Category Archives: Premises Liability

Can a Burglar Sue for Injury?

Monday, December 18, 2017

Property owners have a duty of care to maintain the safety of the premises for those who come onto the property. Can a burglar sue for injury? The short answer is yes, it is possible to sue for almost anything, though many claims will be dismissed as frivolous and may cost those attempting to litigate the issue for both their own court costs and the costs of those they intended to sue. However, there are some circumstances under which even burglars may be able to successfully sue for personal injury on your property.

A Duty of Care

The duty of care property owners have extends not only to store owners or other businesses but to homeowners as well. Homeowners must take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of those who come on their property. This includes ensuring sidewalks and driveways are free of ice during the winter and making sure trip hazards are addressed as needed.

This duty of care extends to those invited onto your property for a specific purpose. This can include a plumber who comes into your home to fix a leak, landscapers taking care of your yard, and contractors performing work in or around your home.

Licensees are people who have the consent of the homeowner to enter the home for their own purposes. This includes guests you may invite to your home for dinner, neighbors invited to a backyard cookout, and friends your children invite home after school. The homeowner has a duty to exercise reasonable care to ensure the licensee is protected from known dangers.

Trespassers, however, do not have a right to be on the homeowner’s property. In most cases, the homeowner has no obligation to protect the trespasser from dangers. This would include those invited to the home or licensees in the process of committing a crime in the home. For example, should an overnight guest attempt to steal your television in the night and injure themselves by dropping the television on their foot, the homeowner would not have a duty to protect from this danger.

Booby Traps

There are some exceptions, however, in which the homeowner may be responsible for the safety of a trespasser. A homeowner cannot set up booby traps designed to injure trespassers. Any conduct designed to willfully injure trespassers is not excused, and the burglar may sue for personal injuries that result. Home Alone may succeed as a comedy, but the bandits would likely have grounds to sue for the injuries they sustained.

Deadly Force

Homeowners do have the right to use deadly force to defend their lives in most states. However, you may never use deadly force to protect personal property. Unless you have reason to believe your life is in danger, any injuries or fatalities you cause a trespasser intentionally may result in a successful suit against you for injuries suffered by the trespasser.

While most suits for personal injury brought by a trespasser may be frivolous, it is always a good idea to consult a Bakersfield premises liability lawyer, should you ever find yourself in the position of being sued by a trespasser.

Posted by highrank at 7:56 pm

What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

Monday, December 11, 2017

Property owners have a duty of care to ensure that their property is safe for those who use the premises. Falling on someone’s property does not make the owner automatically responsible for your injury. It must be shown that the property was unsafe, and the conditions of the property caused your fall. The steps you take after your accident can help establish the facts of the case and make the difference in getting the compensation you are entitled to receive so speak with a seasoned Bakersfield premises liability attorney as soon as possible following your accident.

Immediately After Your Fall

Let the business  know about your accident and call for medical assistance. Even if you do not believe you are injured at the time, bruising, swelling and sprains can take time to become apparent. Internal injuries can go unnoticed by laymen that are spotted by trained medical personnel. In the shock after a fall, you may not notice an injury, but it is important to be careful what you say. Merely inform the appropriate personnel that you have fallen and need medical assistance, without volunteering information beyond what is strictly required.

Photographs Help Document the Cause of the Fall

While waiting for medical staff to arrive, it is helpful to document as much about the accident scene as possible in photographs. If you are not able to take photos, you can ask a friend with you to take the photos, or even ask bystanders to take photographs using your phone. It is important to have pictures of the area that caused the fall, paying special attention to any damage or other conditions that contributed to the accident. It is also good to have pictures of you, particularly showing any obvious injuries, the clothing you were wearing, and the shoes you had on at the time.

Identify Witnesses

If there were witnesses to your accident, ask them for their contact information while you wait for medical help to arrive. Having eyewitness testimony is very helpful for establishing the facts of the case. If you have any friends with you who can assist in getting their information, even better.

Take Notes Soon After the Accident

As soon as possible after the incident, write down some notes about your accident while the events are still fresh in your memory. This will not only lend credibility to your statement but establish the basis for your case when you first contact your attorney. Be as precise as you can about the details. Note the time and date of the accident, the exact location, what happened to cause your fall, and the injuries you suffered as a result.

Contact an Attorney

Insurance companies fight slip and fall accident claims vigorously due to the potential for large claims resulting from fall accidents and the perception that many people pursue fall claims fraudulently. If you have been injured due to dangerous conditions that were not addressed by a property owner in California, you are entitled to compensation. Having a Bakersfield injury lawyer on your side will help you collect the evidence to support your claim and can ensure that your rights are upheld.

Posted by highrank at 7:29 pm

What Are My Legal Options If I Was Hurt on Private Property?

Monday, November 20, 2017

You might assume that if a property is private, the owner has full rights to use and maintain it as he or she desires. This is not necessarily the case. Even owners of private properties have basic duties to keep the premises free from hazards. If you suffer an injury on someone’s privately owned property, the owner may be liable for your damages so it is always a good idea to speak with a qualified Bakersfield premises liability lawyer. Here is an overview of some possible legal options you have after an injury on private property.

