Injuring yourself while at home due to your own carelessness or inattention is one thing, but what if you’re injured on someone else’s property due to their negligence? What options do you have?

If a property owner or manager’s negligence caused you or someone you love severe injury or financial loss, consider speaking to the California personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw about filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit for compensation. We can help you build a comprehensive claim for monetary compensation for your losses and guide you through the claims process. Call us today for a free consultation. We will review your case and discuss your options at no charge. Call OnderLaw today.

What Is a Premises Liability Accident?

Premises liability is the body of law that governs a property owner or manager’s responsibilities to anyone that visits or occupies properties they control. It’s based on California Civil Code 1714, which states that everyone is responsible for their actions and must exercise care to make sure the properties they manage do not harm others.

A premises liability accident is any accident occurring on someone else’s property. Depending on the circumstances, this can mean anything from a relative’s home to a busy public sidewalk.

Property Owner/Manager Responsibilities in California

Property owners and managers are responsible for keeping any properties they control free of hazards. If they are negligent in this care and an injury results, they can be held financially liable for any losses related to the injury. Sustaining injury while on someone else’s property doesn’t guarantee compensation. Per California Civil Jury Instructions #1000, you must prove four key elements:

  • The owner/manager controlled the property.
  • The owner/manager didn’t keep the property free of hazards
  • The hazard caused an accident
  • That accident caused your injury

If you and your attorney can prove these elements and show that your injury resulted in losses, you should have a valid claim for compensation.

The owner or manager cannot delegate this responsibility away. For example, if a property owner hires a contractor to repair a broken light in a dark stairwell and they don’t complete the work, and later a visitor to the property trips and injures themselves, the property owner would still be liable for the injury.

One or more different entities can be held responsible for premises liability accidents. These may include:

  • Property owners
  • Property managers
  • Property management companies
  • Landlords
  • Tenants
  • Homeowners
  • Business owners
  • Parent companies
  • Maintenance companies

California Civil Court asks juries to consider the following when awarding damages for premises liability claims:

  • The location of the property
  • The likelihood of injury or harm
  • The likelihood someone will enter the property in the same manner as the victim
  • The probable seriousness of harm
  • Whether the owner or manager knew or should have known about the hazard
  • The difficulty of mitigating the hazard
  • The extent of the owner or manager’s control of the hazard

Places Where Premises Liability Claims Can Arise

Premises liability accident claims can happen anywhere outside the home of the victim. Some possible premises liability claim locations include:

  • Public sidewalks
  • Shopping malls
  • Amusement parks
  • Retail businesses
  • Parking lots
  • Public streets
  • Construction sites
  • Restaurants
  • Private homes
  • Hotels

Types of Premises Liability Accidents

Because premises liability covers such a wide range of possible scenarios, the type of accident is equally variable. There are many possible types, such as:

  • Slip and fall accidents: Any fall injury occurring outside the home may fall under premises liability law.
  • Amusement park accidents: This could be anything from injuring yourself on a roller coaster to slipping and falling in the parking lot.
  • Dog bites: California has strict liability laws concerning a dog owner’s responsibility for any injuries caused by their dog.
  • Stairwell accidents: Property owners must keep stairwells in good condition for anyone who visits the property.
  • Elevator and escalator accidents: Elevators and escalators require regular maintenance and inspection. If a property manager neglects to keep them safe, the manager can be held liable for any resulting injuries.
  • Swimming pool accidents: Falling into an empty swimming pool at a vacant home can trigger a premises liability claim.
  • Slippery surface accidents: A wet spill on the floor of a retail store can cause serious injury.
  • Snow and ice accidents: Icy sidewalks and parking lots can easily lead to a fall resulting in severe injury.
  • Overhead hazard accidents: Hazards such as low-hanging cables or doorways can cause premises liability accidents.
  • Falling object accidents: Common on construction sites, these accidents can cause severe head injuries.
  • Inadequate security accidents: Property owners must keep their property free of any hazards, including criminal activity.

Compensation for Premises Liability Accidents

The amount of compensation you may receive depends on the type of accident and the severity of the injury. It’s nearly impossible to estimate the amount we might be able to obtain without a detailed review of your claim. The general rule of thumb is the more severe the injury, the more compensation you should demand from the responsible party.

You may be eligible for several different categories of compensation, depending on the material and immaterial losses, or damages, you sustained.

Damages with no specific monetary value are called noneconomic damages. Noneconomic damages are subjective losses relating to the mental toll the injury takes on the victim and not the financial strain of treating it. Some examples include:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Damages with a specific monetary value are called economic damages. Some examples include the following:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Lost opportunity
  • Household expenses

Another type of damages, exemplary damages, are only awarded in cases of extreme fraud, oppression, or outright malice. They carry a higher burden of proof than economic or noneconomic damages and can only be granted by a judge or jury. There is no cap on exemplary damages in California. Ask your attorney if they’re appropriate for your premises liability claim.

Why Hire a Lawyer for My Premises Liability Accident?

A lawyer may not be necessary for your premises liability claim, but not hiring one may make the claims process more time-consuming and challenging and may limit the amount of compensation you could obtain.

Premises liability claims can be complex because several different parties may be held responsible for a single accident or injury, and each responsible party may have its own insurance policy. Determining who bears what level of responsibility can be an arduous task and is best left to an attorney with previous experience with premises liability law.

Your attorney won’t just determine who is responsible. We will investigate your accident from top to bottom, gather documentation, such as accident reports or medical records, interview you to get your version of events, and speak to any witnesses that can corroborate your story. We will do the lion’s share of the work while you rest and recover from your injuries.

An attorney is necessary to help you understand how damages work. Noneconomic damages are entirely subjective, and without an attorney, you may not know how much compensation to demand. Your attorney will review previous premises liability case law and other cases to determine a compensation amount corresponding to all your material and immaterial losses.

Your attorney will act as your advocate and counsel as well as your chief negotiator. The insurance companies will work hard to protect their customers from liability and avoid paying the total amount you’re demanding. Your attorney will take point on negotiating the maximum possible payout while protecting your rights and keeping the insurance companies from taking advantage of you.

Why Hire OnderLaw to Represent Me?

We have almost two decades of experience helping injury victims get just compensation for their losses. We have experience with claims of all shapes and sizes, from slip and fall accidents to multi-million dollar lawsuits, and we know how to get the positive outcomes our clients need to move on after an injury.

Our team of committed legal professionals is second to none. We have a group of passionate, dedicated attorneys with varied backgrounds, including a former Missouri State Senator. Their differing perspectives give us an edge over our competitors when crafting strategies for our clients both in and out of the courtroom.

We also regularly provide donations to charitable organizations and causes across the country, such as the Lupus Foundation of America, MADD, and Toys for Tots.

We charge no fees upfront. We know quality legal help is expensive, which is why we operate on contingency. We take payment for our services as a percentage of any settlement or award we obtain for you. If we aren’t successful in getting you some form of compensation, we don’t get paid.

Our record of success speaks for itself. We’ve successfully obtained over $4 billion in settlements and awards since 2002, and that number is growing.

Call OnderLaw Today

If you or someone you love suffered severe injury on someone else’s property, call the attorneys at OnderLaw today to determine whether you’re eligible for compensation through a premises liability claim. California’s statute of limitations only gives you two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit, so don’t delay any longer. Call for a free, no-obligation consultation, and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.