Premises Liability Laws in California
Our Santa Rosa Premises Liability Lawyer Explains Your Legal Rights
Personal injury law has various practice areas, including premises liability. With premises liability cases, you are seeking compensation for your damages from a negligent property owner, lessor, tenant, parent company or other party who is responsible for the property. This may be a private homeowner, a business, a venue or even a public entity.
There are multiple reasons why you can suffer harm on a property, and therefore many reasons why you could file a premises liability case. Cases may involve slip and fall accidents, dog bites, negligent security, poor maintenance or construction defects.
When you suffer damages due to an accident on another party’s property, you may have legal options to pursue compensation by filing a claim or lawsuit. Compensation from a settlement or jury verdict can help cover some of the expenses associated with injuries caused by the accidents listed above, such as brain injuries, broken bones or disfigurement.
Sonoma County residents rely on Flahavan Law Offices when they have been injured due to a negligent property owner or business. We have over 50 years of experience providing exceptional legal representation and advice to our clients. If you have been injured due to a property owner’s wrongdoing or negligence, then you need to know your legal rights. At Flahavan Law Offices, a personal injury lawyer will guide you through the process and help you recover compensation to pay for medical expenses and other damages.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can happen for a number of reasons, even at your workplace. There are common reasons why these accidents may happen on a private property or business. Causes of slip and fall accidents include:
- Clutter left on the floor or in stairwells;
- Poor lighting conditions, especially where there is a risk of a slip and fall accident;
- Improperly maintained or defective stairwells or railings;
- Slippery surfaces or spills;
- Lack of fall protection equipment provided for workers.
Slip and fall accidents may cause catastrophic injuries or fatalities. Catastrophic injuries, which may include spinal cord or brain injuries, can very easily lead to permanent disabilities. Survivors may be unable to return to work and could require extensive medical services for the rest of their lives.
Can I Sue for a Slip and Fall Accident?
Property owners have a “duty of care,” which means they have a legal obligation to keep their properties in reasonably safe condition. Specifically, property owners must inspect and maintain their properties as well as resolve/repair any dangerous conditions that could harm others. In addition, property owners must provide warnings if there are hazards on their properties. For certain property owners, the duty of care to lawful visitors is even more encompassing.
Whether a property owner owes you a duty of care depends on the circumstances. Our Santa Rosa premises liability lawyer can help you determine if it would be possible to hold a property owner accountable for your damages.
Dog Bite Injuries and Premises Liability in California
Dog bites and attacks are another common reason for premises liability claims in California. With dog bites, especially those involving children, it is extremely important to contact an attorney right away to begin building the foundation for your potential case. This is because dog bite and attack injuries can cause much more damage to small children and you will want the best possible odds of recovering adequate damages.
Possible injuries and health consequences include:
- Disfigurement. Dog attacks may leave children disfigured, including with severe facial disfigurements. When children suffer a disfigurement due to a dog bite, they may develop mental health issues and other problems that last a lifetime.
- Amputation. Although this is also considered a disfigurement, severe dog bites may lead to crush injuries and infections. In this case, doctors may need to amputate one or more limbs.
- Infection. Children and the elderly do not have as strong of an immune system as most healthy adults. For this reason, children and the elderly are more prone to infections from puncture wounds and other injuries caused by dog bites. Severe infections, such as MRSA, can spread to other parts of the body and cause significant damage.
- PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder, abbreviated as PTSD, is a debilitating mental health condition that may occur after an extremely traumatic event. The condition can lead to major depression, anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, substance abuse disorders, isolation and an increased risk of suicide.
Even if a dog bite does not lead to a serious injury, some victims may require hospitalization to undergo medical treatments. This can also add to expenses for dog attack survivors and their families.
Can I Sue for a Dog Bite in California?
California has a strict liability rule for dog bites under the right circumstances. The owner’s negligence is not a factor for determining your right to sue.
If you or your loved one did not provoke the dog, trespass on property containing the dog, or attack the dog’s owner (provoking the dog to defend its owner), then you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. However, you cannot sue if a dog bite was caused by a police dog acting within the scope of the department’s policies.
Keep in mind, the dog bite rule, as the name implies, only applies to bites. If a dog attacked you or a loved one, such as by knocking you down a flight of stairs, then you need to show the owner was somehow negligent. The strict liability rule would not apply in this case. There are cases where an owner may be deemed negligent under California law, so we encourage you to contact our attorneys with questions.
Compensation from a dog bite claim or lawsuit could help cover hospital bills, rehabilitation expenses, surgery, lost income, loss of future earning capacity and expenses associated with pain and suffering.
Can I Sue My Employer in a Premises Liability Lawsuit?
Generally, no, you cannot sue your employer if they have workers’ comp coverage. Workers’ compensation, which is required by state law, is available to limit the business community’s exposure to lawsuits, including your employer.
There are cases where you can sue for an injury due to dangerous property conditions, such as on a construction or industrial site. However, your employer’s conduct would need to be intentional or involve severe and willful misconduct, such as concealing a known hazard.
You may be able to file a lawsuit against a third-party property owner, such as a warehouse that does business with your employer. This is only one example. Third-party lawsuits can allow you to obtain compensation for pain and suffering damages. Workers’ comp benefits do not cover noneconomic damages (pain and suffering damages), so the monetary award can be much larger.
Our Sonoma County premises liability attorney can help you determine if it would be possible to file a third-party claim against a negligent property owner during a free consultation.
Call a Santa Rosa Premises Liability Lawyer at Our Firm
Flahavan Law Offices can help you determine what your legal options are after a slip and fall accident, dog bite or attack, or a workplace injury involving hazardous conditions on a third-party’s property. We have over five decades of experience representing individuals and families who suffered harm due to the negligent actions of others.
Our Sonoma County law firm takes cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not owe us attorneys’ fees if we do not recover compensation through a settlement or verdict. You can call our Santa Rosa premises liability lawyer for a free consultation by dialing (707) 833-8614 or by using our online contact form.