If you suffer an injury on another person’s or business’ property, your right to recover is governed by well-established principles of premises liability. Premises liability is a broad legal term that refers to a property owner’s responsibility for the property’s condition whether caused by building code violations, improper maintenance, failure of management, negligence or faulty design and construction, or failure to warn. The California Civil Code reads, in part:
“Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.” Civil Code section 1714(a).
Areas of Expertise
- Auto Accidents
- Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
- Burn Injuries
- Catastrophic Injury
- Construction Zone Accidents
- Dangerous Condition of Public Property
- Insurance Issues
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Products Liability
- Railroad Accidents
- Semi Trucking Accidents
- Wrongful Death and Survival Action
What this means is that property owners and lessees must use reasonable care in the manner in which they maintain their property. If reasonable care is not used, and someone is injured as a result of this failure of reasonable care, the injured person may bring a claim for his or her injuries (unless the injured person’s injuries actually resulted from his or her own negligence). The courts have described the landowner’s duty like this: “The owner of premises is under a duty to exercise ordinary care in the management of such premises in order to avoid exposing persons to an unreasonable risk of harm. A failure to fulfill this duty is negligence.” Brooks v. Eugene Burger Management Corp. (1989), 215 Cal.App.3d 1611, 1619.
An owner’s knowledge of a dangerous condition on his or her property and the failure to warn visitors of that danger can also be considered negligence on the part of the owner. “Where the occupier of land is aware of a concealed condition involving in the absence of precautions an unreasonable risk of harm to those coming in contact with it and is aware that a person on the premises is about to come in contact with it, the trier of fact can reasonably conclude that a failure to warn or to repair the condition constitutes negligence.” Rowland v. Christian (1968), 69 Cal.2d 108, 119. This is commonly considered in slip and fall cases.
“Generally speaking, a property owner must have actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition before liability will be imposed.” Getchell v. Rogers Jewelry (2012), 203 Cal.App.4th 381, 385. However, where “the evidence is such” that the dangerous condition was caused by the owner or an employee of the owner, such as creating a slippery surface after mopping or spilling something on the floor, the owner “is charged with notice of the dangerous condition.” (Id.)
California “premises liability” laws place substantial responsibility on private property owners, whether residential or commercial, and in certain cases, public entities, to maintain and secure their properties in order to prevent injury to their patrons, customers, guests, or even trespassers. When an owner neglects to make reasonable efforts to keep the property safe, it can cause severe and debilitating personal injuries that could have been avoided. The types of unsafe conditions and activities that can give rise to premises liability are many and varied, as underscored by the broad successful representations from the files of the Boesch Law Group:
- Multi-million dollar recovery for a young man who fell from unsafe scaffolding, for a student electrocuted to death in a dormitory, an elderly woman crushed by a garage door, professional golfer seriously injured in a parking lot, and for serious and catastrophic damages resulting from injuries at grocery stores, apartment garages, shopping center sidewalk, bowling alley, among many others.
The experience of the Boesch Law Group has been requested in the defense of restaurants and other businesses in assault, slip and fall, and security cases.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INJURED ON SOMEONE ELSE’S PROPERTY
No one expects to get injured while shopping or visiting at someone’s home. But when it happens, if you cannot consult an attorney right away, a few steps may be taken even before contacting an attorney.
- Insist that a report be filed if injured in a place of business;
- Obtain essential information (i.e., name, address, insurance information, witness information of any and all persons involved in or witnessing the accident);
- Photograph the accident scene as well as all of the surrounding area if possible and certainly before any changes are made to the property;
- Don’t talk to anyone about the accident other than your attorney and do not give a statement to an insurance adjuster or insurance investigator without your attorney present;
- Don’t sign any documents without consulting an attorney first;
- Finally, always remember that if you’ve suffered a serious injury because of a property owner’s negligence, it is essential that you take immediate action, because evidence that is important to proving your case can disappear quickly.
If you suffer serious injuries on another person’s property, or if someone is injured on your property, you likely have significant legal rights and risks that require strong and competent legal representation. We would be privileged to help you evaluate your claims and your rights.
DISCLAIMER: The materials on this website are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice, legal opinion or any other advice on any specific facts or circumstances. Readers should not act or refrain from acting upon this information without seeking professional advice.
Transmission of information on or by use of this website is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship between the sender and receiver. Such communications will not be treated as confidential. Photographs and other graphics may be for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.