California law requires people who own, lease, occupy, or otherwise control property to take reasonable care to maintain its safety and give adequate warning of potential hazards to prevent injuries to others while on the premises. Property owners and occupants who fail to uphold this legal obligation may be held liable for injuries and damages sustained as a result of their negligence.
Hurt on someone else's property? You may have grounds to bring a premises liability claim against the party responsible for your injuries and losses.
However, premises liability law is complex and complicated. Property owners have a number of defenses they can use to undermine your case. Here's what you should know about California premises liability claims, common defenses, and how the Inland Empire Law Group can help you fight for a fair recovery.
Premises Liability Basics
Premises liability law covers a broad range of cases in which people are injured — or even killed — on another person's property. Common types of premises liability cases include:
- Slips and falls (or trips and falls)
- Dog bites (and other animal attacks)
- Swimming pool accidents
- Inadequate security incidents
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Objects falling on occupants
In most cases, you have just two years to file a claim before you lose the right to pursue a legal remedy. If the property involves a government entity, you must submit a claim within six months. Because valuable evidence can be lost, damaged, destroyed, or replaced with the passage of time, it's important to discuss your legal rights and options with an attorney as soon as possible.
Common Premises Liability Defenses
- The property wasn't controlled by the defendant. Defendants can only be held responsible for the property they control. Your attorney can review your case to ensure that the appropriate person is named as the defendant in your lawsuit.
- The defendant had no knowledge of the hazard. Defendants have to be aware of the hazardous condition in order to be held liable for it. Your attorney can gather evidence showing that the defendant knew — or should have known — about the hazard, but failed to act.
- The hazard was obvious. If the danger was clear or clearly marked, the defendant may argue that you should have exercised reasonable care to avoid it. Your attorney can help you gather evidence to refute this defense.
- Comparative negligence. The defendant may argue that you were partially to blame for your injuries in an attempt to minimize their obligation to you. While this won't necessarily prevent you from recovering compensation, it could reduce your settlement or financial award. Your attorney can fight to ensure you aren't assigned undeserved blame.
- Unforeseeable third-party conduct. People attacked or otherwise injured by a third party while on someone else's property may have a premises liability claim for negligent security. However, the defendant may claim that there was no way they could have anticipated what happened. Your attorney can gather evidence of similar conduct on the property — or in the area — to show that the third-party conduct in question was reasonably foreseeable.
Proving a Premises Liability Claim
In order to recover compensation, you and your attorney have to prove the following:
- The defendant owned, leased, occupied, or controlled the property in question
- The defendant was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property
- You were harmed
- The defendant's negligence was a significant factor in causing that harm
A skilled injury lawyer can help you gather the essential evidence needed to build a strong case. Examples of potentially available damages include:
- Past and future accident-related medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress damages
Schedule a Free Consultation to Talk to Us About Your Case
At the Inland Empire Law Group, we've helped countless California premises liability clients recover the fair compensation they deserve. Want to find out if we can do the same for you? Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.