An Introduction To California’s Premises Liability Laws

Posted on: January 16, 2019

The property owner or overseer is responsible for the safety of the people that are within the premises of his or her property. If you or someone else gets injured on someone’s property, a premises liability case can be pursuable if the incident is proven to be due to the negligence of the property owner. Before trying to prove negligence and pursuing a premises liability case, however, you first need to know what a premises liability is.

The Property Owner’s Duty

A property owner’s fault is not absolute even if he or she was negligent. The defendant property owner’s liability can vary depending on the visitor who was injured. The eligibility of an individual for premises liability claims relies not only on the gravity of the injury he or she sustained in someone else’s property but also on his or her classification as an individual or his or her business in the said property. The following are classifications for individuals in premise liability claims:

Invitee

An invitee is an individual that the landowner has given expressed or implied permission to enter the property. The landowner has an obligation to provide reasonably safe conditions for the invitee. Examples of invitees are friends, relatives, or neighbors. If you have been injured as an invitee in someone else’s property, then you have a right to file a premises liability claim.

Licensee

Similar to an invitee, a licensee is someone who also has expressed and implied permission to enter a property. The difference is that a licensee’s reason for entering a property is for his or her own purposes. An example of licensees are salesmen, and property owners have lesser duties to warn licensees of the dangerous conditions on the property.

Trespasser

A trespasser is someone who is unauthorized to enter the property of the landowner. In this scenario, an owner may only exercise ordinary care and does not owe fault to a trespasser who was injured in his or her property. However, children are an exception to this rule and property owners must ensure that an estate is safeguarded from potential hazards to children.

Premises Liability: California Statute of Limitations

One must know the statute of limitations of the case before filing a premise liability claim. According to the California Code of Civil Procedure section 312, the amount of time that a plaintiff has to still be eligible for a premises liability claim is two years. If the defendant files for a claim that has exceeded two years from the date of the personal injury incident, then the victim’s right to recovery via the legal system will have already been eliminated.

Types of Premises Liability Cases

Identifying and classifying the kind of accident that you have experienced is useful in knowing whether or not they are eligible for a premise liability claim. Below are some of the most common premises liability scenarios and their corresponding laws:

Slip-and-fall

If you have slipped and fell in someone else’s property resulting in either minor or major injuries, then you may be eligible for a slip and fall injury claim. The cause of the accident should be out of someone else’s negligence. These incidents include:

  1. Leaky plumbing;
  2. Spills;
  3. Uneven floors;
  4. Loosened carpeting;
  5. Exposed cables or wires;
  6. Faulty furniture;
  7. Broken railings;
  8. Uncleared construction sites; and
  9. Lack of hazard or warning signs for already known risks.

This scenario is supported by the California Civil Code Section 1714 subsection (a) which states the following:

“Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person…”

Dog Bites

If you have been bitten by someone else’s dog, you can be eligible for personal injury claims and damages. California has a “strict liability” state for dog bite incidents. This means that dog owners cannot escape the liability of dog bites caused by their pet and claim that he or she has no control over the aggression of the dog. The owner is held accountable for all damages from the dog bit incident even if the dog has never bitten anyone before. However, dog bite cases have weak cases if the victim was bitten while trespassing.

Dog bite claims are enforced by California’s dog bite law or Section 3342 of the California Civil Code which declares:

“The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

Falling Objects

A falling objects personal injury claim is one of the most common types of premise liability claims. If you have sustained an injury from a falling object from a construction site, bridge overhangs or commercial establishments such as shopping malls or warehouse stores, then a premises liability claim may be filed.

If you have been injured by a falling object, then the res ipsa loquitur law can help reinforce your claim. This law translates to “the thing speaks for itself” and is enough to prove that the property owner or establishment has been negligent.

Toxic Chemicals

If you have taken in hazardous chemicals that have caused you injury or made your health deteriorate while in a property owner’s or an establishment’s premises, then you may be able to claim for damages. Some hazardous substances that are commonly ingested include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Asbestos
  2. Benzene
  3. Silica
  4. Mold
  5. Welding fumes
  6. Hard metals
  7. Prescription drugs
  8. Lead paint
  9. Fertilizer

Your claim may also be supported by numerous environmental statutes such as the Clean Air Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and many more.

California Premises Liability Law Attorneys

If you have experienced the scenarios mentioned above and have not yet passed your incident’s statute of limitations, you may be eligible for a premises liability claim. However, California premises liability laws can be complex and difficult to handle since they require expert personal injury law knowledge. Therefore it is ill-advised to handle this case on your own. Fortunately, expert personal injury law attorneys who are well-versed in California premises liability laws are easily accessible.

Seek the help of Mesriani Law Group, one of the highly regarded law firms in the state of California. They use their decades of experience in personal injury law to take on and win premises liability cases for their clients. Having already won over 100 million dollars in damages for their clients, their expert premise liability law and personal injury cases will ensure you get the proper amount of compensation you deserve.