In California, businesses and property owners have a legal duty to keep their premises in reasonably safe condition for the people who live on, work at, patronize, or otherwise visit their property. Not only should property owners and property occupiers take proactive steps to fix safety hazards, but they should also conduct regular maintenance and warn guests of any possible dangers.
Sadly, not all businesses or property owners live up to their legal responsibilities. As a result, many serious and avoidable accidents happen. A person who was injured due to the negligence of a business or property owner has the right to hold them legally accountable through a type of lawsuit known as a premises liability claim.
Pius Joseph is an experienced Pasadena, CA premises liability lawyer. With nearly three decades of personal injury experience, Mr. Joseph has the skills and legal knowledge needed to handle a full range of premises liability claims.
If you were injured while at a Southern California business or on another person’s property, we are prepared to protect your legal rights. To get a free, fully private initial consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us at our Pasadena law office today.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a legal concept that governs responsibility for most injuries that occur on someone else’s property. Sometimes also referred to as “occupiers’ liability,” premises liability covers a wide range of different circumstances — from slip and fall accidents to inadequate security cases and more.
As a general rule, California premises liability claims are negligence cases. In other words, a Pasadena property owner will not be held strictly liable for an accident that occurs on their premises. To hold a property owner or property occupier legally responsible for an accident, injured victims must prove that the defendant did something wrong or failed to do something they should have done.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Premises Liability Claim?
Fault in a premises liability case is typically based on negligence. Negligence is the failure to act with the level of care that a party of ordinary prudence would have acted with if placed under similar conditions.
As explained in the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions, plaintiffs in a premises liability claim must be able to satisfy the following four legal criteria:
- The defendant actually owned or controlled the property where the accident took place.
- The defendant was, in some manner, negligent in using or maintaining the premises.
- The defendant’s negligence, at least in part, caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
- The plaintiff suffered real harm as a result of the accident.
Of course, all four of these elements are not necessarily in dispute in every premises liability case. For example, in most cases, there is little to no actual disagreement over whether the defendant owned or controlled the property in question. Likewise, there may not always be much of a dispute regarding if the victim suffered actual harm in the accident – though the amount of damages may be hotly contested.
In most California premises liability claims, the key issue in dispute is whether the defendant was negligent. A property owner’s negligence must always be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Negligence comes in many different forms. You need to know exactly what the defendant did, what they failed to do, and what should have been done under the circumstances in question.
For these reasons, it is crucial that injured victims hire an experienced Pasadena premises liability attorney as soon as possible after their accident. A complete and thorough investigation into the case must be conducted. A California personal injury lawyer with experience handling complex premises liability claims will be able to help you put together the evidence needed to prove negligence and hold a defendant liable.