Los Angeles Premises Liability Attorneys
Premises liability laws hold property owners responsible for any accidents or injuries that occur on their site. While the most common premises liability lawsuits are typically slip and fall accidents, there are several other forms of property liability for which an operator or owner can be charged. One of the key elements in a successful premises liability claim is proving that the property owner could have prevented an incident or accident on their grounds through better safety measures.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident on someone else’s property and you believe that the property owner could have taken additional action to ensure the safety of the premises, you could have options. Contact a Los Angeles premises liability lawyer at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers to find out whether you are eligible to recover damages for your condition. There are no out-of-pocket expenses to speak with us, and we can help you to seek the compensation to which you may be entitled.
What is a Premises Liability Accident in Los Angeles?
The term premises liability generally refers to the legal responsibility of the owner of real property for injuries that an individual may sustain while on the property as a result of a defective or dangerous condition that exists there. While the law varies from state to state, in California, the owner/lessor/occupant of the property must exercise ordinary care in the maintenance, use, or management of his or her premises to avoid exposing patrons to an unreasonable risk of harm. Furthermore, the duty exists whether the risk of harm is caused by an artificial condition created on the premises or a natural condition.
For instance, if a property owner is notified that there is an obstacle hazard or an issue with a security fixture such as a light or alarm that may cause injury or death to another, he or she is legally responsible for rectifying the issue. This may include replacing a light, making sure a previously wet floor is adequately dried or ensuring that security cameras are properly functioning. Should he or she fail to address the problem, the property owner may be responsible for any injuries, assaults, attacks, or fatalities that happen on the grounds.
Examples of Premises Liability Cases
A Los Angeles premises accident attorney at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers can help you determine if you have a case if you or a loved one was injured due to one or more of the following possible causes:
- Slip and fall
- Dog bites
- Falling objects
- Inadequate security
- Structural defects
- Exposure to toxic materials or hazardous chemicals, including lead paint and mold
- Defective stairs and railings
- Collapsed balconies and decks
- Defective door
- Staircase injuries such as damaged handrails or broken steps
- Acts of violence or other criminal acts
- Escalator and elevator accidents
- Electrocution or electricity
- Defective sidewalks
While assaults, attacks, and rapes frequently occur in public places throughout the country, according to statistics, the most commonly alleged complaint in premises liability claims is that of a slip and fall accident. These incidents can occur for one or more reasons such as:
- Torn carpets
- Poor weather conditions
- Uneven steps or carpets
- Cracked sidewalks
- Poor lighting
- Broken stair rails
- Wet or slippery floors
- Lack of secure areas around swimming pools
Additionally, defective electrical wiring, poor building construction and materials, and building code violations can all cause injury and/or death. If you or a loved one has been injured, a premises liability attorney in Los Angeles at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers may be able to help you to seek the compensation to which you may be entitled.
Slip and Fall Lawsuit Statistics
California premises liability laws cover a wide range of accidents linked to dangerous conditions on the property, but these cases are commonly known as “slips and falls” because of the circumstances that cause them. If you were hurt because of a property owner’s negligence, you have the standing to sue and recover damages for your losses. If the property owner negligently maintained their property or created a dangerous condition that caused a slip and fall, the law holds that the property owner is responsible.
Because of the medical expenses that can accompany that type of injury, many victims of slip-and-fall injuries take legal action. The US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports that almost 99,000 personal injury cases are filed in federal court every year, many of which involve allegations of property owner misconduct. However, other slip-and-fall lawsuit statistics are not as encouraging.
Just 48% of plaintiffs prevailed in cases that went to trial, which is why it is critical to retain experienced legal representation for assistance with the legal process. Moreover, juries usually assign some fault to the person who has slipped and fallen. Reviewing data on a range of personal injury accident cases may provide a helpful framework for understanding the factors that impact your own. BJS also reports that:
- Of the 99,000 personal injury lawsuits filed in federal court, just 2% — approximately 1,600 — were decided by a trial. In other words, the vast majority of these cases settle.
- In addition to slip-and-fall claims, the most common personal injury cases include motor vehicle accidents, and defective products.
- When cases do go to trial, 71% of them are decided by a jury; a judge was the finder of fact in the remaining 29%.
- Almost 66% of personal injury lawsuits concluded within 2 years, whether by settlement or trial.
- The average award to a plaintiff who won at trial is $201,000.
What You Can Expect from a Slip and Fall Accident Settlement Amount
Determining the number of damages the injured victims can expect from a slip-and-fall accident is not an easy task. The value of the case depends on several factors, including the strength of liability in the case, The nature and the extent of the injury, the permanence of the injury, and the amount of past and future medical bills.
Broadly speaking, the average slip-and-fall accident settlement for a soft tissue injury usually results in between $30,000 and $60,000. Still, some accident victims have settled their slip-and-fall cases for hundreds of thousands of dollars. In fact, our firm has settled a slip-and-fall injury for over $2,000,000 where the injury victim required serious back surgery.
Settlement amounts vary significantly because the facts of each case are so different. Your settlement will likely depend on the nature of your injury, the extent of the property owner’s negligence, and the skill of your slip-and-fall lawyer.
Factors that Impact your Slip and Fall Accident Settlement Amount
There are some guidelines you can use to determine how much you might receive in damages. These include:
- The nature of your injuries: The main factor determining how much you will receive in a slip-and-fall settlement is the nature and severity of your injuries. The most severe injuries, such as a broken hip or traumatic brain injury, will likely garner a higher settlement amount. Still, seemingly minor injuries could also cause you to incur high medical bills.
- Amount of Medical Bills: Insurance companies place great weight on the amount of past medical bills whether they are paid by your health insurance, you, or whether you are treated on a lien. This is because juries in trials are very apt to award damages for medical bills.
- The wages you lost: A slip-and-fall accident will likely cause you to miss at least some time from work, and you deserve compensation for those lost wages. In more serious accidents, you may be unable to return to the same line of work in the future, which will result in a higher settlement amount.
- Your quality of life: Slip-and-fall accidents may seem minor, but the injuries that result can significantly affect your quality of life. If you can no longer participate in activities you once loved or have lost function or mobility, it will result in a higher settlement amount.
After reviewing the facts of your case, a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can accurately evaluate your claim.
Can Someone Sue if They Get Hurt on Your Property in Los Angeles?
One of the most common questions among property owners is “If someone gets hurt on your property can they sue?” By law, property owners are mandated to maintain a safe environment for people on their premises. This duty is known as premises liability. It holds landowners liable for any accidents that occur on their property.
The laws regulating premises liability cases are generally governed by the landowner’s legal relationship with the entrant.
Who Can Be Sued If Someone Is Injured on a Property?
The property owner is not always liable for accidents that happen on their property. Generally, a plaintiff can bring a lawsuit or claim against an individual or company that owns, occupies, leases, or controls a property.
That said, property owners cannot delegate away the duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. Say the property owner hires an independent contractor to fix a dangerous condition, but they fail to. The property owner would still be liable if the unfixed condition resulted in an accident.
In the same way, an employer is liable for damages caused by an employee’s negligence. This is even if the employee failed to warn the employer of the unsafe conditions on the property.
Los Angeles Hotels and Premises Liability Lawsuits
Accidents and injuries occur because of hazards on various types of premises around Los Angeles. Visitors to the city, whether they are traveling from elsewhere in California or from an entirely different region of the U.S. or another country, can suffer different kinds of injuries at hotels and motels in Los Angeles due to hazards on the property. In many cases, the hotel may be liable for injuries resulting from defects or dangers on the property that the hotel either failed to remedy or failed to warn guests about upon arrival or through signage on the premises.
If you were injured at a Los Angeles hotel, you may be wondering what you need to know about filing a premises liability lawsuit.
Elements of a Hotel Premises Liability Lawsuit
Before you move forward with a premises liability lawsuit against a hotel or motel in the Los Angeles area, it will be important to determine whether you can prove the required elements of a premises liability claim. In order to win a premises liability lawsuit against a hotel, an injured plaintiff must prove four essential factual elements:
1) Defendant owned or controlled the hotel property;
2) Defendant was negligent in using or maintaining the hotel property;
3) Plaintiff was harmed; and
4) Hotel negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm.
