If you have been injured in an accident on another’s property, you could potentially be entitled to file a claim against the property owner. Those who are in control of a specific property must take steps to ensure their grounds are reasonably safe and free of hazards.
A premises liability action (also known as “slip and fall accident”) is like other negligence actions, in that you, as the plaintiff, are required to establish the defendant had a duty of care, that duty was breached, and that breach of duty resulted in your injuries. Although it is hardly uncommon for most people to think only of a slip and fall accident when thinking of premises liability, there are many other scenarios which can result in a premises liability claim.
If you have been injured on someone’s property due to a slip and fall accident or other accident, call Los Angeles personal injury attorney Joshua Glotzer today. We offer a free consultation and only get paid if you win.
PREMISES LIABILITY LAWS EXPLAINED
Under California Civil Code Section 1714(a), a person is responsible not only for a willful act which causes injury to another, but also for the lack of ordinary care or skill in managing property. This means properly owners are required to ensure property is free from hazards. A failure to do so can result in owner liability.
Potential Damages in a Premises Liability and Slip and Fall Claims
If you were injured on public or private property, due to the negligence of another person or entity, you may be entitled to bring a California premises liability claim. Of course your compensation will depend on the circumstances surrounding your accident, however you may be entitled to one or more of the following:
- Medical expenses, including hospital, doctor and rehabilitative expenses, as well as expenses for prescription drugs and any necessary medical items such as crutches, wheelchairs, etc.;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future income;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Damage to physical property, and
- Punitive damages
How Your Status as a Visitor Could Affect Your Premises Liability Claim
There are different categories of visitors which could potentially affect your Los Angeles premises liability claim. Those categories include:
- Invitees are those who have been invited to enter a premise for a lawful purpose. The act of entering that premise then triggers a duty on the part of the homeowner to use reasonable care in keeping the premises safe. The invitation to the invitee could have been explicit (“Come in”) or may have been implied or inferred as a result of the homeowner’s conduct. Contractors are typically considered invitees.
- Licensees are those with no contractual relationship with the property owner. Licensees nonetheless have either express or implicit permission to enter the premises. A social guest at a person’s residence could be considered a licensee, however in this case the homeowner is generally only responsible for willful or wanton injuries.
- Trespassers are, surprisingly, also owed a certain duty of care. A trespasser is one who has entered another person’s property with neither implicit nor express permission of the owner, for his or her own benefit. Homeowners may not prepare hazards or traps for trespassers in order to cause harm, and, once aware of the trespasser’s presence, must exercise reasonable care to avoid injuring the trespasser.
California Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability Claims
Under California Code of Civil Procedures 335.1, if you were injured on the property of another, due to negligence, you have two years, under the California statute of limitations, to file a lawsuit for damages. Given this relatively short window of time, it is certainly in your best interests to speak with an experienced Los Angeles premises liability attorney as soon as possible following your accident.
Different Types of Premises Liability Claims
Some of the accidents which can result in a premises liability claim include the following:
- Slip, trip and fall accidents can result in a premises liability claim. A single misstep can result in a fall on the back or face, causing serious injury. Slick floors are a primary cause of slip and fall injuries as are tripping hazards including merchandise that protrudes into the walkway, defective sidewalks, poorly constructed, poorly maintained or poorly lit stairways, or any walkway which is in disrepair. According to County of Los Angeles Public Health Department, between 2006 – 2009,149,410 residents of LA County were treated in emergency rooms for an unintentional slip and fall.
- Construction site accidents are all-too-common among those who work at the site, however even those attempting to travel through or near a construction site can end up injured due to a particular hazard. People have been known to fall in a construction site hole, have something heavy fall on them as they walk by, be gouged by something like rebar sticking out into a walk path, fall from a high area with damaged or inadequate railing, be electrocuted by exposed wiring, or even be hit by a heavy equipment operator.
- Falling objects are also alarmingly common, particularly in commercial environments. Inventory may be stacked unevenly, or too high, or outdoor environments—including residential homes—could have improperly trimmed trees from which large branches fall and injure people.
- Dog bites are also a common cause of premises liability claims, with about 1,000 U.S. citizens requiring emergency care treatment for a dog bite injury every single day. In the state of California, hospital admissions for dog bites have nearly doubled over the past 16 years. Further, more and more of those dog bites originate with a dog who has an owner, as opposed to a stray dog.
- Elevator accidents can occur when the elevator doors slam shut on someone, the elevator moves suddenly, causing an injury, a person falls down an open elevator shaft which was not marked, the elevator is stuck between floors for a significant period of time, or there is a defect in the design or manufacture of the elevator which causes an injury. There are manual elevators which are operated by an attendant, automatic elevators which are operated by passengers, and escalators which involve the same liability issues. Those liable for an elevator accident could include the owner of the building where the elevator is located, an elevator maintenance company, the manufacturer or designer of the elevator, the installation company or the attendant who is responsible for the operation of a manual elevator.
