Glendale Premises Liability Lawyers
After slipping at a restaurant, suffering an assault at an apartment building, or a near-fatal drowning at a pool, accident victims are often left with catastrophic injuries that require immediate medical aid. Treatment can be extremely expensive, leading to mountains of medical debt. You may assume that you have to pay for these bills out of pocket, but if a property owner acted negligently, you may be able to file a claim against their insurance policy. Many people don't realize that property owners have a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe for visitors, customers, tenants, and others. When property owners are negligent, they can, and should, be held accountable.
If you were injured on someone else's property due to an unsafe condition, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. But to have a successful claim against a property owner, you will need the aid of an experienced and knowledgeable law firm. Look no further than Aghabegian & Associates, PC. Since 1998, our Glendale premises liability lawyers have been helping victims of property owner negligence in Glendale, Los Angeles, and throughout the San Fernando Valley. We can help you understand your legal rights and options and fight for the fair recovery you are owed.
Request a free, confidential consultation today; call (818) 507-4311 or submit an online contact form to get started.
All properties, whether owned by a business owner or government agency, are required to meet certain safety standards based on municipal, state, and federal laws. These laws are designed to protect guests, visitors, and tenants from suffering severe injuries. But these laws are incredibly complex, and no one can expect the average person to know whether or not a property is safe to enter.
But we do expect property owners to ensure our safety when they invite us on their premises. This applies to your local grocery store to your apartment building to a parking lot. In the state of California, premises liability laws are outlined by California Civil Code 1714(a), which requires property owners to take reasonable steps:
- To ensure their property is safe and free of hazards
- To inspect the premises for unsafe conditions
- To repair any safety features they have discovered or warn invitees of any dangers
Failure to abide by these requirements can create the basis of a premises liability claim. However, if you are injured on someone else’s property, then you will need to demonstrate certain factors in order to have a successful claim.
While property owners have to ensure their properties are safe and free of hazards, they can only be considered liable for injuries under certain circumstances:
Duty of Care: First, a property owner must have a “duty of care” towards you. Duty of care is a broad term referring to the duty to ensure someone else’s safety and well-being. When you are out biking, all drivers have a duty of care towards you and should not do anything to endanger you. In the same manner, property owners have a duty to protect anyone who enters their property from serious harm.
Foreseeability: An important element in any premises liability claim is foreseeability. A property owner must have been aware of the danger to be held liable for any injuries. If a light bulb burned out in a stairwell and a guest tripped and fell down the stairs because of poor lighting, then you must prove that the property owner knew about the broken light – or reasonably should have known if they had done an inspection – to hold them liable in a claim.
Negligence: Negligence is the last major element in a premises liability claim. Negligence refers to any action that causes an injury due to a property owner neglecting their duty of care. If a property owner knows of or should have known of a dangerous property condition, yet failed to take any actions to address, correct, fix, or warn of the condition, this is considered negligence.
Negligence can vary from case to case, as each property is different and what constitutes a dangerous property condition in one case may not apply to another. For example, you should expect to fall and injure yourself at a skatepark because of the nature of the activity. However, you should also expect a grocery store to be free of spills and parking garages to have proper lighting. If a building manager saw that a carpet was improperly installed, creating a tripping hazard, then they could be found liable for any guest who falls because they did not put up a warning sign or have the carpet fixed.
Common types of “dangerous property conditions” include:
- Spilled liquids/merchandise
- Accumulated ice, snow, and other tripping hazards
- Torn carpeting, uneven floors, and defective sidewalks
- Unsafe stairs/stairwells
- Lack of sufficient lighting, including security lighting
- Failure to post warnings/emergency exit signage
- Lack of handrails
- Inadequate or lack of security guards/security cameras
- Lack of depth signs at swimming pools
- Chemical exposure
- Dangerous electrical wiring
- Fire hazards, such as a lack of emergency exits, overcrowding, and a damage gas pipes
This list is not exhaustive; there are many other examples of dangerous property conditions that can lead to serious accidents and life-altering injuries, each depending on the unique property.
The types of negligence listed above can apply to any property, whether publicly or privately owned. You are just as likely to be injured in your own apartment building as you are at your local gym. However, in our experience handling cases in Los Angeles County and the San Fernando Valley, properties that are often involved in premises liability claims include:
- Grocery stores
- Office buildings
- Apartment buildings
- Amusement parks
- Events and festivals
- Schools and universities
Even other people’s homes can have dangerous conditions that injure guests. While you may be worried about filing a claim against a property owner you know, such as a friend or small business owner, almost all cases are covered under liability insurance policies. That means if you are injured, you would file against their insurance company, not the owner themselves.
California premises liability laws have changed drastically over the years, and there is some misinformation about premises liability claims. The team at Aghabegian & Associates, PC would like to clarify some issues so that you can better understand how these cases operate.
First, California no longer defines plaintiffs in premises liability claims as invitees, guests, or trespassers. Prior to 1968, these classifications limited the amount of duty of care a property owner has towards each group, with the most care given to invitees, a little less given to guests, and almost none given to trespassers. However, now property owners have a general duty of care to keep their properties free of hazards and safe for anyone who enters it.
If your case goes to trial, a jury will evaluate:
- Where the property was located;
- How likely someone would enter the property, including trespassers; and
- How likely it is that someone could become injured.
Under these standards, it is possible for trespassers to pursue a claim. But this new categorization is also important in child injury cases.
The other major change is the concept of “attractive nuisances.” In some states, property owners could be held liable for attractive nuisances like swimming pools, treehouse, or anything else that would attract a child onto a property. Under this concept, even if a child was trespassing, their parent could pursue a claim against the property owner if they failed to lock a gate or keep the child off the property.
However, California no longer has attractive nuisance laws. This standard was abolished at the same time that courts removed the distinction between invitees, guests, and trespassers. That means that the courts will use the same standards listed above regarding duty of care to determine if an injured party deserves compensation from the property owner, whether or not they are a child or an adult.
At Aghabegian & Associates, PC, we assist clients who have been injured on all types of properties in a wide variety of incidents. Because of the wide variety of safety hazards a property can have, there are several types of accidents that a guest can be injured in. But our firm is well-versed in California safety laws and can advocate for property compensation how ever you were injured.
Our team handles a broad range of premises liability claims, including:
- Dog bites
- Drowning and pool accidents
- Negligent security cases, such as assaults caused by a lack of security protocols
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Unsafe parking lots
- Dangerous amusement parks
- Hazardous staircases
No matter how serious your injuries may be, our team can help you secure proper medical treatment and fight for the fair compensation you deserve. We have successfully secured $125 million on behalf of our clients; our Glendale personal injury lawyers are committed to fighting for the maximum compensation you are owed.
Call (818) 507-4311 today to speak to a member of our legal team about your case.
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Call (818) 507-4311 to learn more.