Can I Sue For - A Guide to Winnable and Unwinnable Lawsuits

Can I Sue For…

There’s a lot of misinformation about lawsuits, so it’s really common for people to call our office and ask, “Can I sue for…” In many cases, the answer is no; there are very specific rules about who’s responsible for another person’s injuries, and it’s always necessary to prove the other party’s responsibility.

So what can you sue another person for? Here’s what you need to know.

“Can I Sue For…”

You can sue someone for practically anything – but the real question is “Can I win a lawsuit for…” Some of the most common questions we answer include:

  • Can you sue someone for tripping you?
  • Can you sue someone for putting your life in danger?
  • Can I sue for falling at someone’s house?
  • Can I sue for emotional distress?
  • Can you sue for food poisoning?
  • Can you sue for getting COVID?

Here’s a closer look at each of these questions – but remember, if you’re not sure whether you have a lawsuit, it’s always okay to call us at 818-230-8380 for a free consultation. We’ll be happy to talk about what happened to you and tell you what kinds of legal remedies are available.

#1. Can you sue someone for tripping you?

Trip-and-fall lawsuits, which are a lot like slip-and-fall lawsuits (except they involve a trip rather than a slip), are completely possible. If someone tripped you on purpose and you were injured as a result, you should definitely call an attorney. Likewise, you might have a case if your trip and fall was due to:

  • Changes in flooring elevation
  • Cracked or broken sidewalks
  • Nails, screws or other fasteners sticking up out of the floor
  • Narrow or too-steep stairs
  • Poor lighting
  • Torn carpet
  • Hidden hazards

Generally, if you have a case, you’ll sue the property owner. Your attorney will have to show that the property’s owner had a legal obligation to protect you or warn you against dangers, but still failed to do so. And in some cases, a city or municipality that fails to repair dangerous walkways (like sidewalks and paths) can be held responsible, too.

Related: Slip and fall injuries: Could you file a lawsuit?

#2. Can you sue someone for putting your life in danger?

In order for any lawsuit to be successful, you must show that you’ve suffered damages – that is, that the result of what happened cost you something (such as money, your health, your enjoyment of life or something else). If someone leaves the coffee pot on at your house but the house doesn’t burn down, you’re unlikely to even be eligible to file a lawsuit – but if you’re on a commuter train that goes off the rails and you suffer injuries, that’s another story. You don’t have to wonder if you can sue based on your individual circumstances, though. Call our office and we’ll be happy to let you know.

Related: Punitive damages vs. compensatory damages

#3. Can I sue for falling at someone’s house?

Things get sticky if you want to sue someone because you fell at their house. If you go to someone’s house and they fail to warn you of a dangerous condition, such as rickety stairs that you shouldn’t use – or anything that you wouldn’t ordinarily discover until you were in danger – you may have a case. (You don’t have to warn people about something obvious that they can see, like low-hanging tree branches.)

#4. Can I sue for emotional distress?

In many cases, you can sue for emotional distress (commonly called mental anguish). It’s a type of suffering that occurs because of someone else’s negligence or willful wrongdoing. Emotional distress can be hard to prove, though, and in many cases, you can only sue for it if you also suffered a physical injury as well. If you’re not sure about an emotional distress lawsuit, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a California personal injury attorney who can give you a more concrete answer after learning the facts of your case.

#5. Can you sue for food poisoning?

It is possible to sue for food poisoning, such as sickness from e. coli, listeria, salmonella or norovirus. Generally, these lawsuits fall under product liability, particularly when contaminated food products are sold to a lot of people. When you get food poisoning from a restaurant, though, it can be tough to prove. That’s because people typically get sick days after eating contaminated food – and it can be difficult to determine where the contaminated food came from at that point.

Related: Product liability lawsuit FAQs

#6. Can you sue for getting COVID?

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is unprecedented – and lawmakers are still trying to nail down the specifics. The jury is still out on what circumstances could make it possible to sue for getting COVID, but some places are criminalizing the intentional or negligent spread of the virus.

Do You Have a Question About a Lawsuit?

If you’re not sure whether you can sue someone – either an individual or a business – it’s always okay to call a personal injury attorney to find out. We’re available when you need us; just call 818-230-8380.


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