Do I Have A Case? Premises Liability

Who is responsible for accidents that occur on or around buildings and grounds?

We often refer to personal injury accidents that are caused by a defective condition or a dangerous condition on property, either outside, such as a sidewalk or parking lot or inside a building, as “premises liability” accidents. These premises liability accidents can occur at commercial buildings (stores or offices), commercial venues (amusement parks or water parks) residences (private homes or rentals), or on public property (parks, streets, or public transportation facilities).

Many circumstances can cause a dangerous condition on premises, such as — unsafe design, poor construction or poor building materials, improper maintenance, improperly managed amusement rides. Dangerous conditions on premises can lead to many types of personal injury accidents including slip and fall, trip and fall, being hit by an item falling on you or any number of ways.

It may surprise you to learn that in order to recover for personal injuries suffered on another’s property you must prove that they were negligent in the use and management of their property. Sometimes the property owner / possessor of property is responsible and sometimes not. Premises liability personal injury claims are very dependent on the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident.

Generally the owner or possessor of a property has a duty to anyone who enters the property not to expose that individual an unreasonable risk of harm because of condition, construction or design of the property. The logic for the rule is understandable: The owner or possessor of the premises has complete control over of the premises and is in the best position to maintain and control the premises. A visitor at someone else’s property has a right to assume the property is in a reasonable safe condition for its intended use and purpose.

Nevertheless, a visitor must use the property properly. This can be somewhat moderated depending upon the age of the visitor. However, as a rule the conduct of the injured person can be an issue. By way of example, if a person gets injured while acting in an unexpected, unauthorized, or dangerously careless way, the property owner or occupier will probably not be responsible for the injury.

Under California law the owner (owner, possessor, renter, governmental entity) of a premise or location is not “automatically responsible” for the injuries suffered by a customer or a pedestrian. The California Supreme Court in Ortega v. Kmart (2001) 26 Cal.4th 1200 [114 Cal.Rptr.2d 470, 36 P.3d 11] set forth the law for slip and fall / trip and fall claims. Ortega involved a store in which a patron suffered an injury because of a slip and fall accident.

The Court stated that “It is well established in California that although a store owner is not an insurer of the safety of its patrons. (Ortega, supra, 26 Cal.4th at p. 1205.” The Court went on to state “Because the owner is not the insurer of the visitor’s personal safety, the owner’s actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition is a key to establishing its liability.” (Ortega, supra, 26 Cal.4th at p. 1206). The Court further held that “Courts have also held that where the plaintiff relies on the failure to correct a dangerous condition to prove the owner’s negligence, the plaintiff has the burden of showing that the owner had notice of the defect in sufficient time to correct it.” (Ortega, supra, 26 Cal.4th at p. 1206.)

In the case of Getchell v. Rogers Jewelry (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 381, 385 [136 Cal.Rptr.3d 641], the Court held that “Generally speaking, a property owner must have actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition before liability will be imposed. In the ordinary slip and fall case, . . . the cause of the dangerous condition is not necessarily linked to an employee. . .”

If you have been injured because of a premises accident at a commercial building (store or office), or at a commercial venue (amusement park or water park), or at a residence (private home or rental), or on public property (park, street, or public transportation facility), you may be thinking “Do I have a case?”

Consider this an owner / possessor of property will be found negligent in the use or maintenance of their property if 1) a condition on the property created an unreasonable risk of harm; 2) the owner / possessor knew or, through the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about the dangerous condition; and 3) the owner / possessor failed to repair the condition, protect against harm from the condition, or give adequate warning of the condition.

The Law Offices of Richard M. Katz has had many successful claims against property owners over the years we have had successful results against governmental entities, private homeowners, builders, amusement parks and venues. Some of these cases resulted in death and serious injury. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed possibly on someone else’s premises please give me a call for a free consultation. Please contact Richard M. Katz, Esq. at 626-796-6333 so that my office can help protect your legal rights.

Visit us at our website at  https://www.lawyer-personal-injury-law.com

ATV (all-terrain vehicles) Accidents – What You Need To Know

A car accident also known as a traffic collision, automobile accident, road traffic collision or car crash can be a terrible event. In the same vein, ATV (all-terrain vehicles)accidents can be devastating.

When a ATV collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, animal, road debris, or other stationary obstruction, such as a tree or utility pole or overturns the resulting collisions may cause injury, death, vehicle damage, and property damage.

