Los Angeles Premises Liability Lawyer
Reach Out to West Coast Trial Lawyers Today to Get Started on Your Premises Liability Claim
All property owners, including owners of private and government property in Los Angeles, have a legal duty to keep their premises safe. Therefore, 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.
Whether you slipped 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, your injuries can be severe and life changing. If your injuries have had a significant impact on your life, and you are not sure where to turn for help, reach out to an experienced Los Angeles premises liability lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers. Schedule your free consultation today to find out what your next steps should be.
What to Do After a Premises Liability Accident in Los Angeles
After you have suffered serious injuries in a premises liability accident, you may be scared, confused, and unsure of what to do next. The steps you take in the aftermath of the premises liability accident could have a dramatic impact on your life and your ability to recover maximum compensation for your damages.
With this in mind, here are the steps you should take in the aftermath of an injury on someone else’s property:
- Step one: Contact 911 and emergency responders. Police on the accident scene can file crash and police reports that could provide valuable evidence to support your case against the liable party. Even if your injuries are not debilitating, it is important to obtain a medical evaluation immediately after the accident. This is because you could be suffering from invisible injuries that could wreak havoc on your body if left untreated. Furthermore, the defense will likely argue that your lack of medical care leaves the possibility that your injuries were not related to the premises liability accident in question.
- Step two: While you wait for emergency responders to arrive at the accident scene, you should take steps to document the accident and your injuries wherever possible. Write down how the accident occurred, take photos of your injuries, the accident scene, and any property damages. It may also be in your best interests to write down any addresses or businesses that may have video footage of the accident. You can also use this time to obtain the contact information of the other involved party and any eyewitnesses to the accident.
- Step three: Once you have been medically evaluated, your next step should be to call a premises liability attorney for help. The sooner you get a lawyer on your case, the more likely it is we can recover the time-sensitive evidence needed to prove culpability in your case. While you are recuperating from your injuries, reach out to a premises liability attorney to find out what your next steps should be.
Common Los Angeles Premises Liability Injuries
Under the worst conditions, premises liability accidents can produce virtually endless types of injuries. It is important to keep in mind that the type of injury you are diagnosed with will not necessarily determine whether you have the right to compensation for your injuries.
Rather, your premises liability attorney will show that your injuries have had a significant impact on your life, and it is this impact on your life that warrants compensation in your case. With that in mind, there are some types of injuries seen more frequently in Los Angeles premises liability claims than others. These include:
- Facial injuries
- Back, neck, and head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Compound fractures
- Third-degree burns
- Conclusions and abrasions
- Internal bleeding
- Organ failure
- Loss of limbs
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
These are only a few of the more common types of injuries you could be diagnosed with following a premises liability accident. If you have suffered another type of injury that was not listed above, you may still be entitled to financial compensation.
Find out more about what legal options may be available to you when you contact a premises liability attorney in Los Angeles for legal guidance and support.
California Premises Liability Laws Explained
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…”
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:
- Plaintiff was hurt
- Defendant acted negligently regarding use or maintenance of the property
- 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
As mentioned, all property owners have a duty of care to reasonably maintain their premises. A duty of care for a property owner essentially encompasses any actions that a reasonable property owner should take or should have taken in similar circumstances.
It’s also important to understand that a property owner’s duty of care may vary depending on who is on their property. Also, there are situations where an injured individual contributed negligence towards causing an accident. In such cases, liability may be shared between the property owner and the injured individual.
When it comes to deciding if a property owner/manager breached his or her duty of care, the following will be considered:
- Where is the property located?
- How likely is an injury to occur given the circumstances?
- How serious could such an injury be in these circumstances?
- How much control did the property owner have over the hazardous condition?
- How much of a burden would it have been to minimize or eliminate the hazardous condition?
- Did the owner know about or should have known about the hazardous condition that caused the accident?
Who Is Liable in Los Angeles Premises Liability Claims?
