What is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is a legal concept that holds property owners responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on their property. Under California law, property owners have a duty to maintain their premises reasonably safe and warn visitors of any potential hazards. If a property owner fails to meet this duty and someone is injured, the injured party may be able to file a premises liability claim. To establish a premises liability claim, the injured party must prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to take reasonable steps to address it.

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California Premises Liability Laws

California property owners must take reasonable steps to protect visitors from harm. This includes:

  • Maintaining their property in a safe condition
  • Warning visitors of any potential hazards
  • Taking appropriate action to address any dangerous conditions

If a property owner fails to meet these obligations and someone is injured, the property owner may be liable for damages. Here are some of California’s most common types of premises liability claims:

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents occur when a person slips, trips, or falls on someone else's property due to a hazardous condition. This can include:

  • Wet floors
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Poor lighting
  • Debris on the ground

Suppose the property’s owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition and failed to fix it or provide adequate warning. In that case, they may be liable for any injuries from the slip and fall accident.

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Inadequate Security

Inadequate security claims occur when a property owner fails to provide adequate security measures to protect visitors from criminal activity. This can include lousy lighting, broken locks, or a lack of security personnel. If a visitor is injured or harmed as a result of the property owner's failure to provide adequate security, the property owner may be held liable for any damages that occur.

Dog Bites

California has strict laws when it comes to dog bites. If a dog bites someone, the owner may be held strictly liable for any injuries, meaning the victim does not need to prove that the owner was negligent. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the victim was trespassing on the owner's property or provoking the dog, the owner may not be liable for any injuries.

Swimming Pool Accidents

California property owners are legally obligated to ensure their swimming pools are safe and secure. This includes installing proper fencing, providing adequate supervision, and ensuring the pool works well. If a property owner fails to meet these duties and a visitor is injured or killed as a result of a swimming pool accident, the property owner may be held liable for any damages that occur.

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Proving Fault in Premises Liability Cases

When someone is injured on someone else's property, they may be able to file a premises liability claim. However, in California, premises liability cases require the plaintiff to prove that the property owner was at fault for their injuries. The victim must prove the following four elements:

Duty of Care

The property owner must have owed the victim a duty of care. This means that the property owner had a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure that visitors were safe from harm. The extent of this duty of care will depend on the relationship between the property owner and the visitor. For example, a business owner owes their customers a higher duty of care to their customers than a trespasser.

Breach of Duty

The plaintiff must also prove that the property owner breached their duty of care. This means the property owner should have taken reasonable steps to ensure the visitor's safety. To determine whether a breach of duty occurred, the court will consider factors such as:

  • The nature of the hazard
  • The likelihood of harm
  • The cost of preventative measures


Next, the plaintiff must prove that the property owner's breach of duty caused their injuries. This means that the plaintiff must show that their injuries would not have occurred if the property owner had taken reasonable steps to ensure their safety. If the plaintiff's injuries were caused by something other than the property owner's breach of duty, such as their own negligence, they might be unable to recover damages.


The final element the plaintiff must prove is that they suffered damages due to their injuries. Damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To recover damages, the plaintiff must show that their injuries were a direct result of the property owner's breach of duty and that they suffered actual harm.

California Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability Claims

The statute of limitations for premises liability claims in California is two years from the date of injury or discovery of the injury, whichever occurs first.

It is important to note that the statute of limitations is a strict deadline, and failing to file a lawsuit within two years can result in the case being dismissed. However, there are some exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. For example:

  • If the plaintiff is a minor at the time of the injury, the two-year period does not begin until the plaintiff turns 18 years old
  • If the defendant concealed evidence of the injury or engaged in fraudulent conduct, the state may extend the statute of limitations
  • The statute of limitations may be temporarily suspended, such as when the plaintiff is mentally incapacitated or imprisoned
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Premises Liability Representation From a Real Trial Firm

Acting quickly after an injury occurs is essential. If you have been injured in California due to someone else's premises liability negligence:

  • Seek medical attention immediately following an accident
  • Document all medical expenses and lost wages
  • Record any other damages incurred due to the accident 
  • Get legal help as soon as possible, as there are strict deadlines for filing a personal injury claim in California

While premises liability cases can be difficult and time-consuming, they can also be very rewarding for those who successfully obtain compensation. Fiore Legal's Monrovia premises liability lawyers will fight for you and help you get the best compensation through this legal process.

It allows individuals to hold others accountable for their actions and receive compensation for their injuries. Most lawyers want to settle your personal injury case quickly and will have you sign a release absolving the other side of any further liability.

Fiore Legal is not your average law firm. We are a real trial firm looking at your issue from a different perspective than lawyers who will pressure you into settling, whether or not it’s your choice. Because we always have your best interests at heart, we would never settle a case unless for the total value. We’re here to represent you in your pursuit of justice, whatever that takes.

Why Choose Fiore Legal In Monrovia?

When facing a premises liability claim, you deserve a personal injury lawyer who would rather fight for you than make a quick buck from settling for less. You deserve Fiore Legal.

Our dedication to understanding and representing our neighbors has resulted in eight locations with over thirty team members. We’re here with extensive experience and empathy, earning a solid reputation for our tireless work ethic. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

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