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Premises Liability

Caution Sign “The proper test to be applied to the liability of the possessor of land … is whether in the management of his property he has acted as a reasonable man in view of the probability of injury to others … .” Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108

Did you get injured in a public area and need the advice of a premises liability lawyer in California? Premises liability occurs when someone becomes injured while on the property of another, be it commercial or residential, and the owner of that property has failed to maintain a safe environment. It is the responsibility of the owner of property or an establishment to maintain safe conditions for the public. If a dangerous condition exists on the property and the property owner and/or tenant knew or should have known about the condition in time to remedy the condition, they may be found negligent and responsible for the medical expenses and pain and suffering resulting from a slip and fall, trip and fall, assault and battery or other incident caused by the dangerous condition on the property.

Some of the most common areas of premises liability include:

Slip and Trip and Fall Claims

There can be any number of causes for someone to slip or trip and fall on commercial or residential property. It only takes one misstep to take a tumble and fall flat on your face or back, which can cause serious trauma. Common causes of slipping incidents include slick floor conditions from moisture or oily substances like grease or soap. (See Slip and Fall Claims). When the coefficient of friction is such that your foot loses traction upon normal strides, you can go down and strike your head, neck or back. Common tripping hazards can include merchandise that is misplaced and jutting out into aisles within a store, defective sidewalks and other walkways, stairs that are poorly constructed or maintained where steps are uneven or rails are missing or in disrepair.

Assaults and Battery

Assaults and batteries unfortunately occur on and within commercial and residential properties. They can happen during a heated exchange in a night club or in a parking garage when a person is leaving work to go home. Serious beatings and even rapes occur in and around businesses where people expect to be safe and secure from such heinous activity. Whether a landlord, manager, property owner or lessee may be found either partially or fully liable for such events depends upon a myriad of factors including prior assaults or criminal activity in and around the area or structure, whether the battery was committed by an employee of the business (e.g. bouncers) , and any number of other facts that would provide prior notice of the potential for offensive touchings to occur.

Falling Objects

Objects falling down upon people and striking them in the head or knocking them to the ground happen frequently in all types of commercial and residential environments. Inventory can be stacked improperly (either too high or unevenly causing shifting) in retail stores including big box stores like hardware, home and office supply retailers. Likewise, outdoor environments including homes can have trees that have not been properly trimmed causing branches to fall and crush people and property. Any time a heavy object falls prey to the forces of gravity due to negligence in the maintenance of the property, a claim may lie for resulting personal injury or death.

Malfunctioning Equipment

We all expect to be safely transported between floors on elevators and escalators but, unfortunately, glitches do occur causing drops, jerks and other jolts that may injure passengers. Likewise, areas under construction often have heavy equipment like cranes, bulldozers, road graders, and earth movers. Sometimes these are negligently operated or simply go on the fritz and do not function properly and people are injured or killed.

Parking Lot or Parking Structure Incidents

Parking lots and high rise parking structures should be areas where people are able to safely park a vehicle and enter a structure unharmed. Unfortunately, many people are maimed or die every year in and around these areas. Incidents range widely but, include the following:

  • Negligent operation of motor vehicle by valets or parking lot attendants
  • Slip and falls on grease built up over time
  • Tripping hazards like concrete abutments
  • Motor vehicle collisions with other cars or pedestrians
Construction Sites

Areas under construction are notorious for causing bodily injury or death to persons attempting to travel through or near them. People fall in holes, get gouged by re-bar sticking out into a walkway, fall from high points with inadequate railing, are electrocuted by exposed wiring, or get hit by a person negligently operating heavy equipment.

Importance of Hiring an Experienced California Premises Liability Attorney

The insurance companies are spending millions of dollars to defend these cases and are sparing no expense on attorneys’ fees to keep the amount of liability awards to a minimum. If you are a victim in a premises liability case, you will need an attorney that is experienced in handling these types of cases. Our tough, smart and determined legal team will fight for your rights to get the compensation that you deserve. We will conduct site inspections, retain experts like engineers and take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that evidence is preserved and the claim is presented in such a way as to maximize recovery for present and future medical expenses, lost earnings, lost future wages, and the physical pain and emotional trauma caused by the incident. Our consultations are always free and we charge no fees unless and until we recover money for you.

Examples of Recent Successes:
  1. Client was struck while standing in the service bay of a local car dealership. Driver was the valet charged with returning his car. Client suffered major knee and back injuries requiring multiple surgeries. The impairment from these fractures and ligament tears caused him to miss work for months. Total settlement $935,000.
  2. Client was injured when he fell into a hole dug for light post footers on the edge of a construction site. The hole was covered by a flimsy piece of particle board and a gap was left in the covering despite the fact that the crevasse was juxtaposed to a walkway. Total settlement $285,000.

Note: Past results are not a guarantee or warranty of future results. Each case must be evaluated on its individual merits.

Client Reviews
I have known Steven for some time now and when his services were required he jumped in and took control of my cases. I had two and they were handled with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. He went the extra mile regardless of the bumps in the road. I can not see me using any other attorney and I would recommend him to any of my family and friends. Josie A.
Steven was vital during our most trying time. He was referred by a friend after an accident that involved a family member. While he was critical and lying in the hospital, Steven was kind, patient and knowledgeable about what we were going through. Following our loss, Steven became a tough and aggressive negotiator and made sure that we receive a huge compensation. I would refer Steven in fact, this happened 2 years ago and I still speak highly of his service. Cheryl S.
Mr. Sweat is a pitbull in the courtroom as well as settlement negotiations - You can't have a better equipped attorney in your corner! It is a pleasure working as colleagues together on numerous cases. He can get the job done. Jonathan K.
Because of Steven Sweat, my medical support was taken care of. Plus, I had more money to spare for my other bills. Steven is not only an excellent personal injury lawyer, providing the best legal advice, but also a professional lawyer who goes beyond his call of duty just to help his clients! He stood up for me and helped me get through the process. I would definitely recommend. I couldn't think of any better lawyer than him. MiraJane C.
I must tell anyone, if you need a great attorney, Steve sweat is the guy! I had an awful car accident and had no idea where to turn. He had so much to deal with because my accident was a 4 car pile up. Not to mention all the other cars were behind me and they were not wanting to settle in any way! He never stopped working for me and had my best interest at heart! Audra W.