Premises liability refers to a category of personal injury law, which stems from incidents where a property owner, landlord or property manager is negligent and their negligence or carelessness leads to an injury or loss. One of the most common examples of a premises liability lawsuit is where an individual slips or trips and takes a fall suffering injuries, damages or losses. In this article, we will take a look at the most common types of premises liability lawsuits, the types of incidents that lead to such actions, the damages that could result and how you can protect your legal rights.
If a property owner, manager or other responsible party fails to protect patrons, guests or other individuals who have the right to be on the property from harm, they could be held financially liable for the injuries, damages and losses victims suffer as a result of such accidents.
A vast majority of personal injury cases are based on the principle of negligence and premises liability cases are no exception. In order to win a premises liability case, the injured person or plaintiff must prove that the property owner was negligent with regard to maintaining and inspecting the property. Negligence in a premises liability lawsuit means the property owner or manager failed to use reasonable care in maintaining the property.
Despite these laws, it is important to remember that proving a premises liability case can be complex and challenging. This is why it is important that you get an experienced Los Angeles premises liability lawyer early on in the process so your attorney can help prove your case and secure maximum possible compensation.
If your premises case involved a slip and fall accident you can learn what evidence you may need for your claim here.
Type of Premises Liability Accidents
Premises liability accidents could come in many forms. Here are some of the most common types of premises liability accidents that could result in major injuries or even fatalities:
Ceiling collapse: A number of factors could lead to ceiling collapse accidents. Some red flags include sagging, water stains, cracked plaster, peeling paint, etc. If the underlying problem is not remedied in a timely manner, the issue could worsen over time and cause the ceiling to weaken and cave in. Common causes of ceiling collapse include failure to inspect, leaky pipes, inadequate repairs, improper construction and building code violations. If the property owner, managing company or landlord knew or should have known about such hazardous conditions, but failed to repair it within a reasonable amount of time, they can be held accountable for your injuries.
Slip and fall: In order to receive compensation for injuries after a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, plaintiffs must prove that the defendant created the condition or knew or should have known about the hazard, but failed to take reasonable steps to correct it. For example, if a restaurant employee spills water on the floor and a customer slips on it, then the restaurant can be held liable. The restaurant has a responsibility to clean the spill and warn customers about the wet floor, which could pose a hazard.
Elevator accident: While elevator accidents don't happen often, they can have devastating consequences when they do occur. Elevator accidents often occur because landlords or property managers don't do a good job of conducting routine inspection and maintenance. Elevator accidents could also occur because a maintenance firm failed to do their job properly or because a part was defective. Often, elevator accidents result in premises liability lawsuits.
Defective stairways: Stairways where the steps are broken or damaged can result in devastating trip-and-fall accidents, Slip and fall accidents may also happen when stairways are wet. Serious injuries could also result due to falls because stairways lacked proper lighting or because the handrails were broken or damaged.
Negligent security: Lack of proper security in apartment buildings or other residential or commercial properties could result in physical assault, sexual assault or robberies, which can cause physical and emotional trauma for victims. If lax security measures caused you to get injured, you may be able to seek compensation for your damages from the property owner, manager, a security company or other parties.
Fire safety and building code violations: Building owners and managers are required to follow fire safety and adhere to the building code. These laws are in place to safeguard those who live in or visit the property. For example, buildings are required to be equipped with smoke alarms and sprinklers that are in working condition. When the violation of these codes causes an accident or injury, the at-fault parties can be held accountable.
Inadequate lighting: Lack of proper lighting – be it in a parking lot or a stairway – could result in slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents. Inadequate lighting could also lead to security issues, resulting in assaults and robberies. Property owners and managers can be held responsible for accidents and injuries that occur as a result of inadequate lighting.
Supermarket accidents: Some of the most common types of accidents in supermarkets include slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents. Supermarkets are required to clean up spills on shopping aisles in a timely manner and warn customers about any existing hazards.
Dog or animal attacks: Property owners have a duty to keep their dogs restrained, especially if the animal has the tendency to attack. California's strict liability statute gives dog bite victims the right to sue regardless of whether the dog had attacked others before or whether it occurs in private or public property.
Sidewalk trip and falls: Raised or cracked sidewalks can result in serious trip and fall accidents and injuries. Depending on who is responsible for maintaining a sidewalk, you may be able to seek compensation from the appropriate party for the injuries, damages and losses you have suffered due to a sidewalk trip and fall.
Types of Premises Liability Accident Injuries
Here are some of the most common types of premises liability accident injuries:
Paralysis: Serious slip and fall or trip and fall accidents that result in spinal fractures or severe injuries to the neck and back could lead to paralysis. This is a catastrophic injury that could leave a victim unable to work or even live a normal life.
Soft tissue injuries: Premises liability accidents could also lead to soft-tissue damage of the muscles, ligaments and tendons. This could cause pain, swelling, bruising and damage that require treatment and rest, resulting in medical expenses and lost income.
Fractures: Broken bones are not often life threatening. However, fractures require extensive treatment and physical therapy, which may involve out-of-pocket costs. Fractures could also result in disfigurement and chronic pain.
Internal organ damage: Premises liability accidents also lead to damage of internal organs. Even seemingly minor slip and fall accidents could cause internal bleeding, which is why it is important to get medical attention soon after a slip and fall or trip and fall accident.
Nerve damage: Symptoms of nerve damage after a slip and fall injury include tingling or numbness in feet and hands; muscle weakness, sharp pain in the arms, hands and legs; and buzzing sensations that may feel like mild electrical shocks.
