Have you or someone you know been injured on someone else’s property because of their negligence? Whether you were hurt because you slipped on a wet floor in a restaurant or fell down the stairs in a shopping mall because the stairs were unstable, California premises liability laws provide injured victims the opportunity to recover compensation for their losses.
The knowledgeable and experienced premises liability lawyers at Mesriani Law Group provides exceptional legal representation to victims suffering from injuries resulting from a negligently maintained property. Schedule a free consultation today with our law firm to learn about your legal options.
Here are shortcuts to the specific topics:
- 1. Premise Liability Lawyer in Los Angeles
- 2. How a Premises Liability Lawyer Can Help
- 3. Why Choose Mesriani to Represent You in Premises Liability Cases?
- 4. What is Premises Liability?
- 5. California Premise Liability Laws
- 6. Examples of Premise Liability Accidents
William J. Kropach, Esq.
How a Premises Liability Lawyer Can Help
Many premise liability cases can be extremely complex and require specific knowledge of premise liability law. When pursuing a case, a plaintiff generally needs to prove that the owner or controller of the property is negligent. Determining the correct owner or controller of property can be a difficult task but an experienced premise liability lawyer will be able to do so. Additionally, a large number of premise liability cases involve the defendant’s insurance company who do not care about your interests. Insurance companies are notoriously known for lowballing victims and doing what it takes to protect their business. Due to this, it’s important that premise liability victims hire an experienced attorney who understands premise liability law and can present a strong argument for your case.
If you are a loved one sustained an injury due to negligent conditions on someone else’s property, you may have grounds to file a legal claim. However, keep in mind that not all injuries sustained on someone else’s property is enough to file a premise liability claim. If you’re unsure of your situation, we strongly encourage you to contact an experienced Los Angeles premise liability lawyer to discuss your case. A premise liability lawyer will not only determine if you have enough grounds to file a claim but can tell you about your legal options and maximum damages you are entitled to.
Why You Should Choose a Mesriani Slip and Fall Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, you want an attorney who has successfully handled slip and fall accident cases. Mesriani slip and fall attorneys guarantee exceptional legal service to our clients and have the successful results to prove it. Here are the top reasons why you should choose Mesriani Law Group for your slip and fall accident case:
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a legal concept that focuses on any injuries an individual might sustain when they are on someone else’s property. Premises liability law describes a property owner’s legal responsibility for the care, safety, and maintenance of a property to prevent injury. The law requires property owners to use reasonable care when maintaining safe premises. If a property owner fails to use the same degree of care that a reasonable property owner would use to prevent injury by either repairing areas of potential harm or warning visitors, guests, and trespassers under 18 of potential hazards, he or she may be responsible for a victim’s injuries. If you suffered an injury on someone else’s property in Los Angeles, California laws of premises liability will govern your case.
California Premises Liability Laws
Under California Civil Code 1714, everyone is not only responsible for his or her own willful acts but also for injuries to another person by his or her want of ordinary skill or care in the management of his or her property.
The key part of premises liability laws is based on the doctrine of negligence. California law defines negligence as a person’s failure to use reasonable care to prevent harm to oneself or other people. A person is considered negligent if they do something that a reasonably careful person wouldn’t do in a similar situation or failed to do something that a reasonably careful person would have done in a similar situation.
In a premises liability case, California law requires the plaintiff to prove the following:
- The defendant owned, leased, occupied, or controlled the property
- The defendant was negligent in the maintenance or use of the property
- The plaintiff was injured or harmed
- The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor that resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries
In addition to the elements of negligence, determining a breach of duty of care can get complicated in premises liability cases. This is because some variables are difficult to prove:
- The foreseeability of the accident and subsequent injury
- The knowledge of the potential hazard by someone who lived in, rented, owned, or managed the property
- Any decisions made that intentionally avoided repairs or contributed to the hazard
The complexity of premises liability cases can be extremely difficult to navigate so if you’ve been injured on someone’s else property but are unsure of how to prove your case, contact a premises liability lawyer as soon as possible.
