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Articles Posted in Premises Liability

Here in California, the law recognized several types of “duties,” which are legal obligations that people and entities have to others. One of those is the general duty every person and/or entity has to “exercise reasonable care for the safety of others.” If you are hurt because someone didn’t act reasonably to fulfill that obligation, then that failure may constitute negligence. If that negligence took place while you were on someone else’s property, then you may have a potentially winning claim for premises liability and the opportunity to collect a substantial amount in compensation. An experienced San Mateo injury attorney can help you make the most of your premises liability case.

A recent premises liability case from Southern California offers a strong reminder about just how broad this general duty is, and how firmly on the side of injured people the law is.

M.J. had elderly parents in their late 80s who lived in southern Los Angeles County, while she lived three hours away in northern Santa Barbara County. The father had multiple health problems and the mother was bedridden and had dementia.

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There are almost countless ways that an experienced San Mateo personal injury attorney can help you after you’ve been hurt in an accident. Your attorney can be essential as you litigate at trial. Your attorney also can be just as (if not more) instrumental when it comes time to engage in the settlement process.

An experienced attorney will be able to advise you, based on his/her past cases and other knowledge, what your case is approximately worth. That can be key as you seek not to shortchange yourself by making a settlement offer that’s too low. It can also be vital in determining whether an offer from the other side is a low-ball one or a fair one.

Furthermore, your knowledgeable attorney can help when it comes to the timing of making an offer, the timing of accepting or rejecting an offer from the other side and the conditions you place within an offer. As a recent premises liability case shows, these issues of conditions and timing matter more than you might think.

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Your auto accident case may sometimes seem like a frustrating endeavor. There’s the possibility that the driver who hit you had minimal (or no) insurance coverage and few personal assets, making your chances of recovering full compensation for your substantial injuries low. Especially in these times, a skilled San Mateo personal injury attorney can help a great deal. If you get the right legal team on your side from the start, your attorney can do the in-depth investigation necessary to discover the alternate avenues for compensation that may exist to give you a better chance of getting you the total compensation you need.

For example, we can look at an injury case that was in the legal reports again recently (for reasons unrelated to the victims’ injuries.) The underlying accident was a two-car crash at an intersection in Long Beach, which injured five people. Two of those five were a husband and wife who were in neither vehicle. They were dining at a Mexican restaurant located near the intersection and were struck after the collision caused one of the cars to jump the curb and crash into the restaurant.

According to the couple’s lawsuit, that car kept going until it reached the southeast wall of the restaurant. There, it hit the couple and pinned them against the wall, causing them to suffer serious injuries.

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In your premises liability case, as with any injury case, you have to clear several hurdles. You, of course, have to give the court sufficient proof that shows the defendant was negligent and that this negligence caused you harm. You may also, though, need to avoid things like affirmative defenses and statutory immunity provisions that could defeat an otherwise strong case. Having a skilled San Mateo premises liability attorney by your side throughout the process can greatly increase your chances of clearing these hurdles and achieving success.

Overcoming statutory immunity can be a very big deal in your case because, if the defense can persuade the court that the elements of the statute are all present, then you’ll recover nothing. As an example, there’s M.H.’s premises liability case. M.H., a teenage motorcycle rider, was injured while riding at a motocross track. M.H. suffered severe injuries in a collision with another motorcyclist.

The track was located on property owned the parents of her friend, G.Y., so the girl sued G.Y. and his parents. The girl’s argument in her case was that the motocross track was designed negligently and that it lacked directional signs. These things, according to M.H. led to her collision with the other biker.

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A lot of times, when you hear the words “premises liability,” you might first think of a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident in a store or other place of business. The reality is, though, that the law of premises liability in California exists to protect more than shoppers and other guests on commercial properties. It can include slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents, but also swimming pool accidents or broken sidewalk accidents, as well. Basically, if you’ve been hurt on property belonging to someone else because they didn’t keep their property sufficiently safe, you may have a case for compensation and should contact a knowledgeable San Mateo injury attorney without delay.

Another kind of accident that may potentially present a case for premises liability damages is falling tree branch accidents. California has seen several of these accidents trigger litigation in recent years, and another falling tree branch accident has occurred just recently here in San Mateo County, this time with tragic results.

Late last month, according to a Facebook post issued by Burlingame City Hall, a tree limb of approximately 60 feet in length “dropped suddenly.” The branch crashed down upon a group of people picnicking in Washington Park and killed a 29-year-old woman. Additionally, three other people were hospitalized as a result of the impact, according to the San Mateo Daily Journal. The Daily Journal also indicated that the city had, following the accident, hired independent arborists to examine and assess the condition of the large pine tree.

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News reports have revealed a new surge of COVID-19 cases. CNN reported that, on June 23, California logged more than 7,000 new cases. That was a new record. The old record? Just over 5,000… on June 22. It’s clear the dangers of COVID-19 aren’t going away anytime soon, and that may lead you to a question: what happens if I become infected as a result of visiting a store, restaurant or other establishment? Do I have any legal recourse for that business’s failure to protect me? Depending on the facts of your case, you may have a basis for a civil lawsuit, so it is worth your while to consult a knowledgeable San Mateo personal injury attorney if that happens to you.

In California, as in every other state, there’s something called premises liability law. This is the area of law that applies to things like “slip-and-fall” cases, “trip-and-fall” cases, swimming pool accidents or a bedbug lawsuit against a hotel. It can apply in most situations where someone responsible for a property failed to act in a reasonable manner to keep the property reasonably safe. If there was a hazard that posed a foreseeable risk of harm and the person or entity who owned, leased, managed or controlled that property knew or should have known about the danger, but failed to take proper steps to address the hazard or else to post proper warnings about the dangerous condition, then that’s potentially a case of premises liability.

