Is the owner of the property on which you slipped on wet leaves and injured yourself liable for your injury? Under California law, homeowners have a legal duty to maintain their property to eliminate hazards and dangerous conditions. But are wet leaves on walkways and other areas of a homeowner’s property considered hazards or dangerous conditions?
We invited our premises liability lawyer from the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg to answer these questions and help you pursue a premises liability claim if you slip on wet leaves and sustain an injury.
Fallen leaves on walkways, sidewalks, or floors can create slick surfaces. As you can imagine, anyone can slip on that slick surface regardless of how careful and attentive that person is. But is the accumulation of wet leaves considered a dangerous condition on a homeowner’s property? “That depends,” says our premises liability lawyer in Los Angeles.
Your legal status during the slip and fall accident
It is true that California homeowners have a duty to clean up wet leaves within a reasonable amount of time of their accumulation or once they have actual or constructive notice of the hazard on their property. However, in no way does it mean that you can sue a homeowner for your slip and fall accident caused by wet leaves in 100 percent of all situations.
Whether or not you will be eligible to sue the homeowner depends on your legal status on the homeowner’s property. At the time of your slip and fall accident, were you a licensee, invitee, or trespasser? Our premises liability attorney in Los Angeles is going to help you make that determination on your own:
- If you were on the homeowner’s property with his or her express or implied permission, you are considered a licensee (i.e. a guest at a party or a family friend who is visiting).
- If you entered or remained on the homeowner’s property for a business purpose, you are considered an invitee (i.e. contractor doing work around the house);
- If you entered the homeowner’s property without his or her permission or authorization, you are considered a trespasser.
As a rule of thumb, homeowners in California cannot be held responsible for injuries caused to trespassers. However, homeowners do have a legal duty to keep their property free of hazards to prevent injury in invitees and licensees.
Can you sue a homeowner for a slip and fall accident caused by wet leaves?
Wet leaves on walkways, sidewalks, and entryways can be a dangerous slip-and-fall hazard, which is why homeowners have a duty to clean up wet and slippery leaves to prevent accidents.
However, whether or not you will be able to sue a homeowner for failure to clean up wet and slippery leaves, which caused your slip and fall accident, depends on a variety of factors. Our Los Angeles premises liability attorney explains that in order to obtain compensation from the homeowner, you will have to establish that the wet leaves existed for an unreasonably long amount of time or that the homeowner failed to eliminate this hazard despite having actual or constructive notice of the condition.
If you slipped and fell on someone else’s property and wet leaves caused or contributed to the accident, the first thing you should do is take photos, and, if possible, videos of the scene and the hazard (wet and slippery leaves). Interviewing neighbors or witnesses is also a good idea to establish that the dangerous condition existed for an unreasonably long amount of time.
Finally, get in touch with an experienced premises liability attorney in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California to seek compensation for your injury through insurance coverage or a lawsuit against the homeowner. Schedule a free consultation with our lawyers from the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg. Call at 310-997-0904 for a free case evaluation.