Under California State Law, land renters, owners, and lessors are under a duty to make sure that visitors and passerby are not hurt coming and and out of their properties and that there are no open or hidden dangers (Expert Source.) Personal injury lawyers typically are the advocates called upon to bring and also defend against theses cases when there are victims trying to get compensation for their injuries. There are many parties and types of claims. Some of them will be discussed herein.
Lawsuits Against Businesses:
All premises claims can be complicated and draw in more than one defendant. Only the most skilled attorneys will be able to wade through the large index of case study and laws to determine how your case will do in court. Unless you have a specialized attorney to tackle many aspects of the case, including witnesses, naming defendants, and proper discovery, they may miss something. Most times, the first defendant in cases like this will be the misfeasant, non feasant, or malfeasant property owner. Those that own or run businesses often have heavy foot traffic which could lead to injury.
A prime example is a shopping mall with both outdoor and indoor shops, parking lots, and food court. There are pedestrians that could not be paying attention, and walkers or drivers that are heading to different places. Unfortunately, hundreds of consumers and pedestrians are injured in the state every year, including some serious injuries. Others are mauled, raped, or injured due to the failure of a property owner to make reasonable inspections and repairs.
These could include incidents where liquid was left on the ground for too long, bad lighting, distraction from signs or displays, trips, and other issues. These could lead to people breaking their tailbone, ankle, twisting their knee, or hurting their head. We deal with these issues and the long term issues, including the recovery, coma, or even death every day. Many of these cases can be minor injuries, but they grow in seriousness for the young and old. Some elderly can die due to a fall in a grocery store or wake up in a hospital. When the insurance companies don’t step up, attorneys on your behalf can file a premises liability lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Commercial Structures and Attractions
Any person that runs or owns an office building has duties to the public. These include the duty to repair, inspect, and maintain escalators and elevators to avoid serious injury or death for people traveling around and near these structures. When safety lapses happen, those responsible can be held liable for their negligence. This can also include the manufacturer, building owner, repairer, or anyone else involved.
This could mean that there are multiple potential defendants. With these serious factors involved, being able to gather enough compensation from these parties to be able to rebuild a life is a major issue. A person could be permanently disabled or even die due to a severe injury like losing an arm in a broken elevator or falling off an escalator. Other cases could include issues at a waterpark, hosts, or even a ride at an amusement park. These could all be due to faulty property maintenance and lack of danger signs, barricades, chaperons, and other issues. The responsible parties can be brought to court and held liable.
The Duty to Secure an Attractive Nuisance
Children are often at increased risk of severe injury. These can include children getting into an abandoned building that could be in danger of falling down. If the building is not chained off properly, children could feel like they should go and play there. In a recent case, Anaheim Hills could not properly keep skaters out of a large drainage ditch known as the Blow Hole off of Weir Canyon. Several skaters could be injured, then sue the city and/or county.
Grocery Stores and Slips and Falls
Many of the claims filed under common premises liability are due to slip and falls involving liquids on the floors of grocery stores. These can be common from people tripping on broken or uneven floors. Courts have ruled that store operators have a duty to make inspections, even just minutes apart. This should be foreseen, especially if a store sells wet produce or items filled with liquid. Condensation can also create wet floors and areas in a store.
Since most grocers warehouse their goods in stores with waxed floors. This has to be balanced against the falling risk. Even after a fall, this doesn’t guarantee a win in court. You cannot just claim that it was the surface that hurt you, as seen in precedent (See also Buehler v. Alpha Beta.) This is why it is vital to get in touch with a skilled attorney as soon as possible. Store managers are trained to extract statements from the victim to hurt their chances in court and limit liability. These will be issues that an attorney can assist you with as they build a claim and let you heal.
Injuries at Places of Employment
Premises liability injury claims can arise due to many reasons. These could include working near toxic chemicals and developing cancer or a brain injury. Others include being trapped in buildings even as the door is meant to stay open during business hours– this could lead to burns and even death. Others have passed out in poorly ventilated rooms, leading to brain damage or even death. There have been injuries in home improvement stores with self propelled floor-jacks, forklifts, and other equipment that can cause severe injuries such as broken ankles and head injuries.
Stores open 24-7 often have to take special precautions to reduce severe injuries as they are often placing heavy and bulky inventory on shelves. These duties include putting up barricades and blocking lanes of entry and exit until they are done. A third party, as well as worker’s comp, could be liable for the damages.
Premises Lawsuits Against the Government
Governments and agencies also have a special need to keep their premises safe. These public places could include construction zones, public parks, and courthouses. These agencies need to provide adequate warnings of dangers, including defective traffic control devices, damaged roads or paths, and poorly lighted bus stops and crosswalks.
Duty to Make Reasonable Inspections and Mitigation
These landowners have a duty to search for these potential dangers on their property. They must inspect the areas during both peak and off time to make sure that the doors are open and fix whatever issues there could be and avoid potential injury.
Bouncer Attacks and History of Criminal Activities
- Criminal Activities: If a property owner knew or should have known that it was a high crime area, leaving the owner under the negligent security legal theory. A landlord or business owner must guard visitors from these risks, such as a nightclub hiring guards, installing security lights, cameras, and giving the guards radios.
- Bouncer Attacks: Owners need to make sure that they do not hire poor employees that are aggressive. They must also protect their guards and bouncers from irate visitors, especially if there is a history in the area of gang activity or violence. These cases are particularly pressing for nightclubs and amusement parks like Magic Mountain that need to keep their patrons and employees safe.
Other Times Negligent Security Comes into Play
When those that are considered mandatory reporters, like teachers, fail to protect children or a landlord renting in a violent area, they can be found responsible. These landlords, teachers, or school districts can be found responsible. This can extend to online and social media issues.
Lawsuits Against Residential Property Owners
This liability can also extend to trespassers and uninvited guests. These can include those maimed by animals like pitbulls or snakes. There could be boards with nails sticking up or a faulty door. Most courts hold that the property owner or maintainer must keep their premises safe for all visitors, including sidewalks. Without proper legal guidance to deal with all of the law and precedent of premises law, victims can be lost.
Sources Compiled to Assist in this Document:
California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) – 1001. Basic Duty of Care