An individual who was hurt on another person’s property can typically file a premises liability claim for damages against any person or company that owns, leases, occupies, or controls the property where the accident took place.
Property owners or managers cannot completely shield themselves from liability by purchasing premises liability insurance or by delegating the important task of maintaining their property in safe conditions. A property owner or manager is always responsible for the safety of their premises, even if they delegate maintenance tasks to an employee or hire an independent party who is then found guilty of negligence.
In summary, anytime a hazardous condition contributes to causing injuries, the property owner or manager can be held responsible for the resulting damages. According to respondeat superior laws, the principal will be held liable for the negligence of one of their agents.
Defendant(s) in a premises liability suit can include:
- Retail centers
- Business owners
- Tenants or renters
- The property management company
Property Owner Liability Exclusions in Los Angeles Premises Liability Claims
Although property owners are generally liable for the injuries of victims on their property, there are many situations in which property owners may be able to avoid being found liable for a victim’s injuries. First, property owners are typically only required to provide their invited guests with a duty of care. This means anyone trespassing or committing a crime on their property may not be protected under the state's property owner liability laws.
Property owners can also avoid liability through the open and obvious doctrine. Under the open and obvious doctrine, if another reasonable person would have found a situation hazardous or dangerous in some way, it may be deemed open and obvious. A good example of how the open and obvious doctrine works are wet floor signs in restaurants.
If you go to a restaurant and someone spills a beverage, the staff will likely bring a bright yellow wet floor sign out and place it near the spill until they are able to clean up the floor. The bright yellow sign makes the hazardous conditions open and obvious. If someone were to suffer a serious injury due to the wet floor, they may have a more difficult time holding the restaurant owner or staff accountable for their injuries since the hazardous conditions were open and obvious.
If you have questions or concerns surrounding how the open and obvious doctrine or other property owner liability exclusions might apply to your case, be sure to contact your attorney for the answers you are looking for.
How California Shared Fault Laws Could Impact Your Premises Liability Claim in Los Angeles
Many victims of premises liability accidents have concerns that they may not be able to secure the compensation they are entitled to when they share fault for their injuries. However, sharing fault in premises liability claims is more common than you might think. Furthermore, California follows a pure comparative negligence system.
Here, you can be up to 99% responsible for causing the accident and still be compensated for that one percent of liability that is not yours. This may be an extreme example, but it goes to show that anyone who shares fault for their injuries can still recover compensation for their damages. However, you will still need to be held accountable for your portion of culpability.
You can expect your premises liability injury settlement to be reduced to reflect your portion of fault. The amount of your deduction will correlate with the percentage of liability placed on you. Let’s look at an example of how California’s pure comparative negligence laws could impact your Los Angeles premises liability injury settlement:
John was found 10% responsible for his slip and fall accident when he failed to exercise necessary care around a wet floor. However, the jury awarded him $100,000 for his damages. Because John was 10% responsible for his Injuries, his $100,000 injury settlement was reduced by 10%, leaving John with a total compensation package of $90,000.
If you are interested in learning more about how the state's pure comparative negligence system could impact your ability to recover maximum compensation for your damages, be sure to contact your premises liability attorney in Los Angeles to discuss your concerns further.
Common Types of Los Angeles Premises Liability Accidents
There are many types of common premises liability cases . All property owners, whether they own a local grocery store or a large government building, are required by law to take reasonable action to protect their guests from being injured while on their property.
Basic requirements include at the very least providing sufficient security, proper lighting, and appropriate maintenance.Below are the most common premises liability cases.
Elevator and Escalator Accidents
In the majority of all elevator and escalator cases, the property owner will almost always be held liable for an accident. However, there are instances when a property owner complied with the law and maintained their elevators and escalators in working order, yet an accident still occurred.In these cases, fault may fall on the manufacturer, the installer, or the maintenance company.
