When you are visiting someone’s home or a business as a guest, you have certain rights which exist for the period of time you are on the property. Any injury which occurs on the property that is the direct result of hidden dangers and unsafe conditions is the fault of the property owner, and therefore they should be liable for any damages which occur as a result of the injuries. Premises liability cases are typically brought against a business whose unsafe conditions caused injuries to guests. For example, a grocery store with a wet surface which subsequently caused a guest to injure themselves will lead to the grocery store’s liability if the spill was not cleaned up despite knowledge of the condition.
California premises liability lawyers help victims recover for injuries caused by the negligence of property owners, or the failure of those owners to warn others about potentially dangerous situations. Whether the victim will be able to recover depends on factors such as whether the property owner was diligently keeping up the property or if the victim knew the property was dangerous, or even how much time has passed without filing a claim. Because there are so many variables, it is important for victims to consult a California personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to be advised of their rights.
What Are Dangerous Premises in California?
Property owners are responsible for accidents and injuries caused by unsafe conditions on their property. This includes homes, grocery stores, government buildings, offices, apartments, playgrounds, and more. Slip and falls accidents can cause serious personal injury, including broken bones, nerve damage, and head, neck, and spine injuries. Unsafe conditions can exist in any number of ways but are often the result of temporary conditions or dangerous areas that are not adequately marked.
Common situations leading to premises liability claims include:
- Wet floors
- Ice covered sidewalks
- Cracked sidewalks
- Uneven carpets
- Poorly-marked steps or ramps
- Stairways without adequate handrails
- Malfunctioning elevators and escalators
- Collapsing decks
- Swimming pool accidents
- Unmarked construction sites
- Exposed wiring
- Inadequate maintenance or security
Premises Liability Law in California
Premises liability lawsuits can involve nearly any type of injury which occurs on the property of another, such as hidden holes, exposed electrical wires, slip and fall accidents, fires, and animal attacks. Property owners have a legal duty to warn of any hidden dangers on their property and to protect their guests from dangerous conditions. Premises liability actions typically turn on whether the property owner committed a reasonable inspection of the property before the guest arrived, such as inspecting any hazardous conditions on the floor or cleaning up any messes that have the potential to cause injuries.
Other premises liability actions turn on the negligence of the property owner in failing to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. For example, if a child wanders onto a property with an obvious attraction (a hill they like to slide down), a property owner should post warning signs or make an effort to prevent children from coming on his property if there are hidden dangers such as glass or deep mine shafts where the children are playing.
In some premises liability cases, the facts may turn on whether the injured party knew of the unsafe condition, or whether a reasonable person would have known of the unsafe condition. Due to the different outcomes of each case, it is important to contact an attorney once you have been injured by a property hazard to discover your options.
What to Do After a Premises Liability Injury
- Make a report so that the owner is on notice that you were injured, and keep a copy so you can prove they knew about the problem. Filing such as report not only documents the incident but also helps pinpoint the date, time and manner in which the injury occurred.
- Take pictures of the area where you got hurt, and of your injuries using your cell phone with a date and time stamp. Dangerous conditions may be repaired before your case is over.
- Get the names and phone numbers of any potential witnesses to help bolster your case.
- Don't sign anything or take any kind of payment or settlement without consulting with a California premises liability lawyer. You might lose out on the true value of your claim if you do so.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer to learn about your case. The California premise liability lawyers at Johnson Attorneys Group will meet with you free, and help you learn about your legal options.
Contact a California Premises Liability Lawyer for a Free Case Review Today
If you or a loved one have been injured on the property of another due to their negligence or failure to warn of a hidden danger, area, it is important to meet with an experienced premises liability attorney as soon as possible. Premises liability cases have a limitations period of two years from the date of the injury.
Contact our California premise liability attorneys in at 800-235-6801 to schedule your initial consultation today and receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Premises Liability Lawyer in California FAQ
In California, you can sue a property owner if you sustain injuries in their residential or business premises. This is because the law requires property owners to make a reasonable effort towards maintaining a safe environment for their visitors. The plaintiff must prove:
- The existence of a duty of care on the defendant’s part
- That the defendant breached the duty of care
- The breach was the legal or proximate cause of the injury
Not every dangerous condition on a property results in liability. Also, property owners owe varying duties of care to different people. For instance, invited guests will be more protected compared to trespassers. Some of the most common premises liability claims are as a result of:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Escalator and elevator defects
- Poor property maintenance
- Uncontrolled dogs
- Being hit by an object
- Swimming pool accidents
Yes. If the accident happens in a private property or residence, report it to the property owner, tenant, or landlord. If it occurs within a commercial property, contact the property owner, building manager, or store manager. If the accident occurs on government property, contact the government agency’s administrator or on-site manager. Reporting the case after you’ve already left the premises makes it difficult to prove your case.
Yes. Immediately after the accident, get the names and contact details of anyone who might have witnessed the accident. Witnesses will be able to describe what happened and back up your story. Besides, they could provide additional information you might not be privy to but which proves that the defendant was at fault. In a premises liability case, the witnesses could be other customers, employees, or property managers.
Yes. Seek to gather as much photographic evidence as possible of the area where the accident has taken place. You will need to capture anything that might have caused or contributed to the accident. For example, in the event of a fall accident due to an obstruction, take photos of the obstructive object. This is the most effective way of preserving evidence which will help prove negligence on the part of the property owner.
Apart from reporting the incident to the management, limit your communication with anyone who claims to be the property’s insurer. Decline to give a statement to the insurance company until you speak to a competent premises liability lawyer. Avoid placing or taking any blame on the accident. Also, desist from posting details of the incident on social media.
There are several ways through which you can get your bills paid, including obtaining a medical lien or a health insurance policy. Competent legal staff will anticipate any arguments from the insurance adjusters and negotiate a fair settlement. If your premises liability lawyer is unable to resolve the claim through negotiations, he or she will help you file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.