How the Option of a Default Judgment Can Help You Succeed in Your California Premises Liability Case

slip and fallThere can be many different ways to achieve a successful result in your injury case. Some of these favorable results may be achievable without even having to go to trial. If your opponent does not perform certain procedural tasks within the period established by the law, you may be able to obtain a “default judgment,” which can allow you to receive compensation just as if you’d had a full trial and won. Default judgments are just one example of the techniques available to help you with your case. A knowledgeable California premises liability attorney can provide you with the advice and representation you need for pursuing default judgments or any of the other options available to you under the law.

One example of a successful default judgment case was the one filed by Rita, a tenant in Los Angeles County. One day, Rita slipped and fell on a puddle of water, injuring herself. Rita decided to sue her landlord for premises liability, asserting that the area of water was a result of a leakage from defective plumbing. The plumbing leak was a result of the landlord’s failure to repair the defect, which made him liable for the woman’s injuries, according to the plaintiff’s lawsuit.

The landlord was served with court papers on March 20, 2015. The requirement was completed by a registered process server who personally served the landlord. The landlord admitted that he received these papers. Eleven months later, Rita served the landlord with additional papers containing her statement of damages. Again, the landlord was personally served by a registered process server. Those papers stated that the tenant was seeking more than $80,000 in damages.

The landlord, in response to these notices, did nothing. In April 2016, the tenant asked the court to enter a default judgment. A default judgment is a type of judgment in favor of a plaintiff that occurs when the defense does nothing in a case, including not filing an answer to the complaint and not making any appearance of any kind. The judge concluded that the tenant was entitled to a default judgment in her favor and ruled accordingly. The judge later ruled that the tenant’s damages were $48,900.

After the court entered its judgment, the landlord then decided to take action, filing an appeal. The landlord argued that the default judgment was improper because he did not receive the statement of damages until after the court had already entered the judgment in favor of the tenant. That was incorrect, though, since the evidence indicated that the judgment was entered in April, and the landlord received the statement of damages in February, more than seven weeks earlier.

The appeals court also rejected the landlord’s argument that he did not receive all of the notices required by the law to make a default judgment proper. The evidence in the case indicated that the tenant had sufficiently completed every procedural step demanded by the law to request, and then obtain, a default judgment to win her case.

The hardworking San Mateo premises liability attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos have many years’ experience helping injured people seek what they deserve. Their skill and knowledge can help you put the legal system to work for you to the fullest extent. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Tragic Oakland Warehouse Fire Raises Issues of Liability, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, Published December 5, 2016

Plaintiff Prevails on Appeal in California Personal Injury Case, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, Published April 14, 2016

Photo Credit: Maklay62, [CC0 License], via Pixabay