In California, anyone who is injured on someone else’s property may be entitled to compensation. However, the injured party must be able to show that the property manager negligently maintained his property in order to recover damages.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
Many premises liability cases involve slip and falls, but that is far from the only type of accident that can occur on someone else’s property. Besides slip and falls, premises liability cases may involve:
If someone is injured by a person who is trespassing on the property, the property owner may be held liable if it can be proven that he did not take reasonable steps to protect people in the building.
Swimming Pool Accidents
People who have swimming pools on their property must comply with all city or state laws regarding swimming pool safety. For example, if the law requires property owners to put a fence around their pools, the property owner can be held liable if someone is injured because there is no fence blocking the pool.
If the elevator or escalator is in need of repair and the property owner does not take action to make these repairs, he can be held liable if someone is injured.
Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
Property owners may be held liable if anyone who comes onto their property is exposed to toxic chemicals. For example, if hotel guests become sick after being exposed to abnormally high levels of chlorine in the pool, the hotel property owner may be held liable.
Proving Negligence in Premises Liability Cases
The plaintiff must be able to prove these four elements in order to show that the property owner was negligent:
The defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty of care. For example, store owners who expect customers to come in and out on a regular basis should do their best to ensure that customers do not face any hazardous conditions. Therefore, store owners would owe their customers a duty of care. However, a property owner does not necessarily owe the same duty of care to someone who is trespassing on his property.
Breach of Duty
If it can be proven that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, it must then be proven that the defendant breached this duty. For example, let’s say you have slipped on a puddle of water inside a grocery store. The court may determine that a reasonable property owner would have cleaned up the water so customers didn’t slip on it. If it is believed that a reasonable property owner would have done this, but the defendant failed to do it, then he is said to have breached the duty of care.
Next, the plaintiff must be able to prove that he has suffered injuries. This can be proven with medical records, photographs, and other types of evidence.
Finally, the plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant’s breach of duty was the cause of his injuries.
The issue of comparative negligence often comes up in premises liability cases. California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means a plaintiff can still recover compensation even if he was partly to blame for his injuries. Using the previous example of slipping on a puddle of water, let’s say the court finds that the plaintiff was partly to blame because he should have seen the puddle of water and avoided it. As a result, the court rules that the plaintiff is 50% responsible for his injuries, but the defendant is also 50% responsible for exposing customers to the hazardous condition. In this situation, the compensation awarded to the plaintiff would be reduced by 50% because he was 50% responsible for his own injuries.
Legal Representation For Premises Liability Cases
If you have been injured on someone else’s property, contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, and Rowley today to discuss your case. Proving liability can be complex in these cases, which is why it’s important to work with one of our experienced attorneys who can help you recover the compensation you deserve.