premises liability

Premises Liability in California

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Accidents can happen on public and private property. People can slip, trip, fall, or be injured by equipment. In California, however, the law requires property owners/managers to maintain safe premises. If an owner allows unsafe situations on their property and a visitor gets hurt, the owner can be held liable. 

If you or a family member has been injured as the result of unsafe premises in California, contact the Scott Carr Law Firm. We are dedicated to helping victims pursue fair compensation to cover medical bills and other costs related to their injuries. You can reach the San Francisco office at 415-799-2229.

How Does California Treat Premises Liability?

The California Civil Code states that “Everyone is responsible, not only for the results 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, except so far as the latter has, willfully  or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.” Essentially, this means that a property owner has a duty to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. 

Here are some examples of common premises liability claims:

  • Slip-and-fall accidents
  • Injuries from construction equipment
  • Damaged/insecure floors
  • Injuries from an amusement park ride
  • Elevator accidents
  • Injuries due to structurally unsound decks or stairs
  • Drowning in a pool
  • Burns or electric shocks

A property owner must also post clear warnings of unsafe areas that aren’t obvious. However, the law also indicates that there is some level of expectation on the individual to not bring injury upon themself.

In practice, this means that you must show that your injury wasn’t caused by your own intentional or negligent action. You must prove that it was the result of unsafe conditions that the property owner should have remedied or warned about.

Here are some examples of property owners that may be held responsible in a premises liability case:

  • Homeowners
  • Landlords
  • Tenants
  • Property management companies
  • Restaurants
  • Retail stores
  • Employees of a store, restaurant, or company

Premises liability cases can be complicated, and you may want to discuss your injury with an attorney to determine whether you have a case.

Who Counts As a Property Entrant?

A property owner has a duty to create a safe environment on their property for invited visitors (e.g. guests at a private home or customers of a business). However, California considers property owners to have a duty of care toward trespassers in certain situations.

Under current California law, entrants to a property aren’t categorized based on whether they were invited guests or trespassers. Rather, a court considers the details of the situation to determine whether the property owner had a duty of care toward the victim/plaintiff. Many factors could be considered:

  • The property’s location
  • The likelihood of trespassers
  • Whether the property owner could reasonably expect trespassers
  • The possible injuries that could be caused by the unsafe conditions

Whether the property owner had a duty of care toward you is a key factor in determining if you are eligible to file a premises liability suit.

What Kind of Damages Can You Pursue?

As with other types of personal injury lawsuits in California, you can pursue two types of compensation from the liable party: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are related to the financial costs of the injury:

  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Medical bills

You can also sue for non-economic damages, which are designed to compensate for the non-financial consequences of the injury:

  • Loss of companionship/sexual affection
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement

Because these things don’t have an objective financial value, a jury decides the amount of non-economic damages to award. If the victim dies due to unsafe conditions, the surviving family members may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

Do You Need to Hire an Attorney?

As you can see, California has a complex system of laws relating to premises liability. Additionally, there is a statute of limitations on these types of lawsuits: two years. 

While you aren’t required to hire a lawyer to file a premises liability suit, it may be beneficial to do so. An experienced attorney can determine whether you meet the criteria for a lawsuit and help you build a solid case within the statute of limitations.

Contact the Scott Carr Law Firm for Help With Your Premises Liability Case

California requires individuals and companies to follow certain safety standards on their property. When those standards are ignored or violated, innocent people can get hurt. Many California residents have suffered severe injuries due to unsafe conditions on public or private property.

The Scott Carr Law Firm helps California victims and their families pursue compensation for injuries caused on an unsafe property. We will listen to your story and explain your legal options for seeking compensation from the liable party. Call our San Francisco office at 415-799-2229.

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