The Legal Side of Slip and Fall Injuries and Accidents

There is a legal requirement in California for property owners to keep premises safe for visitors. Despite this, a person may be injured in a slip and fall accident in a restaurant, shopping mall, on a commercial property, in a nightclub, etc. If the accident happens because of the negligence of the person in charge of the property, it might be possible to file a premises liability claim or lawsuit against the lessee (renter) of the property and lessor(landlord/owner of the property). The injured party might be able to get legal funding to pursue the lawsuit if the merits of his claim are founded. Legal funding is typically referred to as a loan for a lawsuit or cash for a lawsuit, and does not need to be repaid if there is no settlement down the road. The funding is conditional upon settlement of your claim or case with the defendant, wrongdoer, liable party and their insurance company.

How do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur and Who is Liable as a Result?

These types of accidents could happen for any number of reasons. Sometimes it is an issue with the walking surface. For example, it could be difficult to navigate because it is slippery, uneven or has ripped carpets. Other factors that could contribute to this type of accident include areas that are poorly lit, steps that need to be repaired, walkways that are cluttered and a lack of warning signs or signs that are poorly placed. The most common cause of a slip and fall accident in a nightclub, restaurant, shopping center, or grocery store is a liquid substance that was spilled and left behind- without proper immediate cleanup.

For example, if a patron or customer of a grocery store like Ralphs or Trader Joes accidentally drops a grape onto the floor and steps on it not realizing, it leaves grounds for another customer of the store to potentially slip and fall on the liquid remnants of the grape (especially where a store employee does not see it or clean it up immediately). In such a situation, if the next customer does not see or observe the substance on the floor and slips on it, causing a fall, that person can likely sue the store chain for premises liability in connection with their personal injuries. Legally, certain elements of the law would have to be proven to qualify for a successful or meritorious claim against the grocery store. The grocery store would attempt to defend by claiming it did not have actual or constructive notice of the condition; this would be a successful argument where only a few seconds or a minute would pass between the time the grape was dropped to the time the second customer would slip and fall. The grocery store’s attorney would argue the store employees would not have had actual or sufficient notice of the dangerous condition to repair it in time or they could potentially argue there was a warning sign on display that the area was slippery. The victim of the fall and his or her attorney would rebut this argument by claiming the condition should have had knowledge of the condition and prevented it from occurring. Discussion will also be had regarding the condition and nature of the substance. For example if dish liquid soap or a clear liquid substance was left on the floor in an aisle in a supermarket, that would arguably qualify as a dangerous condition on the premises. The legal arguments will be handled by attorneys on both sides.

In a successful lawsuit, it is necessary to prove that the owner was aware of the conditions that caused the accident and did not correct those conditions. The person must have been invited on the property as opposed to trespassing. It is better to act in a timely fashion after an injury because the owner may try to fix the hazardous condition that caused the accident before anyone gathers evidence of it.