Articles Posted in Premises Liability

slippery floorPremises liability lawsuits cases can include slip-and-fall accidents, trip-and-fall accidents and several other varieties of injuries suffered while a person was on the property of someone else. In many circumstances, slip-and-fall accidents may take place because the operator of a commercial business fails to keep its floors sufficiently clean. As a result, when you pursue a slip-and-fall injury accident case against a merchant, you have to show that the business’ policies and practices it had in place for inspecting and cleaning its floors were not reasonable. If you’ve suffered an injury in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident in Northern California, you should contact an experienced San Mateo injury attorney to provide you with representation in your case.

M.J. was a shopper injured in a slip-and-fall accident. M.J. was shopping at a discount supermarket when she allegedly slipped and fell due to a patch of liquid on the floor of the store. As a result, she sued the supermarket.

In this situation, as with many accident cases, expert witnesses can be an important component of the case. These individuals can often provide powerful evidence that, if the court finds it persuasive, will go a long way toward influencing the outcome. In M.J.’s case, the supermarket provided an expert who testified that the merchant’s system – which involved sweeping the floor once an hour – was a reasonable method for dealing with hazards like spilled liquids. M.J. also had an expert. The shopper’s expert testified that the store’s practices were not adequate and, on top of that, the store’s floor was unreasonably slippery when wet.

beach volleyballIn any type of personal injury circumstance, there are several things of which you must be aware, and several “landmines” that you must be careful to avoid as they can destroy your case. Any time you are injured, an essential part of the process is identifying the person or entity responsible. However, it is equally important to be certain the party you identified is one from which you can obtain compensation. There are various statutes that state that, in certain situations, particular entities are completely immune from liability, meaning that you cannot obtain a judgment against them and cannot obtain the compensation you need from them. If you’ve suffered an injury in an accident in Northern California, you should be sure to retain an experienced California injury attorney to represent you and give your side the strong advocate you need.

Some injury cases can arise from relatively unusual circumstances. Just because your accident is not typical, don’t mistake that to mean that you cannot sue and cannot win an award of damages. Consider the case of M.A. M.A. was a member of her college’s interscholastic beach volleyball team who was hurt while competing. Her team was playing in a tournament at a college in San Diego County when M.A’s knee allegedly struck a rock in the sand. The impact of the woman’s knee with the rock caused her to suffer an injury, according to her complaint. The woman sued the college that hosted the tournament for negligence and premises liability. She later removed the premises liability claim and added one for “dangerous condition of public property.” The college asked the trial judge to throw out the case based upon something known as “field trips and excursions” immunity.

The trial judge agreed with the college that the statutory immunity for field trips and excursions applied to the woman’s circumstances, meaning that the case must be dismissed. The appeals court, however, explained that this was incorrect. The appeals court made it very clear that the statutory immunity extended to field trips and excursions did not apply to situations where a member of a visiting team is injured during an intercollegiate athletic event. When an institution provides the facilities to be used in the athletic event, its duty to provide safe facilities extends to all players in the event, not just those who are students of the host school.

spiderIn any personal injury lawsuit, there are certain things you have to establish in order to have a chance to receive a favorable outcome. One of the first things you have to establish is something called “duty.” In the law, this means a legal obligation or responsibility to do something or refrain from doing something. If the person you sued owed no legal duty to do anything for you or refrain from an alleged action, then you cannot succeed, regardless of your factual evidence. If you can establish a duty and a failure to meet it, then you are one more step closer to success. When it comes to knowing what you have to prove in order to win your case, and how to go about putting together a persuasive trial presentation that meets your burden of proof, you should protect yourself and your case by retaining a skilled San Mateo personal injury attorney to represent you in your matter.

M.C.’s injury case was one that revolved prominently around the issue of a property owner’s duties. During a lunch at a Riverside County restaurant, M.C. allegedly was bitten by a black widow spider. She complained about the bite to restaurant staff shortly after it happened. The morning after the bite, she experienced extensive numbness in her body. She went to the hospital, was admitted and remained there for six days. The medical providers diagnosed her with “demyelination in [her] thoracic spine” as a result of the bite. M.C. sued the restaurant, asserting claims of negligence and premises liability.

