Premises liability claims happen when someone is injured due to a property owner’s lack of care in maintaining safe conditions for visitors, employees, or customers. The defendant in a premises liability claim can be anyone who owns, leases, occupies, or controls the property. As a premises liability law firm in California, we know that it is important to highlight that one does not need to own the property in order to be liable; simply controlling the property is enough. Here are a few important points you need to be aware of if you are considering initiating a claim.
What Types of Premises Liability Cases Are There in California?
The most common premises liability cases in California are slip and fall claims, which usually happen as a result of a wet floor or slippery surface that has not been properly signaled or blocked off. They can also be caused by other factors such as uneven flooring or loose carpeting, lack of secure handrails, and failure to post warning signs about known unsafe conditions.
Besides slip and fall claims, other possible premises liability cases include injuries sustained at an amusement park or water park; construction site injuries (including injuries to a passerby or visitor); accidents on stairs caused by poorly maintained stairways; elevator injuries, and accidents suffered while visiting someone else’s home.
How Is Negligence Determined in a California Premises Liability Case?
California law states that everyone is expected to exercise reasonable care in their activities for the safety of others. When it comes to property owners, maintaining safe conditions and clearly warning others about any potential hazards is an obligation. When someone who owns and/or controls a property fails to put in reasonable efforts to prevent injuries and maintain safe premises, that can constitute a breach in the duty of care.
For example, if a visitor walks into an office building and gets injured after a slip-and-fall accident caused by a wet spot on the floor and no “wet floor” signs were placed anywhere in sight, then the property owner may be liable for the visitor’s injuries. The property owner may be deemed negligent as they breached their duty of care to the visitor by not placing a “wet floor” sign in a feasible area and thus preventing the accident.
Who Is Financially Liable for My Injuries in a Premises Liability Claim?
In one way or another, the property owner is likely financially responsible for your injuries, regardless of whether your accident was directly linked to the property owner’s negligence or was caused by an employee or subcontractor. It is also possible that more than one party may be financially responsible for the accident.
If an employee failed to warn the employer about a hazard or take preventative measures to reduce the chance that someone may get hurt – meaning they knew about the hazard and did nothing about it – California’s respondeat superior laws make the employer liable for the actions of a negligent employee.
We can also hypothetically consider a premises liability claim that caused injuries to a visitor due to a faulty elevator door. When the claim involves machinery or equipment, it is also possible to seek compensation from the manufacturer of that piece of equipment or machinery as long as you can prove that the machine was defective and caused your injury.
If the property owner knew about the defect and did not take action to prevent a hazardous situation from taking place, they may also be responsible for your injuries. Determining who is at fault in a premises liability case may be a complex task, so it is recommended that you seek the help of a seasoned premises liability attorney in California.
How Much Compensation May I Receive For My Injuries?
If you have been hurt due to an on-premises accident that could have been prevented by a property owner, you may be wondering how much your case is worth – especially when you have medical bills quickly piling up. While the average settlement for a premises liability claim in California can be anywhere from $30,000.00 to $60,000.00 on average, each case is unique. This is why you may expect to receive much less – or a much higher sum – depending on the specifics of your accident.
Generally speaking, the more severe your injuries, the higher your compensation may be. Most premises liability attorneys will seek both economic and non-economic damages compensation on your behalf. This means that you may receive compensation for any expenses related to your accident, including medical bills and cost of future care (such as rehabilitation, physical therapy, or long-term nursing care when applicable), lost wages, and any other items that may have a negative financial impact following the accident. Non-economic damages are intangible, more subjective, and may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and any other negative consequences of a psychological nature that could be directly linked to the accident.
The value of your claim is calculated by adding up both economic damages and non-economic damages. While many free calculators promise to give you an estimate on how much money you may receive, such applications often prove to be inaccurate, because they can over or underestimate the value of your claim. A skilled premises liability attorney will take the proper time to understand your case, analyzing the severity of your injury and how it has impacted you both on a financial level and an emotional level, and will then provide a fair estimate of how much your case may be worth and giving you a better starting point to receive the compensation you deserve.