One can be injured on someone else property in a number of ways, including, slips and fall accidents, trip and fall accidents, shelf collapsing accidents, products falling and hitting one accident, walls collapsing on someone, these and many other ways exist for folks to be hurt on someone else’s property. We often refer to these types of claims as premises liability cases.
When we, the public, enters a property, we all have a reasonable expectation of not being harmed. These are expectations that we all have, whether we are going into a supermarket, restaurant, fast food restaurant, amusement park, casino, office building, hospitals, parking lots, sidewalks or any other structure or building. The law requires that the possessor of the property to maintain their property and they are required to inspect and correct defective and dangerous conditions. This failure to do so is sometimes called “premises liability.” For example, someone having their care fixed at car repair facility might slip and fall on an oil slick within an area in which customers walk. Such a person may have a legitimate claim because the owner of the property failed to keep the premises safe.
The legal theory of premises liability holds property owners responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on their property when they have done something negligent. Just because one trips and falls on someone else’s property does not make them automatically responsible for what happened. One must show the owner was in someway at fault. A land owner is not an insurer of the safety of the folks on his premises. As stated in the Court case of (Taylor v. Centennial Bowl, Inc. (1966) 65 Cal.2d 114, 121 [52 Cal. Rptr. 561, 416 P.2d 793] the land owner “ is required to exercise reasonable care for their safety and is liable for injuries resulting from a breach of this duty. The general duty includes not only the duty to inspect the premises in order to uncover dangerous conditions, but, as well, the duty to take affirmative action to control the wrongful acts of third persons which threaten invitees where the occupant has reasonable cause to anticipate such acts and the probability of injury resulting therefrom.” (internal citations omitted.)
Liability is set by the laws and procedures of the state within which the injury occurred. In some states, including California there is potentially different standards set depending upon the legal status of the injured party. In Rowland v. Christian, 69 Cal. 2d 108 (1968), a case decided by the Supreme Court of California placed a general duty of care on the possessor of land to the people on the land. However, the still recognizes a higher degree of care for business invitees.
Under California law to hold a possessor of a property responsible for personal injuries to someone on their land one needs to establish essentially three facts.
1. The owners of the property knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and that the condition created an unreasonable risk of injury. A owner of a commercial property is required to inspect for and discover “dangerous conditions.”;
2. The owner didn’t exercise due care to make discover the condition, to make the condition safe, or to warn of the dangerous condition and the risk involved; and
3. The injured party did not know or have reason to know of the dangerous condition and the risks involved.
We have handled many premises liability cases including claims against public entities, private buildings and amusement parks. The list is long. So remember, if you or a loved one has been injured because of a premises liability incident, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that your legal rights to fair compensation are fully assessed and protected. Please feel free to give me a call, we are here to help. The Law Offices of Richard M. Katz, 626-796-6333