Slips and fall claims are covered under what is known as “premises liability.” This, in turn, refers to the legal responsibility that the owner and/or occupant of a certain premise has towards people who attend that property. Responsibility does not automatically become imposed. Rather, it must be proven that the slip and fall accident was caused by an owner who created or allowed a defective or dangerous condition to exist.
Premises liability laws vary from one state to another. However, most basic circumstances are the same regardless of where in the country the slip and fall accident occurs. It is often interesting to focus on the statutes that exist in California as the laws in California usually become nationally prevailing laws.
It is also important to understand that premises liability is not only applicable on commercial properties and business entities. Indeed, residential properties are also included. Studies have shown that the most sued entities are condominium and apartment complexes. Even private homes can be classed as liable. Interestingly, however, the Defense Research Institute found that industrial property injury cases were easier to win than recreational or retail property injury cases.
So what are some of the largest slip and fall accidents in California?
1. Costco Employee Negligence
In the case of Foster v. Costco, a jury decided that Costco had been negligent. Employees of the store had, on numerous occasions, seen and ignored a spill of liquid soap. When Foster passed by, she slipped and shattered her kneecap. The judge awarded her over $400,000 to cover her medical expenses, as well as her pain and suffering.
2. Cases Filed by Ellis Law Corporation
The Ellis Law Corporation has represented plaintiffs in a number of slip and fall cases in California. These cases included:
• A production control expeditor slipped when a cleaning machine was not used properly, causing water to escape and leaving the floor covered in wet streaks. The expeditor suffered injuries to his hands, wrists, knees and groins. He was awarded a $190,000 settlement.
• A visitor to a shoe store tripped over a sale sign. As a result, the visitor suffered strains and sprains and had to undergo surgery for the knee and shoulder. Medical expenses exceeded $115,000. The plaintiff was awarded a $350,000 settlement.
• A visitor to a restaurant slipped on a wet floor and fell. No signs had been set up to warn visitors of the floor’s condition. The plaintiff suffered spinal and wrist injuries and was awarded $8,500 in a settlement.
• A woman was visiting a restaurant with her husband. While waiting for her husband to bring the vehicle, she fell on the concrete due to an uneven surface. As a result, she suffered degenerative injuries to her hand, elbow and knee. She was awarded $27,000.
• A child slipped on water in the school bathroom and hit his head. He was diagnosed with a brain bruise in the hospital. His family had to pay $24,260 for various medical expenses. The school nurse and principal were aware that the accident had occurred, but did not inform the parents. The family was awarded $90,000 in a settlement.
• A passerby fell on a sidewalk that, without warning, had been partially removed. The fall caused injuries to the shoulder, back, knee and wrist, causing medical expenses of over $49,000. The plaintiff was awarded $107,241 in settlement.
• In Orange County, a shopper slipped on a flight of wet stairs. She suffered serious injuries to her wrist, shoulder and back. Her medical expenses totaled $54,441. She received $114,400 in a Binding Arbitration Award.
• The front wheel of a cyclist’s bicycle fell into a utility hole that had not been covered properly. As a result, the cyclist fell on his face, suffering injuries to his face, shoulder, hand, knee and wrist. Medical expenses exceeded $85,000. He was awarded a settlement figure of $130,000.
3. Cases Filed by the Law Offices of Steers & Associates
A number of other notable slip and fall cases in California have been handled by the Law Offices of Steers & Associates. These include:
• A slip and fall accident in Kmart, where an employee fell over a shelf that was accidentally knocked over by an employee right in front of her. It was demonstrated that the employee could and should have acted safer.
• Inadequate security at a restaurant, which happened when someone notorious for heavy drinking was outside of a restaurant. A visitor to the restaurant came outside and stabbed the plaintiff in the chest. This case is interesting as it had numerous defendants, including the property owner and the restaurant itself. The restaurant did not have any insurance, but the property owner had a contract with the restaurant stating that they had to provide adequate security. Failure to do so meant they were in breach of their lease contract.