Slips and falls are such common reasons for personal injury lawsuits that some attorneys have specialized to represent only slip and fall injury victims. When a person is injured due to a hazard in their path that they have no reason to anticipate, the person or entity responsible for the hazard may have to pay the victim’s doctor bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Certain entities, like public shops, schools, and common use areas, have special responsibilities: their guests are known as legal invitees, and they owe the duty of highest care in removing or preventing any spills or obstacles that could cause injury. Because the Huntington Beach area has so many public spaces, there are many ways for a person to gt hurt.
<strong>Duty of Care</strong>
The duty of a person or entity to anticipate or remove obstacles from another person’s path, or eliminate anything that could cause a fall, depends on whether the entity is a public or private space, the age of the victim, and whether the victim is trespassing. If the victim is a trespasser, the duty of the property owner to prevent obstacles is lessened, unless the victim is a child or the property is an attractive nuisance, like a playground or swimming pool. Private citizens owe a lesser duty of care in their private home.
<strong>Breach of Duty</strong>
When a person is injured due to a slip or fall, it is up to the courts to decide what level, if any, of duty of care is owed to the victim. Then, the courts must decide if there was a breach of that duty. In many cases, the attorneys on either side can predict what the courts might think, and use that prediction to reach a settlement that reduces litigation time and expense while recouping some of the victim’s losses.
If the victim suffers no harm, she is not entitled to a settlement simply because there was a misplaced item in her way. In order for a recovery to be made, damages must be incurred by the victim. The damages usually occur in the form of doctor bills, increased insurance premiums, lost wages, and property damage. A court will determine what damages were incurred and assign a monetary value to compensate for the victim’s losses.
Of course, a Huntington Beach slip and fall attorney can articulate what duty you were owed if you were hurt in a fall, and what kind of damages you might be able to recover. Some damages may not be obvious, but an attorney will know what to look out for. Contact a Huntington Beach slip and fall accident lawyer for an initial consultation.