California’s premises liability laws require property owners to provide reasonably safe conditions to those living, working, or visiting their premises. In other words, the property owner owes individuals on their premises a duty of care.
When the premises have potential hazards, the law requires that the property owner install warning signs to abate the possibility of accidents and injuries. Unfortunately, not all property owners comply with these statutory obligations, resulting in serious harm to others.
If accidents and injuries occur due to the negligence or recklessness of the property owner, they can be held liable for damages.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can a Premises Liability Accident Occur?
A premises liability accident can happen on virtually any type of property. Most premises liability accidents are reported in parks, government property, parking lots, private homes, office buildings, apartments, stores, and malls.
California’s Law Regarding Premises Liability Claims
Under California Civil Code 1714, “a person may be held accountable for an “injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.”
This means that the owner of the property, or in some cases, the legal user of the property (e.g. lessee), is legally obligated to make sure the property is safe for use. For example, an owner or user of a business premises is obligated to undertake reasonable measures to prevent injuries. This may include placing warning indications for potentially unsafe conditions such as slippery floors or low ceilings, conducting regular inspections of the property, and taking other similar safety measures.
How To Establish Premises Liability Under California Law
If you have been injured because a property owner or user has failed to undertake necessary safety measures, you may be entitled to recover damages due to their negligence. To succeed on a premises liability claim, you must show that the defendant:
- Leased, owned, occupied, or controlled the property,
- Negligently maintained or used the property,
- You were injured, and
- The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing your injuries.
It is important to note the last part of California Civil Code 1714—whether the victim brought the injury upon himself or herself. This means that if you contributed to the accident (ex. you were under the influence of alcohol or were wearing improper and slippery shoes) this could impact your ability to recover damages.
Like other personal injury actions, the damages you can recover in a premises liability action include economic (medical bills, loss of wages, etc.) and non-economic damages (fear, pain, suffering, emotional distress, etc.).
Establishing Breach of Duty of Care
When determining whether a property owner breached their statutory duty of care, California courts consider the following factors:
- The likelihood of the accident
- The probable seriousness of the accident
- Whether the property owner knew about the safety hazard
- The degree of the property owner’s control over the hazardous condition
- The likelihood that a person would access the premises in the same way that the plaintiff did
- Whether the property owner ought to have known about the hazardous condition
- The property owner’s burden of mitigating or avoiding the risk
Because every case is different, this list is not exhaustive. Our personal injury attorneys at Golden Gate Legal will help you analyze the merits of your case and will advise you on the most appropriate course of action.
Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability Actions
The time window for filling a premises liability claim in California will depend on where the accident occurred. If the accident happened on public or government property, then you only have six months from the date of the accident to file a claim.
For private properties, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a premises liability action. Failure to act within these timeframes may bar you from pursuing a legal remedy in court.
Do not forfeit your right to pursue damages for your injuries simply because you did not have access to the help you deserve. Our personal injury attorneys at Golden Gate Legal can help you build a winning case and file your claim within the appropriate time frame.
Injured in a Premises Liability Accident? Let Us Help You Recover Damages
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident resulting from a dangerous property condition, it is important that you seek legal representation immediately. The attorneys at Golden Gate Legal are ready to fight on your behalf and have the experience necessary to get you the compensation you deserve.