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Slip and fall accidents, dog bites, and robberies may not seem like they have anything in common. However, premises liability laws connect them. Any type of personal injury that occurs on someone else’s property may qualify as a premises liability case if someone was negligent. Slip and fall accidents can result from failing to address property hazards, dog bites can trace back to a negligent owner, and robberies can stem from inadequate building security. These types of personal injuries require the attention of a skilled premises liability law firm, such as Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP.
Common Premises Liability Accidents
Premises liability laws come into play when some kind of unsafe or defective condition on a property causes injury. This legal area is broad and can encompass virtually any kind of accident that might occur while on a property – as long as negligence caused or contributed to the injury. Types of premises liability accidents that we’ve seen in Orange County include:
- Amusement park accidents
- Defective or dangerous premises conditions
- Dog bites and attacks
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Fires and floods
- Inadequate security leading to assault or injury
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Swimming pool accidents
- Toxic fumes or chemicals
Similar to most personal injury lawsuits, the courts base premises liability cases on the rules of negligence. Almost every slip and fall accident comes down to negligence or a failure to uphold one’s duties. A worker may have avoided a slip and fall accident due to an oily warehouse floor, for example, if a property owner properly trained workers to clean up spills. A failure in this duty, leading to an accident, would likely be grounds for a case based on premises liability laws. Contact an Irvine premises liability attorney to determine fault for your accident.
Property Owners’ Duties of Care
Property owners and possessors will be liable for injuries on their properties if they knew about or reasonably should have known about the hazardous condition and did nothing to prevent injury. This counts as a breach of duty of care. Property owners/possessors owe different duties of care to visitors depending on the visitor’s status:
- Invitees are people whom the property owner expressly or implicitly invites to a property, such as customers of a business. Property owners owe the highest level of care to invitees. CA laws obligates property owners with invitee visitors to repair known hazards, search for and repair unknown hazards, and warn of known hazards that the owner has yet to address. There’s an implied promise to invitees that the property owner has taken reasonable care to ensure the safety of the property.
- Licensees are visitors who enter a property for reasons of their own, such as salesmen, technicians, or family and friends. Property owners owe a slightly lower standard of care to licensees; they must still repair known hazards and warn of dangers they haven’t fixed, but they don’t have to search for unknown hazards.
- Property owners don’t owe any duties of care to trespassers or people on a property without invitation or without the right to be there – other than not intentionally causing bodily harm. If trespassers are children, however, property owners owe them the same rights as licensees.
During a premises liability case, the courts will determine your reason for entering the property and your status as a visitor. If the courts deem that the property owner failed in one or more of his/her duties according to law, the defendant will be guilty of negligence. To prove property owner negligence, you must show that the defendant knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to act.
To speak with an experienced Orange County premises liability attorney about your case, call Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP, at (877) 800-1700 or contact us online. We represent clients in Newport Beach, Irvine, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and throughout Southern California.