Generally speaking, “premises liability” is an area of law that refers to liability for an accident that happens on another’s property because of dangerous conditions on that property. The property owner can be held responsible for those accidents. Some states have laws that require property owners to maintain their property so that visitors don’t get hurt.
In California, the standard for liability for premises liability accidents is negligence. If a property owner in California acted or failed to act in a manner that contributed to a person’s injuries on the property, the property owner may be held liable for that person’s injuries. Therefore, a property owner is required to use reasonable care to maintain his or her property in a safe condition, or to warn of the dangers on the property.
Some examples of dangerous conditions on property could include a slippery substance on the floor of a restaurant, a concealed pit, broken stairs or a broken railing, broken overhead lights in a parking lot, and broken door locks. All of these conditions could lead a person to become injured, and should be fixed by the property owner.
A property owner has a duty not only to make safe conditions he or she knows about, but also conditions that he or she should know about. For example, if the owner of an apartment building failed to notice that the parking lot’s lights had stopped working, and a visitor trips and falls because of the lack of lights, the property owner may be responsible for failing to provide adequate security measure to guard against such an injury. Even though the property owner did not know about the poor lighting, he or she would have known with a proper inspection.
Although property owners can often be held liable for dangerous conditions that injured visitors, they aren’t always liable. Property owners are not absolute insurers of visitors’ safety. The property owner has to act negligently in some way in order to be held liable. For example, if a customer in a store spilled a soda on the floor, and 30 seconds later another customer slipped in it, the property owner would most likely not be held responsible – 30 seconds wouldn’t be long enough for the owner or operator of the store to be expected to find the spill and clean it up. However, if the spill remained on the floor for an hour, the property owner may be responsible for the visitor’s injuries because they had time to notice and clean up the spill.
People who are injured because of dangerous property conditions are entitled to compensation for their injuries. This could include compensation for past and future medical expenses, rehabilitation, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes property owners who fail to maintain the property safely for visitors should be held responsible when visitors are injured. If you’re in the Oakland area, including San Francisco, Hayward, Fairfield, Tracy and Berkeley, and you have been injured on dangerous property, call Micha Star Liberty at Liberty Law at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. She will work hard on your case to ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled. Call today.