Premises Liability Lawyer Ventura, CA
Many families and business owners in Southern California own properties. While we do not usually think about the likelihood of an accident happening while we are grocery shopping in Ventura or in a business office in Hollywood, accidents can happen anywhere and without warning.
Premises liability accidents happen when a property owner does not take reasonable care of his or her property, and another person suffers an injury as a result. California case law makes clear that “property owners are liable for injuries on land they own, possess, or control.” In short, property owners have a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition and a duty to warn of dangerous conditions. If a property owner did not use reasonable care in managing his or her premises or did not warn you about a dangerous condition, and you are injured as a result, you may be entitled to compensation.
If you have been injured on the property of another person or entity—regardless of whether you knew the person before the accident—you may be eligible to seek compensation by filing a premises liability lawsuit. Contact an experienced Ventura premises liability attorney at the Quirk Law Firm, LLP today.
Types Of Premises Liability Accident Claims
What are premises liability accidents? Many people tend to assume that slip and fall accidents are the same as premises liability accidents. While slip and fall claims represent one type of premises liability lawsuits, this area of law actually covers many different kinds of accidents. Premises liability accidents can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Slips and falls
- Falls from heights
- Animal bites
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Construction accidents
Premises liability accidents can take place almost anywhere, from retail establishments in Ventura, to coworkers’ homes in Simi Valley, to classy hotels in downtown Los Angeles. Regardless of where your premises liability accident took place, you should remember that the property owner had a duty to prevent the unreasonable risk of an accident. If the owner of the premises didn’t take steps to ensure that the property was safe (such as inspecting it for hazards or cleaning up spills), you may be eligible for significant financial compensation.
Leased Property Premises Liability
The laws regarding premises liability are different when the incident occurs on leased property. Usually, the landlord is not responsible for the injury of the tenant’s guest, as it is assumed that the tenant is in control of the property. However, there are exceptions such as hidden defects that are latent and hazardous conditions that already exist when the tenant takes over the property. Another exception occurs when a landlord is doing renovations for a tenant. Repairs must be carried out without negligence.
Different states follow different rules, stipulating who can claim responsibility for housing under which conditions. Some states focus on the identity of the person visiting the property to determine whether the responsibility is appropriate. In these states, the identity of the visitor is usually the invitee, licensee, or intruder.
Invitees are people who are invited to enter the property for business purposes, such as customers in shopping malls. Upon invitation or with the permission of the owner or occupant, social guests or licensees will also appear in the property. For the invitees and licensees, the invitation is an implicit promise that the property is safe. In some states, depending on whether the visitor is an invitee or a licensee, a different duty of care should be taken, but in other states that recognize these differences, the highest duty of care should be taken for both.
- Invitee – Invitees are individuals who are invited to enter the property for business or professional purposes.
- Social guests/licensees – Social guests/licensees are individuals who are invited into the property and have no mutually beneficial business or professional relationships.
In many states, which focus on visitor status to assess liability, intruders who are on the property and injured cannot recover at all. The owner or resident only has to refrain from deliberately harming the intruder, for example by setting traps. In some cases, however, when an owner knows that an intruder is likely, they need to provide adequate warning of unapparent dangers. Exceptions to this rule are usually children who can get involved in an “attractive nuisance” such as a swimming pool and are therefore subject to a greater duty of care.
Generally, owners and occupants must regularly inspect their property to find dangerous conditions that they may have to fix or put up a warning to visitors so they are not injured. Any owner who fails to meet this duty, such as by knowing of a dangerous condition and failing to warn visitors, can be held liable for visitors’ injuries that result from it.
Contact a premises liability attorney Ventura residents trust, from Quirk Law Firm, LLP for more information on how our team can assist you in your case. You may be eligible to seek significant compensation for expenses such as damages, medical treatment, and lost wages. Our firm will work closely with you to create a strategy for achieving the most desirable outcome for your case. Contact Quirk Law Firm, LLP to schedule a strategy session with an experienced premises liability attorney.
Preventing Premises Liability Accidents
Serious falls, including slips and falls as well as falls from heights, represent a large number of premises liability accidents. How can you prevent falls? According to the National Safety Council, you can take the following steps to help prevent injuries in your home and business:
- Store objects within easy reach so that you and others don’t have to use a ladder.
- Keep electrical cords out of walkways.
- Clear tripping hazards, such as boxes or other items, from walking paths through the home or office.
- Add handrails to staircases.
- Immediately wipe up any spills that you see, as well as any spills that you find out about.
- Use non-skid rugs and mats on slippery tile floors.
What to Do if You’re a Victim of an Accident?
If you or your loved one has been injured in a premises liability accident there are a few steps you should take to ensure you’re properly compensated. Contacting a premises liability lawyer is usually the first step, but in the case of severe injuries, receiving medical care will, of course, be your first priority.
Once you’re in the right state of mind to talk with your lawyer, you can prepare for your initial appointment by gathering any possible evidence you can. This may include writing your testimony of the event (as well as anyone present), taking photographs/video evidence of the premises, etc. You may not be able to gather evidence right from the start, but your lawyer will be able to assist you. Another good tip is to keep from talking to law enforcement until you have your lawyer as they will guide you.
How Much Does a Premises Liability Lawyer Cost?
Much like a personal injury lawyer you generally won’t need to pay your premises liability lawyer upfront or by an hourly fee. Instead, you will be paying a contingency fee. Since you’re likely to be suffering from medical expenses, a contingency fee means your lawyer will be paid a percentage of your final settlement or court award. In addition to no fees being owned upfront, your lawyer will only receive compensation if you win the case. Fortunately, your contingency fee will be discussed with your lawyer prior to the agreement and will most likely be a percentage of your final settlement/court award.
What Are You Entitled to be Compensated For?
You might believe that you are only eligible to be compensated for medical expenses or property damage (such as in the case of an automobile accident), but there are other ways you can be compensated as well. Some of these areas include lost wages, medical expenses that include physical therapy, and pain and suffering. As such, it’s good practice to consult with your lawyer if the property owner or their insurance company offers an initial settlement. Oftentimes they will try to offer a low amount that may not cover all your expenses.
How Long Will the Process Last?
Most premises liability cases are resolved before they ever reach the courtroom. Due to the amount of time and money required, the defendant will try to settle out before the case is brought to court. These cases may be resolved in as little as a couple of months. For cases where the defendant isn’t willing to budge or offer an adequate amount, the case may take several months. This time period can also be exacerbated by factors such as the severity of the injuries as well as any disputes. While more on the rare side some cases can be prolonged to a few years.
Contact a Ventura Premises Liability Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in a premises liability accident, you deserve to be compensated. Contact us today at the Quirk Law Firm to discuss your case. We are open 24/7 and our strategy sessions are always free.