Oxnard, CA Slip and Fall Lawyer
In a gorgeous seaside city like Oxnard, CA, it can be hard to remember that you’re surrounded by safety risks as you go about your day. Whether you’re strolling through the Carnegie Art Museum, shopping or dining around Heritage Square, or hitting Oxnard Beach Park, hazards abound. You might not expect slip and fall accidents to be such a threat, but statistics compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate otherwise. Unintentional falls are the number one reason people seek emergency medical care in 8 of 10 age groups, for a total of 8,591,683 ER visits in 2017.
You do have rights if you were hurt in a slip and fall accident in California, under a legal theory known as premises liability. Our team at Fisher & Talwar has extensive knowledge and experience fighting to ensure injured victims get the compensation they deserve from careless, lazy property owners. We’re persistent in seeking damages from an insurance company, and we’re ready to take the battle to court as necessary to get full compensation for your losses. Please contact our office to schedule a no-cost case evaluation with an Oxnard, CA slip and fall lawyer, and read on to learn more about your legal options.
Overview of Premises Liability
California property owners are legally obligated to ensure their premises are safe for guests, visitors, and other individuals who may enter for lawful purposes. At times, the duty arises by a statute, such as a state or local building code. In other cases, the duty is grounded in the common law theory of negligence. To recover compensation, you must prove four elements:
- Duty: The legal duty only applies to individuals and entities who are in control of the premises, such as the owner, operator, lessee, or tenant;
- Breach: You must show that the party responsible for the property was careless in maintaining it, leading to dangerous conditions;
- Causation: There must be a direct link between the property owner’s breach and the slip and fall accident in which you were injured; and,
- Damages: You need to prove that you sustained losses as a result of being hurt.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
To illustrate premises liability in a real-life situation, some examples may be helpful. You may have a claim if you were hurt because of:
- Broken railings or stairs;
- Slippery or wet surfaces;
- Poor or inoperable lighting;
- Loose, defective wiring around electrical outlets;
- Leaks in plumbing;
- Unsecured rugs, tiles, or flooring; or,
- Fires and explosions.
In addition, some causes of injuries on the property are linked to criminal or violent activity. A property owner can also breach the legal duty of care by not providing adequate security against assault, theft, and related misconduct. When the parties in control of the space become aware of dangerous criminal activity on the premises, they must take appropriate remedial measures, such as:
- Installing security cameras;
- Fixing broken locks, windows, and doors;
- Implementing a key card system;
- Installing exterior doors that automatically close;
- Hiring a security guard; and,
- Any other strategies to ensure safety on the premises.
Seeking Compensation for Your Losses
Though it’s the party in control over the property that breaches the duty of care, your first step in a premises liability case is usually filing an insurance claim. Property owners, businesses, and other entities carry insurance policies to protect their interests in the event of an accident, so you’ll seek damages from the insurer.
However, even when you believe you have solid evidence regarding the four premises liability elements mentioned above, you may encounter challenges in dealing with an insurer. These companies are reluctant to pay out to injured victims like you since doing so affects their bottom line. Instead of forwarding prompt payment in full on your claim, the insurance adjuster may deny it or make a lowball offer to settle. Insurers often allege:
- Your injuries were minor;
- You were at fault in causing the slip and fall accident; or,
- You didn’t provide sufficient proof that the policyholder was at fault.
If the insurance company refuses to settle for a fair amount, your next step in a premises liability case is filing a lawsuit in court. Our slip and fall lawyers at Fisher & Talwar have extensive experience in litigation, so we’re prepared to handle civil lawsuits to recover sufficient compensation for your losses.
Limitations on Your Slip and Fall Claim
You should note that certain legal concepts and rules apply in premises liability cases, and they could impact your rights. One is the statute of limitations in California. You have two years to file a lawsuit, and the clock starts to run on the date you were injured in the slip and fall accident.
Another potential limitation on your claim is the legal concept of contributory negligence, which puts the focus on your own conduct in a premises liability claim. If you were responsible for causing the slip and fall accident, your compensation may be reduced by the amount of fault attributable to you. For instance, contributory negligence may be an issue if you:
- Ignored signage warning you to stay away from a dangerous area;
- Acted recklessly on the property, such as by sliding down staircase railings or climbing on balconies;
- Propped open an auto-closing door, which enabled an attacker to enter a secure area;
- Disrupted smoke detectors;
- Were intoxicated by drugs or alcohol when you slipped, tripped, or fell; or,
- Otherwise, put your safety at risk through your own careless or negligent actions.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Oxnard, CA Slip and Fall Attorney
As you can see, the legal concepts involved with premises liability claims are complicated. Not only must you present solid evidence to prove your rights in a slip and fall accident, but you also must fight allegations of contributory negligence. Retaining experienced legal counsel is essential, so please contact Fisher & Talwar to speak to an Oxnard, CA slip and fall lawyer. You can set up a no-cost case evaluation by calling 213.805.7706 or checking out our website.