A manufacturer can be held liable if part of an elevator fails. This is an example of a product defect. If your injuries were caused by a product defect, you can recover damages by making a claim against the elevator manufacturer.
An elevator installer can also be held liable for injuries if they installed an elevator or escalator incorrectly. An accident can also be caused if the maintenance company failed to carry out proper maintenance. In these cases, you are entitled to file a claim against them.
Grocery Store Accidents
The most common grocery store accident is a slip and fall. If a spill is not immediately mopped up, an accident is almost inevitable and liability will fall on the grocery store.
Slip and falls tend to happen when there are no signs to warn shoppers about a potential slip and fall hazard. Older people are very vulnerable to being seriously injured after a slip and fall.
Fractured hips are common among older shoppers and can cause permanent disability. According to the National Institute on Aging every year 30% of people over the age of 65 will sustain a fall, of which 10% will result in a serious injury.
Falling objects are another cause of many grocery store accidents. A shopper may reach for a can of vegetables on a high shelf and have other items fall on their head. In the worst case scenario, an entire shelf can fall on the person’s head, causing injuries or even death.
Some grocery store accidents happen in the parking lot, too. A shopper can be injured by a shopping cart or another person. It’s not uncommon for a victim to be assaulted by another shopper in a parking lot or even deliberately struck by a car.
Swimming Pool Accidents
All property owners have a legal duty to take reasonable measures to make sure that their swimming pool is safe for everyone. Premises liability applies to:All property possessors and/or operators All private/residential swimming pool owners All government property owners of public or school swimming pools All property owners with private/commercial pools that are made available to guests, members, or tenants.
Examples of a property owner’s failure to provide proper pool maintenance and supervision include:
- Warning signs - A property owner may be held liable for a swimming pool drowning if he or she didn’t post appropriate warning signs. If there is no lifeguard, warning signs that indicate the depth of the water or “swim at your own risk” need to be clearly visible to everyone. Illegible or hidden signs are insufficient and can subject a property owner to liability.
- Improper maintenance - Failure to maintain a pool or pool related safety equipment in good condition can subject a property owner to liability.
- Negligence - If improperly installed pool equipment causes a drowning, that could count as an example of negligence on behalf of the installers. Another example is an employer who hires a lifeguard and the lifeguard’s negligent supervision causes a drowning.
- Inadequate fencing - Pools without fencing are 60% more likely to involve drowning than a fenced-in pool. If a reasonably careful property owner would have installed adequate fencing, the property owner who failed to do so could be found liable.
In a products liability case, the manufacturer of a defective swimming pool or a defective piece of pool related equipment will be liable for distributing the defective product. Any entity who is involved in the chain of production can share a degree of responsibility.There are three types of defects:
- Insufficient safety warnings or user instructions
- Defects made during the manufacturing process
- Defects made before a product was manufactured
Amusement parks are required to take reasonable action to make sure their environment is safe for their customers. Anytime a visitor is hurt in an amusement park ,the owner may be held liable for any resulting damages. An amusement park owner must maintain their property, including:
- Parking lots
- Areas where food is served
- Areas where people wait in line
Examples of premises liability incidents that may occur in amusement parks range from injuries caused by malfunctioning rides to physical altercations in parking lots.
Maintaining a property also includes repairing damaged stairs and broken steps as well as taking reasonable measures to make sure it is safe for people to use those stairs. If an individual falls down because of hazardous conditions on one of their stairways, that property owner can be held liable for any resulting damages.
Slip And Fall Accidents
If a spill is not immediately mopped up, an accident is almost inevitable. Slip and falls tend to happen when there are no signs to warn shoppers about a potential slip and fall hazard.
Older people are very vulnerable to being seriously injured after a slip and fall. Fractured hips are common among older shoppers and can cause permanent disability. According to the National Floor Safety Association, for people aged 65-84 years, falls are the second leading cause of injury-related death; for those aged 85 years or older, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death.