The legal concept of foreseeability and how it impacts your case

One element of the issue of duty is foreseeability. A person or entity generally does not have a legal duty to protect you from things that are not foreseeable. For example, a business in northern New England would not have a duty to protect patrons from attacks by 30-foot crocodiles, because an attack by a 30-foot crocodile in northern New England would not be foreseeable, a popular 1999 suspense film notwithstanding. Black widow spiders and their bites are, unfortunately, quite foreseeable in Southern California.

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ladder fallChances are, unless you are a lawyer or someone deeply familiar with legal issues, you’ve probably not heard the Latin phrase “respondeat superior.” But those two Latin words can mean a lot if you’ve been hurt in an accident. Respondeat superior is a Latin phrase that loosely translates to, “let the master answer.” The theory behind this concept is that, in some situations, someone who hires another person may be indirectly liable for the acts of negligent committed by the person they hired. This doctrine of law may open the door of possibilities for you, expanding your options against whom you can pursue compensation. To make sure your injury case names all of the people and/or entities who might be liable to you, be sure you have representation from an experienced California injury attorney.

An example of a case where this concept of “respondeat superior” was a key element was M.J.’s injury action. O.M. owned a landscaping business and hired M.J. to help on a job trimming trees. The jobsite was a private property owned by D.S. M.J., while using a ladder (that O.M. had provided) to do her job, fell off the ladder and suffered substantial injuries.

When you’re hurt in a situation like what happened to M.J., there may be several different ways you can pursue the compensation you need in order to get by while you are recovering from your injuries (and afterward.) For some people, compensation may be through workers’ compensation benefits. For others, though, getting the needed compensation may require filing a civil lawsuit. If are in the position of suing, you may have multiple people or entities whom you can name in your case. The more individuals and/or entities you can name, the better your chances of achieving a full and complete recovery award.

Legal News GavelWhen you are an independent contractor and you’re hurt on the property of the party who hired you, your premises liability lawsuit can potentially be more complicated. In this type of situation, California law says that there are only two scenarios in which you can proceed with an injury lawsuit: “when the hirer exercised control over the contractor’s work in a manner that had contributed to the injury” and “when the hirer failed to warn the contractor of a concealed hazard on the premises.” If your situation doesn’t include either of those scenarios, then the property owner may be able to get your case dismissed before it even gets to trial, so proving one or both of these exceptions is of paramount importance. To make sure your premises liability case is as complete and unassailable as possible, be sure to retain the services of an experienced California injury attorney.

A recent case from Southern California shows how a worker can proceed in a situation like this,  avoiding a defendant’s request for summary judgment. The injured man was a professional window washer. The injury took place at the property of a very popular and successful singer of the 1950s and 60s. The singer’s home included an indoor pool that was covered by a large, round skylight. While his team was performing a cleaning job of the skylight, the window washer slipped and fell off the roof of the home after he had communicated instructions to the other window washers.

The injured window washer sued. Whether you are on the roof of a home, the yard attached to a home or inside a home, if you’re there with permission, the homeowner has a legal obligation to keep the premises safe for you. If a dangerous condition exists, the law says that the homeowner must correct the hazard or warn of the hazard. In the window washer’s situation, he asserted that there was loose rocks, pebbles and sand on the roof, which was what caused him to slip and fall off the roof. He also alleged that the roof was dangerous because the ledge required to access the skylight lacked safety railings and the shingles on the roof were “dilapidated,” making the surface slippery.

Legal News GavelWhenever you are considering signing any document that restricts your legal rights in any way, it is important to make absolutely sure that you understand what you are signing. You need to be sure that you know what rights you are giving up and what rights you are retaining, in order for you to make a truly informed decision. If you are unsure about an agreement, seek out experienced California legal counsel to provide you with the advice you need.

P.Z. was a person potentially impacted by such an agreement after she was hurt at a health club. P.Z. was walking through a health club’s gymnasium when she tripped and fell. The accident happened because the member’s foot became entangled with a metal “wireway” that the club used to run wires to the club’s treadmill machines. She sued the club in a premises liability action for the harm she suffered, which included a fracture and dislocation of her right elbow.

In many health clubs like this, members sign an agreement as part of the application for membership process. This club had such an agreement. In the document, the member agreed, as part of seeking membership, to waive the right to sue for various types of harm.

Legal News GavelWhen you hear the phrase “premises liability,” one very understandable reaction might be, “What’s that?” Another is to assume that “premises liability” comes up only in situations where a person suffers a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident at a place of business. The reality is that premises liability can cover a variety of scenarios, extending beyond just slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall injuries. If you have been hurt while you were on someone else’s property, you may have a case and an entitlement to compensation. Contact an experienced California injury lawyer to learn more.

One example of this “other” type of premises liability injury took place recently here in San Mateo County. A 12-year-old boy and his family were camping in the San Mateo County Memorial Park when a 72-foot-tall tree fell on his tent. The early morning tree collapse was allegedly the result of a fungus that left the diseased tree rotten and unstable. In order to save the boy’s life, doctors amputated one of his legs and part of his pelvis.

The boy sued for premises liability. A premises liability case, whether it is a slip-and-fall, trip-and-fall or a case like this one, requires you, as the injured person, to give the court proof that the person/entity you sued is liable through negligence. In other words, you need proof that the person or entity who owned or controlled the property either acted improperly or improperly failed to act and that your injury was the reasonably foreseeable result of that negligence.

Legal News GavelSometimes, the harm that results from an accident can be straightforward and immediately apparent. For example, a situation where a person trips, falls and breaks an ankle is just such a scenario. In other circumstances, though, the harm that is triggered by an accident may include damages that are not immediate. When yours is the latter type of scenario, you may still be entitled to recover compensation for all of the harm you suffered, as long as the accident was the “proximate cause” of all of that harm. For advice about proximate cause, foreseeability and representation in your accident case, look to an experienced California injury lawyer..

Here’s a real-life example from an actual case (Orange County Superior Court Case No. 30-2016-00838494): The accident took place during the running of a 5K run/walk held on the sidewalks of a city 37 miles outside Los Angeles. The race was put on by a seller of running/walking shoes and other gear.

The race course ran through a construction zone at one point. Racers had to cross a construction driveway to get from one area of sidewalk to the next. 60-year-old T. caught her foot on a 1.5-2.0 cm ledge located within that driveway.

Legal News GavelThere 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.

A tragic fire at an Oakland warehouse on December 3, 2016 has killed more than 30 people that were attending a concert.  The Oakland Fire Department continues to recover bodies and it is feared that the number of deaths could increase to as many as 40 to 50.

The property where the fire occurred was a warehouse, known as Oakland Ghost Ship, that neighbors claim had been converted to a place where artists lived and worked.  However, the City had not permitted the building for residential use or for use as a concert venue.  The concert, Golden Dorma 100% silk 2016 West Coast Tour, was advertised online, including a concert Facebook page.  A local resident stated that the warehouse is known by locals as the site for rave-style concerts.  Shockingly, it has been reported that sprinklers or fire alarms had not been installed in the building.  A spokesperson for the building owner claims that the owner did not know that people were living at the building or that it was being used for concerts and parties.

Some local residents have described the building as a tinderbox where tragedy was waiting to happen. Former residents of the building reported that they saw artists using butane torches, water being heated with propane, and sparking electrical wires.  The building was divided into a number of different sections that had been decorated with curtains and other fabrics.  The interior and exterior of the building was littered with debris that has been described as kindling.  The interior stairs consisted of wooden pallets that made it difficult to escape the inferno.  Most people died on the second floor where the concert took place.  It is inexcusable that the City of Oakland and the property owner allowed such a deathtrap to exist.