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New Premises Liability Cases Highlights the Need for Property Owners to Be Diligent About Safety Issues


Johann HallAttorney Johann Hall offers an in-depth look at Premises Liability and common situations that can lead to injury, just one of many topics that the legal team of The Law Offices of Bill Kuziara is expert at handling.

Slip-and-fall accidents leading to injury is just one aspect of premises liability, there are several other examples that can include everything from burn injury, injury due to animal attack, faulty machinery, exposure to toxic fumes, explosion, physical assault and even accidental drowning. Other incidences that comes under this category includes everything from falling objects that cause injury, a broken sidewalk, pothole or a spill that lead to a tripping hazard. Something as innocuous as improper signage can also result in injury.

When determining liability on the part of the property owner, a number of aspects of the situation are taken in to consideration. The key factor for determining premises liability is always the legal status of the visitor, and that is usually broken down into four categories; licensee, invitee, social guest, and trespasser. Obviously, status is important when determining a premises liability claim, as a trespasser is not likely to be compensated for a premises liability case.

Knowing When to File A Claim

If someone uses the property appropriately and sustains a serious injury, there may be grounds for a premises liability claim.  If a dangerous condition arises that an owner is aware of but has failed to respond to in a timely manner, a visitor who sustains an injury may want to consult a premises liability lawyer to discuss the situation. Any resulting liability claim should be undertaken in a timely manner, particularly if there is reason to believe the negligence of a property owner has contributed to the injury.

California law allows for up to two years to file a case in court from a premises liability accident. This time period generally begins on the date of the accident. However, protecting and preserving vital evidence associated with the case and potential statues of limitations that may limit the time a person has to file a claim following an injury are two good reasons to not delay action on a premises liability case. Premises liability cases frequently allow damages based on pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages, and compensation to surviving family members in the event of death resulting from qualifying injuries may also be considered.

Typical Injuries Associated With Premise Liability Cases

Injuries commonly resulting from slip-and-fall and premises accidents can range in severity from bruises, scratches and scrapes that require only moderate medical treatment to catastrophic personal injury such as brain or spinal cord injury or burn injury. These types of injuries often lead to lifelong damage and require ongoing medical care. In the worst case scenario, the victim may succumb to the injuries and die. If this is the case, and the accident occurred due to the property owner’s neglect or negligence, then the death is considered a wrongful death and can be litigated as such.

Proving Fault in a Premises Liability Claim

A property owner is legally responsible for exercising a reasonable level of care to maintain a safe premise, thereby preventing potential injury to visitors. In most states, the term “reasonable level of care” depends on the circumstances under which the injured person entered the property, the intended use of the property, whether the accident was foreseeable and whether the property owner took reasonable measures to prevent injury or made an effort to warn visitors of potential hazards.

Injuries suffered due to a slip-and-fall case or any other type of personal injury that occurs on someone else’s unsafe property must be clearly demonstrated in order to have a legitimate premises liability claim in the following manner:

  • that an injury was sustained
  • that the injury occurred due to a hazardous condition on someone else’s property
  • and that the accident happened due to negligence on the part of the property owner

In some cases, the victim may be found to share negligence and in those cases damages may be adjusted to reflect the degree of his or her fault.

Evidence of the Hazards of Unsafe Conditions

The laws pertaining to personal injury and liability are complex so recording any evidence by taking pictures of the scene where the injury occurred and hiring an experienced premises liability attorney to further gather evidence are among the surest ways to prove that the condition found on the premise is hazardous.

In cases of catastrophic injury, the damage is obvious. However, if the injury is less severe, or if it has healed since the time of the accident, proof of the injury is best presented in the form of medical records, photographs and witnesses’ testimonies.

The Law Offices of Bill Kuziara has handled numerous cases on behalf of seriously injured fall victims due to premises liability in apartments, homes, retail stores and other private and public buildings. If you or a family member has been seriously injured in a fall or other accident away from your home, you may have a claim. Visit our website at www.kuzilaw.com for more information or contact us at (707) 546-1040 for assistance and legal advice. We are with you every step of the way.


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