A number of factors contribute to the risk of collision, including vehicle design, speed of operation, road design, road environment, driver skill and/or impairment, and driver behavior.

Vehicular collisions lead to death and disability as well as financial costs to both society and the individuals involved.

Since ATVs were introduced in the early 1970s, they have become increasingly popular. Many families use ATVs for weekend activities. But with increased use accidents and injuries have also increased. As reported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, as of 2012 over 100,000 ATV injuries were recorded. It is estimated that 25,000 of these ATV related were to children younger than 16 years of age. Over 2,900 children died from ATV-related accidents between 1982 and 2012, .

ATVs especially older ones are so dangerous because of their design. As the result of safety concerns expressed by the federal government almost 30 years ago ATV manufacturers entered into a consent decree in 1988. In the consent decree, manufactures agreed to halt production of three-wheeled ATVs, to provide safety training for new owners, to place warning labels on their products, and to make recommendations about what size of ATV is appropriate for different age groups. In 1998 the consent decree expired but ATV manufacturers have pledged to continue to follow most of its provisions.

Nevertheless because ATVs generally get far less use the cars or trucks many older ATVs are still in use and very dangerous.

Whether an ATV was made before or after 1988, they still all have common safety issues. Including many have no frame protecting the operator in the event of an accident. ATVs tend to ride on large, low-pressure tires that can have difficulty gripping the rough terrain over which they travel. Many have hand-operated brakes, which operated incorrectly can cause an ATV to overturn as one attempts to bring them to a stop.

As well ATVs have relatively large engines for their size and weight. Some ATVs are capable of speeds as high as 70 mph. At that speed while often going across broken and uneven terrain an accident is likely. Many ATVs are not designed for passengers but folks allow others to ride on the ATV again creating a potentially dangerous situation that can lead to death or injury.

Pre 1998 three-wheeled ATVs are less stable than the current four-wheeled ATVs, but even the four-wheeled models can be top-heavy and prone to serious rollover accidents causing death and injury.

Notwithstanding design changes the number of injuries and deaths per year attributable to ATV accidents continues to rise. The problem is twofold. One reason the number of injuries and deaths continue to rise is because the use of ATVs is increasing, it is a popular activity. AS well, ATV makers are building more powerful ATVs and marketing them to younger and younger children. Parents often and wrongfully believe these ATVs are “toys.”

One recent slick marketing tool is the “transitional” ATV. This ATV is sized between the smaller ATVs intended for children and a full-sized adult ATV. These “transitional” ATVs are marketed to generally teenage boys in the 14 to 15 year-old age group. And we all know how safety cautious 13 to 16 year-olds are. Kids in this age generally have no fear and without proper training, guidance and supervision there is an increasing likelihood of serious injuries or death.

As a group ATV manufacturers have fought any attempt to impose regulations on ATV ownership or use (such as age limits and mandatory helmet laws).

In my practice I have handled claims against various manufacturers of vehicles, including ATV and Motorcycles. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed while riding an ATV, please contact me, Richard M. Katz, Esq. at 626-796-6333 so that my office can help protect your legal rights. Visit us at our website https://www.lawyer-personal-injury-law.com

 

 

UP TO 40 PERCENT OF ANNUAL DEATHS FROM EACH OF FIVE LEADING CAUSES ARE PREVENTABLE

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, nearly 900,000 Americans die prematurely from the five leading causes of death . However, the Centers for Disease Control estimate that a large percentage of those deaths 20 percent to 40 percent from each cause could be prevented. The percentage varies greatly from state to state.

In the United States the five leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries. Collectively they caused 63 percent of all U.S. deaths in 2010. Unintentional injuries include car accidents, slip and fall accidents and other personal injury accidents. The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) seminal study of preventable medical errors estimated as many as 98,000 people die every year from medical negligence and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

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The report, in a recent issue of the CDC’s weekly journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, examined premature deaths (before age 80) from each cause for each state from 2008 to 2010. The authors then calculated the number of deaths from each cause that would have been prevented if all states had same death rate as the states with the lowest rates.

