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Navigating Public Vs. Private Property Liability in Personal Injury Cases: San Fernando Valley Insights

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What is Premises Liability?

It happens all of the time. You’re on your way, trip on exposed wires in a store, stumble over broken stairs in an apartment complex, slip on the sidewalk outside, or are exposed to dangerous toxins, shocks, or flames. If the accident resulted in an injury, the victim should not be responsible for paying for losses like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Under the California premises liability law, if you were injured on someone else’s property, they may be held liable for damages.

Property owners in California must protect and notify visitors and customers of hazardous conditions that may endanger their lives or well-being. If they failed to fix dangerous conditions or inform people of the hazards, they may have breached the duty of care that they owe all visitors to their property.

To successfully recover damages in a premises liability claim, you and your personal injury lawyer must prove negligence on the part of the property owner. In order to prove negligence, your attorney must examine all relevant facts of your case. It must be shown that the liable party owned, occupied, leased, or otherwise occupied the premises at the time of the accident. Your lawyers must also establish the property owner’s negligent maintenance and lack of warnings about hazards. As a result of this negligence, you were injured and suffered losses. If these factors can be satisfactorily proven, you may be able to pursue compensation from the at-fault parties.

What Are Common Examples of Premises Liability Cases?

Premises liability cases most often involve a trip or slip and fall injury.

Other common premises liability cases include the following:

  • Broken or defective sidewalks.
  • Building code violations.
  • Construction site accidents, including falling objects and electric shocks.
  • Dog bites on private property.
  • Drownings and electrocutions at public pools or water parks.
  • Elevator and escalator accidents.
  • Falling objects.
  • Falls at amusement parks.
  • Food poisoning.
  • Ice and other slippery surfaces.
  • Inadequate or negligent security, leading to assault or robbery.
  • Poor fire safety.
  • Roof or balcony collapses.
  • Stairs collapsing.
  • Toxic fumes.

Who is Liable for a Personal Injury in a Public Place in California?

California is an at-fault state. If you were injured on a piece of property, that property’s owner could be held responsible for damages. The government is responsible for the ownership and maintenance of most public spaces in California. For example, a public park in the San Fernando Valley would likely be owned and maintained by Los Angeles County. So, if you were injured in a public place, you may be able to file a premises liability claim against the responsible state or local government that owns the property.

Sometimes, the government’s repairs are tardy or inadequate, resulting in dangerous sidewalks, parks, streets, buildings, and other areas. If you were injured on public grounds, you deserve compensation for your injuries.

Personal injury cases that involve the California government have different steps than typical personal injury claims that are filed in the state. Most notably, the statute of limitations is much shorter when filing a premises liability claim against the government. While the statute of limitations window is usually two years for a personal injury case in California, those involving government entities have a six-month statute of limitations. Speak with a lawyer immediately, or else your lawsuit may be dismissed.

The government entity has 45 days to respond to your lawsuit. If they approve of your claim, then you may begin negotiations for a fair settlement right away. If they deny your claim or if they do not get back to you within 45 days, your lawyer may bring the personal injury case to court.

Who is Held Accountable for Premises Liability Accidents on Private Property?

California premises liability laws make property owners, managers, and legal occupants liable for damages if an injury results because of their failure to address a hazardous condition on the property. Property owners are given a reasonable opportunity to fix the hazard. And, in the time before they fix it, they must provide a warning to guests and customers of the potential danger (for example, a warning sign for slippery floors).

Premises liability claims can be brought against businesses, management companies, property owners, and private homeowners. If the duty of care to all legal guests was breached, and that breach was a substantial factor in the resulting injury, then you may have the grounds for a successful premises liability claim.

If successful in your lawsuit, your lawyer could help you recover maximum compensation for damages, including medical expenses, lost earning capacity, mental anguish, disability, disfigurement, lost quality of life, and wrongful death. Speak to an attorney to learn more.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Experienced Premises Liability Lawyers Today

The personal injury victim should not be responsible for the cost of recovery if an accident was the result of another party’s negligence. If you or a loved one have been hurt on the property of another party, you may have the right to seek legal compensation for your injuries and losses. Speak to the personal injury attorneys of the V&A Law Firm about your case to help determine the possibilities of taking legal action against the at-fault party.

It is possible to file a premises liability claim against a private or public entity. However, different rules apply. Do not delay; speak with our legal team today to better understand your legal options. You may contact our Encino-based law offices today at (818) 369-3270.

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