When you enter a place of business or a residence, you presume that you’ll be safe. Then something happens–you trip over a rug, slip on a slippery floor, something falls from a shelf—and suddenly you find yourself at a doctor’s office being examined for possible injuries.
If you were injured on someone else’s property through no fault of your own, you should call the Moreno Valley personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw. We can help you pursue compensation to cover the medical bills for your treatment and any other losses you sustain because of your accident.
When you are injured on someone else’s property, you may have a premises liability claim. In California, premises liability law comes into play when the person who controls a property is negligent, and an injury occurs. The person who controls a property may be the owner, the one who leases the property, occupies it, or otherwise controls the property.
If your injury on someone else’s property wasn’t your fault, we may be able to help you get money to pay your medical bills. Call us today for a free consultation. We’ll discuss the details of your case and advise you about your options.
Property Owner/Manager Responsibility in California
A person who owns or manages property is expected to keep the property reasonably safe and to use reasonable care to discover any unsafe conditions before they cause someone harm. If an unsafe condition is found, the controlling person is responsible to repair, replace or give adequate warning to anyone who visits the property, whether as a guest or customer.
California courts may consider the following when considering property liability:
- Location. If the property is located in a well-traveled area, the responsibility of the owner/manager is heightened.
- Likelihood of a person visiting. A business operator or someone who regularly invites the public to visit their property has a greater responsibility than someone whose property gets few visitors. The same is true for a residential owner who invites one or more people to their property.
- Likelihood of harm. If a reasonable person can look at a situation and anticipate that the situation can cause harm, then the owner/manager has a greater responsibility to protect against the harm.
- Probable seriousness of harm. The owner/manager has a responsibility to assess the probable harm that may occur should someone be harmed because of a hazardous condition on their property.
- Whether the owner/manager should have known of the condition. If the situation has been around for a period of time, or if the situation is easy to recognize, the owner/manager has a responsibility to protect visitors against harm.
- Difficulty of protecting against harm. There are times when there is little or nothing the owner/manager can do to prevent the harm. In such cases, they have a responsibility to post noticeable warnings and alerts to any visitor.
- The extent of defendant’s control over the condition. If the owner/manager is in control of the situation, or can take steps to make the situation safer, then they have a responsibility to do so.
Places Where Premises Liability Claims Could Arise
A premises liability case can arise from an accident at a residence or a place of business or public gathering. Residences may include:
- Personal residence. Regardless of the size of the home or the type of home, the homeowner has a duty to make sure their home is safe for visitors. Pets should be separated from visitors. Pools should be enclosed with a fence or barrier to prevent someone from stumbling into the pool. Rugs and flooring should be slip-free and slip–resistant.
- Apartment or rental property. While the owner of the property may be liable for the damages that arise in a premises liability case, the renter also has a responsibility to make sure the property is safe for a visitor to enter. If the renter is prohibited from making the necessary repairs by the lease agreement, then the renter has a responsibility to warn a visitor of any potential danger.
Businesses or public gathering places are places that specifically invite customers to visit their premises. As a result, the following places may be liable for a premises liability claim:
- A store. Stores such as grocery stores, clothing stores, or appliance stores are responsible for any harm that may come to you while you are visiting their premises. Both the manager and store owner could be responsible for injuries that occur on their premises.
- Shopping mall. Shopping malls have a common area where shoppers can gather or travel. The responsibility of the mall owner is to make sure the premises are safe for those who are traveling from shop to shop. In some cases, the mall may be responsible for injuries that occur in a particular store or shop.
- Hotel. Every area of the hotel—the lobby, gathering areas, such as meeting rooms, hallways, and individual rooms—is the responsibility of the owner/manager. If an injury occurs in any area of the hotel that should have been made safe by the management, they may be held accountable for your injuries.
- Amusement park and fairgrounds. Rides in an amusement park create a risk of injury, and the owner/manager has a duty to protect visitors from injury. This is also true when visitors walk from one ride to another or rest in the park between rides. In a fairground, protection from animals that are on display is also the responsibility of the animal’s owner and the fairground manager/owner.
