In California, as elsewhere, property owners have a duty to provide a safe environment for lawful entrants. Under the theory of premises liability, owners can be held liable for any injuries incurred by entrants on the property. The following is an overview of the factors that go into a premises liability claim.
The first is the victim’s status as a visitor to that property. The visitor must have been a lawful entrant, whether an invitee, licensee or social guest, and not a trespasser. However, there is an exception to this rule, and it’s known as the “attractive nuisance” doctrine. It states that if owners know that something on the property is liable to attract trespassing children, they must exercise a duty of care toward them.
Next, a claim must involve a dangerous condition that the owner should have known about and that the owner had sufficient time to address. Dangerous conditions include wet floors, torn carpeting, cracked or icy sidewalks, loose railings and poorly lit stairwells.
At the same time, victims must show that they themselves had been using the property in a reasonably safe manner. If victims were partially at fault for their injuries, they may still have a case because of comparative fault laws. Of course, what they recover in damages will be proportionally lowered.
To learn more about premises liability and how it will affect their case, victims may see a lawyer. The lawyer might hire investigators to gather proof against the property owner, such as the incident report and any eyewitness testimony or surveillance camera footage. The lawyer may speak on victims’ behalf at the negotiation table or, as a last resort, in the courtroom. A successful claim might cover losses like medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages.