Most of us do not expect to trip and fall when we walk in a public place, go to work, go shopping, or go out to eat. However, in many areas of Southern California, the sidewalk is buckled or cracked, causing a potential pitfall for an unwary person walking on it. Uneven pavement may sound minor, but it can cause serious injuries for a pedestrian. Residents of Los Angeles who have been hurt for this reason can consult the premises liability attorneys at Sharifi Firm to discuss whether they may be able to recover compensation.Pursuing Compensation for Injuries Caused by Uneven Pavement
Claims for injuries caused by uneven pavement fall within premises liability law. This means that a property owner or occupier can potentially be held responsible if he or she fails to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition. If the pavement is uneven, and the owner knows or should know of this hazard, it must repair the pavement or put out warning signs. Generally, the longer the pavement is uneven, the more likely it is that a property owner actually knows or should know about the condition.
In California, a public entity that owns a sidewalk may be liable for a dangerous condition like uneven pavement if it can be established that:
- The property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the accident;
- The dangerous condition was the proximate cause of the injuries;
- The dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the type of injury incurred; and
- Either a public entity's employee negligently acted to create the dangerous condition, or the public entity knew or should have known about it.
If you are able to prove that uneven pavement is the result of negligence on the part of a private or public property owner, you may be able to recover damages. In California, you can pursue both general (noneconomic) damages and special (economic) damages. Special damages usually include medical expenses, loss of income, and lost future earning capacity. If an elderly person trips on uneven pavement and suffers a permanent disability as a result, for example, physical rehabilitation or the cost of nursing care might also be covered as an item of special damages.
General damages are intangible losses that a jury may infer from the facts of the case. They often include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and mental anguish. These types of losses can be difficult to value.
California recognizes the "eggshell plaintiff doctrine." Under this rule, a defendant is responsible for a victim's injuries even if a particular person is unusually fragile or sick at the time of the accident and suffers more severe harm than another person would have endured under the same circumstances. While one person might suffer a twisted ankle on uneven pavement, an elderly person may take an unusually long time to recover. For the purposes of the claim, however, the defendant must take the victim as he or she finds him, even if the victim has an elevated susceptibility to injury.Enlist a Los Angeles Attorney to Protect Your Rights after a Slip and Fall
If you have been hurt due to a slip and fall in the Los Angeles area, you can consult an experienced injury lawyer at Sharifi Firm. We are dedicated to asserting the rights of accident victims throughout Southern California, including in San Bernardino, Riverside, Temecula, and Rancho Cucamonga. Contact us at 1-866-422-7222 or via our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation.