When settling a slip and fall claim, there are certain tactics that either side can take to ensure the highest likelihood that their argument will prevail in court. We would like to detail both sides so that you can get a thorough understanding of this issue.
For defendants, arguing against a slip and fall claim can take a variety of forms. One of the best weapons in an arsenal is displaying proof that the plaintiff was injured despite your best reasonable efforts to prevent that type of injury from occurring. For stores, this could mean frequent inspection of flooring surfaces to ensure they are clean and free of foreign objects, while for other property owners, this may mean checking outdoor walkways during cold weather to ensure there is no ice hazard.
In addition, premises owners may argue that the hazard was “open and obvious” to anybody exercising reasonable care. This could include circumstances in which a plaintiff fell down an otherwise perfectly intact stairwell, tripped over a clearly visible object or, through his or her own actions, damaged a surface or structure, resulting in injury.
For plaintiffs, it is essential to prove two basic elements: that your injuries resulted directly from the accident and that the premises owner had, or should have had, knowledge of the dangerous conditions present on the property. The former could come in the form of sworn testimony from your personal physician or from a letter from your doctor explaining your injuries are in keeping with your account of events.
The latter is slightly more difficult, as it can require third-party witness testimony, video or photo documentation of the scene of the accident taken prior to or during the accident. Police reports are also highly valuable sources of proof, as incident reports contain detailed information on what the officer observed directly at the scene of the accident.
For further guidance on premises liability law in California, speak with a knowledgeable slip & fall attorney in Los Angeles.