Slip and falls are usually caused by:
- Leaks or spills
- Uneven flooring
- Exposed cables or cords
- Faulty railings
- Loose carpets
- Inadequate or missing warning signs
How Long Do You Have to File Your Los Angeles Premises Liability Lawsuit?
If you are interested in holding the liable party accountable in your premises liability claim, you will need to take action on your case as soon as possible. Under California law, personal injury and premises liability claims must be filed before the two-year statute of limitations expires. The statute of limitations will generally expire two years from the date of the accident.
However, this deadline could be extended depending on when you were diagnosed with your injuries, when the accident occurred, and other mitigating factors. If the statute of limitations runs out and your premises liability claim has not been filed, you will no longer have the opportunity to pursue your case in the Los Angeles civil court system.
If you were to attempt to file a premises liability lawsuit after the statute of limitations had passed, the defense would likely file a motion to dismiss your case. The judge presiding would have no other choice but to grant their motion to dismiss your case since the statute of limitations had expired. Even if they were compassionate and empathetic to what you have been through, the law stands.
If you hope to avoid issues surrounding the statute of limitations in your premises liability claim, it may be in your best interests to get a lost Angeles premises liability attorney working on your case as soon as you are medically stable.
Compensation for Premises Liability Victims in Los Angeles
Slip and fall accidents, among other premises liability accidents, can be very costly.
An injured plaintiff can recover damages for economic and non-economic losses caused by their premises liability claim. Recoverable economic damages include:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Future medical treatment
- Lost earning capacity
- Property loss
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:
- Loss of limb(s)
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
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
Can you get punitive damages for a premises liability accident in Los Angeles?
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
Los Angeles Premises Liability FAQ
We understand how confusing the premises liability claims process can be in Los Angeles. In the hopes of helping you get through this difficult time in your life, we have provided the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding premises liability claims in LA below. If you have additional questions that were not answered on this page, you can reach out to our office to discuss your specific questions in greater detail.
Will I have to go to court?
It is possible that your case will have to go to court if you hope to recover maximum compensation for your damages. Many premises liability claims can be settled outside of court through the insurance company.
However, since insurance companies are often only required to compensate injury victims for economic damages and only up to the limits of the policyholder‘s policy, it is possible that the insurance company will not be required to cover your damages in full. When this happens, bringing your case to court may be the best way to recover total compensation for your suffering.
Should I give the insurance company a statement?
It is never a good idea to give the insurance company a statement without first discussing it with your attorney. Insurance companies are notorious for taking advantage of premises liability victims and other injury victims across Los Angeles.
If you hope to avoid having your words manipulated and used against you, your best option is to direct the insurance company to your premises liability attorney who can give them the information and details they need to move forward with your insurance claim.
What if my child was injured in a premises liability accident?
If your child was seriously injured in a premises liability accident of any kind, they may have the right to financial compensation for the damages. Just because a child is unable to pursue a premises liability lawsuit of their own accord does not mean they are not entitled to restitution for the damages.
As your child’s legal guardian or parent, there is no better advocate for their right to compensation. With help from your premises liability attorney, you can ensure your child is compensated for their current and future losses.
What does it cost to hire a premises liability attorney in Los Angeles?
One of the top reasons more Los Angeles premises liability victims do not move forward with their claims is because they believe the cost of hiring an attorney is too great. On the contrary, Los Angeles premises liability lawyers will generally work with injury victims on contingency. Contingency agreements allow premises liability injury victims to pursue their case without having to cover any out-of-pocket costs.
Your attorney will handle all of the expenses related to building your case. You will not be expected to cover any costs unless or until your lawyer produces a financial recovery in your case. You can learn more about what percentage of your injury settlement will go to attorneys fees when you discuss contingency agreement options with your Los Angeles premises liability attorney.
Contact a Los Angeles Premises Liability Attorney for Help Today
If you have sustained injuries as a result of a premises liability accident, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible. A Los Angeles premises liability lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered
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