Slip and Fall Accidents and Store Owner Liability

What happens if you slip or trip and fall in a department store, grocery store, or mall in the San Fernando Valley? Do you have a legal claim? Should you contact a personal injury attorney?

Slip and fall accidents are generally considered "premises liability" cases and these cases turn on whether the property owner or possessor acted with reasonable care so that slipping or tripping was not likely to occur. In determining what conduct is reasonable, California law focuses on whether the property owner makes consistent and thorough efforts to keep the property safe and clean.

Commercial Property Owners

Individuals who enter San Fernando Valley grocery stores, malls, department stores, doctor offices, etc. are considered 'invitees' for purposes of premises liability. Invitees are those who enter a property with the possessor's permission to confer economic benefit on the possessor or who enter a property that is open to the public.

A possessor has a duty to protect and warn invitees if a danger is concealed and the possessor either had either prior knowledge of the condition or could have discovered the condition through an inspection that a reasonably prudent person would have performed. In other words, the possessor must protect you (the invitee) from all reasonably knowable unsafe or dangerous conditions in the store or office, such that the possessor has a duty to inspect and repair.

Potential Injuries from Slip and Falls

A variety of slip and fall accidents occurring at a store can lead to personal injury claims, including falls due to wet or obstructed floors, poorly lit or dark stairwells, loose floor tiles or carpeting, fallen merchandise, broken or cracked sidewalk or pavement in front of the store, or wet parking lots. This list is not exhaustive -- discuss your particular case with a personal injury attorney.

Potential Liability

If you were injured in a slip and fall accident and wish to recover financial compensation for your injuries, you must prove that the owner/possessor was negligent by failing to exercise the standard of reasonable care under the circumstances. To hold a store liable, either [1] owner/possessor or employee caused the condition, [2] owner/possessor or employee knew of the condition but failed to correct it, or [3] owner/possessor or employee should have known of the condition because a reasonable person would have discovered the condition. The burden is on you to establish the standard of care by proving that the owner/possessor knew or should have known about the conditions that caused your injury. Finally, you must show that the owner/possessor breached the standard of care by failing to fix the condition within a reasonable time and that this breach is what caused your injury.

What Compensation is Available?

Compensation for serious slip and fall injuries can include payment of past and future medical expenses, lost wages, lost future earnings, and monetary recovery for emotional distress, mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and general inconvenience.



DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation | Attorney Advertising

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