You assume that retail establishments, malls, apartment complexes, nightclubs, bars, stadiums, hospitals, and other venues will be reasonably safe places to visit.
When they aren’t, the injured person might be able to seek compensation for their injuries under the concept of premises liability.
What is Premises Liability?
According to California law, individuals who own, manage, or occupy a property are obligated to implement reasonable measures to safeguard the well-being of tenants, patrons, and visitors.
The law requires warning visitors of dangers that may not be immediately obvious.
If the property owner doesn’t, they can be held liable for injuries and other losses that occur. Cases like this often fall under premises liability.
Endless potentially hazardous conditions could give rise to a premise liability claim. However, the more common premises liability claims include the following;
- Slip and fall injuries,
- School and playground injuries,
- Unsecured swimming pools,
- Negligent security,
- Power line or electrical wiring injuries, and
- Inadequate lighting and security.
Proving negligence in these cases typically requires several experts in areas such as retail management, medicine, vocational rehabilitation, and economics.
If you believe your case falls under premises liability, you may need a premises liability attorney.
How to Prove a Premises Liability Case
In a premises liability case, demonstrating that a property owner is liable requires proving that they were negligent.
Under California law, one common way to describe negligence is the “failure to exercise ordinary care.”
Another way to look at negligence is by breaking it down into elements you must prove. To prove negligence in a premises liability case, the injured person must show that:
- There was a dangerous condition on someone else’s property;
- The property owner (or someone else in control of the property) did not exercise ordinary care;
- Failing to exercise ordinary care led to an injury, death, or damage to property.
Regarding the second element involving a property owner, “property owner” is a bit of a misnomer. The law does not require a party to own or possess the property to be considered liable.
In many circumstances, control over the premise will also trigger potential liability.
Turning to the third element, whoever is in charge of the property must exercise ordinary care. But what is ordinary care? It includes:
- Maintaining their property;
- Inspecting the property;
- Repairing any potentially dangerous conditions; and
- Giving adequate warning of any dangerous condition.
Sometimes the case is not so cut-and-dry, and failure to exercise ordinary care isn’t obvious.
In that case, the court will apply the following factors to the specific facts of the case to determine if a property owner used ordinary care or committed premises liability negligence:
- Property location;
- Likelihood of an injury;
- Probable severity of such an injury;
- If the owner was aware of the condition;
- Difficulty of taking precautions against such injuries; and
- How much control the owner had over the condition that created a risk of injury.
By providing evidence, such as photos or videos of the accident scene, and medical records of your injuries, you can help prove the elements of negligence and the factors of ordinary care.
Proving your case means a potential settlement to pay for damages you suffered. Common damages for which you might be reimbursed or compensated include;
- Medical bills,
- Physical therapy,
- Continuing medical care,
- Lost wages,
- Lost earning capacity,
- Scarring or disfigurement, and
- Pain and suffering.
When a business or person managing the property holds premises liability coverage, these damages are usually recovered from an insurance company.
If the individual has no insurance, it’s very difficult to recover compensation because, more often than not, the individual can’t pay for the damages out of pocket.
Contact Our San Francisco Premises Liability Attorney Today
Chuck Geerhart is a California premises liability attorney with extensive experience in this area and knows which experts to retain on your behalf to prepare the case for maximum settlement or a successful jury trial.
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A friend recommended Chuck Geerhart. It was an excellent recommendation.
As a British journalist, recently based in San Francisco and without medical insurance, things seemed pretty messy after I found myself in an airport shuttle, driven by a lunatic, who struck a parked cab. I had to go to hospital, who diagnosed a head injury – as, later, did a neurologist – but the shuttle company’s insurance company continually balked at paying the bills.
A friend recommended Chuck Geerhart. It was an excellent recommendation. He was a great lawyer to have on my side, persistent in his battles with the insurance company, supportive of his client and a pleasure to work with, resolving the claim with the minimum of fuss.Susan
Chuck made sure I was fairly compensated for this life altering injury.
I was working as an air traffic controller at SFO when a notoriously faulty elevator slammed to a stop between floors, throwing me against the wall and rupturing discs in my neck. I had to have major surgery on my neck. The City and the elevator maintenance company denied liability, until Chuck Geerhart obtained copies of all prior repair records which showed the elevator was continually resetting due to a power supply issue.
During the discovery phase of the case, to protect my privacy rights, he filed a motion with court to block a subpoena issued by the defense that sought to obtain my complete confidential employment file and complete health history in violation of the law. We ultimately settled the case for $1,000,000 after mediation.
I feel that Chuck did a great job making sure I was fairly compensated for this life-altering injury.Denise
Chuck Geerhart dealt with my case in the most humane way I could imagine.
I was fortunate to have been referred to Chuck Geerhart when I was dealing with a very painful and tragic case of abuse by religious leadership, which was stretched over five years.Frank
Chuck Geerhart dealt with my case in the most humane way I could imagine. He was intelligent and strategic in his approach, always very communicative; an attentive ear, fearless and confident support for someone who was very confused and seeking answers where there were only walls. He always involved me in the process, sharing crucial information with me and allowing me the time and space to decide and move forward. He treated me like a partner, which helped me recover the power that was taken away from me.
At the same time he provided the professional expertise which I needed in order to win the case. The process of winning this case was as empowering as the actual outcome. It was a healing experience in itself. I am very happy with the support and guidance I got from Chuck as well as with the monetary result from such a serious injury. It has truly helped me move on in a good way.