California Premises Liability Law
If you are injured while on another person’s property due to their failure to maintain the property safe, you have the right to receive financial compensation for your bodily injury and property damage. It does not matter whether you are on a private and public property, the Civil Code of California is clear on the matter – everyone is responsible for their actions and owes others a duty of care.
An experienced lawyer specializing in personal injury under California law will assist you with the evaluation of your case, the preparation of your claim and the negotiation of your settlement. However, you should not delay talking to an attorney about your accident. The statute of limitations in California is 2 years after the date of the accident – this is how much time you have available to take legal action against the responsible party.
Common Instances of Premises Liability Cases
What exactly represents a premises liability case according to personal injury California law? The most common example is a slip & fall incident. It may appear a commonplace and simple accident, but it may have serious consequences, especially for an old and frail person.
Other common example of premises liability cases are:
- Swimming pool accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Trips and falls caused by uneven floors or stairs
- Elevator accidents
- Dog bites
- Electrical shocks due to unsafe or exposed wiring.
How to Prove a Premises Liability Case
Personal injury California law requires accident victims to bring evidence that:
- The responsible party was an owner, lessor, occupant or otherwise in control of the property
- The responsible party was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property
- The victim suffered harm
- The responsible party’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the victim’s harm.
In the Civil Jurors Instructions, the Judicial Council of California defines the concept of “dangerous conditions” that represents the basis of premises liability cases. In the understanding of the court, a dangerous condition must meet the following criteria:
- A condition on the property that created an unreasonable risk of harm
- A condition that the property owner/lessor/occupant/manager (the defendant) should have know about, through the exercise of duty of care
- A condition that the defendant failed to repair, protect others against it or give adequate warning.
What makes personal injury California law different from other states is that it does not automatically prevent trespassers from seeking compensations in premises liability cases. Instead of focusing solely on the plaintiff’s right to be on the property, juries will analyze:
- The location of the property
- The likelihood that trespassers would come onto the property
- The likelihood and degree of injury suffered by the trespasser.
I Was Partly at Fault – Do I Still Have a Case?
Personal injury California law is ruled by the pure comparative negligence doctrine, meaning that you are eligible to receive compensation if you were less than 100% at fault in the incident.
However, in premises liability cases, there is an exception that may bar you from receiving compensation. This exception is called the obviously unsafe conditions, which any person is reasonably expected to notice. In this case, the person who controls the property is not obliged to warn others about it. However, they still have to use reasonable care to protect others against the risk of harm.
Let a Personal Injury California Law Attorney Evaluate Your Case
Navigating the complexities of personal injury California law is difficult for the average person. You may even feel tempted to give up and not pursue your case. Thankfully, you can always rely on an experienced personal injury attorney, who will evaluate your case carefully and represent you in settlement negotiations or a lawsuit against the at-fault person.