Los Angeles is a densely populated city with a high concentration of apartment buildings. These apartment buildings can be home to thousands of people, and unfortunately, accidents can happen. When accidents do happen in apartments, they can result in serious injuries or even death. In this blog, we will be discussing Los Angeles apartment accident claims, including the common causes of apartment accidents, the types of injuries that can occur, and what steps to take if you or a loved one has been injured in an apartment accident.
Common Causes of Apartment Accidents
There are many potential causes of apartment accidents, some of which include:
- Slip and Fall Accidents: Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of apartment accidents. These accidents can happen when the floors are wet or slippery, or when there are obstacles in the walkway.
- Faulty or Defective Wiring: Faulty or defective wiring can cause electrical shocks, fires, and other dangerous conditions in an apartment building.
- Structural Issues: Structural issues in the building, such as cracks in the walls or ceilings, can lead to collapses or falling debris.
- Elevator and Escalator Accidents: Elevator and escalator accidents can occur when there is a malfunction in the machinery or when there is improper maintenance.
- Swimming Pool Accidents: Swimming pool accidents can occur when there is inadequate fencing or when the pool is not properly maintained.
Types of Injuries That Can Occur in Apartment Accidents
Injuries from apartment accidents can range from minor cuts and bruises to serious injuries or even death. Some of the most common types of injuries that can occur in apartment accidents include:
- Broken Bones: Broken bones can happen in slip and fall accidents or in collapses and falling debris incidents.
- Head Injuries: Head injuries can occur when someone falls or is struck by falling debris.
- Burns: Burns can happen in electrical accidents or in fires caused by faulty wiring.
- Electrocution: Electrocution can occur when there is faulty wiring in the apartment building.
- Drowning: Drowning can happen in swimming pool accidents when there is inadequate fencing or when the pool is not properly maintained.
Steps to Take if You or a Loved One Has Been Injured in an Apartment Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in an apartment accident, there are certain steps that you should take to protect your legal rights and to ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve. These steps include:
- Seek Medical Attention: The first thing you should do after an apartment accident is to seek medical attention. Even if you do not think that you have been seriously injured, it is important to get checked out by a medical professional.
- Report the Accident: You should report the accident to the landlord or property management company as soon as possible. This will create a record of the accident and can be used as evidence in your case.
- Document the Scene: Take pictures and videos of the scene of the accident, including any injuries that you or your loved one sustained. This evidence can be used to support your case.
- Gather Witness Information: If there were witnesses to the accident, get their contact information. They may be able to provide testimony to support your case.
- Consult with an Attorney: It is important to consult with an attorney who has experience handling apartment accident claims. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and can assist you in getting the compensation that you deserve.
California Law on Legal Liability for An Accident and Injury at an Apartment Complex
Premises Liability Basics: Premises liability concerns the responsibility a landowner or occupier (like a renter) has for injuries sustained by individuals on their property. The traditional approach was to classify entrants into categories: trespassers, licensees, and invitees. Each category had different standards of care that the property owner owed.
Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108: In this case, the plaintiff, Robert Rowland, was a guest in the defendant’s apartment when he was injured by a broken faucet handle. The defendant, Otha Christian, knew the handle was broken but had not warned Rowland.
The key aspect of the California Supreme Court’s ruling was the decision to largely do away with the traditional categorization of entrants (trespasser, licensee, invitee) and, instead, apply a general duty of care that landowners owe to all entrants. The court determined that whether a duty exists depends on several factors:
- Foreseeability of the harm to the plaintiff.
- Degree of certainty that the plaintiff suffered injury.
- The closeness of the connection between the defendant’s conduct and the injury suffered.
- The moral blame attached to the defendant’s conduct.
- The policy of preventing future harm.
- The extent of the burden to the defendant and consequences to the community of imposing a duty to exercise care with resulting liability for breach.
- The availability, cost, and prevalence of insurance for the risk involved.
These factors helped to create a more flexible, case-by-case determination of liability rather than rigidly adhering to categories.
Implications for Legal Liability in California: After Rowland v. Christian, the main question in California premises liability cases became whether the defendant acted reasonably given the circumstances, rather than what category the plaintiff fell into. While the categorization hasn’t been completely discarded and might still be relevant in some situations, the focus shifted more toward a broader standard of reasonableness and the factors established by the Rowland court.
In essence, if you are a property owner or occupier in California and someone gets injured on your property, the question will be whether you acted reasonably in maintaining your property or in warning of known hazards. If the harm was foreseeable and you did not take reasonable steps to prevent it, you could be found liable for the injuries.
Consult with A Los Angeles Apartment Accident Attorney
Over the past 25 plus years, we have helped many victims of accidents that happen in and around apartment complexes in Los Angeles. Whether you are a tenant or a guest, we can help you determine if the landlord’s negligence was a factor in your injury and whether you may have a legal right to recovery for your injuries. Call our offices at 866-966-5240 for a free claim evaluation.