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Slip and fall accidents are not uncommon, but they can lead to significant injuries that cause long-lasting issues for victims. Unfortunately, these incidents are often caused by the careless or negligent actions of property owners, but determining liability can be tough. Here, we want to discuss the possible viable parties after a slip and fall injury in California.
Every property owner has a duty to ensure that their premises remain safe and secure for those who have a right to be there. Of course, this duty will look different depending on the type of business or commercial property in question.
Overall, though, property owners do have a duty of care they must maintain. This duty includes conducting regular inspections and maintenance of the entire premises to be on the lookout for any slip and fall hazards. The owner of the property does not necessarily have to be the one to do this. For example, we would not expect a grocery store owner to walk around the store all day to look for spilled milk. However, in cases where there are other employees or “agents,” these individuals must be trained properly about what to do when a slip and fall hazard does arise.
If a property owner or their agent fails to remedy and known slip and fall hazard, or if they do not place adequate warning signs around a known hazard, and someone sustains an injury, they could be held liable for damages.
Private residence owners can also be held responsible for slip and fall incidents if a person comes onto their property and sustains an injury. Any time individuals have a right to be at a private residence, they also have the right to an expectation of safety. Private homeowners should also regularly inspect their property to look for anything that could become a slip and fall hazard. If they notice a hazard, the private residence owner should take steps to fix the problem or warn others about the known hazard when they come onto the property.
If a private residence owner fails to do this, they will likely have breached their duty of care to those who have a right to be there and could be held liable if a person slips and falls. Private residence owners not only owe a duty to those they personally invite onto their property but also to others, including mail and delivery drivers who may need to come up the walkway, utility workers who have a right to be on the premises, and more.
There certainly could be shared fault for an incident, and you can be sure that the at-fault party and their legal team will try and push this idea. California uses a “pure comparative negligence” system, which means individuals can recover compensation even if they are up to 99% responsible for a slip and fall injury. However, they will receive reduced compensation depending on their percentage of fault, and this is why the other parties involved will try and shift the blame towards the accident victim.