California Premises Liability Attorneys
Please contact us at 949-203-3814 for a free and confidential consultation.
Whether you are pursuing a claim against an individual, corporation or a governmental entity, it is important that you have an experienced premises liability lawyer on your side, who knows and understand the law and who will fight tirelessly for your legal rights and best interests.
The experienced California premises liability lawyers at Bisnar Chase have a long and successful track record of handling these types of cases and helping seriously injured clients secure maximum compensation for their significant losses.
What is Premises Liability
Premises liability refers to the responsibility of property owners to provide reasonably safe conditions for visitors, workers and residents. Under premises liability law, California property owners can be held financially accountable for accidents and injuries that occur on their premises. Not all accidents result in valid injury claims, but anyone who has suffered an injury on someone else's property would be well advised to look into their legal rights and options. Financial compensation may be available for their considerable losses.
California Premises Liability Law
Under California law, a proprietor, or commercial landlord, owes patrons a duty to exercise reasonable care to keep the premises safe. For example, property owners must regularly inspect their buildings and ensure that they are safe for visitors, tenants and/or guests. All California proprietors must act with the same care as other reasonably prudent persons would under the same circumstances. In other words, property owners are not responsible for every accident that occurs on their premises, but they can be held accountable for an accident that directly resulted from their failure to provide reasonably safe conditions.
Examples of Dangerous Premises
The types of premises liability cases are numerous and varied. Visitors can suffer devastating injuries by falling down broken stairs, slipping on wet surfaces, drowning in a swimming pool, getting burned in a fire or explosion, suffering lacerations from broken glass, getting bitten by a dog, suffering injuries from a roof cave-in or from being mugged or assaulted because of inadequate security. Dangerous conditions can exist in any type of open space or building. Devastating incidents commonly occur at shopping malls, grocery stores, government buildings, commercial facilities, theatres, apartments and even private homes.
The key factor in establishing liability for a premises liability issue is to determine if the proprietor had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition. In general, property owners cannot be held liable if they were not aware of the dangerous conditions. There is, however, an important exception to that rule. Property owners who do not properly inspect their buildings can be held accountable for failing to comply with their duty to inspect or properly maintain their properties. This can be done by showing that the hazardous location was not inspected within a reasonable amount of time.
These types of cases are complicated because victims have to do more than prove that they were injured. Property owners cannot be expected to prevent visitors from tripping on their own shoelaces. Property owners can and should post slippery floor signs when a walkway has just been cleaned. They must also mop up spills, repair damaged steps and put up caution cones, tapes and signs when dangerous conditions cannot be fixed right away.
A tort rule for allocating damages when both parties are at least somewhat at fault. If an unsafe condition on a property is clearly visible and avoidable it is the responsibility of the visitor to observe it and respond accordingly. Furthermore, property owners do not have to 'warn visitors' of hazardous conditions that are so obvious that any reasonable person would observe the condition as potentially dangerous. In such cases, the concept of 'comparative negligence' may apply. This is when the victim's fault is compared to the percentage of the defendant's fault. The amount of damages recoverable by the victim will be reduced to his or her responsibility for the accident.
Injuries Suffered in Premises Liability Cases
Many premises liability cases involve slip-and-fall accidents. Slip-and-fall accidents can result in injuries ranging from sprains, strains and lacerations to multiple bone fractures, traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage. Many of these injuries result in time away from work, lengthy hospitalization, complicated surgeries, required physical therapy, pain and suffering and a number of other related losses. Financial support may be available for all of these injuries and damages if the victim can prove that the negligence of the property owner or manager contributed to the accident.
What to do after an Accident
If you have been injured on someone else's property, there are several steps you can take to ensure that your legal rights are protected:
- Make sure you file a report with the property owner or manager and then obtain a copy of that report. Filing such as report not only documents the incident, but also helps pinpoint the date, time and manner in which the injury occurred.
- Take photos of the scene where the incident occurred. For example, if you tripped on a broken stair, make sure you take at least cell phone images with a date and time stamp. Such dangerous conditions may be repaired right away and you may lose a valuable piece of evidence.
- Obtain contact information for anyone who may have witnessed the incident. When another person can corroborate your account of the incident, it certainly helps bolster your case.
- Do not accept a settlement or sign any documents before talking to an experienced California premises liability lawyer. Doing so may jeopardize your claim. When you accept a settlement agreement, your case will be closed and you will be unable to claim any future expenses related to your injuries.
For immediate help with a premises liability case please call 949-203-3814.