Slip and fall accident cases are not always the easiest ones to prove. In order to receive financial compensation, you need to demonstrate that the defendant acted unreasonably. In order to get to that point, you must show exactly what the defendant did or did not do. In other words, you must learn the exact cause of the accident. Here are some common ways that slip and fall accidents happen.
Slippery and Wet Floors
The most common example of a slip and fall accident is when someone loses their footing on a wet floor. This could happen in the aisle of a supermarket when a customer or employee drops a jar that breaks and spills. The store owner would need to take action within a reasonable amount of time to either clean up the spill or warn the public about it by putting up a “wet floor” sign or closing off the area. If the store owner does nothing, they can be held liable. After a certain amount of time, the defendant would have been deemed to know about the dangerous condition.
There are similar rules when wetness is caused by rain and weather conditions. While rain is rare in Los Angeles, the defendant would need to take special measures when it does rain to ensure that patrons and visitors do not track water into the property.
Loose Carpet and Uneven Surfaces
Even if there is carpet on the floor, the property owner must still take reasonable care to keep people safe. One common problem is when the carpet frays. Loose strings and carpet may cause people to trip. The property owner must periodically inspect the carpet for dangers. If they notice that strings are loose, they must either pull them up or replace the carpet.
A loose carpet is just one example of an uneven surface that poses a danger to passersby. Any type of uneven surface can cause someone to trip and fall. For example, water damage to a floor can cause the floorboards to come up and create a hazard. Any kind of broken tiles or floor damage could cause an accident.
Debris and Hazards in Walking Paths
Another frequent cause of slip and fall injuries is when someone leaves debris in the path of a walker. For example, if a building owner left equipment or other objects in a common area, they could be liable if people trip over them. However, the defendant may not be held responsible if the danger was open and obvious. For example, if the property owner leaves a very large piece of equipment in an open pathway, the accident victim should have seen the hazard and taken steps to avoid it.
The building owner would be automatically liable if they themselves left the debris in the area where people walk. They may be held responsible for dangerous conditions that others create if they knew or should have known about it and did nothing. After a certain amount of time, the owner would have been deemed to know of the condition, even if they did not have actual knowledge. Property owners cannot pretend not to know or not investigate their own property to learn of possible dangers.
Debris is not just limited to hard physical objects. One major cause of slip and falls is when a passerby trips on an exposed wire. Reasonable care means securing loose wires, either by firmly taping them down to the ground or placing a cover over them. Most businesses will opt for the latter approach to minimize the risk of falls.
Inadequate Lighting and Dangerous Staircases
Beyond the condition of the surface, the property owner must also provide adequate lighting and the ability to see where they are going. People may trip because they simply cannot see. For example, a property owner must ensure that all the lights in common areas are properly working, especially in places like stairwells. Even if there are no hazards on the floors, a property owner can still be legally responsible for injuries.
Not only must a property be adequately lit, but the property owner must also ensure that things like stairs and handrails are intact. It is very easy for someone to fall ascending or descending stairs because the banister that they were leaning on came loose or fell off the wall. Falling downstairs can lead to severe and permanent injuries.
Lack of Employee Training
More broadly, the lack of a safety culture can cause your injuries. Employees may not be fully trained at their jobs. Alternatively, they may not have the motivation to pay enough attention to keep you safe. Premises safety requires vigilance and dedication to perform the necessary checks and fix whatever issues emerge. Employees need to know what they are looking for to help keep you safe.
While we have listed these as causes of slip-and-fall accidents, it takes some effort and investigation to learn what happened. It is not always immediately apparent what caused you to fall. An experienced attorney will investigate your accident and gather the evidence necessary to prove liability in the case. Insurance companies are very skeptical of slip-and-fall claims, even when you have suffered serious injuries. They will always take a “prove it” attitude, denying your claim unless you have solid evidence that shows that their policyholder acted unreasonably. It can be similarly difficult to convince a jury to award you financial compensation.
The more time passes after your accident, the more difficult it will be to collect evidence. Therefore, you must call an attorney immediately after a slip and fall.
Contact an Encino Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, the Arshakyan Law Firm can help you pursue financial compensation from the responsible party. Call us today at (888) 851-5005 or send us a message online to begin the legal process necessary to be paid for your injuries. You do not owe us anything unless we are able to help you win your case.