Amputation: Limb amputations are catastrophic injuries that result in permanent disabilities and disfigurement. Amputations could also lead to loss of income and loss of earning capacity.
Spinal cord injuries: Injuries to the spinal cord could range from soft tissue injuries to severe damage that could result in paralysis. Spinal injuries require extensive treatment and rehabilitation.
Head injuries: A potentially serious outcome of a premises liability accident is a head injury. This might include trauma to the skull, scalp or brain. Head injuries are common in slip and fall or trip and fall accidents when the head strikes the ground or other objects. Head injuries could range from a mild bump to a traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): Traumatic brain injuries specifically refer to injuries to the brain. These injuries could range from a concussion to bleeding in the brain. TBIs could result in lifelong disabilities or even death and therefore require immediate medical attention.
Neck injuries: These types of injuries are also common in slip and fall or trip and fall accidents. A common example is whiplash, which is a soft tissue injury. This is an example of an injury that might not manifest for days after an accident. Prompt medical attention is important in such cases.
Lacerations: This is another word for cuts. In a premises liability accident, lacerations or cuts could result in significant blood loss. In such cases, emergency medical attention may be necessary.
Back injuries: Back injuries can occur during a fall at any location. These injuries often have a bigger impact on the elderly. Examples of back injuries from a fall include tailbone fractures, muscle sprains and strains, nerve damage or pinched nerves and a spinal cord fracture.
Sprains: A sprain refers to the stretching or tearing of ligaments, which are tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together in the joints. The most common location for a sprain is the ankle. Initial treatment for sprains includes rest, ice, compression and elevation. Severe sprains sometimes require surgery to repair torn ligaments.
Muscle strains: A muscle strain is an injury to a muscle or a tendon, the fibrous tissue that connects muscles to bones. Minor injuries may overstretch a muscle or tendon, while more severe injuries may involve partial or complete tears in these tissues. Strains commonly occur in the lower back and in the muscles at the back of the thigh.
Common Locations for Premises Liability Accidents
Here are some of the common locations where premises liability accidents occur:
- Small businesses: Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents are some of the most common types of premises liability accidents that occur at small businesses.
- Retail stores: Shopping areas are often the sites of accidents involving stairways, elevators or escalators.
- Parking lots and garages: People could hit in parking lots and garages because of poor design or lack of signage and lighting.
- Office buildings: A variety of accidents could potentially occur in office buildings that could result in a premises liability lawsuit.
- Amusement parks: Southern California is home to a number of popular amusement parks, which are locations of all types of mishaps ranging from ride accidents to fall-related injuries.
- Movie theaters: If you have suffered an injury in a movie theater, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit seeking compensation, especially if the theater owner and/or manager were negligent in terms of maintaining the facility.
- Bars: Bars can be held liable for injuries that result from negligence. One example is failing to mop up spilled water on the floor that leads to a slip-and-fall accident.
- Restaurants: Restaurants have a responsibility to maintain their premises in a manner that is safe for patrons and visitors.
- Homes: Homeowners can also be held accountable for slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall as well as other accidents that happen on their property.
- Staircases: Staircases are one of the most common locations for slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents. For example, when a landlord or property manager fails to fix a broken stair that caused a person to trip and fall, he or she can be held liable for the injuries, damages and losses caused.
- Grocery stores: Supermarkets or grocery stores also have a responsibility to make sure their premises are free of hazards. One of the most common accidents in a grocery store is slip-and-fall when a victim slips on spilled liquid in the aisles or trips on debris.
- Places of employment: Workplaces are also often the sites of major injury accidents that could leave a victim unable to work and faced with expenses.
- Public spaces: Public spaces such as parks or beaches could also present dangers that could lead to a premises liability lawsuit.
- Hotels and resorts: Hotels and resorts have a number of spaces that could pose hazards for guests. In hotels and resorts, accidents could occur at restaurants, in the rooms, in common spaces and even swimming pools.
Common Causes Of Premises Liability Claims
There are a number of reasons why premises liability accidents occur: Lack of maintenance: A number of different features in buildings and on properties could become dangerous without proper maintenance. Examples of building elements that need to be maintained on a constant basis include stairways, elevators, escalators and appliances. For example, when an elevator malfunctions due to lack of proper maintenance and injures a tenant or visitor, the landlord or building manager could be held accountable. Poor security: One of the most important responsibilities of a property owner or manager is to provide safe premises for employees, tenants, customers and guests. When people are injure because of a break-in, robbery or sexual assault, the property owner or manager could be held liable for lack of proper security. Slip and fall hazards: These are the most common type of premises liability claim and could occur when a property owner or manager fails to properly maintain buildings, stairways, sidewalks, parking lots or walkways. If someone falls because of lack of proper design or maintenance, several parties could be held liable with a premises liability lawsuit. Learn about other causes of slip and fall accidents here.
Unrestrained dogs: Property owners have an obligation to keep their dogs restrained. Under California law, dog owners can be held liable for the injuries their dogs cause. The state has a strict liability statute when it comes to dog attacks, which means dog owners can be held financially responsible in most circumstances.
Contacting a Experienced Premises Liability Lawyer
Whether you are considering filing a premises liability lawsuit against a property owner, manager, maintenance company, or other responsible party, it is crucial that you contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The knowledgeable premises liability attorneys at the Vaziri Law Group Personal Injury Lawyers have a long and successful track record of holding at-fault property owners and managers responsible. For a free consultation and comprehensive consultation, call our law offices today.