Examples of Premise Liability Accidents
There are numerous types of premise liability accidents that can occur. Each case is unique and has its own set of complications but an experienced Los Angeles premises liability lawyer can help you recover compensation for any sustained injuries. In California, common examples of premise liability accidents include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Amusement Park accidents
- Airbnb or home share accidents
- University, college, or dormitory accidents
- Negligent maintenance
- Negligent security
- Dog or animal attacks
- Swimming pool accidents
- Store or restaurant accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Escalator or elevator accidents
- Stair injuries
- Child injuries
- Structural collapses
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Home accidents
The examples listed above are only some of the accidents that can lead to a premise liability claim with the most common grounds for premises liability cases being slip and fall accident claims. However, other types of accidents may have grounds for a liability premise claim including accidents where a property owner is negligent and failed to maintain proper care of the property.
Negligent Security Cases
Under California law, property owners must take the necessary safety measures to ensure guests and tenants are kept reasonably safe from known dangers or hazards, including assault. If a guest is injured due to a dangerous condition that could have been prevented if there was adequate security, the property owner could be held responsible for the injured guest’s injuries.
Common grounds for negligent security cases include:
- Poor / inadequate lighting
- Missing parking lot surveillance
- Negligent apartment complex security
- Negligent hotel security
- Negligent mall security
- Negligent security at amusement parks
- Negligent college campus security
- Negligent security at sports stadiums
- Negligent security at music or concert venues
- Negligent construction site security
- Negligent security at nightclubs
Common Premise Liability Injuries
Victims who get hurt on someone else’s property can sustain various types of injuries. Some of the most common types of premise liability injuries include:
- Severe burn accidents
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Brain damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Electric shocks
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Wrongful death
If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation for your losses and can recover with a general negligence claim. A premise liability lawyer can help identify the types of damages you are entitled to and help get the justice you deserve.
Who Can I Sue If I’m Injured on Someone Else’s Property?
Under California law, victims injured on someone else’s property can hold an individual, entity or company in charge of controlling a property legally responsible. In most cases, you can sue the person or company who owns, occupies, leases, or controls the property. It’s important to know that the party responsible doesn’t necessarily need to fulfill all four requirements. In California, control alone is enough for liability.
The responsible party in the premise liability claim will depend on your specific situation. The responsible party in a premise liability case could include:
- A company
- A business owner
- A homeowner
- A landlord
- A renter
- A tenant
- An employee
- A property management company
- Parent company
- A restaurant
- A retail center
- A big box store
- Multiple parties
The individual responsible for the property will depend on the type of property. There may also be multiple parties that share responsibility for the property. It is important to note that entities and business will often use specialized business organizations like corporations and trusts that convolute identifying liable parties. Having an experienced premises liability lawyer can help pierce the veil and uncover who the liable parties are.
Can I Sue If I’m Injured on Government Property?
If you meet the same requirements for a person who gets injured on private property, you have the right to sue even if you get injured on government property. However, one of the main differences between suing a private individual or company and the government is the deadline to file a suit. The statute of limitation for a person injured on municipal, state, or federal property is six-months from the date of the injury. That means you have six months to file a premise liability injury claim. Alternatively, individuals who are injured on private property have up to two years from the date of the injury to file their premise liability claim.
Regardless of if you were injured on private or public property, it’s important to act quickly. Waiting to speak with an attorney can negatively impact your claim for several reasons including:
- Defense attorney questioning the reason you waited so long to present the claim.
- Recollection of facts surrounding the incident can become less reliable over time.
- Important evidence may be lost.
For these reasons, we strongly recommend victims to consult a premise liability lawyer as soon as possible after an injury. A lawyer can help review your claim and ensure paperwork is filed before the statute of limitations runs out. Once the time limit has been reached, it’s very unlikely that you will be able to recover any damages for your losses.
