Owners and managers of restaurants, hotels, clubs, bars, supermarkets, office buildings, and other places with a steady flow of public traffic have the legal obligation to maintain their spaces free of hazards, or to warn people of potential hazards. You must be warned, for example, if a floor surface is wet.
Property owners are likely to contest these claims. They may have the resources to put up a vigorous defense. There really is no cut and dry rule stipulating when a property owner is liable. The standard is: was the accident avoidable if the property owner was more careful?
It must be proven that the owner didn’t take enough reasonable action to protect the public against a dangerous condition. The owner may not be liable if an accident was the result of a person’s inability to avoid the hazard. If you trip over a rake that is leaning up against a tree, the property owner will not likely be forced to pay any damages.
If you were injured by a slip and fall on someone else’s property, you will need to show that at least one of the following conditions was present in order to win your case:
- The owner or their employees caused the hazardous conditions.
- The owner or property manager was aware or should have been aware of the hazard, yet did nothing to repair or seal it off so that the public couldn’t access it.
Also, your Pasadena premises liability lawyer will want to ask a few basic questions including:
- How long did the defect or discrepancy exist before the accident took place? If the wet surface you slipped on was caused by a roof that was leaking for over a month, it’s reasonable to expect that the owner should have noticed and repaired it long before the accident took place. However, if the leak sprung shortly before the injury occurred, then matters become less clear.
- If you tripped over an object, was there a legitimate reason for that object to be there? Was the object in plain sight? If it wasn’t, was there a warning or caution given to warn you about the hazard?
- What kind of routine cleaning and inspection does the property owner do? Most property owners claim to carry out a premise inspection every day. You and your premises liability lawyer should ask: what kind of proof can the property owner produce to back up this claim?
- If you tripped over an object that had a legitimate reason to be there, did that reason still exist at the time the accident occurred? Once a job is finished, it is the property owner’s responsibility to make sure all hazards are removed. If you fell because you tripped over a paint can that was just sitting there for over two months, you have a good case for owner negligence.