A fall can cause painful injuries. A victim may also miss substantial time away from work or school while incurring substantial medical debts. California premises liability laws provide a way for victims of slips, trips, and falls to recover compensation for their injuries. However, slip and fall claims are not always easy to settle. Our California slip and fall injury attorneys discuss three things that you might not know about settling a slip and fall claim.
Three Hurdles to Settling a Slip and Fall Claim
1. Your actions before the fall could impact your settlement claim
California’s pure comparative fault laws allow a court to reduce the amount of money a victim might receive for an injury claim by the percent of fault the person had in causing the accident. In other words, if you had any responsibility for the cause of your injury, you might receive less money for your claim. For example, a store owner posted a sign that clearly stated the front steps were broken and everyone should use the ramp. However, you did not want to take the time to go around to the side of the building, so you used the steps, fell, and were injured. A jury may find that you contributed to the cause of your injury by failing to heed the warning sign; therefore, you should not be entitled to receive full compensation for your claim.
Most victims are not at fault for their slip and fall accident. However, that does not prevent insurance providers and defense attorneys from trying to blame the victim for his or her injury. If you are being blamed for a slip and fall, contact an attorney immediately.
2. Not all slip and fall claims result in a settlement
It is possible to be injured in a fall on another party’s property and the property owner is not held liable for the injury. The legal elements required to prove a case under premises liability laws require an injury victim to prove that the owner created the dangerous hazard and failed to take any action to protect guests; the owner knew about the condition but failed to act; or, the owner “should have known” about a hazardous or dangerous condition that posed a threat to others.
Proving what someone knew or should have known is usually challenging, if not impossible. Therefore, we use the “reasonable” standard. What would a reasonable person have known given the circumstances? It can be a difficult task to prove all legal elements required for a slip and fall claim, but with an experienced slip and fall lawyer, your chances are better.
3. Victims have a limited time to pursue slip and fall claims
California statutes of limitations require slip and fall victims to file a personal injury lawsuit within two years from the date of the accident. However, there are exceptions to that rule that can shorten or lengthen the time to file an injury claim for a fall.
For instance, minors who are injured in falls have until two years after their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. On the other hand, if the injury claims involve a government entity, a claim must be filed with the agency overseeing the government property within 120 days from the date of the accident. Failing to follow laws related to claims against government parties could result in losing the right to file a civil claim in court.
Therefore, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after a fall to avoid missing a deadline to file your injury claim.
Contact a California Slip and Fall Injury Attorney for More Help
Slip and fall accidents can result in physical, financial, and emotional injuries. If you have questions about a slip and fall injury, contact our California slip and fall injury attorneys today for a free case review.