Premises Liability in California
Premise accidents are comprised of incidents caused by the carelessness of property owners who fail to keep their properties hazard-free. Incidents classified as premise accidents include slip and fall accidents. Despite the fact that these injuries can be relatively minor, many are left seriously injured, permanently debilitated from injuries such as burns, neck, head, spine injuries, electric shocks, and broken bones, or even killed.
The most common causes of premise liability cases include poor construction, the use of cheap materials, building code violations, defective electrical wiring, snow or water left on walkways, worn out floorboards, unsafe pedestrian conditions, or negligent security at business. These accidents can occur on public property including shopping centers, grocery stores, elevators, escalators, amusement parks, bars and nightclubs, sports arenas, community swimming pools, parks, and schools, as well as government-owned, and privately owned property.
Guests on someone else’s property fall into different categories depending on the nature of their visit, and this is important because the determination of that persons status could go a long way towards defining any recovery he or she would obtain after an injury. For example, if you run a business that’s open to the public, any customer who enters the premises would be considered an invitee whether that person is specifically invited or simply sees an advertisement.
A person can also be a licensee if he or she is on the property to perform a specific duty, such as repair the plumbing or to come in and clean the premises. In fact, a property owner generally only escapes liability if the person who is injured was clearly on the premises without permission and against the will of the property owner. This also requires that there not be an attractive nuisance present on the property that would likely draw visitors, whether they would be wanted or unwanted.
The Liability of Property Owners
It is the legal duty of property owners, homeowners, landlords, and government agencies to keep their property safe and inform the public when known hazards exist. Property safety also accounts for violent crime, and those who fail to keep their property safe against violent crime may be prosecuted. Victims of violent crime committed on public or private property may be subject to compensation due to a legal concept called negligent security. This concept signifies that owners in areas with high crime rates are expected to provide sufficient lighting of dark alleys and parking lots, surveillance cameras, locked gates, or security guards in order to enhance safety.
Another significant component regarding the liability of property owners in personal injury cases is visitor status. A court will hold a property owner responsible if the owner owed the injured party a “duty of care,” and if that duty of care was violated. This duty of care is dependent on the relationship between the property owner and the injured party and these relationships can be classified as invitee, licensee, and trespasser. An invitee is someone that the landowner has invited to his or her property to conduct business, such as a shopper in a mall. A licensee is someone that the property owner has allowed to enter into his or her property for noncommercial purposes, such as a social guest. A trespasser is someone who is not directly permitted onto the landowner’s property. Contrary to popular belief, a property owner may still be held responsible for injury caused to a trespasser, even though the trespasser has committed the crime.
The Next Step
While premises liability in-particular slip and fall accident cases generally seem to be quite simple, they are anything but easy. If you or someone you love has been injured on someone else’s property, you may be able to recover damages with the help of an experienced slip & fall attorney. Contact the San Diego Injury Law Center today to schedule a free initial consultation. San Diego 619-338-8230 or North County 760-308-0041. Call us for a free case evaluation 619-338-8230. No Fee Until We Win!