Premises liability generally refers to a legal theory that holds property owners responsible for a wide range of accidents. Like other personal injury claims, it is a form of negligence that is based on a “duty of care” that property owners owe to most people who step foot on the premises. A property owner that does not live up to these obligations is likely to be considered negligent and responsible for any accidents that happen as a result. In order to receive compensation, your premises liability lawyer has to prove not only that the owner was negligent, but also that this negligence directly caused the person to be injured.
Property owners are generally required to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. That means clearing clutter from convenience store aisles, drying wet or slippery walking surfaces and addressing other property defects that may pose a safety hazard. Owners are also required to alert people to any hazards that the owner knows about or should know about through reasonable inspection.
Premises liability covers a broad range of disputes, including:
Premise liability accidents can cause a number of injuries, such as:
In California, plaintiffs in premises liability disputes can be precluded from recovery in situations where the dangerous condition at-issue (that caused them to sustain injuries) was “open and obvious” at the time of the accident.
Suppose that you are injured while walking through an aisle in the defendant’s grocery store. As it turns out, the aisle was covered in a bright red liquid spill. You chose to walk over the spill anyways, however, and thereby slipped and fell, resulting in the injuries at-issue.
Under these circumstances, it seems clear that the hazard (e.g. the liquid spill) was open and obvious at the time of the accident. You either knew of the spill hazard or reasonably should have known. As such, you would not have a right of action against the defendant store owner.
The monetary damages available in premises liability cases are intended to put an injured person back in the same place they would have been in had the accident not happened.
Damages include compensation for medical expenses (past and future), property losses, wage loss, and loss of earning capacity, as well as more subjective losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In the tragic situation in which a person is killed in an accident on someone elses property, their loved ones have the right to seek compensation for wrongful death. A premises liability lawyer can assist a surviving spouse, domestic partner, minor children and other heirs can essentially sue on behalf of their loved one.
You are not required to hire a lawyer in order to pursue any type of personal injury claim, including a premises liability case. However, you should be aware that premises liability claims are often far more complex than people realize. The property owner is likely to dispute that they were negligent in any way and that you should be responsible for your own losses. In addition, the insurance company will require you to prove your claim, so you will need to collect evidence and build a compelling case. Building a strong claim can be quite challenging when you are trying to recover from your injuries. In short, you may not be required to hire a lawyer, but your claim is much more likely to be successful if you do.
Generally speaking, the owner of the property is liable for your injuries in a premises liability case. That said, determining who owns the property isn’t always easy. The property may be owned in the name of a trust or other entity designed to shield the owners from liability. If you were injured on a commercial property, there may be various different entities that share liability. For example, the retailer that occupies the space may be obligated by the terms of their lease to ensure that the premises are safe for customers. Alternatively, the property owner may have hired a property manager to ensure that the premises are properly maintained. An experienced premises liability lawyer can determine who should be held liable for your injuries.
As a general rule, government entities cannot be held liable for causing injuries under the rule of sovereign immunity. Because this rule would often lead to results that seem harsh or unfair, California adopted the California Tort Claims Act that allows for citizens to sue the state in certain situations. In addition to laying out when the State of California may be sued, it creates a special process by which you must pursue your claim. If you fail to follow the process as laid out in the statute, you could jeopardize your claim. A knowledgeable premises liability lawyer will know how to navigate the process so that you can get the compensation you deserve.
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in California is two years from the date of the accident, which includes premises liability claims. However, the longer you wait to pursue your case, the harder it will be to prove your claim. Important evidence may go missing, and witnesses may become difficult to locate. If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, we recommend that you speak with a premises liability lawyer as soon as possible so that you can understand your options.
At Banafshe Law Firm, our premises liability attorneys take a personalized approach to representing clients. We take the time to understand what happened and how we can help you. Our lawyers have had significant success in the courtroom and at the negotiating table for the people that we represent.
We are pleased to offer free initial consultations from our office in Beverly Hills. Our injury lawyers will review your case with you and let you know what you are likely to receive in money damages. Contact us to make an appointment by calling 800-789-8840 or requesting a consultation online.
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