Sue the Property Owner

A slip and fall, accidental drowning, criminal attack, or dog bite on private premises may give the injured victim grounds to sue the property owner. Your right to sue depends on your status as a property visitor or guest. There are three guest statuses, each with different duties the property owner owes:

  • Invitee. If the owner invites guests onto private property for reasons of his or her own, such as for a yard sale, barbecue, or pool party, the guests are “invitees.” As such, they are owed the greatest standards of care. The property owner must keep the premises free from known hazards, check for unknown hazards, and post warning signs if necessary.
  • Licensee. Licensees are people who enter private property for their own reasons. Examples include service teams and salespeople. Private property owners don’t owe licensees as many duties of care as invitees. They do not have to inspect properties for unknown hazards.
  • Trespasser. If you trespass on private property and suffer an injury, you most likely do not have a case against the property owner. Owners don’t owe trespassers any duties of care, other than a duty not to cause harm to the trespasser. If the trespasser was a child, on the other hand, the property owner has a duty to keep the premises safe.

To sue the owner of a piece of private property, you need proof that the owner owed you a duty of care, breached this duty, and that this breach caused your injuries. You must demonstrate that your accident and injuries would not have happened were it not for some act of negligence on the property owner’s part.

Sue the Business Owner

A commercial property can still be privately owned. If you suffer an injury on a commercial property instead of a residential property, you may be able to sue the business owner or corporation. The laws in most states hold commercial property owners to very high standards in terms of maintaining safe premises.

Since guests will be invitees, commercial property owners must take care to repair known hazards, such as uneven curbs or defective staircase railings. They must also check for hidden hazards, such as faulty electrical wires in the walls. Failure to maintain a safe business, resulting in guest injury, is most likely grounds for a suit.

Call an Attorney

Laws regarding home and business owners’ duties of care in regard to safe properties vary by state but keep the same general rules. If you’ve been injured on privately owned property, retain a reliable Bakersfield attorney experienced in premises liability cases. You will need to prove that the owner owed you a duty of care, but failed to act within the accepted standards. Negotiations with insurance companies and owners of private property can be difficult. A good attorney can make the process simpler and more rewarding.

Posted by highrank at 4:44 pm

Can I Sue a Hotel for Personal Injury?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Hotels owe very high standards of care to guests. Hotels guests are “invitees” by law, or visitors expressly invited to the property for the hotel’s benefit. As invitees, hotel guests have the right to an environment that’s free from hazards. It is every hotel’s duty to repair known dangers, search for unknown ones, and warn guests of risks that may not be obvious. Any breach of these duties, resulting in guest injury, may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit so speak with an experienced Bakersfield premises liability attorney to learn more. There are four main elements you need to sue a hotel in Kern County:

Duty

Common accidents that can happen at hotels are slip and falls, elevator/escalator accidents, swimming pool accidents, food poisoning, parking lot car accidents, and acts of violence. If you suffer injuries after any type of incident at a hotel, start looking into your potential rights to sue. The elements needed to sue a hotel start with proving the hotel’s duty to you. This is typically an easy thing to prove since hotels automatically owe all guests and property visitors (other than adult trespassers) basic duties of care. These duties include:

  • Disclosing health and safety hazards
  • Protecting guests’ privacy
  • Keeping a reasonably safe premises
  • Not discriminating against guests
  • Taking adequate security measures

The hotel’s duties of care to you in a particular accident may depend on the circumstances surrounding your injuries. Say, for example, that someone mugged you in the hotel’s parking lot. If the courts deem that a history of crime at the hotel or other factor is enough for the hotel to have foreseen the attack, the hotel may be guilty of negligence if it didn’t take reasonable steps to prevent the mugging, such as hiring a security guard. If, however, the courts rule that the hotel didn’t have reason to foresee the attack, the hotel may not have owed you the duty to hire a security guard.

Breach of Duty

Breaches of duty can take many shapes and forms on hotel premises. A “breach” is any act or failure to act that goes against accepted standards of care for the industry and situation. Proving a hotel’s breach of duty or negligence may take an investigation of what happened. As an injured party, you must prove that the defendant acted in a way that a reasonable and prudent party would not have in similar circumstances, resulting in your accident.

Causation

Injured hotel guests must prove that the hotel’s breach of duty of care was the actual and proximate cause of the accident in question. The “proximate cause” of an accident is the primary cause. It might not be the initial event that started the accident, but the action that produced the foreseeable negative consequences. The injured party must show that his or her injuries resulted directly from the proximate cause (the cause without which the accident would not have occurred.)

Damages

Finally, the victim of a hotel accident must have real, compensable damages to have grounds to sue the establishment. If you did not suffer damages such as a personal injury, the wrongful death of a loved one, property damage, pain and suffering, medical bills, or lost wages, the hotel will not owe you anything, even if an accident happened. You must have suffered some kind of damages to have grounds for a lawsuit. Talk to a Bakersfield lawyer for more information about filing a suit against a hotel.

Posted by highrank at 4:13 pm