Although most injuries occur on public streets and roadways many people are hurt each year on private property. Some injured victims were visiting friends or family when they slipped and fell on worn carpeting or tripped and tumbled to the ground. These injuries can happen on private property on a condominium or apartment building property. We have also handled cases where balcony railings were short and not code compliant and our clients fell over the railing sustaining severe head injuries. Other clients were visiting neighbors or going door to door for a pledge drive when they were injured by some hidden hazard.
Bringing a claim against a private property owner is riddled with pitfalls. Injured victims would benefit from meeting with an attorney at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers.
How People are Injured on Private Property
- Slipping and falling on ice or spilled liquids
- Tripping over tree branches which have caused on cracked pavement
- Getting electrocuted by an exposed wire
- Suffering burns in a fire or explosion from a poorly maintained property.
- Being injured due to collapsing structures
- Being struck by a falling tree or branch from a neglected tree
- Falling down broken or dangerous stairs
- Suffering food poisoning due to improperly cooked food
- Falling into a trench or hole that was not clearly marked
Determining Your Legal Rights
No property owner is automatically liable simply because you were injured on their property. After all, California law does not require that they do everything humanly possible to make the premises safe. Instead, the law typically requires only reasonable care in how they maintain the property.
Many factors will go into analyzing whether the property owner was sufficiently careful, such as:
- The reason for your presence on the property: The Duty of care is higher for invitees to property than to trespassers.
- If you were trespassing or unexpected, whether the owner knew you were there and condoned or permitted your presence.
- The accessibility of the property: If the property is in a very obscure location with no visitors, then the owner is less likely to be responsible for your injury.
- The danger of the hazard and the ease of fixing it: For example, if some ice formed on someone’s walkway in January, it would be relatively inexpensive to use ice melt to clear it and make it safe. By contrast, an old tree might be more expensive to remove.
- The defendant’s control over the hazard.
- The ease of avoiding the hazard. A person should easily step around a hole in the ground if they are paying attention. Other hazards are harder to avoid, probably because they are hidden.
These and other factors inform the analysis. Meet with an experienced premises liability attorney to determine the likelihood of success in a lawsuit.
Barriers to Obtaining Fair Compensation
If you were hurt, you should seek compensation for your medical care, lost income, and pain. As we have found, however, some barriers can prevent a full financial recovery.
For example, most claims are paid out of a renters or homeowner’s insurance policy. However, if the person in control of the property does not have one, then it will be very difficult to obtain compensation.
Other hurdles include the victim’s comparative negligence. Someone who was not paying attention or partially created a hazard themselves will not receive as much compensation as a completely blameless victim.
Contact El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers to learn more. We provide free case evaluations to those who were hurt on private property and who want to learn more about their legal options.