It happens all too often-a property owner fails to fix a hazardous condition on his property and someone is injured as a result. These accidents, known as slip and falls or trip and falls, can lead to spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, soft tissue damage, and broken bones. If you're involved in a slip and fall accident, who is held liable for your injuries? The property owner can be held liable if you are able to prove he was negligent in maintaining his property. However, in some cases you may be partly to blame for the injuries you have suffered.
The state of California follows a " pure comparative negligence " rule that could affect the settlement you receive in your slip and fall case. What is the pure comparative negligence rule? In every slip and fall case, the defendant can argue that your carelessness or negligence played a role in your injuries. For example, if you failed to see a small sign warning you of a hazardous condition because you were not paying attention to your surroundings, the court could find that you were 10% at fault, and the property owner was 90% at fault. In this situation, your settlement would be reduced by 10% because you were partly to blame. So, if you were originally entitled to receive $10,000 in compensation, you would now only receive $9,000 to account for the role you played in causing the accident.
This rule is known as comparative negligence because the court must compare the victim's negligence with the property owner's negligence to determine who should be held responsible. If the jury believes both parties are somewhat liable, then the specific percentages of each party's negligence must be calculated so the settlement can be adjusted accordingly.
If your case makes it to trial, the defendant will most likely bring this rule up and attempt to place all or some of the blame on you. Keep in mind you do not have to prove it was not your fault-it is the defendant's responsibility to show you were acting negligently. Even if the court finds you are partially to blame for the accident, you could still receive a fair amount of compensation to help you with medical expenses and lost wages.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, don't wait another second to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. James Rush and his team will closely examine your case, determine who is liable for your injuries, and aggressively pursue a fair settlement. To discuss your case with James Rush, call 415-897-4801 to arrange a free consultation.