Hotel negligence is generally understood to mean that the hotel failed to exercise ordinary care in maintaining the property, and in failing to exercise ordinary or reasonable care exposed hotel or motel guests to an unreasonable risk of harm. Premises liability lawsuits against hotels can take many different forms, and it is important for injured hotel or motel guests to understand the various ways in which a hotel can be liable for the harm. The following are common examples of hotel premises liability lawsuits that you may be able to file in Los Angeles:
- Slip, Trip, or Fall Accidents: These are the most common types of accidents on hotel premises. Slips, trips, and falls may occur, for example, in the restaurant area of a hotel due to a liquid spill, in the restroom of the hotel lobby due to recent cleaning of the floors and failure to warn guests about the wet floors, on the pool deck area, due to a loose or damaged carpeting, because of a broken stair handrail, or due to inadequate lighting in a walking path;
- Escalator or Elevator Accidents: Escalator and elevator accidents can happen in hotels when the hotel fails to have the elevator or escalator properly maintained when a defect exists in the elevator or escalator; or
- Negligent Security and Assault Cases: Hotels and motels can be liable for third-party assaults perpetrated against guests that occur on their premises when the hotel failed to ensure guest safety by installing or repairing door and window locks or installing lighting in parking lots.
What is Negligent Security?
A negligent security claim falls under premises liability law in California. As a general matter, businesses and property owners throughout Los Angeles County have a duty to keep their premises in reasonably safe and secure condition for customers and other invitees. They are required to conduct adequate maintenance and take action to address safety hazards.
California law also puts a duty on businesses and property owners to provide reasonably adequate security precautions given their specific circumstances. As explained in the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI NO. 1005), a business or property owner “must use reasonable care” to protect guests from “another person’s criminal conduct” to the extent that they can “reasonably anticipate that conduct.”
It is important to emphasize that a business or property owner in Los Angeles can be held legally liable for a third-party criminal attack that occurs on their premises, but they are not automatically liable for such an incident. They are only liable if they failed to take adequate safety precautions to prevent or reduce the risk of criminal conduct that should have reasonably been anticipated. Here are some potential examples of negligent security:
- Broken Locks On Doors or Windows: A business or property owner may be liable for an attack that happens because of broken locks. For example, imagine that a hotel has defective locks on its doors and a guest is assaulted. They may be liable for negligent security.
- Lack of Lighting in Certain Areas: Some businesses need to provide lighting to protect people. For example, imagine that a bank opens up a 24-hour ATM in a high-crime neighborhood. It could be liable for an attack that occurs if there is not sufficient lighting.
- Inadequate Security Guards: Some businesses and property owners need to have trained security personnel on-site. For example, large nightclubs need proper security. A large nightclub without adequate security guards may be liable for injuries that occur in a fight.
At El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, our negligent security lawyers have the professional skills, legal knowledge, and proven experience to get results for injured victims and their families. Businesses and property owners in Southern California have a duty to take adequate safety precautions. They must be held accountable for assaults and other criminal attacks that happen because of their failure to do so. If you have any questions about negligent security law, we are here as a legal resource. Call us at (888) 544-1438 or connect with us directly online to set up a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles premises liability lawyer.
What are Your Options?
It is important to seek legal counsel as soon as you believe you have a case. Due to the complex laws surrounding premises liability, determining responsibility in a slip and fall accident or other premises liability case can be difficult to prove. Your Los Angeles premises liability attorney will need to illustrate that your injury was directly caused by the owner’s negligence or failure to comply with regulations and laws, and your legal counsel will also need to present the following elements:
- The property contained a dangerous condition
- The occupier or owner of the property knew or should have known of the dangerous condition
- The occupier or owner of the property neglected to warn of the dangerous condition or remove it
- The dangerous condition directly caused the plaintiff’s injury
A premises liability lawyer in Los Angeles will review the facts of the incident to determine if you have a case and whether you are entitled to seek compensation for your injuries. In handling your claim, your legal counsel can:
- Collect evidence, including video surveillance footage or photographs of the scene of the accident
- Interview witnesses
- Determine who may be responsible for the damages or injuries you have suffered
- Review all police reports
- Gather and review all pertinent medical records and speak with your physician on your behalf to understand the extent of your injuries
- Arrange for medical experts to testify on your behalf as to your prognosis as well as any short- or long-term effects that may result from your injury or condition
Beyond the basic elements, there are several circumstances and situations that can greatly complicate premises liability cases. For instance, while trespassers are not generally covered by premises liability laws, children who venture into restricted areas and are subsequently harmed may be entitled to recover damages for their condition if there is reasonable evidence that adequate warnings, precautions, and prevention methods were not taken.
