Who Is Liable in a Slip and Fall Accident?

-Posted On January 20, 2024 In Personal Injury-

Slip and fall accidents can be scary, disorienting events. One moment you’re on solid ground, the next, you find yourself in a disorienting tumble due to an unseen hazard. These incidents can happen anywhere, from the glossy floors of a shopping mall to the uneven sidewalks of a city street—often leading to injuries that disrupt lives and livelihoods.

To seek justice after a slip and fall, it is crucial to identify who was at fault. Multiple parties may be liable in a slip and fall accident, but in most cases, the property owner bears responsibility.

Levels of Property Owner Liability in California

In California, the extent of a property owner’s liability can vary based on the status of the injured person on their property. There are three types of visitors:

  • Invitees: Invitees enter a property for business purposes, such as customers in a store. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees, which includes regularly inspecting the premises and fixing or warning about known dangers.
  • Licensees: Licensees are guests who enter a property for social reasons, such as friends or family members. Property owners are required to warn licensees of any known dangers that the licensee is unlikely to discover on their own.
  • Trespassers: Trespassers enter a property without permission. The property owner’s duty of care to trespassers is limited. Generally, property owners must refrain from willful or wanton conduct that could intentionally harm a trespasser.

When Is a Property Owner Responsible for a Slip and Fall?

A property owner in California is typically responsible for a slip and fall accident when it can be proven that they were negligent. Generally, this means showing that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition and failed to uphold their duty. For instance, if a spill in a supermarket aisle is left unattended for an unreasonable amount of time and causes a customer to slip and fall, the supermarket may be liable.

However, if a trespasser enters a supermarket after hours and slips on an undiscovered spill, the store does not owe them a duty to fix the hazard and is therefore not at fault. If a security guard violently assaults the trespasser, causing them to fall and break a bone, the supermarket may be liable in this instance.

Can Other Parties Be Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident?

In some cases, parties other than the property owner might also be liable for a slip and fall accident. For example, if a cleaning company hired by a shopping mall fails to properly clean or mark a wet floor, both the shopping mall and the cleaning company might be held responsible. Additionally, if a slip and fall is caused by a defective product, such as a faulty handrail, the manufacturer of that product could also be liable. An attorney can help you investigate the factors leading up to the accident so that you can accurately determine fault.

Speak to a California Premises Liability Attorney Today

After a slip and fall accident, you deserve fair compensation for the injuries and damages that you suffered. A San Francisco premises liability lawyer can be your advocate in this mission, aggressively representing your claim so that you can recover a comprehensive settlement. Speak to a lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your legal options and take the first steps toward justice.

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