California Personal Injury Laws and Premises Liability Insurance
Why Do Property Owners Need Premises Liability Insurance?
According to California Civil Code 1714(a): “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.”
All property owners, including business owners, will always be at risk of a premises liability claim, even if they take the necessary precautions to maintain safe conditions on their property. Below, our experienced premises liability attorneys will discuss the basics of premises liability insurance.
If you have suffered injuries as a result of a premises liability accident in California, the experienced premises liability attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers are always here to answer any questions you may have about premises liability claims and available damages.
Duty of Care and Types of Visitors
Premises liability claims against a business are typically of the slip and fall variety, with many of these incidents occurring in retail and grocery stores. However, injuries can happen just about anywhere, including common areas, hallways, lobbies, and parking lots.
All business owners have a duty of care to their visitors and are required by law to take reasonable steps to protect them. However, business owners are not expected to anticipate hazards they are unaware of or which are not reasonable to plan for.
Visitors typically fall into one one of the following three categories:
- Invitees: These are individuals who have been invited onto a property, such as customers. Invitees are owed the greatest duty of care.
- Licensees: These are individuals who are permitted to be on a property, but were not actually invited, such as utility workers. Licensees are still owed a duty of care, but they are also aware of the hazards involved in doing so.
- Trespassers: These individuals are neither invited nor allowed to be on a property and are not owed any duty of care.
The Role of Premises Liability Insurance
Commercial general liability (CGL) insurance exists to protect a business owner from personal injury claims, as well as property damage and negligence. A crucial component of a CGL policy is premises liability coverage. This will provide bodily injury and property damage coverage in relation to the maintenance or ownership of a business.
There are so many types of accidents that can happen, such as a customer tripping over an exposed cord or breaking an ankle on a piece of damaged carpet. Both of these examples will require premises liability coverage to cover an aggrieved individual’s medical bills, as well as any additional damages.
Grocery stores in particular can benefit tremendously from a premises liability insurance policy. There are so many seemingly harmless hazards, such as defective floor mats, wet floors, and produce on the ground which can all cause a serious fall. Regardless of whether or not a grocery store owner takes the necessary precautions, such as non-slip floors and warnings, accidents will happen.
Premises Liability Insurance Exclusions
Premises liability insurance will not cover every scenario in which a visitor may become hurt. It is important to understand this. Remember that premises liability insurance does not cover every way that a visitor to your business can be hurt. For example, a medical professional who hurts someone in the process of administering medical care would not be protected by a premises liability insurance policy.
Premises liability insurance policies will not cover:
- Employee injuries
- Damage to your own business property
Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.
A few examples of economic losses include:
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:
- Emotional Distress
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.
Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.
Contact Us to Find Out How We Can Help
If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a premises liability incident, our expert team of personal injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you get the compensation you deserve for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (888) 539-9582 or email [email protected] to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.