In the circumstance of a COVID-19 infection, the hazard (the coronavirus) is obviously well-known in the general public, as is the potential risk of harm (infection.) Nevertheless, a successful case will still require the harmed individual to prove that this general knowledge met the law’s standard for actual notice or constructive notice on the part of the property manager.

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Many of us have heard a lot on the cable news channels about the importance of “precedent” in the law in recent years. Precedent is, of course, very important. It means that, generally, if past rulings said that a defendant was not liable in a particular set of circumstances, then you typically won’t win your case if the circumstances surrounding your injury were substantially similar to those past cases. Sometimes, though, the law should – and does – change. Just because previous injured people have lost their cases that seem similar to yours, that alone is not reason to give up on your case. Instead of giving up, discuss your situation with an experienced San Mateo injury attorney to find out if there may still be possibilities for success for you.

A recent case involving a baseball spectator is an example of how changing standards in an industry may mean a change in the law. S.J. was a 12-year-old girl attending a baseball game in Long Beach. She and her mother were seated just beyond the protective netting behind home plate. A foul ball struck the girl in the face, causing massive damage including a cranial hemorrhage and severe damage to her optic nerve. The girl required the insertion of a metal plate behind her eye, which was the first of several surgeries she would require to treat fully the harm caused by the foul ball.

Historically, baseball spectators who suffer injuries after a foul ball hits them have had very little success in personal injury lawsuits. That’s because of a legal concept called “assumption of risk.” That concept says that, if you voluntarily engage in an activity that carries with it certain inherent risks, then you become the person responsible for any harm occurring as a result of that activity. That has often included baseball spectators, as voluntarily choosing to attend a baseball game carries with it the inherent risk that a foul ball (or a homerun ball) might hit you and hurt you, meaning that the player, the league/association or the stadium owner were not responsible.

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If your family is harmed in a serious accident, there are many hurdles you must clear to achieve a full and fair recovery through litigation. You must be able to prove exactly how extensively you and your family have been harmed. However, before you do that, you first have to choose correctly when it comes to naming a defendant in your case. Sometimes, the question of who was at fault may be murky. When that happens you and your legal team need to be sure you correctly assessed the situation and correctly identified the party (or parties) legally culpable. Naming the wrong defendants can delay or reduce your recovery, or possibly can lead to total defeat in your case. For making essential choices like this, be sure to rely on representation from an experienced San Mateo premises liability attorney.

A terrible accident in Southern California was an example of naming the right defendant and eventually obtaining a beneficial result for the family harmed in the accident. A.P., a 2-year-old girl playing at the Linda Vista Children’s Center, suffered massive injuries when a 20-foot eucalyptus tree branch fell and struck her. Her injuries injured a fractured neck, a cracked skull, a brain injury and a fractured leg, according to ABC 7.

When a child is seriously hurt in an accident, while she may be the only one physically injured by the incident, she may not be the only one harmed by it. That was the case for this California family. The girl’s mother told ABC 7 that both she and the girl’s father had to quit their jobs as the little girl required around-the-clock care.

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Many people injured in auto accidents, dog attacks, trip-and-fall accidents and slip-and-fall accidents resolve their cases by settling instead of proceeding to a verdict. Settlement may offer you the opportunity to acquire much-needed financial compensation without the stress and time that must be invested in pursuing a case all the way to a verdict. Your settlement will almost certainly come with a settlement agreement, which will probably contain some limitations about what you and your opponent can and cannot say about your case. It is very important to have a skilled San Mateo injury attorney by your side and that you understand and follow those contractual requirements. And, if your opponent does not follow them, then you may be entitled to recover additional compensation for your opponent’s breach of the contract.

Here’s an example from Southern California. E.L. and M.J. were neighbors in Los Angeles County. The neighbors’ legal battle began after E.L.’s dog killed M.J.’s cat. Each neighbor hired an attorney and, ultimately, the two neighbors agreed to a settlement where the dog owner paid the cat owner $2,000. The settlement agreement also contained a clause that said that neither neighbor was allowed to disparage the other.

Sometime after the two neighbors signed the agreement, E.L. posted a “hostile message” about M.J. on the website Nextdoor.com. M.J. then responded by suing E.L. (again.) This time, he sued for defamation, as well as breach of contract.

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When you are suing someone in a trip-and-fall accident, it is important that the defect that tripped you up not be so slight that the law defines it as “trivial.” That means that the defect was so minor or small that a reasonable person would have been able to navigate it without harm. If you can overcome this “trivial defect” argument hurdle, then you have an enhanced chance of getting your day in court to prove your case and recover compensation. To make sure you are clearing the “trivial defect” and all other hurdles, be sure you have a skilled San Mateo trip and fall attorney working on your behalf.

A pair of cases illustrate each side of this legal coin. M.M. was successful in her premises liability lawsuit because of the strong evidence she had, while C.H. was not successful in his case.

M.M. overcame the “trivial defect” argument in her case against a hotel due to her evidence regarding size. In some cases, California courts have held that defects as small as ½ inch were not trivial and allowed the injured person to proceed to trial. However, cases with defects of less than 1” often have a greater chance of overcoming this “trivial defect” hurdle if there are special or “aggravating” circumstances, like broken or jagged concrete edges, cracks or potholes.

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