I fell in Albertson’s Grocery store, Santa Ana due to water on the floor last March. I had a back surgery last week. How long shall it take for a settlement proceeding in a slip and fall case?


As a general rule, the burden of proving negligence liability in slip and fall cases rests on the plaintiff.  No inference of negligence can arise simply upon proof of a fall on the defendant’s floor. This is so even when the fall is associated with a slippery object, “because objects all too often appear on floors without sufficient explanation.” [Brown v. Poway Unified School Dist., supra, 4 C4th at 826–828, 15 CR2d at 683–684—“one would have to enter the field of conjecture to determine how lunch meat came to be underneath (plaintiff’s) foot” (parentheses added); Oldenburg v. Sears, Roebuck & Co. (1957) 152 CA2d 733, 741, 314 P2d 33, 36]. However, in one case, the Court ruled that  the  res ipsa loquitor doctrine wherein there is a presumption of defendant’s negligence a  might apply where the object was left on the floor long enough so that the defendant “should have discovered and removed it.” [Brown v. Poway Unified School Dist., supra, 4 C4th at 826, 15 CR2d at 683].

Settlement is one of the client’s “substantial rights” that the lawyer may not unilaterally impair (¶ 1:188 ff.). The client has the absolute right to reject or approve a settlement; and, therefore, the client’s express authority is required to settle and compromise a claim. Settlement offers a far speedier method of resolving civil cases than a fullblown trial. Indeed, proceeding to trial also carries the risk of appeal, which could keep the claim “in limbo” long after the rendition of judgment. Quite apart from all the time required for investigation, discovery and preparation, the average bodily injury case takes at least a week to try. Few lawyers could competently handle a large volume of cases if each were to go to trial. Settlement of most claims is therefore essential to efficient practice in this field. It would be best to seek personal assistance from a lawyer in order to help you in the settlement of your personal injury case.

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