You may not realize it, but anytime you step into a business, a residence, or onto public property, you are owed protection. These protections take the form of safety standards stemming from California’s legal concept of “premises liability.”
It means that business owners, property managers, government departments, and other property owners are responsible for your safety while you visit. If you are injured in a California premises liability accident you can file a claim to earn support for your recovery.
Unfortunately, slipping on a puddle at a store or being struck by falling merchandise doesn’t automatically force insurance companies to do the right thing. Insurance adjusters will try to shift the blame to you for what happened to save their companies money. It’s often necessary to turn your case over to a California Premises Liability Lawyer to earn what’s fair after an accident.
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Suffering an injury at a big box store, a theme park, or in a city-owned building could force you to confront corporate and government lawyers just to get basic help with your medical bills. They won’t be turning over the money you need without a fight.
They also won’t inform you and your family of every benefit and right you have as victims. Talking over your case with a skilled California Premises Liability Accident Lawyer makes sure you are armed with the information you need during such a difficult time.
Maison Law offers all victims and their families a free case evaluation that comes with no obligation. Contact us as soon as possible. You should know that if you decide to allow our law firm to represent your claim, you don’t pay us unless we win your case.
Premises Liability Dangers in California
All property owners in California must show their visitors a “duty of care.” When property owners or their employees create hazards, they are required to fix or clean up these potential accident dangers in a reasonable amount of time. This includes the duty to alert customers, clients, and residents of a repair or clean-up project underway to keep them out of harm’s way until it’s cleared.
Property owners and corporate entities are also liable to inspect their businesses for dangers that other customers and residents may have created. These hazards should be identified and removed in a reasonable amount of time. When dangers are left unresolved for too long and you get hurt, you have the right to file an injury claim.
These cases are more common than you might imagine in California. These are just a few of the instances where premises liability injury victims should explore filing a personal injury case:
- Slip-and-falls and trip-and-falls. Careless customers are often to blame for creating spills and puddles. However, property owners are still liable if you injure a hip or take a blow to the head after slipping on one of these hazards. Owners are also responsible for potholes in parking lots, loose stair railings, boxes left in aisles, and other hazards that could take your feet out from under you.
- Falling merchandise. A cereal box may not cause you harm, but at places like Costco or Home Depot, large items and pallets sit above your head and do major damage if they tumble down.
- Accidents in public buildings or parks. You could have to approach City Government officials for help. Laws protecting government agencies from liability in an accident can make getting help very complex.
- Amusement park and water park accidents. California is home to many theme parks and with so many people around so many potential dangers, injuries are bound to happen. You could earn valuable support even if you signed a waiver form.
- Burns and electrocution. Faulty wiring, hot liquids, and other burn hazards could earn victims compensation from proprietors.
- Chemical exposure. Inhaling toxic fumes and suffering chemical burns are all potential hazards for visitors to any business or facility.
- Residential accidents. Landlords and management companies owe a safe living space to their residents and their visitors. Crumbling stairwells should be fixed as soon as possible. Swimming pools must have the proper safety equipment and be up to safety codes.
- Wrongful death lawsuit. Anytime the loss of a loved one is caused by the negligence of property owners or their employees, families can ask for financial support. The costs of a burial service, medical care before the victim passed on should be covered. The loss of income the family suffers now that a loved one will no longer be able to provide a paycheck also factors in.
What to Do After An Accident at a Business, Rental Property, or Other Person’s Home
In any of these situations, it’s important that victims or people with them take quick action to gather evidence from the scene. In the moments after an accident, some evidence will be present that might not be there when you return a day or two later. It’s important to collect what you can to help your Premises Liability Accident Lawyer build a strong case for you.
If your health will allow, do your best to complete a few important tasks at the site of your accident:
- Call for Emergency Help – Dial 911 if you require medical attention. Go to the hospital if necessary.
- Take Plenty of Photos – Quickly snap photos of the hazard that left you injured. Proving a danger existed will go a long way towards winning your case and leaving the property owner no way to dispute your claim for support. That hazard will likely be cleaned up shortly after you leave with all traces of it erased. Also, take pictures of any visible injuries.
- Alert a Manager or Proprietor – Businesses, management companies, and corporations will want a representative to write up an incident report. This report is solid evidence of what happened to you when insurance adjusters attempt to deny the facts of the case.