The study suggests that, if all states had the lowest death rate observed for each cause, it would be possible to prevent:

34 percent of premature deaths from heart diseases, prolonging about 92,000 lives
21 percent of premature cancer deaths, prolonging about 84,500 lives
39 percent of premature deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases, prolonging about 29,000 lives
33 percent of premature stroke deaths, prolonging about 17,000 lives
39 percent of premature deaths from unintentional injuries, prolonging about 37,000 lives

 

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH was quoted in a CDC article as stating “As a doctor, it is heartbreaking to lose just one patient to a preventable disease or injury – and it is that much more poignant as the director of the nation’s public health agency to know that far more than a hundred thousand deaths each year are preventable,”. “With programs such as the CDC’s Million Hearts initiative, we are working hard to prevent many of these premature deaths.”

Not surprisingly, there are many modifiable risk factors that are largely responsible for each of the leading causes of death, the CDC cites :

Heart disease risks include tobacco use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, poor diet, overweight, and lack of physical activity.

Cancer risks include tobacco use, poor diet, lack of physical activity, overweight, sun exposure, certain hormones, alcohol, some viruses and bacteria, ionizing radiation, and certain chemicals and other substances.

Chronic respiratory disease risks include tobacco smoke, second-hand smoke exposure, other indoor air pollutants, outdoor air pollutants, allergens, and exposure to occupational agents.

Stroke risks include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, overweight, previous stroke, tobacco use, alcohol use, and lack of physical activity.

Unintentional injury risks include lack of seatbelt use, lack of motorcycle helmet use, unsafe consumer products, drug and alcohol use (including prescription drug misuse), exposure to occupational hazards, and unsafe home and community environments.

As you can see by making changes in personal behaviors many of the risks are avoidable. Others risk factors are attributable to disparate conditions in social, demographic, environmental, economic, and geographic attributes of the local areas in which people work and live.

The study authors note that if health disparities were eliminated, as called for in Healthy People 2020 all states would be closer to achieving the lowest possible death rates for the leading causes of death.

Harold W. Jaffe, MD, the study’s senior author and CDC’s associate director for science was quoted in the CDC article as saying “We think that this report can help states set goals for preventing premature death from the conditions that account for the majority of deaths in the United States,” He was further quoted as saying “Achieving these goals could prolong the lives of tens of thousands of Americans.”

One can learn from these findings and change their and their family’s lifestyle for a healthier life.

WHY HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY? YOU WOULD NOT OPERATE ON YOURSELF, WOULD YOU?

Trying to decide whether to hire a personal injury attorney / personal injury lawyer?

There are many types of personal injury claims.   Claims can arise from car accidents, slip and fall accidents, dangerous premise conditions, workplace accidents (even if you have a worker’s compensation claim, you may have a “third party claim”), airplane, bus and train crashes, construction accidents, fires, food poisoning, drug or vitamin overdoses, animal bites, criminal acts and assaults and medical malpractice to name several.

You have been involved in an incident and suffered personal injuries and are trying to decide whether to hire an attorney. Well, it is probably a good idea to consult with a personal injury who has familiarity with your type of claim. The consultations are usually free.

He or she will review the facts of your matter. Generally an attorney will initially look at three issues. They are, was the other party negligent? What are the nature and extent of damages? Is there a relationship between the incident and the claimed injuries.  After this analysis an attorney can make an assessment of the relative strengths or weaknesses of a claim and whether the claim had merit.

If an attorney concludes that the facts do not show someone was negligent, even if you suffered injuries, there is no case.  In other words, you would have trouble making a case against an owner of a store if you spilled water or salad oil on the ground and then slipped and fell because of the spill. However, if the store owner had failed to fix the plumbing in the building and the water was on the floor because of leaky plumbing or one the store’s employees had spilled salad oil and nothing was done promptly to address the condition, then you possibly have a viable claim.

Many variables can come into play in determining negligence and often you may think that there was no negligence by anyone when there actually was.

I myself, have handled cases over the years in which folks did not think they had a case.  However, they had suffered serious injuries, and they decided to contact me. After hearing the facts, I thought that there might be a viable claim.  Following an investigation and research and believing the cases had merit, we have pursued an action. I will not go into the cases, but suffice it to say, we went to obtain a recovery for our clients.  I might add that we took the cases on contingency basis and advanced all costs.

The point is if you have been injured, you should seek the advice of a competent personal injury attorney even if you do not think that there is anyone at fault. Only a good experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate your potential claim We are here to help, give me a call.
Richard M. Katz, 626-796-6333 or visit our website  www.lawyer-personal-injury-law.com

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