William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman, Hollywood’s renowned couple, were slapped with a slip and fall lawsuit after a woman slipped and fell off from the staircase of their house. According to a TMZ report, the woman who had been visiting the celebrity couple in their home filed the lawsuit after falling off the couple’s staircase and sustaining injuries.

Why They Got Sued

Lourdes Orozco sued the famous  couple for the serious personal injuries she allegedly sustained when she slipped and fell down the stairs of the couple’s house in Hollywood Hills in April of 2011. Orozco claims that the stairs were “dirty and poorly managed” and they lacked “regulated handrails, conditions she alleges could cause anyone to slip and fall. Orozco is sued for damages of up to $25,000 as compensation for loss of wages and to cover her medical expenses.

Slip and fall injuries: Who is to blame?

Slip and fall injuries are personal injury cases in which a person who was injured by the accident sues the property’s owner for the accident. Normally, these cases name the property owner or the person in possession of the property at the time of the accident as person responsible for creating the dangerous condition that led to the injury.

In this case, Miss Orozco accuses the couple of willful failure to warn her of the imminent danger inherent in what she alleges to be poorly maintained staircases. As the owners of the house in which the accident occurred, the couple may be responsible for the injuries sustained by Miss Orozco on their property under the theory of premises liability.

The Process Of Proving Fault

In order to win the case, Lourdes would have to convince the court, beyond reasonable doubt, that her injuries were caused by the couple. Generally, Huffman and Macy would be at fault if they failed to maintain the staircase in reasonably safe conditions. The defendants would be found culpable if the plaintiff can prove that the defendants failed to maintain the staircase in reasonable safe conditions as they should. In law, a defendant who creates dangerous conditions or fails to recognize and repair dangerous conditions in his or her property is liable to tort.

However, Lourdes’ own potential fault in causing her own injuries will also be factored in the case. Most States apply the rule of comparative negligence, where the negligence of one party e.g. the defendant, is compared to that of the plaintiff. The defendant’s liability for the injuries sustained by the plaintiff is therefore offset by the plaintiff’s own negligence that led to the injuries.

This case falls under the jurisdiction of the State of California, and as thus the California Negligence Laws apply. California is one of the thirteen States that recognizes the pure comparative fault rule. Under this rule, Lourdes would be allowed to recover her damages even if she is at 99% fault, although her recovery would be reduced by the damage caused by her own negligence.