If you have been hurt on property that was not well-maintained, you may be entitled to recover money to compensate you for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If a property owner acted carelessly, such as by putting too much wax on a floor or by failing to clean up a spill, you may have a claim against the property owner said our personal injury attorney.
Another way that a property owner may be liable for a San Diego slip and fall accident is on the basis that a person slipped on a surface, such as cement, that was insufficiently textured. For the purpose of discussing liability in a slip and fall accidents, there are really two major categories of accidents. There are those falls that result from a dangerous condition that existed for a long period of time, and there are falls that resulted from a dangerous condition that arose shortly before the accident. For conditions that arose long before the fall, it is easier to prove that the property owner knew about the dangerous condition. To use our example above, it is relatively easy to prove that a property owner knew what kind of cement surface was installed in its parking lot advised a injury lawyer San Diego.
However, it is more difficult to prove that a property owner knew that a customer had spilled a liquid on the floor of their business. If an employee of the store is the person who spilled a liquid on the floor, then that situation is more akin to a long-standing condition, because the knowledge of an employee is imputed to the company. Since companies are not people, capable of having knowledge, the knowledge of the company for legal purposes is to include the sum of the knowledge of the employees of the company. If you feel you have a case like this, contact us to speak with a personal injury lawyer on our San Diego law team.
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Going back to a slip and fall accident in which a customer, as opposed to an employee, spilled the liquid on the floor, there are ways to prove that the property owner knew of the dangerous condition. For example, if the liquid had been on the floor for some time, this could create an inference that the property owner was aware of the dangerous condition. If another customer had complained about the presence of the liquid before the slip and fall, that would also create an inference that the company knew about the dangerous condition. Another way to prove that the company was aware of liquid on the floor would be to show that the company had a policy of having its employees check for possible spills on a set schedule.
As mentioned above, there are also dangerous conditions that can exist for a long period of time. For example, if a city fails to repair a sidewalk that is hazardous, and fails to do so for a long period of time, that might create an inference that the city knew that the sidewalk was in a hazardous condition. It is comparatively rare that a hazardous condition on a sidewalk would come into existence overnight.
Another type of dangerous condition that might create an inference of knowledge on the part of a property owner would be poor lighting conditions. It is one thing if a light bulb happens to go out and a person is injured on the same day that the bulb goes out. It is quite another thing if a light bulb has been out for months, or if a property owner fails to install adequate lighting in the first place. This may raise more questions than it answers because the question becomes: what is proper lighting? Luckily, the law provides a mechanism for the trier of fact (in most cases the jury) to resolve this type of question. The question is whether or not the property owner, or other person being sued, acted reasonably. That is, like many statements and summaries of the law, an oversimplification. To elaborate a bit further, the question is whether the party alleged to have caused the injury acted as an ordinary prudent person would have acted under the same circumstances. If the plaintiff can show that the defendant failed to take the same precautions that an ordinary prudent person would under the same circumstances, then the plaintiff has gone a long way toward establishing liability and being compensated for the harm suffered. For information on car accidents, contact our car accident lawyer San Diego.
By Douglas Gilliland