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Premise Liability Law Attorneys


What is a Premise Liability Case?

Premise liability is a broad legal term that refers to liability for dangerous conditions of property. Under premise liability laws, property owners may be held financially responsible for accidents or injuries that occur on their property due to their negligence. It is the duty of the property owner to make sure the property is safe and to warn of known safety hazards. The owner or occupier also has a duty to correct, repair, replace, or give adequate warning of any condition that could be reasonably expected to harm others. Property owners who fail to make reasonable inspections of their property may be held liable for injuries caused as the result of this failure. However, not all injuries suffered on someone else's property give rise to a premise liability lawsuit. In order to be actionable, the injury must have resulted from the property owner's failure to provide the legal duty of safety to someone visiting the property.

Negligent premises conditions can exist in just about every type of building or open space, including homes, apartment complexes, theaters, malls, sports facilities, amusement parks, government buildings, commercial buildings, farms, and other open land spaces.

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California Premise Liability Law

California state law requires that the person, corporation, or government entity that controls a property has a duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition for all those who enter the property. An owner of property in a dangerous condition will be responsible if they created the condition or knew about the condition or should have known about it. Other persons, such as a tenant, the manager of a property, and contractors working on the premises may also be responsible for maintaining the premises in a safe condition and could be liable for injuries which occur on the property as well. Often the determining factor is who has the right to control the premises. If a party has the right to control property, then that party must exercise control in a reasonable manner to prevent foreseeable injuries.

California law holds government entities to the same standard as a person or corporation. A premise liability case against a public entity begins differently from those against a private person. If you have been injured on a public entity's land or building as a result of that entity's failure to maintain it in a reasonably safe condition, you may have a claim. You must file a claim within six months of the accident date if you want to seek compensation for your injuries against a government entity. If the statute of limitations expires, your right to pursue a claim may be forever barred. While some government immunities to liability exist, the state of California, the federal government or a city, town or county may still be held responsible for dangerous premises conditions that cause injuries.

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What To Do If Injured in a Premise Liability Accident?

If you are injured on someone’s property as a result of the property owner’s negligence, report the accident to the business, retail establishment or property owner. If injured at work, report the accident to your employer. You will also need to get the names, addresses, and phone number of all witnesses to the premise liability accident; If you are able, try to locate the hazard that caused your injury; Take pictures of your the accident scene and your injuries; If injured, do not delay getting medical treatment and follow doctor’s orders; document your pain, stress, swelling, and other injuries that cannot be seen; do not give a recorded statement before talking to an attorney; do not sign a medical records authorization or any paper or accept a settlement before talking to a Sacramento premises liability attorney.

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Types of Premise Liability Cases

The types of premise liability cases can be almost limitless. In California, premise liability cases can encompass a broad spectrum of issues, from uniform building code violations to improper maintenance or management.

Among the most common types of premise liability cases are slips and falls and trip and falls. Slip and fall accidents often result from negligence caused by potential hazards such as:

  • Uneven flooring
  • Poorly lit or unmarked stairways
  • Slippery floors

It is the duty of a property owner or manager to provide reasonable security, providing inadequate security can result in:

  • Assaults and Fights at bars
  • Scaffolding and roof falls
  • Dog Bites
  • Work and Construction site falls from lack of fall protection
  • Falling debris from construction sites
  • Defective staircases and railing
  • Defective elevators and escalators
  • Chemical exposure
  • Falling merchandize
  • Break-ins and assaults

Common Causes of Sacramento Premise Liability Injuries

  • Falls into unguarded holes
  • Asbestos
  • Lead
  • Playground equipment accidents
  • Hazardous windows and doors
  • Cracks in Sidewalks
  • Raised Carpet
  • Unsafe Building Design
  • Poor Lighting
  • Inadequate Railings
  • Defective Equipment
  • Badly repaired or broken steps, railings balconies, or sidewalks
  • Stairs and safety railings that are not up to code
  • Foreign objects in a dangerous place, like a stairway landing or entryway
  • Mold or slippery plant growth
  • Standing water, mud, or spills
  • Defective streets or sidewalks
  • Dangerous highway conditions
  • Dangerous street design
  • Blind intersections
  • Defective traffic lights
  • Defective design or construction
  • Lack of proper warning signs

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Proving A Premise Liability Case

In order to win a premise liability lawsuit, the victim must be able to prove that a hazard existed, that the property owner knew about the risk or should have known, and the hazard resulted in injuries. Fulfilling these requirements can be complex, and in order to succeed with a premise liability claim, you will likely need the assistance of an experienced Sacramento premise liability attorney.

