When you are injured on someone else’s property as a result of the property owner’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Whether your property was damaged as a result of the incident or you have incurred physical injuries requiring emergency medical treatment, a premises liability claim can help you recover the damages you need.
As a premises liability lawyer with 36 years of legal experience, I can prepare and litigate these types of claims. Proving negligence is not always easy, but I am prepared to draw upon my knowledge and resources to provide you with the capable representation you deserve.
Residential and commercial property owners have a legal responsibility to maintain reasonably safe conditions for customers and invited visitors. This responsibility is called the “duty of care.” Premises liability laws are designed to hold property owners accountable in scenarios where they negligently violate their duties of care and consequently allow unsafe conditions to harm others. If you are lawfully present on someone else’s property and are injured as a direct result of a dangerous condition, there is a good chance you have a premises liability case.
Common types of premises liability claims include:
Inadequate security that results in avoidable injury
Any other defective building or property element that leads to injury
Note that property owners are not the only parties that can be held in premises liability claims. Any party that leases, rents, works on, or possesses the involved property can potentially be found negligent if an injury occurs on the premises. For example, if you are injured at a store in a mall, you may need to prove the company that leases the storefront was negligent, not the property owner of the mall itself.
What To Do After Being Injured on Someone Else’s Property
Premises liability incidents can sometimes appear embarrassing, especially if it involves a slip and fall in front of others. You may not immediately assume negligence is involved, and your gut instinct may compel you to promptly leave the scene.
When you are injured on someone else’s property, you should always take steps to protect yourself and your future ability to recover owed compensation, including:
Informing the property owner or on-site manager. Assuming you do not need to immediately seek medical assistance, you should request to speak to the property owner, possessor, or on-site lead and inform them of what happened.
Securing evidence of the incident. Request a copy of any available security camera footage before you leave the scene. You should also ask that an incident report be created. Obtain a copy of this report and keep it for your records. Do not sign any statement or paperwork provided by the property owner, possessor, or on-site manager.
Collecting relevant contact information. If there were any witnesses that saw what happened, be sure to collect their contact information, including their names, phone numbers, and addresses. You should also procure the contact information of the property owner or possessor, especially if they are not present at the time of the incident.
Obtaining professional medical attention. Even if your injuries seem relatively minor or nonexistent, you should still seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries will not be readily apparent. Your healthcare provider’s report of any injuries could prove crucial in a premises liability claim.
Contacting a qualified legal professional from Law Office of Rob Schelling, A Professional Corporation. In the days after an incident, you may be contacted by the property owner or possessor’s insurance company. Decline to make a statement and direct them to speak to your legal representation. Our premises liability attorney can provide you with the guidance and advocacy you need.
Bringing a Premises Liability Claim in California
Most premises liability claims have a statute of limitations of two years. This means that you must file your claim within two years of the date of the incident if you wish to recover compensation. If you only wish to recover compensation for property damage (such as a shattered watch or phone), you will have three years from the date of the incident to file. If the incident took place on government property, you will generally only have six months to bring a claim.
In a California premises liability claim, you will need to demonstrate the following elements:
The defendant owned or possessed the property at the time of the incident
The defendant was negligent in providing a duty of care
You were harmed as a direct result of this negligence
You experienced real harm due to the negligence
Because California personal injury claims are adjudicated under “comparative negligence” rules, the judge and jury assigned to your case will also evaluate your role in causing the incident. The defense may argue that you were in a part of the property you should not have been or that you were somehow negligent in failing to avoid the dangerous condition.
You will ultimately be assigned a percentage of fault, and a final damage award will be commensurately reduced by that percentage. For example, if you are awarded $25,000 in a personal injury claim but are found to be 20% at fault, you will only receive $20,000.
I can help you recover damages for:
Lost or missed wages
Reduced earning capacity
Physical or emotional pain and suffering
Loss of quality of life or consortium
Many premises liability claims are aggressively negotiated by insurance carriers settled out of court. As a Temecula premises liability lawyer, I can evaluate your situation and determine the most advantageous course of action. I am prepared to litigate your claim but can also help you understand if accepting a settlement is likely to provide you with optimal results.