When you have been injured in a California slip and fall accident, and the negligence of someone else contributed to it, exploring your legal options to get compensation for damages makes sense. Whether you choose to file a personal injury lawsuit or a claim for insurance from the property owner’s insurance company, many legal doctrines and laws will almost surely affect your case. The statute of limitations and shared fault rules are two of the most significant of these factors.
Before you choose to file a slip and fall lawsuit or an insurance claim, prepare for the concerned property owner’s defensive argument that you also have some amount of legal responsibility for the accident. You must counter their argument, because when they succeed in it, you could lose a considerable chunk of court grant. Besides that, a shared fault finding by the court will likely reduce your settlement value.
The property’s owner can make numerous arguments in a bid to put some of or all of the responsibility on your shoulders. These arguments include the following ones.
- That you were present on an area of their property where visitors are not generally expected to be or they not often allowed.
- You were not paying heed to the place in which you were walking.
- You were wearing inappropriate or unsafe footwear for the condition.
- Cones and signage cordoned off the dangerous condition of the property.
- The condition thereof should have been clear to you.
No matter the specific argument the owner makes, you can still get compensation from them. When your slip and fall injury case makes it to California’s court, the pure comparative negligence rule of the state will determine what you would get from the owner of the property.
Under this rule, your damages award will be reduced as per your percentage of fault. Let us assume the jury finds you are 30% at fault for your accident. They find that your compensation totals $100,000 too. In this situation, the owner will be liable to pay you $70,000 (that is the original damages minus the 30% which equates with your own share of fault.
This is how shared fault rule works in personal injury cases. In the event your case makes it to trial, then the California jury will be told to make a fault finding, which will then be applied your total compensation award, and the money which the owner is told to pay you will be deducted accordingly.
The comparative negligence rule of California will be a factor even when a lawsuit is not filed or your case does not make it to trial. In the course of settlement negotiations, the concerned insurer will consider the above-mentioned shared fault rules.