Premises Liability Lawyers in California
You have every right to expect safety and reasonable care when you are on someone’s property. However, California property owners must protect you from hidden and apparent hazards, such as property issues that could cause a slip-and-fall accident.
If you or someone you love suffered an accident on someone’s premises, a California premises liability attorney at Pointer & Buelna, LLP may be able to assist you.
What Is Premises Liability In California?
If you are injured on someone’s property in California, the state’s premises liability laws will come into play. Premises liability refers to the property owner’s legal obligation to care for and maintain the property.
California property owners must use reasonable dare to maintain their property safely. This is the same duty of care that other reasonable property owners would use in the same situation. If the owner fails to show you a duty of care, they will be responsible for your injuries and damages.
California Premises Liability Laws
California Civil Code 1714 states that all property owners are liable if their lack of duty of care or skill in property management leads to injury. The critical part of the statute is the lack of ordinary care and skill. This concerns the legal definition of negligence, which is the basis of almost every premises liability claim.
Negligence means a person’s carelessness that caused harm to someone. Under the premises liability laws of this state, the owner’s negligence usually describes the property’s dangerous condition. But the owner failed to take action to fix the hazard.
The legal definition of negligence relates to the property owner’s duty of care. The duty of care is how much care a prudent and reasonable would engage in if a similar situation arises.
Whether the owner breached the duty of care depends on the situation. What was the defect on the property? Did the owner know about it? Did the owner contribute to the hazard?
When Is A Property Owner Liable In California?
California property owners are not automatically liable for every property accident or injury. They owe a high standard of care to people invited to their homes or businesses. The owner must look for hidden issues and fix anything defective if asked. They also have to warn you of things that could injure you.
However, if you were trespassing when the injury happened, the property owner doesn’t owe you a duty of care. However, if the trespasser was a minor, the owner still owes a limited duty of care to keep the property safe.
Cases California Premises Liability Attorneys Handle
Premises liability law refers to many different accidents in California. These accidents happen more often than you think. For example, did you know that slip and fall cases result in more than one million people per year going to the emergency room?
The California premises liability attorneys at Pointer & Buelna, LLP have many years of litigation experience representing injured clients. We handle many types of cases, including:
- Slip and fall incidents
- Animal attacks
- Workplace injuries
- Amusement park accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Restaurant and store accidents
- Negligent security
These are the most common cases that may lead to a premises liability claim. However, you could have a claim after any accident caused by negligent property management in California.
Who Can You Sue In A California Premises Liability Case?
California law states that if you are hurt on someone’s property, you can usually file a claim against the owner, property manager, or others charged with controlling the property. However, the defendant’s party in a premises liability claim depends on the circumstances.
Usually, the liable party is the person or firm that owns, leases, or occupies the property. Defendants in a premises liability case could include:
- Business owner
- Renter or tenant
- Property management company
In a California premises liability case, control over the property is usually enough to hold the person liable for the incident. This means the defendant does not need to be negligent in owning, occupying, or controlling the property. The responsible party in your claim depends on the nature of the property, whether there was a rental agreement, whether you were working when the accident happened, and the duty of care owed to you.
Proving Premises Liability
Holding a property owner or manager liable for an accident means proving premises liability. The burden of proof in a civil lawsuit is on you, the plaintiff. You and your attorney must prove the defendant was negligent and caused the accident and subsequent injuries.
The burden of proof in a premises liability case is a ‘preponderance of the evidence.’ This means there is “clear and convincing” evidence that shows the other party was 51% or more at fault. During the case, your attorney must show the other party was more likely than not liable for causing your injuries.
Proving your California premises liability case requires satisfying these elements:
- The defendant was the one who owned or managed the property when the accident occurred. This shows the party is the one to hold responsible and has a legal obligation to maintain the property safely.
- The other party was negligent. This means they did not use the proper degree of care that the circumstances require. Their negligence depends on whether you were a licensee, invitee, or trespasser and what would be ‘reasonable’ for the situation.
- The other party’s negligence led to your injuries. The breach of duty of care needs to be what caused the incident. The owner or manager isn’t liable if something else leads to your injuries.
- You suffered damages. You have to show that the hazard caused your injuries. For example, if you slipped and fell on ice on the owner’s sidewalk, you have to show you were injured to receive compensation. Your doctor’s medical report after the accident will be critical.
Your premises liability attorney will help to prove the case by gathering evidence. The evidence could convince a judge or jury to find in your favor. Some evidence that could prove your claim includes:
- Eyewitness statements
- Video surveillance footage
- Accident reports
- Medical records
- Statements from your employer or doctor
- Pay stubs
- Expert testimony about your injuries and financial losses
Damages In A California Premises Liability Case
The owner’s duty of care depends on your visitor status on the property as well as the details of the accident. If you were injured in a premises liability case, you could receive the following damages:
- Economic: Out-of-pocket costs you incurred after the accident, including medical expenses, future medical costs, rehabilitation and physical therapy, medications, property damage, and lost wages.
- Noneconomic: These include the intangible emotional and physical losses you suffered in the mishap. You may receive compensation for physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of quality of life, trauma, disfigurement, and scarring.
- Punitive: Sometimes, a premises liability claim will lead to punitive damages. These damages punish the other party for reckless and negligent acts. It is up to the judge to decide if you deserve punitive damages.
Suppose you lose a loved one because of a premises liability accident. In that case, you also could be entitled to additional compensation, including funeral and burial costs, loss of future income and inheritance, and funds for the deceased’s love and support.
Statute Of Limitations For Premises Liability Claims
You only have a limited time to file a premises liability claim in California. The statute of limitations for premises liability claims is two years from the date of the incident. Therefore, the claim or lawsuit must be filed within this timeframe if you want to receive compensation.
If you were not aware of your injury for a period of time, the two years start on the date you became aware of the injury. Talk to a California premises liability attorney soon to ensure you meet the filing requirements.
Why Hire A Premises Liability Attorney?
A California premises liability lawyer can help you receive as much compensation as possible for your damages and injuries. These attorneys know better than laypeople what a premises liability case is worth. It means your lawyer will not shrink from a tough insurance adjuster who doesn’t want to offer a fair settlement for your painful injuries.
Your attorney also may find hidden case value, such as finding evidence that others overlooked. When this happens, they may increase the payout you receive.
Also, once the attorney takes your case, you do not have to worry about legal issues. Your attorney will handle everything regarding evidence collection, negotiating with insurance companies, and making the necessary legal documents and filings with the court.
Last, almost all premises liability lawyers offer free consultations. You can get legal advice about the validity of the case and pay nothing. If they take the case, you will not pay anything unless the attorney wins the case.
Contact A Premises Liability Attorney Today
If you were injured in California on someone’s property, you could receive compensation for your injuries. A California premises liability attorney can help you. Contact Pointer & Buelna, LLP today for a free consultation.