People who live, work, shop, and socialize in Bakersfield have a reasonable expectation that they can do those things in safe surroundings, or at least be warned that they should proceed with more care than usual if a hazard exists. Some examples: If a grocery store employee is mopping a floor with shoppers present, signs alerting customers to a wet and slippery floor should be clearly visible. Stairwells in apartment buildings should be well-lit, with adequate security. Homeowners should secure aggressive dogs when visitors are present.

If these things don’t happen and you get injured, that property owner or manager could be found negligent under California premises liability law for not exercising this reasonable “duty of care.”

Many people in Bakersfield don’t know their legal rights when it comes to premises liability law, so when they get injured, they are stuck with medical bills that should rightfully be the responsibility of the negligent party. Or, they quickly settle with the property owner’s insurance company for an amount that is far below what they may be entitled to receive.

Hiring a lawyer if you’ve been injured on someone’s Bakersfield property may be the last thing on your mind while you’re recovering from and paying for your injuries. That is why the Bakersfield personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw offer a free consultation to review your premises liability case. You are under no obligation to hire us after this consultation, and if we take your case, you won’t pay a dime until we are successful in getting you compensation.

Let’s see if we can get you the relief you deserve. Arrange for your free consultation on our website, or give us a call.

Property Owner or Manager Responsibility in California

We expect reasonable people who own, manage, or otherwise have control of any property that we visit to maintain that property, inspect it regularly to make sure it is safe, and make repairs if it is not. If that can’t be done immediately, then we expect to be adequately warned of the possible danger or not to be allowed to access the part of the property that may be dangerous.

The California statute or law explains this expectation this way:

“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 want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person …”

This is what Bakersfield business owners owe to their customers, homeowners to visitors, and landlords to tenants.

Places Where Premises Liability Claims Could Arise

There are several types of property where people in Bakersfield can injure themselves due to the negligent actions of the property owner or manager. Some common examples include:

  • Grocery stores
  • Shopping malls and other retail stores
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Amusement and water parks
  • Private homes
  • Public or private swimming pools
  • Apartment complexes and condominium units
  • Health facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics
  • Parking garages
  • Playgrounds
  • Daycare centers
  • Summer camps
  • Office buildings

People can also get hurt on elevators, escalators, and on stairs or in stairwells in many of these property types, such as shopping malls, hotels, and office buildings. Faulty equipment on playgrounds, in amusement parks, or at private residences can also injure visitors due to inadequate maintenance or repairs.

Types of Bakersfield Premises Liability Injuries

When you or a loved one suffers an injury on someone else’s Bakersfield property, your main thought, understandably, is to recover as soon as possible so you can take care of your responsibilities. You also deserve to be able to enjoy life again as you did before the premises liability accident.

Unfortunately, even minor injuries can be a huge inconvenience and can interfere with your normal daily responsibilities. Consider the young mother who breaks her arm after slipping and falling in the store and now cannot pick up her infant for several weeks. How is she going to afford to pay someone to help her take care of her children? Why should she have to if the property owner was negligent in their care and her accident was a direct result of that negligence?

The prospect of missing work and having lost wages due to any injury is frightening for a lot of our Bakersfield clients. They can’t afford to miss work, and if they have health insurance, it may not be enough to cover all of their medical expenses.

Serious injuries can have even more devastating and long-term effects on premises liability accident victims. Some of these injuries require rehab, like physical therapy, long after the injuries are “healed.” Some conditions are permanent, such as paralysis of a limb. Others can later result in a terminal illness,  such as developing cancer from exposure to a toxic or carcinogenic substance.

Some common premise liability injuries that occur include:

  • Broken and dislocated bones, or twisting an ankle
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Dog or other animal bites
  • Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and memory loss
  • Internal injuries, such as bleeding or organ damage
  • Pulled, twisted, or strained muscles
  • Burns, from fires, hot tap water, and other scalding liquids, touching hot surfaces, or electrical burns
  • Electrocution
  • Respiratory ailments or diseases from toxic chemicals or substances
  • Spinal cord injuries or even partial or complete paralysis

These are just the injuries that you can see or whose symptoms are obvious. Some people experience significant emotional and psychological distress after a physical injury. In some cases, an accident can cause lifelong anxiety and fear, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Consider how a young child would feel after getting caught in a malfunctioning escalator, for example. They may have years of nightmares and problems that can affect their future relationships, or even their ability to learn.

Psychological trauma also requires treatment and medication, which costs money. It’s unfair that these lifelong conditions can continue to impair an innocent victim’s ability to function normally due to the negligent actions of a Bakersfield property owner or manager. At OnderLaw, we don’t think that’s right, and we fight for the people of Bakersfield who trust property owners and managers to do the right thing.

Compensation for Injuries on Private, Public, or Commercial Bakersfield Properties

The amount of compensation we at OnderLaw seek for you will depend on the extent and nature of your disability. At a minimum, we would pursue compensation for past medical bills as well as any anticipated in the future.

We will start by filing a claim with the property’s insurance company. If you were injured at a business, we would expect your claim to be covered under their general liability insurance. If you were injured at a private residence, we would file against their homeowner’s insurance policy.

You may be eligible to receive compensation for:

  • Past and anticipated future medical expenses – this includes physical therapy, prescriptions, and any necessary in-home care
  • Lost wages – including previous wages you lost because of the accident, and any changes in your future earning capacity, as some premises liability accident victims can’t return to the same type of work they did previously
  • Wrongful death – if a loved one died as a result of their Bakersfield premises liability accident, family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent property owner or manager
  • Loss of enjoyment of life – this means you can no longer enjoy the things you did before the accident. Family members may seek compensation for loss of consortium if they are unable to have the same type of relationship they had with you prior to the premises liability accident.

In some cases, we may also decide to seek compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of your accident injuries, as well as for PTSD, anxiety, and any other emotional distress. That’s why it’s important that we review your case quickly so we can estimate the amount of compensation you should justifiably receive.

Insurance companies routinely try to pay as little as possible. They may even try to claim that you were partly to blame for your premises liability accident, pointing to the part of the California statute that states “… except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.”

This is where we would step up the fight. If we can’t negotiate what we believe to be a fair settlement with the insurance companies, given the extent of your injuries and the negligence of the property owner or manager, or if we believe the policy coverages are too low, then we may decide to proceed with a premises liability lawsuit.

Your recordkeeping is important as we go through this process. Be sure to keep all of your medical records from day one of your premises liability injury. We may also need to get witness statements and other evidence from the accident scene, such as security camera footage. Fortunately, the Bakersfield premises liability accident attorneys have handled many of these types of cases and know how to build the kind of case that will get the best results.

Don’t Delay – Contact Us Today

Under California law, we only have two years from the date of the premises liability accident to file a lawsuit, in most cases. More importantly, though, the only thing you should be focusing on is your recovery. The legal team at OnderLaw wants to help you through this, so give us a call today.