In addition, third-party premises liability, in which a third party is also responsible for the injury of a person while on someone’s property, can also result in complex and confusing legal disputes. The Los Angeles premises accident lawyers at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers can closely work with you to evaluate your case, assess the liability and risk involved, and determine the best course of action for you and your family.
What exactly is a Hazardous Condition?
A hazardous condition is anything that has the potential to be harmful, cause injury or have adverse health effects on someone or something. When we are talking about a property, an example of a hazardous condition could be ice, snow, water, uneven flooring, or even poor lighting. All of these could lead someone to slip and fall and pose a health hazard. When it comes to workplace safety, the same things are also hazards. The workplace also tends to have more opportunities for hazardous conditions depending on what the business provides. In a restaurant, slips and falls happen because of spilled liquids, uneven flooring, or other situations involving the equipment provided in the restaurant.
According to both federal law and state law, employers must ensure that they provide a safe working environment for their employees. When you hear something like “hazardous condition,” it usually applies to hazards in the workplace. If an employee notices an unsafe working hazard, they can report it to the employer, to the state, or to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). However, it doesn’t just apply to the workplace. Hazardous conditions may also be present on any property. The owner of the property is responsible for any injuries that occur as a result of any hazardous condition present on their property that they knew about or should have known about.
Who is Responsible for Hazardous Conditions?
The responsibility of the hazardous condition depends on where it is. In the case that it is private property, the owner of the property is responsible for fixing the hazard. However, when it comes to the workplace, it is the responsibility of the employer to keep the workplace safe from any hazardous conditions, even if they do not own the building or property.
Hazardous Conditions in California
State laws also govern workplace safety, along with federal laws. California has Cal/OSHA, which is the state’s division of occupational health and safety. It provides that employees have a right to a safe work environment and that workers should engage in any training given to learn how to recognize and report safety hazards. There are levels of safety, and when there is a hazardous condition, it’s important to tell the employer so that they can handle it. The employer cannot retaliate for any reason.
Right to Refuse Hazardous Work
In California and many other states, employees have the right to refuse work if it is hazardous to their health and poses a safety concern. This does not mean leaving the premises. Two qualifications need to be met to ensure that the work is hazardous. One is that performing the work would violate a Cal/OSHA regulation, and the second is that the violation in question would create a “real and apparent” hazard to employees. The first step is to let the employer know and give them the opportunity to fix the hazard. If they fix it, you should return to work. If they do not, employees have the right to contact Cal/OSHA and report the hazard.
Filing a Complaint
If the employer does not fix the hazard and still expects you to work, you may contact Cal/OSHA to report it. The information is completely confidential when it comes to reporting, and you only need to provide the name and address of the workplace, the exact location of the hazard, when the hazard occurs, and a brief description of what the hazard is. They will then either contact the employer via mail to notify them of the problem or do their investigation by going to the workplace.
Hazardous conditions can occur anywhere. The primary goal is to fix it as soon as possible so that no one injures themselves. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, and it can result in injury. When there is an injury directly related to a hazardous condition, there is a case for a personal injury lawsuit. These kinds of hazardous conditions are considered negligence when they were known about and not fixed, and the injured person can receive compensation for time off of work and medical expenses depending on the severity of the injury. This is where it would be important to have a personal injury lawyer on your team, to ensure that the hazard is corrected for others, and to get help recovering from the injury.
Do You Need a Los Angeles Premises Liability Lawyer?
It cannot be stressed enough that time is of the essence in all personal injury cases, particularly in situations in which premises liability is involved. Contacting a lawyer immediately following the accident or injury can ensure that your legal team has the opportunity to swiftly conduct investigations, analyze your case, and preserve evidence to strengthen your case and achieve the best possible outcome for you.
If you or someone you love has sustained a head, spinal cord, or neck injury due to the negligence or irresponsibility of another, consider working with a Los Angeles premises accident attorney to pursue a compensation claim. The attorneys at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers can provide you with a comprehensive case evaluation at no out-of-pocket cost to you, and our Los Angeles premises lawyers can help you determine who is responsible for your injuries and whether you are entitled to seek compensation for your condition. Call (213) 985-1120 today to learn more about our law firm and how we can be of assistance.
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