When is a California Property Owner Liable for Accidents?
California property owners are not automatically responsible for all injuries that occur on their property. However, owners owe visitors a high standard of care. This means that if you are invited to a property, the landowner must legally ensure the premise is free from dangers or hidden hazards. Property owners are also responsible for repairing obvious property defects and must warn visitors about things that may cause harm. Failure to do so and there may be grounds for a premise liability claim if a victim gets injured.
However, there is one important exception to California premise liability law. Individuals who enter the owner’s property or land without permission are not protected under the law. Property owners don’t owe trespassers any duties of care as they entered the premises without permission. But, if the trespasser is under the age of 18, the landowner still owes a certain duty of care to keep the premise safe.
How Do You Prove Premises Liability?
To successfully hold a property owner responsible for your injuries, you must prove premises liability. In a premise liability case as well as all civil lawsuits, the burden of proof rests with the plaintiff or injured party filing the suit. In law, burden of proof is a legal standard that requires you to demonstrate that a claim is valid (or invalid) based on evidence and facts presented. It also determines how much evidence is required to achieve that goal.
There are four main elements that must be satisfied to prove a premises liability case including:
- The defendant has a legal obligation to keep the premises safe – The defendant was the person or entity who owned, leased, or controlled the property at the time of your accident.
- The defendant failed to use the correct degree of care – The defendant was negligent because he or she did not use the proper degree of care to prevent injury to the victim. However, the defendant’s negligence depends on your specific situation- whether you are an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.
- The defendant’s breach of duty of care caused your injury – The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing your injury. Because the defendant breached his or her duty of care, he or she may be held responsible for your losses.
- You suffered compensable damages in the accident – Last, you must prove that you were hurt as a result of the defendant’s negligence. To do so, you may be required to submit evidence including photographs of your injuries, medical bills, pay stubs, CCTV surveillance footage, accident reports, medical records, eyewitness statements, and testimony from hired experts.
Collecting evidence is one of the most important steps to proving liability. An experienced Los Angeles premises liability attorney knows the types of evidence that should be submitted and can help collect them to help you prove your case.
Determining Duty of Care in Premise Liability Cases
To file a premises liability claim, you must first establish a duty of care on the part of the property owner. Without establishing a duty of care, the defendant may successfully argue that the property owner does not owe any responsibility to the injured victim. One of the most important elements in determining duty of care depends on the reason the victim was on the owner’s property.
According to California law, the three types of property visitors include:
- Invitees – Individuals invited onto the property for reasons which are financially beneficial to the property owner. For example, customers to a store are considered invitees as the reason they are invited is to make a purchase in the store. Property owners have a reasonable duty to keep invitees safe and to warn invitees of any potential hazards or potential dangers. They’re also responsible for addressing any potential risks in a timely manner. For example, stores are responsible for checking the floors and aisles to ensure it is free from liquids or other potential dangers. Failure to do so an invitee could result in slip and fall injury. They are generally owed the greatest duty of care. If an accident happens on the premises, the property controller or owner may be held liable.
- Licensees – Individuals who are invited onto a property with the owner’s permission but for non-financial reasons. An example of a licensee is a social visitor to someone’s home such as relatives, friends, or neighbors. Property owners are also required to ensure that their property is safe for licensees, but licensees are owed a lower level of care than invitees. Property owners are required to take reasonable care to protect licensees from known dangers on the property, but they are not required to inspect for unknown dangers.
- Trespassers – Individuals who are not authorized to enter a property or be on premises and have no legal reason to be there. Property owners do not owe trespassers any duty of care. The only exception to this rule is when the trespasser is under the age of 18.
What Damages Can I Receive in a Premise Liability Claim?
