Perhaps. If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident while a guest at another person's house, you may have a claim for compensation under California premises liability law.
However, the fact that you fell doesn't automatically require the owner to pay your medical bills and other expenses. Your legal right to damages depends on what the owner’s duty of care was to you and whether a breach of this duty caused your fall.
Homeowner’s Duty After a Slip and Fall Accident
Prior to 1968, the owner’s duty of care to you as someone invited onto his property was based on your status as an invitee or licensee. Here were the property owner’s duties to each:
- Invitee. An invitee is someone asked onto the property for business or commercial reasons. These individuals were owed the highest level of care under the prior California law. This included the duty of the owner to regularly inspect the property for known dangers before encouraging invitees. If any were discovered, the duty of care required immediate correction, or distinct warnings about them to any guests.
- Licensee. A visitor invited to someone’s home would be considered a licensee. The homeowner would have owed a lesser duty of care to a person as a licensee than an invitee. He would have been obligated to correct known hazardous conditions or warn you of them, but didn't have the duty to regularly inspect the property.
However, in 1968, the California Supreme Court ruled in Rowland v Christian that a visitor’s status wouldn't establish the owner’s duty to him.
So, your status as a licensee is only one factor that can be used to determine the homeowner’s duty of care to you. Other factors considered include:
- Whether the harm was foreseeable
- Moral blame attached to the owner’s actions
- Burden of the duty to the owner
- Benefit to the community for imposing the duty of care to the owner
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your slip and fall accident, you may be able to prove the owner who invited you to his home owed you the highest standard of care. Your injuries are the result of a breach of this duty.
Proving a Homeowner’s Obligation
It's complicated to determine the homeowner’s duty to you, and whether this standard of care was breached according to California’s premises liability laws. However, you can hold the owner responsible for compensating you with the assistance of an experienced slip and fall accident attorney.
Attorney Mark C. Blane will examine all potential reasons for your injuries and research legal strategies that prove homeowner negligence. To know how to protect your legal rights, order a free copy of The 10 Secrets You Need to Know About Your Injury Case Before You Call a Lawyer. Then call our office to schedule a free consultation to learn what we can do in your case.