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4 Ways To Avoid Premises Liability


All property owners, including owners of private and government property in California, have a legal duty to keep their premises safe. Because if there’s one thing all homeowners, landlords, and commercial property owners want to avoid is a premises liability lawsuit resulting from an accident.  

Being hit with a complaint by a plaintiff who alleges that you were negligent in maintaining your property, and thus caused their injury or even the death of a loved one, is a serious matter. Whether a person slips on a wet floor in a shopping mall, tripped on debris at a grocery store, or fell on a broken step at a neighbor’s home, the resulting injuries can be severe and life changing. By law, a property owner may be held liable for failing to maintain their premises in safe conditions if someone is injured, sexually assaulted, or killed because of their negligence. 

Some examples of premises liability cases can include:

  • Slip and falls
  • Inadequate premises maintenance
  • Defective conditions
  • Elevator and escalator accidents
  • Toxic fumes or chemicals
  • Fire
  • Water leaks or flooding
  • Inadequate security leading to assault and injury

There are some steps a property owner can take to help to prevent injuries and premises liability lawsuits. Our team of experienced premises liability lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers share key insight into the matter. 

  • Have Proper Insurance

    While having the proper insurance for your property won’t prevent an accident or resulting injuries, it can help ensure you don’t take a big financial hit in case you get sued in a premises liability personal injury case. 

    Acquiring an umbrella insurance policy that supplements the property owner’s normal liability insurance would be key, given it provides a much higher coverage limit. Traditional homeowners policies may cover the house’s rebuild cost if it were to burn down in a fire. However, if someone were to trip and suffer a spinal injury or head trauma on your property, the homeowner’s policy would only provide minimal coverage. That’s why an umbrella policy is a good idea, since it can provide a large amount of additional liability protection for a relatively low cost and can be purchased as an add-on.

    If you don’t have the proper add-on, when an accident occurs and the damages exceed your coverage limit, the property owner will be expected to pay the excess verdict or settlement amount out of your own pocket. And since roughly 15% of personal injury cases result in damages in excess of $1 million, it can be financially ruinous for many people.

  •  Inspect And Clean

    In some cases, injuries on a property are preventable if you maintain the premises routinely. Consider setting up periodic cleanings so that either your employees or professionals can look for any potential issues. This can range from spilled drinks on the floor or exposed wires, for example. Also, keep detailed records of the scheduled cleanings in case you’re caught up in a lawsuit, you can show you took proper steps required by law to clear your property of any hazards. Legally, this shows you upheld your duty of care to prevent accidents and injuries.

  • Correct Hazards

    If after inspecting your property a potential hazard is discovered, it must be corrected immediately. It’s important to, as a business, establish clear policies and procedures so that employees know what to do when it comes to dangerous conditions. Whether it’s flattening the entryway mat or clearing ice and snow off a walkway, no one should assume someone else will take care of fixing this.  

  • Clearly Display Caution Signs

    In cases where any hazard can’t be immediately remedied, there should be a clear display of a warning sign so that customers and employees can avoid the unsafe condition until it’s fixed. A good example of this are the “wet floor” signs in areas that have been mopped during business.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help


Determining who’s at fault in a premises liability case is complex. Premises liability lawsuits require an injured individual to prove that he or she was harmed because of a property owner/manager’s negligence. An injured individual must specifically prove that the:

  • Defendant's negligence was the primary factor that caused a plaintiff's injuries
  • Defendant leased, owned, occupied, or was controlling the property where the incident took place
  • Defendant acted negligently regarding use or maintenance of the property
  • Plaintiff was hurt

An injured plaintiff can recover damages for economic and non-economic losses caused by their premises liability claim. Recoverable economic damages include:

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are intended to compensate a victim for losses which don’t necessarily have an easily determined dollar value. Non-economic damages for a premises liability case may include:

  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of limb(s)

There are rare cases where a plaintiff may also qualify for punitive damages. Punitive damages are only awarded at the court’s discretion. Punitive damages will require a plaintiff to prove one or more of the following:

  • A defendant deliberately caused an accident, injury, or death
  • A defendant deliberately destroyed evidence of his or her liability
  • A defendant's reckless actions caused severe injuries or a wrongful death

If a victim loses his or her life after a premises liability accident, the decedent’s surviving family members may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim for damages against the negligent property owner. Available damages can include:

  • Burial costs
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of support and companionship
  • Financial support the decedent would have contributed had they not died

If you or someone you love have sustained injuries as a result of a premises liability accident, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible. A premises liability attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered.

Call us today at (888) 341-9802 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring and compassionate legal team.

CONTACT WEST COAST TRIAL LAWYERS TODAY


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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