Riverside Premises Liability Attorney
Premises liability involves personal injury cases that occur as the result of unsafe conditions on another person's property. Examples of premises injury cases include slip-trip-and-fall accidents, dog attacks, fires, swimming pool accidents, or assaults that occur due to inadequate security or lighting. These types of dangerous conditions could exist in a range of properties from malls and supermarkets to apartment complexes, sports facilities and government buildings.
Protecting Your Rights
The experienced Riverside premises liability lawyers at BISNAR CHASE have successfully handled numerous injury claims on behalf of victims and their families. We have experience handling a variety of claims against individuals, entities, property owners and even large corporations whose negligence caused our clients serious injury or harm. For more information about pursuing your rights, please call us for a free consultation.
What are the Duties of a Property Owner?
All property owners and managers in Riverside County have a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care to keep their premises safe for visitors, guests and tenants. Often, liability in such cases is determined based on who has the right to control the property. In other cases, several parties could be held liable. Identifying the negligent or responsible parties in a premises liability case can be a big part of the challenge.
Property owners in Riverside County not only have a duty to keep their premises safe, but also a duty to warn visitors to their property about hazardous conditions that may exist. For example, if a broken stair presents a tripping hazard, the property owner should make every effort to fix it promptly. In the interim, he or she should put up a visible cautionary sign at the staircase warning people about the dangerous condition there.
Property owners could also be held liable in cases where an unsafe condition caused an injury. For example, if someone was assaulted in a poorly-lit parking lot or robbed because of inadequate security, the property owner could be held liable for the victim's losses.
Elements of a Premises Liability Claim
Under premises liability law, a business owner or a property owner can be held liable for injuries that have occurred on their properties. As with any personal injury case, the element of negligence plays a significant part in a premises liability case. A plaintiff must prove several elements in order to receive compensation.
First, the plaintiff must show that the property owner owed a duty to the injured victim to exercise reasonable care in keeping the premises safe and eliminate any hazardous conditions on the premises. This duty of care could vary depending on the status of the person visiting the property. Also, the plaintiff must show that the property owner and/or manager breached this duty of care that was owed to him or her.
The plaintiff must also prove that the property owner's action or lack of action caused his or her injuries. The injury must have been a direct result of the property owner's negligence. For example, if a supermarket employee failed to clean up spilled laundry detergent in one of the aisles or failed to warn customers about the spill by putting cones or tape around the spill, then it would be foreseeable that the failure to clean up the spill would cause an injury to a customer walking down the aisle.
Plaintiffs in premises liability claims are also required to prove that they have suffered damages or losses as a result of the injury. Damages could include medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, surgeries, physical therapy expenses, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Governmental Entities and Premises Liability Claims
Under California law, governmental entities can be held liable in premises liability cases. However, there are strict time limitations to file personal injury claims against governmental agencies. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental entity must be filed within 180 days or six months after the incident. Governmental agencies do have some immunity against injury claims. For example, a governmental agency cannot be held liable for injuries caused by its planning decisions. There is also an exception to government liability for discretionary acts. However, if a government employee acts negligently or with malice, there will be no immunity.
What to Do if You Have Been Injured on Riverside Property
If you have been injured on someone else's property, the first step is to notify property management about the incident. Make sure you obtain a copy of the incident report. It would also be helpful to write down the name and contact information for anyone who witnessed the accident.
If you have your Smartphone with you, take photographs and video of the scene. Show the entire area and photograph the dangerous conditions that led to your injuries. You should also take photos of your injuries and continue taking photographs as you heal. Write down everything you remember about the incident and keep a journal documenting your day-to-day struggles since the incident.
It is also advisable to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Receiving early diagnosis and treatment will increase your chances of having a full recovery. Your medical records can also serve as documentation of the injuries you suffered and the treatment you received.
What is Your Riverside Claim Worth?
Although each claim and case is unique, in general, a successful premises liability claim is one that will fairly and fully compensate the plaintiff. Individuals who have suffered a serious injury that required hospitalization, surgery and time away from work will receive a larger settlement than those who were not injured or required minimal medical attention. However, the value of your claim does not end with your medical bills.
A Riverside premises liability claim could also compensate individuals for other damages and losses such as lost income, cost of rehabilitative treatment, pain and suffering and emotional distress. In egregious cases, the at-fault party may even have to pay punitive damages. Make sure you understand the potential value of your claim before accepting a settlement. Do not rush into a settlement before you have talked about your case with an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer.