In California, the laws governing slip and fall accidents are slightly different from most other states. Unlike other jurisdictions, California doesn’t automatically disqualify you from a damage award because you were on the property without permission or invitation (as a trespasser). Instead, it’s only one of a number of factors to be considered to determine liability. There are other things you need to be aware of in the aftermath of a slip and fall injury.
You Must File a Lawsuit within a Specific Period of Time
There’s a rule that governs the amount of time you have to file a legal claim for damages after a personal injury—it’s called the “statute of limitations.” In California, you have two years from the date of the injury or accident to file your complaint. There’s good reason for this rule, too. The sooner you file, the sooner evidence can be gathered and preserved. The more time that passes, the greater the likelihood that witnesses will move, die or forget what they saw. The law also considers it unfair to a potential defendant to spend years with a potential lawsuit hanging over his or her head.
You May Have Some Responsibility for Your Own Injuries
There are ways that you can be at fault when injured on someone else’s property. For example, you may ignore the yellow tape that cordons off a dangerous area, or you may simply not be paying attention because you are on a device. In a personal injury action, the degree to which you contributed to your injury will be taken into account. For a long time, a person who was contributorily negligent in any way was precluded from any recovery. Fortunately, that’s no longer the law. California has adopted what is known as “pure comparative negligence” as the standard in personal injury cases. Essentially, that means that the jury will determine both the amount of your losses and the percentage of your liability, and will reduce your damage award by the percentage of your fault. For example, if you sustained losses of $100,000, but you were deemed 75% responsible, you could still recover $25,000 or 25% of your total losses.
Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates
To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 1-800-228-0507. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.