12 Frequently Asked Questions About Premises Liability Claims - Adamson Ahdoot

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Frequently Asked Questions About Premises Liability Claims

August 24, 2021 Alan Ahdoot

With accidents happening more often on other people’s properties, it’s vital to answer common questions about premises liability claims. 

Whether you’re a property owner, tenant, or visitor, understanding your rights and responsibilities under the law is crucial. From slip and fall accidents to injuries due to inadequate security, we’ll cover the basics to help you navigate this area with confidence.

12 Frequently Asked Questions About Premises Liability Cases

What is premises liability?

Premises liability encompasses the legal obligation held by property owners to address damages resulting from injuries sustained on their premises. In California, Section 1714(a) of the Civil Code outlines the key elements defining premises liability, which include:

  • The defendant’s ownership, lease, occupation, or control of the property.
  • The defendant’s failure to uphold the duty of care in maintaining the property.
  • The plaintiff experiencing injuries.
  • The direct link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s injuries, known as proximate cause.

These elements form the basis for establishing liability in premises-related injury cases, providing a framework for legal recourse and compensation for those harmed.

What are the types of premises liability claims?

Premises liability claims encompass a variety of scenarios where individuals suffer injuries while on someone else’s property. Common types of premises liability claims include:

  • Slip and fall accidents caused by slippery or hazardous surfaces.
  • Accidents on construction sites, particularly on-premises undergoing construction work.
  • Injuries resulting from dangerous property conditions such as uneven walkways or poorly maintained structures.
  • Swimming pool accidents attributed to the negligence of the property owner, such as inadequate fencing or supervision.
  • Stairway accidents stemming from uneven stairs or the absence of proper handrails.
  • Injuries sustained due to malfunctioning or poorly maintained elevators or escalators.
  • Dog bite injuries inflicted by a property owner’s pet due to the owner’s failure to control or restrain the animal.

Understanding the various types of premises liability claims is essential for both property owners and visitors to ensure safety and legal protection.

If I slipped and fell on someone else’s property, who can be liable for my injuries?

If you’ve slipped and fallen on someone else’s property, determining liability for your injuries typically involves the property owner or lessee. According to the law, both property owners and lessees have a duty of care towards visitors and can be held accountable for any resulting injuries if they fail to uphold this obligation.

However, liability can be influenced by factors such as foreseeability and the reasonable opportunity to address hazards. For instance, if the owner or occupier couldn’t reasonably foresee the danger or lacked the means to address it, they might use this as a defense to evade liability. Understanding these nuances is essential in determining who may be held responsible for your injuries in a slip and fall case.

What types of injuries does premises liability cover?

Premises liability can encompass a wide range of injuries, including but not limited to:

  • Bone fractures and sprains
  • Muscle strains and other soft tissue injuries
  • Cuts, bruises, and abrasions
  • Skin burns
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Dog bites and scratches
  • Electrocution or injuries from equipment
  • Drowning or near-drowning incidents
  • Injuries resulting from assault

Understanding the breadth of injuries covered under premises liability is crucial for individuals involved in such incidents, as it can help determine the appropriate legal recourse and compensation value.

How to prove negligence in a premises liability case?

Successfully proving negligence in a premises liability case hinges on satisfying several key elements. 

Firstly, you must demonstrate that the property owner owed you a duty of care. Next, it’s essential to show that the owner breached this duty, often by failing to address known hazards or maintain a safe environment. 

Finally, you must establish a direct link between the breach of duty and the injuries sustained.

To effectively build your case, compiling compelling evidence is crucial. Consider gathering and organizing the following:

  • Photographs or videos depicting the hazardous conditions on the property.
  • Witness statements affirming the owner’s awareness of the dangerous property condition and their failure to take corrective action.
  • Testimonies indicating that the danger was foreseeable to the owner.
  • Maintenance and inspection reports highlighting any neglect or oversight in property upkeep.
  • Medical records documenting the extent and severity of your injuries resulting from the incident.

By presenting a comprehensive array of evidence, you can bolster your case and increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome in your premises liability claim.

Are property owners responsible for injuries to trespassers?

In California, property owners may indeed be held accountable for injuries sustained by trespassers, owing to the state’s comparative negligence laws. 

