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Premises Liability
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An Overview Of Premises Liability Cases

Simple actions such as putting an excited dog in a closed-off room when the doorbell rings, pushing heavy items away from the edge of the counter so children cannot pull them down and replacing burned-out light bulbs at walkways are safety precautions that property owners take to protect not only their families but also their guests from danger.

Homeowners, business owners and government entities owe a duty of care to visitors, and when they do not take proper safety precautions and maintain their property, that is a breach of their duty of care owed to visitors. Premises liability cases arise when someone is injured by a dangerous condition on another person’s property, so long as the injured person was not trespassing, and even then, there are some trespasser exceptions.

Types Of Premises Liability Cases

Our attorneys frequently see the following dangerous conditions that cause injuries to visitors on someone else’s property in their premises liability cases:

  • Dog bites and dog attacks
  • Poorly maintained or damaged floors and stairs
  • Slippery floors
  • Bed bugs
  • Lack of lighting for walkways
  • Debris in walkways
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Trampoline accidents
  • Playground accidents
  • Poor security
  • Falling shelves or items falling from shelves
  • Amusement park dangers

What To Do After An Accident

If you have been injured by a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, most importantly, seek medical treatment. Even if you do not think your injuries are serious, injuries can have a delayed onset. If you seek medical treatment right away, a doctor may discover injuries early and treatment will not be unnecessarily delayed, so you can get on the road to recovery more quickly. Other important steps to take include:

  • Preserve and gather available evidence immediately. Take pictures of the scene of the accident if possible, especially if the dangerous condition can be easily remedied such as a spill on the floor or a loose cord in a walkway.
  • File an injury report with a manager or landlord if the accident occurred in a place of business or residential rental property. A lot of times business owners, managers or landlords will say no one complained to them, they were unaware of the injury and they knew nothing about a dangerous condition.
  • Get the contact information for any accident witnesses.
  • Do not speak with a property owner’s insurance company until you have talked with a premises liability attorney. Insurance companies are not on your side, which is why you need expert representation before speaking with them.
  • Meet with a premises liability attorney to discuss your claim and recovery options. Premises liability claims can be difficult to prove in some cases, especially if you do not have an attorney advocating for you.

Contact The Hayes Law Firm if you have sustained injuries on someone else’s property and believe you may have a claim against the person responsible for the property. Property owners have a duty to maintain their property, and when someone is injured by a danger that the owner knew about or should have known about, they should be held accountable.

Property Owners Have A Legal Obligation To Maintain A Safe Environment

California law imposes a legal obligation on property owners and occupiers to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition free of any unreasonable or hidden hazards. When remedying a hazardous condition is not possible, the property owner has a duty to warn visitors and customers of the condition to prevent bodily injury.

“When the owner or occupier breaches that duty of care, the injured visitor is entitled to pursue a premises liability claim to get compensated for the entailing damages and losses,” explains our premises liability accident attorney from The Hayes Law Firm.

However, not all accidents on someone’s else property mean that the property owner or landlord was negligent. The injured party must prove a property owner’s or occupier’s fault by establishing that there was a hazardous condition that the owner or occupier knew or should have known about it.

How Long Does A Hazard Need To Be Present To Make A Property Owner Liable?

Under California’s premises liability law, there are no specific rules as to how long a hazardous condition must be on someone else’s property for the owner or occupier to be found liable for bodily injury caused by the hazard.

The first factor that will be considered in a premises liability case is whether the property owner was aware of the condition. The second factor is whether the property owner should have been aware of the hazard through due diligence. The third factor is whether “a reasonable amount of time” had passed from the moment the property owner discovered the hazard to the moment when the plaintiff got injured.

That “reasonable amount of time” is a loose concept, which is why a lawyer must review your particular case to determine whether the hazard was present on the property for an unreasonable amount of time.

What Hazards Does A Property Owner Have To Warn About Or Fix?

Property owners in California are not required to warn their visitors of an obvious or reasonably noticeable hazardous condition on their property. A condition is considered unreasonably dangerous and unsafe for the safety of visitors when that condition is not reasonably expected by a visitor on that property.

The obviousness of the hazard will play a major role when determining whether the property owner can be held accountable for your injury caused by that hazard. When gathering evidence to prove that the owner of the property or landlord was aware or should have been aware of the hazard, our attorneys will consider the following:

  • How obvious that hazard was to a reasonably prudent visitor
  • Whether there were complaints about the hazardous condition before the accident
  • The amount of time that the dangerous condition existed on the property
  • Whether the property owner could have been expected to fix the hazard in a timely manner
  • Prior accidents caused by the same or similar dangerous condition on that property
  • Whether there were attempts to remedy or fix the hazard

Bedbugs are another issue many clients face. They are most common in rental units, hotels, and bed and breakfasts. Because of the nature of these places, they are expected to be clean. While the bugs themselves do not carry any type of disease, a person can still have a severe reaction on their skin. This can include scratching and welts that fester, becoming infected. Determining who is liable can be difficult, so it is best to talk to an attorney about your situation.

What Type Of Notice Or Warning Is Required By Law?

If a particular hazard on someone else’s property cannot be fixed in a timely manner, the owner or occupier of that property has a duty to put up a notice or warning of the condition. What the notice or warning does is warn visitors of the existence of the hazard to take the necessary precautions to avoid harm or bodily injury.

The type of warning or notice that is required by California law depends on the dangerous condition. The warning must be visible and obvious enough so that visitors would see it and be aware of the dangerous condition before encountering the hazard.

To Learn More, Call Today

Consult with The Hayes Law Firm to determine whether you have a valid case against the owner or occupier of the property where you suffered an injury. Schedule an evaluation of your case for free by calling at 323-693-1052 or emailing us.