If you were ever to experience a slip and fall accident, there are several parts of the litigation process you must be aware of before proceeding to file a lawsuit. One of the most important factors is your responsibility to prove liability on behalf of the property owner. This entails a great deal of documentation, necessitating records of the accident scene, as well as medical documentation, and much more. If you have recently been injured in a slip and fall accident in California, there are several important steps to follow when filing your lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries.
According to the premises liability law, you have the right to pursue legal action against any property owner that neglected their duty to maintain the area to the public or their private visitors. The “duty of care” clause is the property owner’s legal obligation to provide a safe area where those present on their property can walk or otherwise move about freely without the risk of injury. (This risk, at least, must not be attributed to the property owner or their grounds.)
Suppose you were in a grocery store, a shopping plaza, or another location that does not belong to you, and there were hazardous surfaces that caused your fall. In that case, you have the right to pursue legal action. Note that you are most likely to only have a case if there were no warnings like “Wet Floor” signs in the area. If there were warnings present, this likely waives the property owner’s liability, as they provided the necessary cautions to visitors. Such information places the responsibility on you to then decide to navigate the area safely. Failing to heed such information may then make you liable instead.
Regardless of the warnings present in the area, though, you must immediately begin to document the incident after your fall by following the steps below:
- Report the incident to the property owner immediately.
- If there are accident reports available on-site, use these forms to document your fall and keep a copy for yourself.
- Record the contact information of any nearby witnesses.
- Photograph the scene and record videos if possible, showing the precise hazard that led to your slip and fall.
- Visit a medical professional.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer.
All the documentation you acquire in Steps 2-5 is critical to building a sound case through which you will receive compensation for your injuries.
Your Responsibilities in the Litigation Process
With your lawyer’s help, you must fulfill the core responsibility of proving liability in the legal proceedings following your fall. This entails the proof of the property owner’s duty of care mentioned above and the following elements:
- You must prove that the property owner breached their duty of care.
- You must demonstrate that this breach was the direct result of your fall, and therefore, the related damages.
Using the evidence you secured in the steps above, as well as witness and expert testimonies, you will build a strong foundation on which to build a successful lawsuit for your slip and fall accident.