If you were injured on someone’s property, you could have a claim against the responsible party. As a premises liability victim, you may be entitled to the following damages:
- Economic damages – Tangible, measurable, or financial costs related to your premises liability accident. Common examples include medical bills, past, current or future medical treatment costs, physical therapy costs, medications, property repairs, lost wages from time missed from work, travel costs, and legal fees.
- Non-economic damages – Intangible losses related to your premises liability accident. Non-economic damages are non-physical and emotional losses. Common examples include pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of quality of life, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, inconvenience, scarring, and disfigurement.
- Punitive damages – In rare cases, a judge may award punitive damages to the victim. Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant for his or her behavior that was found to be extremely harmful, wrongful, or negligent.
The total value of a premise liability case depends on several factors including the severity of the injury, recovery time, age, health, income, insurance, and the defendant’s behaviors. If you’ve been injured in a premises liability accident, consult an experienced attorney to find out how much your case may be worth.
Premises Liability Statute of Limitations
Premises liability victims must file their claim before the statute of limitations runs out. Statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time a victim has to bring a cause of action. In California, the statute of limitations for premises liability claims is two years from the date of the accident. However, if you did not discover your injury until after the accident, the clock will start on the date of the injury discovery. If you’ve been injured on someone’s else’s property, discuss your accident as soon as possible with a premise liability lawyer to ensure you meet the required deadline.
How Does Homeowner Insurance Work if I Get Hurt on Someone’s Property?
Most homeowners carry insurance that will cover visitors who get injured on their property. However, the coverage varies depending on the individual home or business owner’s policy. Additionally, exclusions may apply including:
- Intentional injuries – For example, injuries resulted from a fight or other physical altercation.
- Injuries on an uninsured equipment – For example, you got injured on a swing set that was never insured.
- Dog bites – Certain breeds of dogs may be excluded from homeowner’s insurance coverage since they have a reputation for being dangerous and the risk of injury is higher. Common types of dog breeds that are excluded are pit bulls, rottweilers, German shepherds, Dobermans, Staffordshire terriers, Great Danes, and Akitas.
Keep in mind that if a property owner carries insurance with low minimums, their insurance may not cover serious injuries. For example, let’s say a homeowner’s policy limit is $100,000. Although this amount may seem generous, it may not be enough if a victim requires serious medical treatment or long-term care. If the homeowner’s insurance isn’t enough, a premises liability lawyer can file a claim directly against the property owner to collect the difference.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Los Angeles Premises Liability Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been hurt on someone else’s property because of their negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages for your losses such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Our lawyers have over 20 years of experience helping victims recover maximum compensation for premises liability cases and can help you with your case. Contact Mesriani Law Group today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles premises liability lawyer.
Premises Liability Lawyer FAQs
What is premise liability law?
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, your legal rights are protected under California’s premises liability laws. Premises liability is the area of personal injury law that addresses harmful or dangerous conditions on private and public property. Most premise liability cases are associated with slip and fall accidents, but countless other types of injuries are also covered by premises liability law including injuries from inadequate maintenance, dog bites, escalator or elevator accidents, stair injuries, and structural collapses.
What is the difference between premises liability and negligence?
The concept of premises liability is often used in personal injury cases where the victim’s injury was caused by unsafe conditions on someone’s property. Premises liability is a form of negligence since the property owner failed to follow required safety procedures to ensure individuals on their property are kept reasonably safe. Premises liability claims are also negligence claims, but the difference lies in that premise liability claims arise from dangerous conditions on someone else’s property compared to negligence claims where there is negligent behavior on the defendant’s part.
What are the most common premises liability claims?
Slip and fall accidents are the most commonly reported ground for premises liability lawsuits. These accidents occur on sidewalks, stairs, parking lots, and several other places that can become slippery or slick without proper maintenance. These accidents often result in serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries, back injuries, broken bones, sprained ankles, etc.
Is premises liability common law?
Premises liability is the liability assigned to landowners and controllers for certain torts that happen on their land. This has a common law equivalent called occupier’s liability, which exists in places without premises liability law.