When someone slips and falls on public or private property in California, injuries may result. Severe ones could lead to significant medical expenses and other financial losses. Suing the owner of a home or business for damages seems appropriate when the owner was at fault. What happens when the person who fell is partially or entirely at fault, though, may be different.
Comparative negligence and slip-and-fall accidents
In order to sue someone for personal injuries, the person must be negligent in some way. If a homeowner doesn’t fix a broken sidewalk and allows leaves to accumulate, the owner may be liable if someone falls. When someone runs in front of the house while intoxicated and with untied shoelaces, it would be challenging to blame the homeowner. What happens when an intoxicated person walks across a poorly maintained sidewalk. In such a scenario, both parties might share the blame, albeit to different degrees.
California follows a comparative negligence approach to personal injury claims, including those involving slip-and-fall accidents. Comparative negligence reduces a plaintiff’s monetary damage claims by the percentage of negligence the person committed.
The plaintiff causes some self-harm
Walking around intoxicated at 9 p.m. in the parking lot of a supermarket reflects a degree of negligence. However, as a shopper, the person may have the right to be in the parking lot. When the business owner doesn’t fix broken concrete and fails to provide sufficient lighting or commit to cleaning up strewn trash, negligence may point in the owner’s direction.
How much blame rests with the plaintiff vs. the defendant depends on a jury’s assessment after reviewing evidence submitted in court, among other factors. Expect an insurance company to review the evidence when evaluating a claim, as well.
An attorney might compile evidence that shows a client was not entirely at fault. The attorney could then negotiate a settlement for the client.