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Understanding Premise Liability Claims

Posted in Premises Liability on October 9, 2019

Premise liability is a type of personal injury law covering accidents and injuries that result from a property owner’s negligence. The victim seeks compensation because the owner failed to act responsibly with their property, whether that’s a dog, a staircase, or an entire building.

In a premise liability case, the property owner could be found responsible for the victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property loss or damage, and emotional or mental stress.  

Since this is a very complex area of personal injury law, your best bet is to get a seasoned attorney to go through the details of your incident with you and help you make an appropriate claim in seeking compensation from the property owner.

Here are some common types of premise liability cases:

“Slip and Fall” Accidents

A “slip and fall” injury case is when a person trips or slips, falls, and is injured on someone else’s property. To prove the owner was at fault, the injured person must be able to show that the accident happened as a result of dangerous conditions. That could be torn carpeting, oily floors, or damaged staircases, as well as cracked sidewalks or uncleared snow and ice around a building. In such cases, the property owner is responsible for compensation because the injury occurred as a result of their failing to maintain their property and/or warn others about any dangers.

Swimming Pool Accidents

When someone is injured in a swimming pool, the owner of the pool could be held responsible if they failed to take certain safety measures. This applies to public pools as well as those of private residences.

For example, in California, pool owners must have at least two safety mechanisms in place, such as a fence that isolates the pool or spa from the house, an approved pool safety cover, or an alarm in the pool that sounds when someone enters the water unauthorized. Public pools should include either a lifeguard on duty or warning signs when there isn’t one. Failure to comply with these regulations puts the pool owner at risk of being at fault if someone is injured or drowns in their pool.

Inadequate Building Security

Building owners of hotels, apartments, hostels, and dorms are responsible for ensuring the safety of guests and residents. This might include hardware, like building locks and security cameras. Owners can also limit who is authorized to enter the building by providing non-duplicatable keys to residents or having a door monitor on duty.

If safety measures aren’t in place and someone enters the premises and commits a crime (robbery, rape, assault), the owner could be responsible for compensation because they failed to take certain steps to ensure the safety of those inside the building.

Dog Bites

According to the  California Civil Code Section 3342, dog owners are “strictly liable” for any injuries their dog causes, meaning they are responsible even when their dog has no history of violent or aggressive behavior. If a victim can prove they were bitten in a public place or while lawfully on private land, the dog owner will be responsible for any damages, such as medical expenses.

Owners should always post signs on their property warning people there is a dog. When in public, they should properly leash their dogs, and if going on public transit with one, adhere to any rules and guidelines set down by the transit company.

As with most any type of law, premise liability cases come with their own complexities and exceptions to the rule. In some situations, you might not even realize the property owner was at fault for the accident and wind up taking responsibility for your injuries and missing compensation you are rightfully owed. Given that, it’s important to speak with an objective third party, such as an experienced attorney, as soon as you can after the incident.

Rodriguez and Associates has a long history of dealing with premise liability cases and successfully representing clients against wrongdoers. If you have been involved in an accident on someone else’s property, please reach out today to discuss your case.