In California, comparative fault principles - "comparative fault" - applies to the person who was injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall incident. If the person who was hurt was hurt because of their own carelessness or negligence - such as by ignoring warnings, walking around intoxicated or on medications that affected the ability to take reasonable precautions, or where the injured person was otherwise distracted -- the fault may well lie with the person that was injured. Not every trip and fall or slip and fall injury in California was caused by the negligence of someone else. In many cases, when someone falls it may be their own error or failure to pay proper attention that caused the incident. On the other hand, sometimes someone knows of a dangerous condition that is likely to hurt someone and not be noticed, and that property owner does nothing about the condition.
Different Types of California Claimants (Slip and Fall/Trip and Fall Claimants)
According to California law, slip and fall plaintiffs can be broadly categorized into invitees, trespassers, and licensees.
Invitees are individuals who are asked on to a given property for commerce/business. An employee or an applicant for a position might be considered an invitee, for instance. More commonly, business invitees are customers at a store or business who are injured while shopping or otherwise visiting the business.
Licensees are social visitors to properties, such as a friend or family member invited over to a home, not knowing that a dangerous condition exists on the property.
Trespassers are unauthorized visitors, such as someone who comes onto property without permission.
Not surprisingly, the legal standard for a California Slip and Fall or trip and fall case varies widely depending upon the status. For someone who has no right to be on the property, it is very difficult (as it should be in most such cases) to win under California law. This is not only a legal issue, but it is a factual one - California residents and juries are not going to be sympathetic to a trespasser who was hurt in most cases. On the other end, the person who is shopping and suffers and injury due to a fall because of something the store owner failed to warn about or correct is more likely to be deserving of compensation under the law. An invitee or licensee who slips on a wet floor that was mopped but where no sign was put up, for instance, may have a case, while a trespasser who slips on the same wet floor may not.
Mark C. Blane is a San Diego Slip and Fall Attorney, and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Premise Liability Law Firm devoted to representing families of injured persons of automobile accidents. If you or someone you love, has been injured or killed in San Diego County, or Southern California, due to the negligence of another, please order your FREE copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information, insights, and secrets that will help you protect your legal rights. It normally sells for $16.95; however, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in a California accident.