- Don’t Say “My Bad” or Accept any Blame – Don’t say an accident was your own fault. You probably won’t have a clear idea of what happened in the moments after it happens. Also, avoid trying to speculate on how badly you are hurt. You might say you are “okay” after a fall and then wake up the next day with extreme pain from an injury you didn’t know you had. Statements of this nature can be used by insurance companies later to cast doubt on your claim.
- Talk with Witnesses – Find out what others saw. Find out how your California Premises Liability Lawyer can contact them.
- See your Physician – After paramedics treat you be sure to visit your own doctor in the days to come. Have every injury documented and pay special attention to any pain you wake up with the day after an accident. Immediately after an accident, the shock of what’s happened can mask the pain of an injury for a day or more.
- Don’t Throw Out Evidence – Keep any personal items damaged in your accident. Keep your shoes after a slip-and-fall accident in case corporate lawyers try to claim worn-out shoes were to blame for your fall.
What to do if you are living with a family member and are injured at their house?
Seek medical attention first. Then you should consider filing an injury claim against your relative’s homeowners or renters insurance. Your family member pays insurance premiums to protect themselves financially and to help injured victims with recovery costs.
You would need to show that the family member’s negligence caused the accident that led to you getting hurt. A personal injury lawyer would file this claim against the homeowner’s insurance policy and make sure you were rewarded enough in compensation to fund your full recovery.
You may feel conflicted about filing a claim against a member of your family, but you don’t have to think of it that way. In general terms, your claim will target your family member’s homeowners insurance company, not the family member directly. Your relative should want you to receive care so you can make a full recovery from your injury without facing a financial crisis when medical bills arrive.
Insurance Tactics to Diminish Premises Liability Claims
Insurance adjusters and lawyers working for property owners will have many well-practiced strategies for avoiding responsibility for an accident. Every year these tactics rob injured people of the support they so desperately need.
Their first insurance strategy is often to shift the blame to the victim. They would claim you were in a part of a business not meant for the public. Of course, they’d have to prove the property owner or corporation did everything possible to keep the public from accidentally crossing into an “employee-only” area.
They might also claim you weren’t paying attention to your surroundings when you got hurt. Maybe you were on your cellphone. This is another weak argument that your personal injury lawyer would work to prove false. It’s also possible you might have to accept some blame for your accident, however that doesn’t mean the property owner gets out of providing you with compensation. More on this concept of comparative negligence a little later.
Here are a few other tactics insurance adjusters and corporate lawyers may target you with:
- Using Your Statements Against You – The statements you make on the accident scene could be turned on you. It’s also common practice for insurance adjusters to call you in the days after an injury to get a “recorded statement.” Beware. These statements are often twisted to hurt your injury claim. Decline to give a recorded statement and let your premises liability lawyer handle all the communications with insurance representatives.
- Delaying Justice – Insurance companies place your case on the back burner and let you face mounting recovery bills and lost paychecks until you are good and desperate for support. This shameful waiting game is played to set up the next tactic…
- Lowball Settlement Offers – When you are frustrated and desperate, insurance companies like to extend a settlement offer that is well below what you should be getting in compensation. A “lowball” offer often only covers the first night in the emergency room and ignores the physical therapy costs and other financial hardships you’ll face in the future. Your personal injury lawyer is your best defense against these tactics. Your lawyer will empower you to reject a lowball settlement and demand what’s fair.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. California’s comparative negligence laws allow you and a property owner to share the blame for an accident. Your carelessness may earn you a small percentage of the blame, but property owners could still owe you injury support based on the percentage of liability they must accept.
Two years. In most instances, California allows victims up to two years after an accident to file an injury claim. However, in cases filed against a government agency, the deadline may be much shorter.
In most cases, yes. Your case will likely involve a company or corporation and they’ll have their own legal teams. You’ll need a legal expert on your side. Your attorney will also gather evidence and collect testimony to prove your case and allow insurance companies no room to reject your claim.
Contact a California Premises Liability Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been hurt on someone else’s property, make sure you receive every benefit available to victims in California. Discuss your case with a skilled California Premises Liability Lawyer like Martin Gasparian, the founder of Maison Law.
Mr. Gasparian offers a free case evaluation to all victims. He strives to give victims a powerful voice when confronting insurance representatives and legal teams for large corporations and governmental departments. Mr. Gasparian fights against these entities to ensure victims and their families have what they need to rebuild their lives.
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