Posted On November 27, 2019 California

California Premises Liability—Who’s Really Responsible for Your Injury?

Property owners have a duty to keep their land and facilities safe for those who are reasonably expected to be using their property. When you’re hurt on someone else’s property—whether your accident occurs at a hotel, grocery store, construction site or elsewhere—the owner may be held responsible for your injuries.

Read on to find out just what the law has to say about California premises liability, and whether or not you might have a case.

What do California laws have to say about premises liability?

In a premises liability lawsuit, you’ll have to prove that you were injured because of the way the property owner or manager managed (or mismanaged) the property. For example:

  • Did the defendant lease, own, control or occupy the property?
  • Was the defendant negligent in the way they maintained or used the property?
  • Were you harmed on the property?
  • Was the defendant’s negligence a substantial factor in causing your injury?

You’ll have to prove all of the above in order to recover damages from a premises liability case, which can be extremely difficult without a good lawyer.

Property owners have a certain duty of care regarding what is expected of them when managing their property, and premises liability lawsuits revolve around whether or not the defendant breached their duty of care or not. To make that decision, juries consider many factors, such as:

  • The likelihood that any given person would approach, come onto or use the property in the same way as you
  • The location of the property
  • The likelihood of someone to be injured on the property
  • The severity of your injury
  • Whether or not the owner or manager should have known about the condition of their property
  • The burden of avoiding or reducing risk
  • How much control the owner really had in reducing said risk

Who is responsible when I’m hurt on someone else’s property?

There are a number of people who could be held responsible, including anyone who owns, leases, occupies or controls the property. This could be a single person or numerous people depending on the property.

Even if the property owner delegates maintenance duties to someone else—such as a contractor—he or she is still responsible for the state of their property and liable for unsafe conditions and injuries.

That means that for premises liability lawsuits, the defendant could be any of the following:

  • Home owners
  • Business owners
  • Renters or tenants
  • Property managers
  • Retail centers or parent companies
  • Restaurants or stores
  • Any employees of any of the above

Again, the defendants in your case will depend on the property at which you were injured.

What are the most common types of premises liability accidents?

No two injuries are the same, but some locations and types of injuries are more common than others, such as:

  • Slips and falls: by far one of the most common types of accident, and can occur virtually anywhere
  • Water park/amusement park accidents
  • Stair and elevator injuries
  • Animal injuries: animal injuries can sometimes fall under premises liability if unsafe property conditions contributed to your injury
  • Construction site injuries
  • Home accidents: common injuries such as burns, shocks, etc. can just as easily occur at someone else’s home as they could at yours

What counts as evidence that a property owner should have been aware of dangerous conditions?

While property owners may not be liable for injuries caused by trivial or minor damage, several factors can add up to show that the owner should have been aware of the damage, such as:

  • Very obvious damage
  • Prior complaints about the damage
  • Damage existing for a long period of time
  • Prior injuries from the same damage or conditions
  • Poor attempts at fixing the damage

What kind of damages are usually awarded for premises liability cases in California?

Damages are typically broken down into 3 categories—economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.

Economic damages are aimed at compensating you for precise dollar amounts that you have lost or will lose because of your accident, such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity

Non-economic damages compensate the victim for losses that do not have a set value, like:

  • Disfigurement or scarring
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of limb

Finally, punitive damages are designed to punish property owners for particularly reckless or intentionally malicious behavior.

Do I have a premises liability case in California?

Proving that the property owner where you were injured is responsible for your accident can be tough without the right personal injury lawyer at your side. If you’re wondering just how strong your case might be, give us a call or fill out the quick form below, and let’s get started planning the next step to recover the compensation you deserve.

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