Getting injured is a traumatic experience, not the least of which is due to the way that an injury can impact your ability to work and earn a living. In cases where the injury was due to your own negligence or carelessness you will be left alone to take care of your financial problems. But if your injury was caused by somebody else’s negligence then you have a case against them.
What type of personal injury claim you make will depend on the circumstances of your accident. Today’s post will look at how responsibility for a slip and fall accident in California is handled. Specifically, we’ll look at how the fault for a slip and fall accident on a public sidewalk is determined.
How Does a Slip and Fall Case Work in California?
In order for a personal injury to be considered a slip and fall case it needs to arise from just that: a slip and/or a fall. A slip and fall accident can occur pretty much anywhere. You could be in the grocery store and trip on a freshly washed floor or you could be outside taking a walk to enjoy the summer weather when you tripped over an uneven bit of sidewalk.
Not every slip and fall accident ends up going to court. One of the first steps to take when you are injured in a slip and fall is to file a third-party insurance claim with the insurance company responsible for the property. In some cases this could be the end of the case as the insurance pays out what you need.
But in most cases you’ll find that you need to take the matter to the court through a personal injury lawsuit. When you are faced with a slip and fall injury it’s important to move towards filing your lawsuit as quickly as possible, as California sets a two years deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit for yourself or on the behalf of another (such as when filing a wrongful death suit).
Note that if your personal property was damaged or destroyed as part of the slip and fall incident then there is a separate three year statute of limitations for seeking damages to cover your belongings.
How Does a Public Sidewalk Slip and Fall Case Work in California?
When it comes to a slip and fall case the most important aspect in play is the idea of negligence. In order to have a case your injury must be caused due to the negligence of the property owner. We’ll talk more about how we prove this negligence to the courtroom in just a moment. But you might have already started to notice why determining responsibility in a public sidewalk case can be so difficult.
Generally, if you slip and fall while at the store, it’s pretty straightforward that the case will be a premises liability case. But a public sidewalk could be the responsibility of a number of different parties.
To determine who is at fault in a slip and fall case on a California sidewalk you are going to need to first determine who it is that might be at fault. That is to say, the courts can determine whether or not a defendant is at fault or not, in a legal sense, but you must first figure out who is responsible for the stretch of sidewalk you slipped on.
Depending on where in California you are, this could require significant research. Some municipalities have laws which make it the burden of the municipality to keep the sidewalks in shape. Others have laws which place the responsibility on the homeowner of the property nearest that stretch of sidewalk.
Since municipalities can have their own rules when it comes to the responsibility of sidewalk upkeep it can be quite difficult to determine who may be responsible. If you are having a hard time sorting through the laws for the area where your fall occurred then chances are good that you should consider hiring a lawyer that already knows where to find this information for you.
How Do I Win a Slip and Fall Case?
Generally, To win your slip and fall case you need to prove that the party you have taken to court is liable for the upkeep of the property. Further, you need to show that they were negligent in their responsibility of keeping the property in safe condition.
Proving either of these points can be quite difficult. One way you can give yourself an advantage is to immediately take photos and document the scene of your fall as close to the fall as possible. If you can do it immediately after recovering (or have a friend do so while you seek medical treatment), the better. This helps to show the conditions at the time of the fall, whereas leaving it be could give the defendant enough time to fix the issue before it is properly documented, which makes it harder to prove fault.
One of the things a good attorney does is look into the history of the property or sidewalk in which you had your injury. If they can, they will uncover any previous complaints or issues with the sidewalk in question and this may allow them to show a history of negligence on behalf of the liable party.
Where can I Get Help with My Slip and Fall Case in California?
As mentioned before, the best ally you can have when facing a slip and fall case is a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. A good injury lawyer will help you through your case and do everything they can to help you win. A great injury lawyer will do everything they can to help you win, talk you through your options and work with you towards the best possible outcome.
If you are looking for compensation for your slip and fall injury then it’s important you act today. The longer you wait, the closer the statute of limitations gets to running out on your claim. Give the Accident Network Law Group a call today at (951) 554-1010 to start your journey towards justice.