Some years ago, a cable TV show ominously intoned that people face a massive number of ways to meet an untimely end. In a broadly similar vein, it sometimes can feel like every day you, as a pedestrian, face a thousand ways to endure an accident and suffer harm through no fault of your own. When that accident involves someone else's negligence, you should not hesitate to take action, and that action should start with contacting a knowledgeable Santa Barbara pedestrian accident lawyer.
In November 2019, S.H. and her daughter were among the throng of holiday shoppers walking along the City of Los Angeles' sidewalks. As she traversed a crowded sidewalk after sunset, she tripped and fell, suffering serious injuries as a result. The tripping hazard that felled her was the rear wheel of an electric scooter that stuck out from behind a trash can.
To provide some background, the scooter that tripped the woman was one of the many a company had made available for rent through its online app. The scooters were "dockless," meaning that they could be dropped off at any public location in the city.
The woman sued the provider of the scooter for negligence and public nuisance. The trial court concluded that the user who had parked the scooter next to the trash can -- and not the scooter company -- was liable for the accident that hurt S.H., meaning that the scooter company owed the injured woman nothing.
The Court of Appeal, however, rejected that conclusion as erroneous. In ruling in favor of the injured woman, the appeals court highlighted some basic principles of California injury law that favor people who have suffered harm. One of those is that, at "the core of California tort law is a rule [that says] 'Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property."
The 'Duty of Ordinary Care' Applied to the Scooter Provider
In this woman's case, the scooter company owed her a "general duty to use ordinary care in the management" of its scooters. Failing to ensure that its scooters were not left in places where they posed an unreasonable risk of harm to others would represent a breach of that duty. S.H., according to the appeals court, had presented sufficient proof and allegations to make up a viable claim that her injuries were the result of exactly such a breach of the duty of ordinary care. This meant that S.H. was entitled to proceed to trial with her case.
More than a half-century ago, the California Supreme Court wrote that, in the absence of a statute carving out an exemption, the general duty to use ordinary care applies. This broad law provides important help to people injured in this state as a result of the negligent actions (or inaction) of others. If you've encountered that sort of harm, even if the facts of your injury were unusual, don't hesitate to pursue your rights. The skilled personal injury lawyers in Santa Barbara at the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP are here to help, offering our clients in-depth knowledge and many years of experience getting results.
Contact one of our helpful attorneys at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation today.
GALINE, FRYE, FITTING & FRANGOS, LLP - SAN MATEO OFFICE
Thank you so much for all of your legal help on my case. I’ve really enjoyed working with you and your professional team including Lisa and Mavis. I also appreciate your efforts in reaching a settlement on my behalf. I will definitely refer my clients and friends to your firm they are in need of legal representation in the future. Regards.- ADRIAN C.