How do slip-and-fall accidents occur?
The owner of a property has a duty to maintain premises in a safe condition for people who use, walk, shop, or attend a game on the property. The owner has what we call a non-delegable duty. An owner cannot claim that it was the janitor’s fault, or that he did not anticipate the rain or bad weather. When a dangerous condition occurs on their property that causes an injury, a fall, a trip, or a slip, then that owner is liable.
Owners are not liable, however, if someone is not watching where they are going and there was not a condition that the owners were responsible for.
If the landlord, the owner of the property, or a hospital has a condition on the premises that causes an injury, and we determine that there was a failure to warn about the condition, or a failure to do something to correct it within a reasonable amount of time, then that owner or landlord is liable.
Why is proving negligence important?
Negligence is unreasonable human activity that causes injury. If someone falls, through nobody’s fault or negligence, then there is no basis to collect money damages.
If a person in a grocery store trips on their own feet, falls down and gets injured, the grocery store has no liability. However, it is different if a person slips while walking by a leaking freezer display in the frozen popsicle section at a supermarket. If there is evidence — a large enough puddle — to suggest that it was there for 15, 20, or 30 minutes and nothing was done about it, then that is negligence. That subjects the grocery store to liability.
Should you call the police?
The first thing a person should do after a premises accident is to take account of their injury and take care of themselves.
Once it is safe to do so, photographs should be taken with a cell phone of the condition that caused the fall, documenting the time and date of the photograph. That is very important, because the property owner may clean that condition up and deny its existence.
Which successful premises liability case stands out?
The most dramatic premises liability claim we have handled involved a 19-year-old woman. She suffered a spinal cord injury from a dangerous condition on a water-slide type of ride at a major water park in Southern California. The park was negligent by the manner in which they dispatched participants on that water slide — causing a collision between two participants. The woman was rendered quadriplegic, and part of our investigation into that premises case involved a complete shutdown of that water park. Our firm brought in OSHA, and that ride was never reopened after we completed our investigation.
In another case, action was taken against a major department store because an employee who was stocking picture frames left a half-full box of picture frames in the aisle when she took a break. Our firm represented a 63-year-old woman who tripped over that box as she was shopping. She was looking at the upper shelves and did not see the box when she tripped, fell, and hit her head on the concrete tiles and suffered a brain and a spinal cord injury.
Why should you choose fox and fox corporation?
Premises liability, slip and fall, and dangerous conditions of private and public property are difficult cases which require many resources and investigation engineering. The Fox and Fox Corporation is willing to expend the resources and has the expertise to win complex premises liability claims.