- Sports stadium/arena. A sports arena has a responsibility to make visits to the premises as safe as possible. This includes not just the physical plant of the stadium/arena but also any beverages and food sold and consumed.
- Park. The park owner/manager has a responsibility to make sure playground equipment is safe. They have a responsibility to warn of potential dangers in areas such as lakes and ponds, water fountains, or other attractions at the park.
In all of these cases, the owner/manager is responsible not just for the building but for the grounds outside the building. This includes parking lots, sidewalks, and other areas adjacent to the property.
Types of Premises Liability Accidents
Although your situation may be different than any of the following, these are the most common premises liability accidents:
- Slip and fall. This is just what it sounds like. Something on the floor can cause you to slip, lose your balance, and fall. The injuries that result can be broken bones, a head injury, or joint damage, among other things.
- Dog bites. A homeowner has a responsibility to ensure their pet is not harmful to a visitor. In California, there is strict liability for dog bites or other animal attacks, meaning the owner is liable, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before.
- Snow accidents. The failure to clear walkways of ice or snow can result in a slip and fall or loss of control of a motorcycle, bike, or other means of transportation. Uncleared walkways can result in someone veering into you, injuring you.
- Poor maintenance. Loose flooring or ceiling tiles, improperly secured rugs, poor wiring, and other uncared-for circumstances can result in injuries.
- Defective conditions. A stairwell that is uneven or has broken handrails, an unsafe appliance, or a malfunctioning revolving door can cause injuries that may fall under premises liability law.
- Elevator/escalator accidents. Elevators and escalators should be regularly checked and maintained to ensure that they don’t cause injury.
- Swimming pool. A swimming pool is an “attractive nuisance,” meaning that some people are naturally drawn to a swimming pool, particularly young children. The swimming pool owner/manager has a responsibility to make sure the swimming pool is safely enclosed and that the lighting in the area is good. Warnings announcing that the pool exists should be posted where they can be clearly seen and read.
- Inadequate security. Anywhere groups of people gather, such as arenas, parks, or malls, will always invite people who are intent on committing crimes. Adequate, well-trained security should be a part of the protection the manager/owner provides on the premises.
Compensation for Injuries on Private, Public, or Commercial Properties
When you’ve been injured through no fault of your own on someone else’s property, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your losses, or damages. You may obtain this money either through a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company or through a lawsuit. Whether your injuries occurred on private property or commercial property, you may be eligible to recover damages for the following, depending upon the circumstances of your particular accident:
- Medical treatment. The cost of emergency room costs, prescriptions, therapy, medical assistive devices, and emergency transportation, among other items, may be included in your compensation.
- Lost wages. If your injuries require you to miss work, or if you cannot return to your usual and customary work, you may be eligible for damages to cover your lost wages.
- Pain, suffering and emotional distress. The toll an injury takes is not just physical. The injured victim will endure pain and may have emotional trauma attached to the incident. They may develop depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Any of these intangible, accident-related losses may be compensated for in your settlement or lawsuit.
- Scarring or disfigurement. Injuries from an animal attack such as a dog bite may result in injuries that leave scars or disfigurement. Compensation can be awarded for such damages.
- Wrongful death of a family member. If the harm on the premises results in the death of a family member, you can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner/manager in civil court. The damages in wrongful death can cover such things as funeral expenses, medical treatment, lost income and other injuries relating to the loss of a loved one.
Call Us Today
When you’ve been the victim of an accident on someone else’s property, you may not think it’s not worth hiring a lawyer for. Don’t go through this alone. The Moreno Valley personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw are compassionate and empathetic. We want to help you get the money you need to heal and get on with your life after your accident.
Call us or contact us online for a free initial consultation. We will listen to your story and advise you on the best next steps for moving forward. We can bring our experience to bear on your behalf and help you find closure and peace of mind. Call us today.