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When a person is injured on property possessed or maintained by someone else, the property owner or party responsible for maintaining the property may be held legally responsible for that person’s injuries, if the injuries were caused by a dangerous condition on the property.
A possessor’s duty is not limited to keeping the physical property in a safe condition. The premises alone may involve no dangers, but the condition may be unsafe because of the activity on the premises. In such a case, the possessor must exercise due care to ensure that such activities do not harm persons coming onto the premises.
A possessor, under certain circumstances, also has a duty to control the conduct of third persons coming onto the premises. The possessor must take affirmative action to control the wrongful acts of third persons, if the owner has reason to anticipate such acts and the probability of injury resulting from such acts is great. Foreseeability is a crucial factor in determining the existence of such a duty.
Although slip and fall accidents are the most common type of premises liability suit, they arise in many other ways, including toxic chemical exposure, toxic mold, lead poisoning, defective lighting, improperly maintained equipment, fallen trees, dog bites, uncovered ditches, potholes, broken steps, foreign substances on the ground, and any other dangerous condition of the premises that the possessor fails to warn of or correct. These conditions can result in a wide range of injuries, from fractures, to contusions, to more severe injuries such as spinal cord injuries, severe brain injuries, concussions, or even wrongful death.
Who may be liable
Property owners and businesses have a duty to provide a safe environment for people on their property. A premises liability case might arise against owners of commercial property, private residences, vacant lots, and many other types of properties. In addition to the owner of the property, tenants, maintenance companies, security companies, and governmental entities may also be defendants in premises liability suits.
Status of the injured person
The property possessor’s duty to the injured person can vary significantly, depending on his or her status.
An invitee is someone who is invited to enter or remain on the premises for a commercial benefit to the possessor of the premises. The invitation can be either express or implied. For example, a customer in a department store is an invitee, since the store is said to have offered a standing invitation to potential customers. A premises owner has the highest duty of care to an invitee, since the owner reaps a financial benefit from the invitee’s presence.
A possessor has a duty to inspect the premises for potential hazards, and has a duty to warn or otherwise protect an invitee from risks of harm from a condition on the property if:
1.The risk is unreasonable, and
2.The possessor knew (or should have known) of the condition, and should realize it involves an unreasonable risk of harm to an invitee.
A licensee is a person who is invited to be on the premises for a purpose other than business. A social guest is a licenses.
Typically, a possessor is liable for physical harm caused to a licensee by a condition on the premises only if the injured person can show:
1.The possessor knew (or should have known) of the condition, should have realized it involved an unreasonable risk of harm, and should have expected the licensee would not discover the danger,
2.The possessor failed to exercise reasonable care to make the condition safe or to warn the licensee
3.The licensee did not have reason to know of the condition and the risk involved.
By way of example, if a homeowner knows a step is broken, but the step does not appear to be broken, the homeowner needs to warn the guest of the danger, otherwise, she may be liable for the injuries the guest sustains falling on the step.
A trespasser is a person who enters the property of another without an invitation, for his or her own purposes, and not in the performance of any duty to the owner.
Where premises owners are not aware of the presence of trespassers, they typically have no duty to warn a trespasser of any dangers or to make their premises safe for the benefit of a trespasser. If the premises owner is aware of the presence of trespassers, the premises owner may be obligated to exercise ordinary care in relation to the safety of a trespasser.
WHAT TO DO:
If you or a family member has been injured on the property of another:
1.Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Go to an emergency room or an urgent care as soon as you experience any pain or discomfort following an accident. Even if you don’t see any external injuries, it is extremely important to be evaluated to see if you have any fractures, a closed head injury, or internal bleeding. If you do not you’re your injuries require emergency medical care, see your family doctor as soon as possible. If you delay in seeking medical care, you could be making a costly mistake. At the Law Office of Slaughter & Slaughter, we work with medical doctors, chiropractors, and therapists who specialize in treating people who have been injured in an accident. Even if you do not have health insurance coverage, Slaughter & Slaughter can provide medical referrals for you to receive appropriate treatment.
2.Contact an experienced attorney. Premises liability cases involve complex legal issues about the status of the injured person, the foreseeability of the harm, and causation. Failing to obtain proper legal representation can cost you thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. As tempting as it may be, don’t be lured into signing a release in exchange for a quick settlement. Once you sign that release, you cannot ask for more money, which will be tragic if you find out that your injuries have not fully resolved and you need additional medical care.
If your family has experienced a injury on someone else’s property:
1.Contact an experienced attorney. Please give us a call. We can help take the burden off of your shoulders and take the necessary steps to protect your interest.
2.Slaughter & Slaughter will accurately and honestly evaluate your claim and strive to get the maximum settlement or judgment to compensate you for your loss, including reimbursement of medical, funeral, and burial expenses; and compensation for the pain and suffering your loved one suffered prior to his or her death, your loss of the financial support of your loved one, loss of services for the everyday contribution your loved one made to the household, and the loss of companionship, affection, sexual enjoyment, and moral support.
The Law Offices of
Slaughter & Slaughter
402 West Broadway,
San Diego CA 92101
There is no reason to suffer alone. We can help you bring a claim and strive to get the compensation you and your family will need. Our compassionate premises liability lawyers want to see you achieve the best resolution possible.
We serve clients throughout Southern California, including Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and the communities of La Jolla, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, Encinitas, Escondido, Pacific Beach, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chula Vista, and surrounding areas.
Don’t delay, call today for more information and a free evaluation of your claim.
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