In order to recover for a slip and fall injury sustained on another's property in California, there must be a responsible party whose negligence caused the injury. Who is this person or entity? This sounds obvious, but many people do not realize that some injuries are simply accidents caused, if anything, by their own carelessness. For instance, if someone falls simply because he was not looking where he was walking, he cannot recover against the property owner if the owner was in no way at fault, no matter how serious the injury. If an injured person is only partially at fault for his own injury, he might still be able to recover from another, but the dollar amount of his recovery might be reduced.
Special Rules for Commercial Property
To be legally responsible for the injuries someone suffered from slipping or tripping and falling on someone else's property, the owner/possessor of a store, restaurant, or other business (or an employee of the business):
- must have caused the spill, worn or torn spot, or other slippery or dangerous surface or item, to be underfoot;
- must have known of the dangerous surface but did nothing about it; or,
- should have known of the dangerous surface because a "reasonable" person taking care of the property would have discovered and removed or repaired it.
The third situation is the most common, but is also less clear-cut than the first two because of the phrase "should have known." Liability in these cases is decided by common sense in addition to the rigors of California law. The law determines whether the owner or occupier of property was careful by deciding if the steps the owner or occupier took to keep the property safe were reasonable. This is how these types of cases are reviewed.
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.