If you had to describe the California laws concerning slip and fall cases with one word, that word would be reasonable. Slip and fall cases are one of the most difficult cases to prove because the levels of reason are questioned.

What constitutes a case?

You are walking on another person’s property and you slipped and fell causing injury to yourself. Television leads us to believe that is all there is to it. You were on their property and you got hurt. Therefore, they must pay your expenses and damages. This is far from the truth.

Each situation and set of factors must be carefully examined before a slip and fall lawyer will proceed with a case like this.

Example 1: You are walking in the ladies room at the office. The floor was wet and you slipped, fell, and hit your head. First, you would have to consider why the floor was wet. Was there a leaking pipe or roof? Did someone let the sink overflow? Is this a reoccurring problem?  If the cleaning crew had recently mopped and waxed the floor and they did not place a sign to warn people of the wet floor, you may have a case. If the pipes tend to overflow in a hard rain and it is raining, and the owner of the property has had drains installed in the floor and contracted plumbers to correct the problem, they are doing everything within reason to fix the problem.

Example 2: You are walking across the grass at an apartment complex. You trip over a lawn rake and hurt yourself. This is probably not a case you will win. A reasonable person could have avoided that fall easily. First, you should have been walking on the walkway provided and second, you should have been aware of where you were walking and expect that lawn tools could be on the lawn.

Example 3: You are walking through a grocery store. As you push your cart around the corner aisle, you realize the tiles have been removed from the floor in that section. Your cart tips and you try to balance, only to twist your ankle and hit the floor. You could not have seen the missing tiles from around the corner. You were walking where you were supposed to and there was no warning that there was an issue. The property management team should have used reasonable care in keeping unsuspecting shoppers from falling on a damaged floor. This is probably a good case to prosecute.

To prove liability in the case, you have to show that the substance that caused the fall originates with that property. You have to show that the owner or managers knew about the problem. Finally, the object had to have been obvious. If you can show those three things, you have a good chance of proving fault.

The law is not crystal clear to many of us. If you have been injured and you feel the property is responsible for your accident and should pay, consult an attorney.