Even though trespassers enter the premises unlawfully, property owners are still obligated to exercise reasonable care, particularly if they are aware of the trespassing activity. California emphasizes the duty to refrain from willful or reckless behavior that could cause harm, extending this duty even to trespassers. 

This legal stance underscores the significance of maintaining a safe environment for all individuals, regardless of their legal status on the property.

a cautionary sign affixed to a post along the roadside, warning pedestrians to be cautious due to icy conditions
Filing a premises liability claim can help individuals recover damages for their injuries.

How long do I have to file a premises liability lawsuit?

According to Section 335.1 of the California Code of Civil Procedures (CCP), you have a window of two years from the date of the accident or the discovery of the injury to file a premises liability lawsuit. It’s crucial to adhere to this timeframe, as failure to do so could result in the dismissal of your case. 

The court may decline to consider your claim if it exceeds the statute of limitations. Thus, it’s essential to take prompt action within the specified timeframe to protect your legal rights and pursue compensation for your injuries.

Can I still file a claim if I was partially at fault for my injuries?

Yes, the comparative negligence system permits individuals to seek compensation even if they bear some responsibility for their injuries. In such cases, the court adjusts the compensation based on the degree of fault attributed to each party involved.

California follows a pure comparative negligence rule, meaning that a plaintiff can still recover damages regardless of their level of fault, even if it’s as high as 99%. However, the court will proportionally reduce the award based on the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. 

This approach ensures that individuals are not precluded from seeking justice and compensation solely due to their partial responsibility for the incident.

Can I file a premises liability lawsuit if I slipped and fell at my local grocery store?

Your ability to file a lawsuit depends on the incident’s circumstances. For instance, if you slipped on a soda that another customer had just spilled, the store might not be held liable for your injury. 

However, if it can be proven that the store was aware of the spilled soda before your accident and failed to address the hazard promptly, you may have a valid case for premises liability. Understanding the nuances of the situation and gathering relevant evidence will be crucial in determining the viability of your claim.

I received a call from the property owner’s insurance agency, should I accept their settlement offer?

If you’ve received a settlement offer from the property owner’s insurance agency, it’s advisable to consult with an attorney before making any decisions. Refrain from disclosing detailed information about the incident or your injuries to the insurance adjuster. 

It’s important to recognize that the primary goal of the insurance adjuster is to minimize the insurance company’s expenses. Accepting a settlement check without fully understanding the extent of your rights and the potential value of your claim could potentially prevent you from receiving fair compensation for your injuries. 

Therefore, seeking legal guidance before accepting any settlement offer is strongly recommended to ensure you receive the compensation you rightfully deserve.

What types of damages can I collect in a premises liability case?

If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to recover various forms of compensation, including:

  • Past, current, and future medical expenses incurred as a result of the injury.
  • Costs associated with prescriptions and necessary medical devices related to your treatment.
  • Expenses for rehabilitation services aimed at aiding your recovery and restoring function.
  • Compensation for income lost due to the injury, including wages and benefits.
  • Damages for permanent disabilities or impairments resulting from the incident.
  • Compensation for the loss of enjoyment or diminished quality of life experienced due to the injury.
  • Monetary awards for mental anguish and emotional distress endured as a consequence of the incident.
  • Compensation for physical pain and suffering caused by the injury.

Understanding the full scope of damages available to you is essential for ensuring that you receive fair and just compensation for the harm and losses you’ve suffered as a result of the incident.

How much does it cost to talk to a Los Angeles premises liability attorney at Adamson Ahdoot LLP?

Consultations with our personal injury lawyers are completely free of charge. We understand the importance of accessibility, so we can arrange to meet you wherever is most convenient. 

During the consultation, we’ll take the time to listen to your story, gather necessary information, and assess whether your legal rights warrant moving forward with a claim. 

If we determine that you have a valid case and you choose to retain our services, we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means you won’t owe us any fees until we secure compensation for you.

Consult With A Premises Liability Lawyer

At Adamson Ahdoot, our dependable attorneys are equipped to handle your premises liability case. We offer consultations in both English and Spanish to assist individuals affected by hazardous conditions on another’s property.

Additionally, our civil litigation law firm boasts over 100 years of combined legal experience, ensuring that your case is in capable hands. Contact us at (800) 310-1606 or visit our website for a free consultation.

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Our team can better advise you on your legal options once we receive any available evidence about the incident.

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