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Personal Injury / 3.15.2024

How Is the Level of Property Owner Responsibility Determined in Premises Liability Cases?

Author: Westlake Injury Law

Have you been injured on someone else's property?  Maybe you slipped and fell at a grocery store, or perhaps a broken step at an apartment complex caused you to take a tumble. If another person's negligence resulted in your injuries, you might be wondering if you're entitled to compensation. The answer hinges on premises liability law, and understanding how fault is determined is crucial.

Here at Westlake Injury Lawyers, we're dedicated to helping our clients navigate the legal complexities of premises liability cases. We are here to break down the basics of premises liability, explore how liability is determined, and explain what you can expect during the legal process.

Premises Liability Basics

Premises liability refers to a legal concept that holds property owners responsible for injuries sustained by visitors due to unsafe conditions on their property. The key here is whether the property owner acted negligently in maintaining their property.

Common Premises Liability Injuries

Premises liability accidents can encompass a wide range of injuries, some of the most common include:

  • Slip and falls
  • Dog bites
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Injuries sustained due to malfunctioning elevators or escalators
  • Negligent security leading to assault

How is Liability Determined?

Determining fault in a premises liability case hinges on the legal status of the injured person on the property. Here's a breakdown of the different classifications:

  • Invitees: These are individuals invited onto the property for a business purpose, such as customers at a store or guests at a hotel. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees and must take reasonable steps to ensure their safety.
  • Licensees:  Licensees are individuals with permission to be on the property, but not necessarily for a business purpose. Social guests or someone using a shortcut through private property with the owner's knowledge would be considered licensees. Property owners have a lesser duty to licensees, but they still cannot intentionally injure them or create hidden dangers.
  • Trespassers: Trespassers are individuals who have no permission to be on the property. Property owners generally owe the least duty to trespassers, though there are exceptions, such as the "attractive nuisance" doctrine which protects children who are unintentionally drawn to dangers on a property.

Can a Property Owner Be Only Partially Responsible?

Premises liability cases often involve shared responsibility. Comparative negligence laws in California may reduce the amount of compensation you receive if you are found to be partially at fault for your injuries. For instance, if you were texting while walking and tripped over a broken sidewalk, the court might assign you a percentage of fault that would be deducted from any damages awarded.

If You Hold Any Responsibility, Are You Still Eligible for Compensation?

Yes. Even if you are found to be partially responsible for your injuries, you can still receive compensation under California's comparative negligence laws. An experienced premises liability attorney can help you argue your case to minimize the percentage of fault attributed to you and maximize the compensation you receive.

The Premises Liability Process

If you've been injured due to negligence on another person's property, here's a general overview of the legal process:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health is the top priority. Seek medical attention immediately following your injury and document all treatment received.
  2. Gather Evidence: Take photos of the scene of the accident, collect witness statements, and keep any receipts related to medical bills.
  3. Contact a Premises Liability Attorney: An experienced attorney can investigate your case, determine the appropriate course of action, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

How Can an Attorney Help Your Case?

We always recommend having a knowledgeable attorney at your side for these types of cases. There are many things that a lawyer will know about simply from experience that you will not. A qualified premises liability attorney can:

  • Investigate the cause of your accident and gather evidence to prove the property owner's negligence.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies to obtain a fair settlement offer.
  • Represent you in court if necessary.

Westlake Injury Lawyers: Your Premises Liability Partner

If you've been injured on someone else's property, Westlake Injury Lawyers is here to help. Our team of experienced premises liability attorneys understands the complexities of these cases and is dedicated to protecting your rights and maximizing your compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation. Call us at (805) 338-6880 or visit us online to talk to an attorney about your case.

 Contact us today at (805) 338-6880 for a free consultation, and let us fight for your rights.

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Timing is Everything.

Do not delay in addressing your legal concerns. If your situation has gotten out of hand, contact a Ventura County lawyer at the Westlake Injury Law to learn more about how we may be able to help you.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute a client relationship.
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