Time is of the essence in contacting a Sacramento premise liability attorney to investigate a slip and fall or trip and fall accident that resulted in serious injury. Immediately following your injury, information must be gathered. In cases involving premise liability, especially if there is a question of negligence, gathering the facts and evidence as soon as possible, before evidence has been lost or destroyed, and while witnesses memories are fresh, can be critical to the success of a case. In any premise liability case, it is important to demonstrate that there was no adequate warning of unsafe conditions and that the potential hazards could not easily have been foreseen by a reasonable person. If you decide to pursue legal action, you should contact an experienced Sacramento premise liability attorney as soon as possible to review your situation.

When determining if a company was negligent in causing your fall there are a number of factors that must be reviewed and analyzed: what was the condition or substance that caused you to injure yourself; was this condition obvious; was it dangerous; should the owner have been aware of it or was he aware of it; in other words, was your injury reasonably foreseeable? It is often up to a jury to determine whether a property owner or occupier acted reasonably, considering all the circumstances which led to the injury. A jury may consider the likelihood that someone would be injured by the unsafe condition and the severity of the potential injuries. A jury might also consider whether the owner knew or should have known about the unsafe condition and how difficult it would have been to correct that condition.

Analyzing the mechanics of the fall or slip to identify the cause, documenting the dangerous condition and the negligence that caused it, establishing the duty of care, proving control of the premises, establishing actual or constructive notice, and ultimately showing that the property condition caused the injury all must be done in order to fully evaluate and resolve any premise liability case. The Sacramento premise liability attorneys at the Crow Law Offices frequently consult with safety engineers and other experts who can speak to accepted safety standards, and establish when property owners have not met those standards. The use of expert testimony can be essential in negotiating settlements and in trying a case.

As experienced Sacramento premise liability attorneys, we understand the importance of moving quickly to investigate, document and pursue premise liability claims diligently. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to negligence on the part of a public or private property owner, we encourage you to contact our law office today to discuss your accident with our skilled and knowledgeable Sacramento legal attorneys.

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Common Premise Liability Defenses

When a property owner defends against a premise case (or slip and fall), the first defense is always that the company was simply not negligent. The owner or company may claim that the object or substance upon which you slipped had just been dropped prior by another person, and that therefore the property owner or company could not have reasonably foreseen that you would have slipped or tripped, or reasonably had time to take appropriate action to ensure that you didn't fall.

The company or land owner may also assert that the injury victim was at fault. The property owner or management company may claim that any reasonable person, exercising due diligence under the circumstances would have seen the object or substance and avoided it. A visitor on someone else's property must also act reasonably. If an unsafe condition of a property is so obvious that a person could reasonably be expected to observe it, the owner or occupier of the property may not have a duty to warn others about the condition. If a reasonable person would have seen the dangerous condition and been able to avoid it, the victim may be found partially or entirely at fault for the accident. If a victim is partially at fault, the concept of comparative negligence may apply. The percentage of the victims fault; will be compared to the percentage of the defendants fault; and the amount of damages recoverable by the victim will be reduced proportionally.

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Damages in a Premise Liability Case

If you are injured in a premise liability accident, your Sacramento premise liability accident lawyer may identify possible claims for you including the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Life care expenses
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Impairment
  • Loss of consortium
  • Workers' compensation
  • Punitive damages
  • Wrongful death

The extent of those damages will depend on the circumstances of the premise liability accident. In instances where multiple parties bear responsibility for the premise liability accident, monetary damages will need to be apportioned.

Calculation of damages depends on factors such as the injuries, current earnings and impairment of future earning capacity, marital status and dependents, the nature and extent of the injuries, and the amounts of past, present and future medical expenses. It is in your best interests that you contact a competent Sacramento premise liability attorney for assistance in calculating your damages.

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Common Premise Liability Injuries

  • Traumatic Brain injury (TBI) and Concussion or Head Injury
  • Spinal Cord injury (SCI)
  • Paralysis and Speech Loss
  • Quadriplegia and Paraplegia
  • Burns and Electrocutions
  • Spine injury
  • Knee injury
  • Shoulder injury
  • Ankle injury
  • Vision Loss, Blindness, or Eye Injury
  • Broken bones
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

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