What is a “Premises Liability” Case?

 

 

What is a “premises liability” case? When someone is injured because a property (or premises) is not reasonably safe, the owners or entity that controls the property (such as a tenant or business owner) may be responsible. California jury instructions explain the duty of care that property owners (or anyone who controls property) have to the public using the property

This could be a public sidewalk, a retail store, business property, or even a private property – if the property created an unreasonable risk of harm.

When the property owners know, or should know through reasonable inspections, that an unsafe condition exists, they are required to address the unsafe condition so that an unwitting person is not injured.

What are some examples of unsafe conditions in a premises liability case?

Examples may be objects on the ground, liquids or leaks on the ground, hidden traps or tripping hazards, uneven sidewalks or asphalt, or any other manner that someone is injured because of an unsafe condition of property. We’ve even seen cases where objects fall off shelves in retail stores, slips in grocery stores or big box stores, and objects falling onto customers – just to name a few.

Often the unsafe hazardous conditions are either known to the property owner or tenants, and sometimes the conditions are not actually known, but should have been known if the property owners had conducted reasonable periodic inspections. For example, in a big box store inspections should be done frequently given the fact that thousands of people enter/exit the store every day, with many products that may fall or spill onto the ground. The property owners have a duty to inspect and make sure their store is safe.

This is not to say that a property owner is always liable or at fault, some accidents are truly unavoidable – but in most cases if the premises is maintained within acceptable standards injuries could be and should be prevented.

The bottom line is that owners and other persons who control property must keep it in a reasonably safe condition, so that anyone who might come onto the property is not injured.

Injuries in premises cases can be devastating, and range from minor sprains and strains, to broken bones, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries that are life altering.

If you’ve been injured as a result of an unsafe condition on property, contact us now. It is critical to preserve evidence, and establish proof of the unsafe conditions before it is too late. One of the main methods property owners and their insurers try to defend such cases is to argue that the injury never happened, did not happen at the property, or did not occur in the manner you describe.

It is critical to document the incident with photographs and witnesses. Report the injury to the appropriate personnel, for example the store manager or other employee. Get the names of the employees to whom you reported the injury, if possible. Take of a photograph of any incident reports. Obtain medical care after the injury and report the manner in which the injury occurred to the medical professionals.

Usually commercial business properties have video surveillance. It is important to notify management of the injury and demand that video footage is preserved. Property owners and their insurers often try to avoid producing video footage, claiming that it is lost, destroyed, erased, or overwritten every 24 hours. Therefore, it is critical that your legal team send a demand to preserve evidence and produce video right away.

Unfortunately, premises injuries are quite common for a variety of reasons. We are here to help, we’ve not only recovered substantial monetary figures our clients, but we’ve helped make properties in our communities safer for others as well by highlighting the dangerous conditions, and demanding they be corrected for anyone using the properties in the future.

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