients hospitalized each year for a fall and 36 million adults suffering falls each year. Insurance companies know this and zealously defend any type of slip and fall injury case in California—especially in a store.
This is why victims of a serious slip and fall accident in California need to hire an experienced Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer like one of our lawyers at the Broadway Law Firm. We handle all types of slip and falls cases where an individual suffered serious personal injuries as a result of the negligence of another person, business, government agency, or other entity. Learn how we can help you during a FREE consultation by calling 213.444.3155.
What is a Slip and Fall Case?
A slip and fall case is a type of premises liability case, or a case arising from the use of land. The most common example is a slip and fall in a store like a grocery store, sporting goods store, mall, general merchandise, specialty store, clothing store, or another type of store that advertises goods and invites the public to come in, shop, and purchase items or services.
A slip and fall at a store is caused by a wet or slippery surface that a person comes into contact with and has his or her foot slide, slip, or shift due to the loss of traction/friction. This causes a person to lose balance of fall. A slip and fall is similar to a trip and fall, but the mechanism of injury is different because a trip and fall case is about catching a foot in something, tripping over a broken step or debris on the ground, or otherwise losing balance because of a different type of defect in or on the floor.
Common Examples of Slip and Falls in Stores
There are many possible causes of a slip and fall in a store in California. Most causes of a slip and fall are avoidable with the proper care, maintenance, construction, or overall upkeep of a store. Some of the most common examples of a slip and fall in a store in California include the following:
- Slipping on a spilled product on the floor (i.e., a broken jar of food)
- Overuse of floor wax
- Excessive soap left on the floor when cleaning it
- Tracked in rainwater
- Inadequate lighting
- Oil leaks or spills in parking lots
- AC leaks
- Refrigeration unit leaks
- Improper tile/flooring used that is slippery (i.e., wrong fraction co-efficient for shower tile in a public place like at a gym), and
- Many other common causes.
Proving a Slip and Fall Case in a Store
In order to successfully prove a slip and fall case in California, a victim will need to demonstrate that the landowner, tenant, possessor, or maintainer had a legal duty, breached that legal duty, and the breach caused damages to a victim. This is known as a negligence standard.
Under California law, all landowners or possessors must use reasonable care under the circumstances in maintaining their premises. This includes preventing unnecessary harm to foreseeable entrants onto the land.
For a store, a customer who comes into the store is the type of entrant who must be the most protected and coveted. This means that landowners and possessors must perform reasonable inspections, repair defects, and warn or block off dangerous defects until they can get fixed. If a store failed to do this and caused a slip and fall injury, that store might be negligent under California law.
Establishing Notice Under California Law
Even if a landowner or possessor is found to be negligent, that does not mean that the store will be automatically liable. An injured victim must establish “notice” on the part of the store or landowner. Notice is a very important part of a slip and fall case.
There are four general ways to establish the notice requirement under California law, which include the following:
- Created the defect – if the defendant created the defect by not following building code or other maintenance/safety guidelines, the defendant is automatically on notice of the defect.
- Actual notice – if the defendant has actual notice of the defect, such as being told about the defect, seeing the defect, or otherwise being aware of the defect’s existence, notice is established.
- Constructive notice – this is often the most contested type of notice because it depends on whether the defect or hazard existed on the premises for a reasonable period of time for a reasonable inspection to have uncovered the defect and allowed the defendant to repair or make it safe. This standard in a store can vary depending on the type of defect, the store, the location of the defect, and other issues related to the reasonableness of the discovery and of the ability to repair.
Reoccurring defects – this is technically a type of constructive notice, but it has a special rule where the defect is reoccurring under a certain condition. In California, the best examples of reoccurring defects include a roof that always leaks in the same spot on the floor when it rains, or an air conditioning unit that leaks and drips water on the floor. If a victim can establish that these conditions are reoccurring in certain situations that occurred when the victim was caused to slip and fall, the victim will likely be able to prove there was notice.
Ask the Broadway Law Firm For Help With Your Slip and Fall Case Occurring in a Store
Stores and their insurance companies hotly contest any type of slip and fall case. They also tend to blame other defendants by shifting blame between the landowner, tenant, and a maintenance company. All defendants also try to blame the victim for his or her fall injuries in order to limit damages.
This is why all victims and their families who have suffered because of a slip and fall accident need to hire an experienced Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer like one of ours at the Broadway Law Firm. Learn how we can begin to protect your rights under California law during a FREE consultation by dialing 213.444.3155. You could also contact us by using our easy-to-use contact us box available by clicking the link here.