It is unfortunately common for trip and fall incidents to cause serious and lasting injuries. When the tripping and falling has occurred on someone’s property, and it results in injury, there is a potential premises liability case. In the process of determining liability, the court may apply what is called the “trivial defect” doctrine.
If you have been involved in a trip-and-fall incident and were injured, reach out to an attorney at Silva Injury Law who can best navigate your case to ensure you are compensated fairly for your injuries and suffering.
THE TRIVIAL DEFECT DOCTRINE
Before an injured party can recover for their injuries in a trip and fall case, they must prove that the defendant, often the owner of the property, maintained dangerous conditions on the property, and that the owner either knew or should have known about the dangerous condition. Additionally, the injured party must prove that the condition which caused the fall was not considered a “trivial defect.”
A “trivial defect” in California is generally understood to be when the change in elevation of a walkway is of 3/4 of an inch or less. However, some courts in California have held that a change in elevation of 1.5 inches or less is trivial. What this means in a trip and fall case is that if you trip and fall over a raised portion of a walkway which is less than 1.5 inches, your claim may be discarded. Even if your injuries from falling were severe, a judge may be able to throw out the case completely based on this rule. Despite this, however, there are exceptions to this general rule which may allow a claim to prevail despite the trivial defect doctrine.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE TRIVIAL DEFECT DOCTRINE
The trivial defect doctrine is a fact-based test, meaning the court will determine whether it applies on a case-by-case basis. In cases where the area is well-lit, and you are familiar with the area, and there was nothing liming you from seeing the potential trip hazard, the court will most likely assign blame to you.
However, if it was dark, the lighting was inadequate, you were not familiar with the area, if poor weather conditions or some type of debris concealed the danger, then you can possibly overcome the trivial defect argument. If the court, in looking at all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the fall, determines there were sufficient reasons you were not able to see and avoid the condition, you will be allowed to further pursue the case.
HOW A LAWYER CAN HELP IN A TRIP AND FALL CASE
In order to win a case and receive fair compensation for the injures obtained due to a trip and fall, it is best to speak to a qualified attorney. An attorney can help determine if the factors in your case are sufficient to prove that the defendant was aware, or should have been aware, of the danger, or if the defendant created the dangerous conditions. An attorney can prepare for any potential defense attempts to use the trivial defect doctrine to defeat the claims.
Reach out the experienced attorneys at Silva Injury Law today if you have suffered from a trip and fall case.