- Electrical injuries are another cause of premises liability claims. There are approximately 160 deaths each year due to electrical malfunctions as well as scores of injuries. Whether the injury occurs at a private residence, rental property, or a public business, owners have a responsibility to keep their property safe by ensuring all electricity is properly installed and maintained. When an exposed electrical wire is left unattended or an outlet is improperly installed, serious burns to the skin and internal organs can occur.
- Assaults in a nightclub or motel or hotel parking lot can happen as a result of inadequate or lack of security, or can happen when other patrons get into a heated argument, and innocent bystanders are injured. Whether a manager, landlord, property owner or lessee is found liable for such an assault will depend on many factors, including whether there were prior assaults or criminal activity in the area, whether the assault was committed by an employee of the business, whether security cameras were in use, and other issues as well.
- Injuries in an amusement park are most often due to slip and falls, however there can be any number of unsafe conditions at an amusement park. Some of those conditions include: inadequate inspection or maintenance of amusement park rides, inadequate safety procedures, inadequate safety precautions, inadequate maintenance of the grounds, failure to properly secure riders, poor lighting, defective design of rides, manufacturing defects in rides or attractions or improperly trained employees.
- Injuries from a swimming pool can occur in a public pool, a pool at an amusement or water park or at a residential home. Since private pool owners are not bound by the same regulations regarding fencing and supervision that public pools are, drownings and injuries are even more common. Some of the most common types of swimming pool accidents include slip and falls, diving board injuries, drownings, infections and even electrocutions.
- Sporting event and recreational injuries occur fairly often, however in some cases, the victim of the injury may have unknowingly entered into simply by virtue of purchasing a ticket for the event. There may be fine print on your ticket which releases the stadium from liability, although if the stadium neglected to provide adequate security and injury occurred as a result, a premises liability claim could be filed. A slip and fall accident which is unrelated to the actual event could also result in a premises liability claim.
- Scaffolding injury claims may be filed if there was negligence involved, or a piece of the scaffolding was defective. If the injury was a result of weak planking, non-existent bracing, inadequate safety procedures, insufficient training for workers, or by an object falling off the scaffolding, then the injured person may be able to file a premises liability claim.
- Malfunctioning equipment injuries can occur when the heavy equipment is being negligently operated or fail to function properly. When a person is injured as a result of negligent operation or a malfunction of the equipment, a premises liability claim may be filed.
- Injuries in a parking lot or parking structure can occur due to trip hazards, motor vehicle collisions with other cars or pedestrians, slip and falls on slick grease, or from the negligent operation of a motor vehicle by a parking lot attendant.
What is Comparative Negligence?
The state of California follows what is known as the pure comparative fault rule. This means if you were partially responsible for your accident, your compensation may be decreased by the percentage of blame assigned to you.
As an example, suppose you were hurrying through a grocery store and turned to see what your children were doing. In doing so, you neglected to see a spilled substance as well as a small sign which warned of the spill. Your slip and fall accident could be deemed at least partially your fault, decreasing your total compensation. It is important to note that you are not responsible for proving you were not negligent, rather the defendant must show you were negligent.
How a Los Angeles Attorney Can Assist in Your Premises Liability Claim
Premises liability claims can be particularly complex, as the elements of possession, ownership and control are of paramount importance. The existence of a duty on the part of the owner or possessor of the property will be a factor in the case, as will the duty to keep premises safe in order to prevent injuries to the public. When there is an obvious failure to warn about dangerous situations, or hidden defects, injuries can result, and the person who sustains those injuries may be eligible for compensation.
Every premises liability case has its own set of unique details. Because the state of California follows the pure comparative fault rule, you may find your compensation decreased if you were partly to blame for the accident. Comparative negligence, however, is a defense, therefore the defendant in the case must prove your negligence rather than you proving you were not negligent. An experienced Los Angeles premises liability attorney will ensure your rights are protected while also working hard to secure an equitable settlement on your behalf. If you have suffered injuries on another’s property, speak to a knowledgeable Los Angeles premises liability attorney today.
Speak to a Slip and Fall Accident Attorney Today
Our firm has vast experience in a wide range of premises liability cases such as slip and fall, negligent security, wrongful death, explosions, catastrophic injuries, or cases involving shooting on a business premises.
We have over 20 years of experience, developing the ability to understand often-complex issues that are involved in premises liability cases. Our skills and knowledge combine to obtain and maximize the appropriate recovery for an individual or a family member who has suffered the loss of a loved one as a result of premises liability case. For a free consultation, call us today (844) 821-5271.