Contra Costa & Alameda County Premises Liability Lawyers
California property owners have a legal responsibility to keep their property safe. If they fail to do so and someone is injured or killed as a result of their negligence, they can be sued for premises liability and have to pay compensation to the injured party or to surviving family members. If you have suffered a serious injury on the property of a friend or neighbor, or in a public place, such as an amusement park, restaurant, supermarket, department store or movie theatre, you are entitled to damages to cover your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Because of the complexities of dealing with insurance companies and the legal system, you will find it invaluable to have a knowledgeable personal injury attorney at your side, especially since you have just been through a physical and emotional trauma. At California Trial Law Group, PC, we will help you with every aspect of your case; our highly skilled attorneys not only have extensive experience in the field, but also have an outstanding track record of winning substantial damages for our clients.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
There are a great many ways you can be injured on someone else’s property. While it is possible to hurt yourself on someone else’s property without it being the fault of the property owner — tripping over your shoelace, cutting yourself while slicing a tomato — very often your injury is the result of the property owner’s carelessness or negligence. The following are examples of types of liability cases that may lead to successful lawsuits:
- Slip/trip and falls because of slippery, flooded or uneven indoor surfaces
- Slip and falls due to poorly maintained stairways, steps, or bannisters
- Outdoor accidents due to uncleared snow or ice or broken pathways or sidewalks
- Harm resulting from defective appliances, devices, or machinery (including elevators and escalators)
- Dog bites of other animal attack injuries
- Swimming pool accidents due to absence of required fencing, alarms or safety equipment
- Inadequate building security leading to an assault
- Amusement park accidents caused by defective equipment or inadequate supervision
- Burns resulting from faulty electrical equipment or untended fireplaces or grills
- Respiratory distress or other illness as a result of toxic fumes or chemicals
- Injuries caused or exacerbated by absence of smoke or CO2 detectors
- Falls or crush injuries that result from balcony or terrace collapses, falling objects, or ceiling cave-ins due to poor maintenance
- Falls or collisions due to inadequate lighting
It should be noted that dog attacks occur with alarming frequency in California and that property owners are responsible for keeping their dogs or other pets under control. Also, there are strict regulations regarding enclosing swimming pools to protect others, including trespassing children, from their dangers.
Premises Liability of Landlords
Individuals who own and rent property are responsible for maintenance of that property from the time they first rent it until the time it is vacated. Tenants should know that their landlord is required to make reasonable periodic inspections to ensure that the property is safe and appropriately maintained. Such inspections must include common areas under the landlord’s control. If a tenant, or a tenant’s guest, suffers a personal injury due to the landlord’s negligence (e.g. a broken curb, an unmarked obstacle, absence of lighting in a stairway, a falling piece of a building’s facade), the victim can file a premises liability lawsuit. Further, if a tenant reports a hazardous condition, the landlord is required to address the problem promptly.
Injuries Resulting from Premises Liability
The injuries victims suffer as a result of premises liability range from cuts, abrasions, and contusions to fractures or torn ligaments to serious burns and traumatic brain injuries. Pain can be immense and recovery prolonged. Some victims are unfortunate enough to suffer permanent disability or even death. Whatever injury you have suffered due to the negligence of another, you are entitled to appropriate compensation. California Trial Law Group attorneys routinely handle complicated cases of premises liability. We charge our clients no fee until they win them the damages they are entitled to collect.
Our Goal Is to Obtain Justice for You
The personal injury attorneys at California Trial Law Group are committed to getting you the money you deserve and holding others accountable for any wrongdoings that have caused you to suffer. Civil Code Section 1714 establishes the basis for making a premises liability claim in California. This law holds everyone responsible for injuries caused to another because of failure to exercise ordinary care.
During our initial free consultation with you, we will determine whether you have a viable case. If you do, we will proceed to investigate, record, photograph, and interview in order to come up with a workable strategy to win your case. Depending on the particulars of your case, you may be entitled to collect some, or all of the damages listed below:
- Economic Damages that compensate you for actual costs, including medical and rehabilitative fees, replacement of any damaged property, lost wages and future earnings, and long-term care for any permanent disability.
- Non-Economic Damages that reimburse you for physical pain and suffering, psychological distress, and loss of consortium (injuries that interfere with your ability to maintain the same level of support and intimacy in your relationships that you had before the accident).
- Punitive Damages that are awarded only if the property owner was negligent in the extreme. An example of such egregious negligence not improving lighting and surveillance after an assault took place in the lobby of a building in which there has now been a second victim. In such a case, the court is able to mete out substantial punitive damages, over and above other compensation, in order to punish the disregard for life and limb shown by the defendant. Punitive damages are also assigned to prevent any similarly blatant disregard of the law by another property owner.
Proving Premises Liability
If you feel you have a reasonable claim of premises liability, it is wise to engage the services of a sharp personal injury attorney who knows the intricacies of the law. Attempting to tackle such a case on your own, especially when you are already dealing with physical and/or emotional trauma, is a mistake.
As your attorneys, to win your case we must first prove that the defendant owns the premises on which you were injured, and second prove that you, the plaintiff, fit into one of the following categories:
- Invitee — a person allowed onto the premises to conduct business with the owner, such as a shopper, salesperson, or hotel guest
- Licensee — a friend, neighbor or other social visitors
In some cases, you may even have a case if you are a trespasser since the law requires that property owners have a minimal duty of care to warn trespassers of dangerous, man-made hazards, including the sidewalk surrounding the home or business establishment. Finally, we must prove that the property owner knew, or should have known, about the existing danger.
Let Us Help You Win Your Premises Liability Case
Once you consult with us, you will find that a great burden has been lifted from your shoulders. At California Trial Law Group, we are fully prepared to take over all legal and insurance matters and give you the time and peace of mind you need to recover. Please call us or contact us by filling out a contact form on our website. We promise to treat you with the efficiency, respect, and empathy you deserve.