(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this trip and fall/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
The law involving trip and fall actions is well settled, and in fact most of the recent published decisions in this area have been made after summary judgment or as matter of law. For example, in Danieley v. Goldmine Ski Associates, Inc. (1990) 218 Cal.App.3d 111, the plaintiff was injured after skiing down a slope, falling, and sliding into a tree. The plaintiff sued for premises liability, alleging that the defendant had either a duty to warn of the tree, or a duty to remove the tree. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that it owed no duty to warn of, or cure, dangerous conditions which were open and obvious. The trial court granted the motion, and the Court of Appeal affirmed. The Court held as follows (at 121-122):
Because the possessor or operator of a given premises is not an insurer of the safety of invitees onto his premises, he is entitled to assume that any such invitee will perceive that which is obvious to him in the ordinary use of his senses … [Defendant] was under no duty to warn that this particular tree … presented a danger to plaintiff wife. The tree itself provided a warning to plaintiff of the implicit danger of a collision with it. A fortiori, [defendant] was under no duty to remove it.
In Curland v. Los Angeles County Fair Assn. (1953) 118 Cal.App.2d 691, the plaintiff was injured after tripping over a pipe about one inch in diameter and protruding 7-10 inches above the ground. The plaintiff did not look down at the ground at any time before he fell.
Thereafter, he sued the property owner for negligence. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant following the receipt of various instruction on the issue of open and obvious . The Court of Appeal, on review, upheld the verdict. The Court held as follows (at 695-696):
A duty rested with the plaintiff to look where he was going and to observe that which was in plain sight in front of him … The law presumes that a person possessing the normal faculty of sight must have seen that which was in the range of his sight. (See Part 6 of 8.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.