What is Premises Liability?

Property owners have a legal duty to maintain their premises safely and warn visitors of any potential hazards. If a property owner fails to do so and someone is injured, the property owner can be held liable for the victim's injuries and related damages.

Premises liability refers to the legal responsibility of property owners or occupiers to ensure that their premises are reasonably safe for visitors. This includes:

  • Maintaining the property in a safe condition
  • Repairing any hazards that may exist
  • Warning visitors of any known dangers

There are several types of premises liability claims that may arise in California, including the following:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Trip and fall accidents
  • Unsafe conditions on the property
  • Inadequate security
  • Animal attacks

Each type of claim requires different elements to be proven to establish liability. For example, slip and fall accidents require proof that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazard and failed to address it. Inadequate security claims require evidence that the property owner knew or should have known about the risk of harm and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it.

California Premises Liability Laws

California Civil Code 1714 outlines liability for injuries caused by another’s negligence. Property owners who fail to repair dangerous conditions or warn others about them are negligent if they knew or should have known about the dangers.

A California court can find that the owner was negligent in the maintenance or use of the property under these conditions:

  • There was an unreasonable risk of harm associated with a condition on the property
  • The owner knew of or should have known about it if exercised with reasonable care
  • The owner failed to remedy, prevent, or warn of the condition adequately

For example, a retail store has wet and slippery floors, creating an unreasonable hazard of slipping and falling for customers. The store owner is responsible for discovering the risk, warning customers by posting signage, and cleaning the floor to remove the spill as soon as possible. However, property owners are not liable for damages caused by minor, trivial, or insignificant defects. This principle is a trivial defect defense that could be subject to legal interpretation and requires you to prove the defect.

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Who Can I Sue When I Am Injured On Someone Else’s Property in California?

The responsible party in a premises liability lawsuit is typically the property’s owner; however, you can also sue a party controlling the property, such as a property manager or store manager. Under California law, the principal is responsible for the agent’s negligence, so they are vicariously liable for the employee’s negligence. When an injury occurs, the party in charge of the property can be held responsible since they must keep all areas they control reasonably safe.

California Civil Code 1714 states that everyone is responsible for injuries incurred on properties under their management. If you choose to file a premises liability claim, you must prove the following premises liability elements to show you sustained injuries due to the property owner’s negligence:

  • The owner owned, leased, occupied, or controlled the property
  • The defendant was negligent in maintaining and using the property
  • You suffered injuries
  • The defendant’s negligence caused your injury

If a property owner is liable for damages, the injured party may be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Steps to Take After a Premises Liability Accident

To ensure the best outcome from your legal claim, take the following steps if you or someone you know has been injured in a premises liability accident:

  • Even if the injuries seem minor, it is vital to get a medical evaluation to ensure that there are no underlying injuries that could worsen over time. Delaying medical treatment could also negatively impact any potential legal claims.
  • After seeking medical attention, it is essential to document the accident scene. Take photos and videos of where the accident occurred, including any hazardous conditions, such as spills, uneven surfaces, or broken stairs. If there were any witnesses to the accident, try to get their contact information and statements about what they saw.
  • Report the incident to the property owner or manager as soon as possible. Ask for a written incident report and keep a copy for your records. If the accident occurred on public property, such as a sidewalk or park, report it to the appropriate government agency.
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Premises Liability Representation From a Real Trial Firm

Most lawyers want to settle your personal injury case quickly. Settling a claim means that you agree to accept money in return for dropping your action against the negligent property owner, signing a release absolving them of any further liability. 

Fiore Legal is not your average premises liability attorney in Pasadena. We are a real trial firm that will look 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.

Fiore Legal Is Here For You

Knowing that you have a team that will help you from start to finish is invaluable when facing legal issues. You deserve a personal injury lawyer invested in your case as a confidant who will fight for you, not just someone looking to make a quick buck from settling for less. You deserve Fiore Legal.

Our dedication to understanding and representing our Pasadena neighbors has resulted in eight locations with over thirty team members providing extensive experience and empathy. We look forward to guiding you through your legal issues with our tireless work ethic. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

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