Filing out an incident report with one hand while the victim's other hand is injured and in a cast.

California Premises Liability Law: 10 Things You Need to Know

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California premises liability law describes the duty of care that requires property owners to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition for visitors. If you are injured due to unsafe and dangerous property conditions, you can hold the party that is responsible for the property liable and receive compensation for your injuries and other damages. To prove that a defendant is liable in a premises liability lawsuit in California, the victim must show that (1) the defendant owned, leased, occupied, or controlled the property where the accidents took place, (2) the defendant was negligent in providing a reasonably safe environment, (3) the victim was injured or harmed, and (4) the defendant's negligence was a primary factor of the victim’s accident and the injuries the victim sustained.

1. Compensation can be awarded for many different types of damages in California premises liability lawsuits. 

As mentioned previously, there are a variety of damages that a victim can receive compensation for if the defendant (i.e. a property owner) is proven liable in a California premises liability lawsuit. These damages fall into two categories–economic and non-economic damages. Damages that a victim can receive compensation include:

  • Medical treatment and bills
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Loss of income or wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

Although the list above outlines some of the most common types of damages, victims can also receive compensation for other, less common types of damages. An experienced attorney can review your case in great detail and provide more information about the different damages that could apply to your case. 

2. The statute of limitations in California for premises liability cases is two years. 

Simply stated, victims have two years from the date the accident occurred to file a premises liability lawsuit in California. In the unfortunate case that the victim does not file within two years, the case will likely be dismissed and they will not have the opportunity to recover compensation. Exceptions do exist to this statute of limitations. For example, if the defendant is a government entity, the statute of limitations is six months instead of two years.  

3. The responsible party in a premises liability case can be the person who owns, leases, or controls a party. 

Some people believe that defendants in a premises liability lawsuit can only be property owners, but this is not true. If someone is injured on a property, they can generally file a lawsuit against the person who owns, leases, occupies, or controls the property. Control and responsibility is the main consideration behind liability. In rare cases, more than one defendant can be named in a premises liability lawsuit in California. 

4. Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of premises liability accidents. 

Slip and fall accidents happen when a person’s foot loses friction with the surface that they are walking on, typically causing them to fall backward and sustain injuries. If a slip and fall accident occurs due to a property owner's negligence, the injured party can likely bring forth a premises liability lawsuit. Common causes of slip and fall accidents include leaks or spills, improperly cleaned floors, loose carpeting, and lack of signage on wet surfaces. Injuries from a slip and fall accident can include slipped (or herniated) discs, vertebrae fractures, neck injuries (including whiplash), broken shoulders and collarbones, concussions, and much more.

5. Establishing negligence plays a crucial role in premises liability lawsuits in California. 

Proving the defendant’s negligence is essential to winning a premises liability lawsuit in California. A plaintiff (i.e. the victim) will need to prove that there was an unavoidable risk of harm that the party responsible for managing the property knew or should have known about, and furthermore, the property owner failed to repair the condition or give an appropriate warning. Keep in mind that this is a simple and straightforward way of describing the process of establishing negligence. For a successful premises liability lawsuit, the unique details of a case need close consideration to determine the best approach towards establishing negligence. 

6. Premises liability accidents happen in many different places. 

Premises liability accidents in California can happen virtually anywhere, from an amusement park to an office staircase. That said, there are a few places in particular where these types of accidents are more common. These include: 

  • Supermarkets and grocery stores
  • Restaurants and cafes 
  • Office buildings
  • Parking lots, 
  • Parks
  • Vacation rentals
  • Shopping malls

7. A premises liability lawsuit can also be filed against the government. 

In other words, sometimes the government may be liable for a premises liability lawsuit in California. The government can be held liable if, for example, the accident happened at an office building, a local park, a public library, or a public college or university. As mentioned earlier in the article, premises liability lawsuits against the government have a more limited statute of limitations. Victims have six months to file a claim against the government. Depending on the specific government property where the accident occurred, it can be the state, city, county, or federal government that is the defendant in a premises liability case. 

8. Insurance companies typically try to get California premises liability accident victims to agree to an extremely low settlement. 

Always remember, a victim is never required to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company. It is common to hear about cases in which an insurance company adjuster quickly offers an extremely low settlement figure in the interest of saving their insurance company money. Do not be tempted to settle for this initial first offer. By having experienced lawyers by your side who will provide extensive evidence of all your damages, you have a much higher likelihood of getting the maximum settlement amount. At Forward Law Group, we are able to provide clients with an estimate of the amount that they could be entitled to. Our team will fiercely advocate for you and strategically negotiate with insurance companies to get you the settlement you deserve. 

9. You do not have to pay out of pocket to get an attorney for your premises liability case. 

As described in the previous section, getting the assistance of a skilled attorney can play a pivotal role in ensuring you achieve the outcome you desire for your case. Furthermore, having an attorney by your side throughout your premises liability case will give you peace of mind and take a huge burden off your shoulders. Best of all, with Forward Law Group, you do not have to pay a single penny out of pocket until we win your case. This is known as a contingency fee arrangement, where a lawyer gets compensated only if the lawyer wins their client's case. 

10. Forward Law Group offers free consultations to premises liability accident victims in California. 

Do not hesitate to call the friendly and trusted Forward Law Group team today at (818) 471-8389 to get a free, no-strings-attached consultation about your premises liability accident. When it comes to premises liability law, our skilled lawyers have unparalleled knowledge along with years of experience. Across California, Forward Law Group is a law firm with a trusted reputation. We have earned this reputation through our commitment to our clients. We understand the way that injuries sustained from a premises liability accident can impact a person’s day-to-day life and we are committed to helping clients achieve the best outcome so that they can move forward in their lives. With Forward Law Group, our clients can always expect clear communication, transparency, and professionalism. 

Wrapping Up

Unfortunately, premises liability lawsuits in California are quite common. If you have been injured because of somebody else’s negligence in providing a reasonably safe environment, you deserve compensation for your damages. In this article, the team of lawyers at Forward Law Group covered some of the essential aspects related to California premises liability cases. Dealing with a premises liability accident can be quite stressful, and in addition, it can take up a great deal of your time and energy. By having our dedicated team serving you throughout the process, you will feel more at ease and also increase your chances of achieving a successful outcome. The sooner you give us a call, the faster we can get to work and begin the process of helping achieve the outcome you deserve.