What to Do if You Slip and Fall at a Winery or Restaurant

February 26, 2021

Living in California means that we have access to some of the best wines—and wineries—in the entire world. Unfortunately, not every wine tasting excursion ends in a safe drive home and a few bottles to share with family and friends. Sometimes, through no fault of their own, patrons slip, fall and suffer serious injury. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident at a winery in Santa Rosa, CA, you may be able to recover compensation.

Keep in mind that as a patron, you still have a responsibility to prevent intoxication and take appropriate caution. Here’s how the law protects people and helps them recover from slip and fall cases.

Premises liability

“Slip and fall” is the colloquial term for cases in which a victim is injured on someone else’s property—in this case, the winery. These usually fall under a specific theory of negligence called “premises liability.” To recover compensation, you’ll need to prove all of the following elements:

  • The person causing the injury was responsible for the property: This means that even if the property is owned by someone else, the manager or business itself was in control of the property.
  • The defendant was negligent in their control of the property: Next, you’ll need to prove that the defendant somehow neglected their duty of care to keep the property safe for visitors. For example, managers or owners should fix safety hazards like puddles, broken sidewalks and other ways visitors can get injured.
  • The plaintiff sustained an injury: You’ll also need to prove that you, the plaintiff, sustained an injury that was a direct result of the safety hazard. It’s not enough to point out a puddle on the floor. To recover, you must be actually injured.
  • The defendant was directly responsible for the injury: Finally, you’ll need to prove that the defendant was directly responsible for the conditions that caused your injury. You have to prove that they knew or should have known about the safety hazard, and failed to take action.

Defenses to premises liability

Of course, the property owner may not be entirely responsible—or even responsible at all, if they can prove a theory of comparative negligence or trespassing. Common defenses to premises liability include trespassing (you weren’t in an area where visitors are supposed to be, or you ignored warning signs and blocked-off areas), intoxication, not paying attention to your surroundings or wearing inappropriate footwear for the facility. Depending on their defense, you may recover a lower percentage of damages based on how responsible you were for your own injury.

Even if you suspect the winery will have a comparative negligence defense, you should still file a suit before the statute of limitations runs out. Call the Law Offices of Max G. Arnold, Inc. for tips related to securing compensation after a slip and fall accident at a winery in Santa Rosa, CA. We’d be happy to look into the particulars of your case and help you determine what you might be able to recover.

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