The California Trial Law Group helps accident victims recover for injuries sustained due to the negligence of others. Our law firm aggressively pursues slip-and-fall and all other premises liability actions, seeking full compensation and justice for accident victims.
Under California premises liability law, property owners have a duty to maintain their property in reasonably safe condition to protect visitors and guests. Unfortunately, despite this requirement, hundreds of thousands of individuals are injured while on the property of another due to dangerous conditions, such as slippery surfaces, poor upkeep, defective stairwells, inadequate lighting, and insufficient security.
Injuries occurring on the property of another can range in severity from mild contusions to traumatic brain injury. Often, injured victims incur substantial medical bills, lost wages, ongoing treatment costs, and permanent disability due to injuries sustained on the property of another. Injured victims do not have to bear these expenses on their own—property owners or possessors can be held financially liable under premises liability law.
The personal injury attorneys at California Trial Law Group are committed to getting you the money that you deserve and holding others accountable for any wrongdoings that have caused you to suffer.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
Premises liability law is a broad field that encompasses a wide variety of cases. Some of the most common include:
- Slip-and-fall accidents. Slip-and-falls are the second most frequent accident leading to personal injury. Falls due to slipping or tripping can occur nearly anywhere, for a myriad of reasons. The most common cause of slip-and-falls is slippery surfaces. Slippery surfaces can be found in commercial bathrooms, retail stores and restaurants, and sidewalks, to name a few. Slippery surfaces have been deemed to create unreasonable danger of harm in some scenarios, leading to a finding of negligence on the part of the property owner.
- Balcony or terrace falls. Falls from balconies or terraces are often due to defective construction or poor maintenance. These falls can lead to catastrophic injury, and those responsible can be financially liable in a premises liability action.
- Swimming pool accidents. Open pools present one of the gravest dangers for children. Under California law, property owners must ensure the safety of children, regardless of whether they are supposed to be on the property or not.
- Stairway falls. There are over 12,000 stairway accident deaths and year, and thousands more that sustain serious injury. Many stairwell accidents can be traced back to negligence on the part of the property owner, including damaged steps, dangerous stair risers, defects in design, defective handrails or railings, slippery steps, or objects left on stairs.
- Negligent security. Property owners have a responsibility to keep areas open to the public reasonably secure. They may be held responsible for acts of violence occurring to invitees. This is particularly a problem for owners of parking garages and late night establishments that tend to experience frequent violent acts during nighttime hours.
- Dangerous animals. The owners of pets are responsible for their injury to others. Dog attacks occur at alarming frequency in California and can physically, as well as emotionally, scar bite victims.
An Overview of Premises Liability Law in California
Civil Code Section 1714 sets out the basis for property owner liability in California. The law establishes that everyone is responsible not just for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for injury caused to another due to his or her want of ordinary care. The law essentially creates a negligence standard under which property owners are responsible for injuries sustained to third parties when they fail to maintain the property in safe condition and harm results from that failure.
Establishing a Valid Premises Liability Case
In order for California premise liability laws to apply, the following circumstances must be present:
- The defendant must retain ownership of the land or premises
- The plaintiff must be an invitee or licensee (though trespassers may have a limited right to recover in some scenarios)
- The accident must have occurred due to negligence on the part of the defendant
Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees, who are people allowed on the premises to conduct business with the owner. Shoppers or hotels guests are two examples of invitees. Licensees are those invited onto the premises for non-commercial purposes, such as friends or social guests. Property owners owe a duty of care to these individuals, though a lesser one than to invitees. Lastly, property owners do have a minimal duty of care to warn trespassers of dangerous, man-made hazards when the property owner is aware the trespassing is occurring.
To be found negligent, the property owner must have been aware of a dangerous condition existing on the property. Knowledge can be established by a finding that the property owner created the unsafe condition or knew of it and did not take steps to correct it. Further, constructive knowledge will be inferred if the court finds the condition was such that the property owner should have known of it, and failed to take corrective measures for the accident occurred. The duty of care of property owners extends to maintenance of public sidewalks adjacent to their premises.
If you have experienced any of the above injuries, please contact the qualified attorneys at The California Trial Law Group today. We can help you get the money and justice you deserve.