What Is Premises Liability?
A Crash Course on Personal Injury and Premises Liability
California law mandates that all property owners have a legal obligation to keep their premises safe from any foreseeable hazards. If a property owner fails to maintain safe conditions on their property and someone is injured as a result of their negligence, they may be held liable for a victim’s damages.
People sustain injuries every year in the city because of hazardous conditions that property owners could or should have prevented. Fortunately, many accidents only result in minor injuries. But some incidents can cause serious injuries or death, and victims may be entitled to receive compensation for their medical bills, pain, suffering, lost wages, and more.
If you or a loved suffered an injury as a result of a property owner’s negligence, West Coast Trial Lawyers is here to help. We are a skilled and compassionate team of premises liability lawyers, and we are dedicated to helping injury victims every step of the way. We have decades of experience handling premise liability claims and we are tough and aggressive litigators. We’re prepared to take your case to trial to ensure that you recover maximum compensation for your injuries.
Premises Liability 101
Government buildings, amusement parks, businesses, and public parks are all legally responsible for preventing foreseeable hazards to their guests. Slip and falls are the most common accidents caused by property owner negligence, but premises liability injuries can be caused by more than uneven or slippery surfaces. Premises liability law includes injuries caused by:
- Slippery floors.
- Pool accidents.
- Elevator and escalator accidents.
- Negligent security.
- Swimming pools.
- Dog bites.
- Falling objects.
- Carnival and theme park accidents.
- Poor construction.
- Defective electrical wiring.
- Snow or water on walkways.
- Building code violations.
All premises liability cases require:
- Proving a property owner owed the victim a duty of care. All public and private entities owe invitees on their property a duty of care. This, of course, does not apply to trespassers.
- Proving a dangerous condition existed on the property. This relates to a risk factor the property owner knew or should have known about. Examples include: broken stairs, poor lighting, inadequate security, standing water, and more.
- Proving a hazardous condition led to the victim’s injuries. It needs to be proven that the dangerous condition directly caused an injury.
When assessing your specific case, your premises liability lawyer will ask a few questions including:
- Was the incident videotaped? Most commercial and public entities have video surveillance, which will be the most effective method to determine liability.
- How long did the dangerous condition exist before the accident took place?
- What kind of routine cleaning and inspection does the property owner do? What evidence can the property owner produce to back up their claims?
- If you tripped over an object, was there a legitimate reason for that object to be there? Was it in plain sight? Was there a heads up given to warn you about the hazard?
Slip and Fall Accident Statistics
Over one million emergency room visits a year are caused by slip and fall accidents. A property owner’s failure to fix a potential slip hazard that results in a preventable injury is an act of negligence.
Slip and falls tend to occur on premises where owners are not taking proper care of preventing hazards, such as:
- Wet floors.
- Cracked or broken sidewalks.
- Faulty staircases.
- Grease and oil spills.
- Spilled drinks or liquids.
- Ice or snow.
- Loose carpets.
Most slip and fall accidents occur on even, level surfaces and not because of an elevated platform. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), bone fractures occur in approximately 5 percent of all slip and fall accidents. Slip and falls are especially dangerous for elderly victims, who frequently fracture their hips. A severe fall can also cause a concussion or a serious brain injury.
Below are more alarming slip and fall statistics:
- Almost two million injuries a year were caused by poorly maintained flooring materials.
- 15 percent of all accidental workplace deaths were caused by a fall.
- In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 5,333 workplace fatalities in the United States. Within these fatalities, about 880 were caused by fatal falls.
- About 20 percent of worker fatalities in private industries were from those who were involved in construction, thus accounting for one in five worker deaths for the year.
- Construction and extraction occupations were seen to have a high death count of 1,066.
- Grounds and maintenance workers had 229 fatalities.
- The odds of a fall increase with each passing decade of life.
- Over 60 percent of nursing home residents fall every year.
- A fall is the most common injury for employees over the age of 55.
- A fall is the second most common cause of death in the construction business.
- 50 percent of elderly fall victims can no longer live independently after a fall.
Negligent Security Cases
Premises liability is not limited to slip and fall accidents. Under a legal principle called negligent security, victims of violent crime are also covered by premises liability law. Because owners have a duty to maintain a safe property, this includes taking measures against the foreseeable hazard of violent crime.
Property owners must provide security guards, appropriate lighting, working locks, and other safety measures if their property is located in a high crime area. If a property owner fails to fulfill these duties, crime victims may hold them responsible. This liability extends to schools, landlords, and employers.
Contact Us to Find Out How We Can Help
If you or loved one was injured because of unsafe or hazardous conditions, our experienced premises liability attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help secure the compensation you deserve to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation with the attorneys at our firm. You can reach our legal team 24/7 by calling (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected].