California’s premises liability laws protect visitors to properties that are open to the public. That means any property that is for public use must put in place several measures to keep people from getting injured on the property. Different types of properties may vary in their safety protocols. For instance, a casino must keep their floors free of slippery substances and trip hazards. On the other hand, properties like amusement parks have to provide safety protocols such as ride safety.

Since California’s premises liability laws are based on negligence, in a premises liability case, the plaintiff is obliged to prove the factual elements of the claim; that he or she was harmed because of the way the defendant managed the property. In particular, the plaintiff must prove that:

  • The defendant owned, leased, occupied, or controlled the property;
  • The defendant was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property;
  • The plaintiff was harmed; and
  • The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injury

If you sustained injuries due to negligence on someone else’s property, an experienced Escondido premises liability attorney from Marino & Tye LLP can help you establish a plan of action so that you may get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (760) 741-7643.

Slip and Fall Cases

Over three million individuals go to the emergency department each year because of a slip and fall accident, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Of those, more than 800,000 are admitted to the hospital for injuries sustained when they fell. Traumatic brain injuries are common injuries suffered in slip and fall cases; however, for those that fall sideways, 95 percent suffer from hip injuries.

Causes of Slip and Falls

People can fall for many reasons, for instance, slipping on liquid on a hard floor. Such incidents are prevalent in different premises, including the following:

  • Uneven walkways;
  • Clutter in walkways;
  • Elevated Walkways and hallways
  • Loose flooring;
  • Detached or missing flooring pieces, such as a tile or a portion of wood in a wood floor;
  • Open drawers and doors;
  • Slippery floors and other surfaces;
  • Cables, wires, hoses, and extension cords, especially those in walkways;
  • Places with poor lighting condition
  • Steps and ramps that do not have markings (or the markings are not clear enough)
  • The curled edges of a carpet; and
  • Items left on the floor, such as a purse or a bag.

Injuries Caused by Slip and Fall Accidents

The injuries you could suffer from a slip and fall are dependent on various factors, including how you fall and the type of floor or ground you fall on, and even the size or conformation of the object that causes you to fall.

Here are the most common:

  • Cuts, scrapes, and bruises;
  • Head, neck, and shoulder injuries;
  • Traumatic brain injuries;
  • Back and spinal cord injuries;
  • Hip injuries
  • Strains and sprains;
  • Simple and compound fractures; and
  • Wrongful death

Negligent Security

Negligent security is a premises liability action that could prove difficult for a plaintiff to win without a comprehensive knowledge of the law. That is why it is crucial to work with an attorney who is proven to have expertise in premises liability law.

Consider the following example:

A patron drinks at the casino and becomes visibly drunk and starts to get hostile and aggressive because he lost all of his money at blackjack. The casino continues to serve the patron as he watches his friend play a few more hands. Then, the drunk and belligerent patron steps outside and meets a friend who has a gun. The intoxicated patron, standing in the street, takes the gun and acts to shoot and rob the next person who walks out of the casino. Despite having the incident happen outside the casino in the street, the casino could still share in the responsibility for the injuries to the innocent plaintiff because the casino continued to serve the drunk patron and knew or should have known that the drunk and belligerent patron could or would cause harm to someone else.

Injuries Caused by Negligent Security

The injuries you could suffer from negligent security could be anything from minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises to wrongful death – depending on the circumstances of the event. If an assailant attacks you in a poorly lit area of the parking lot, you could suffer even more severe injuries such as broken bones or traumatic brain injuries. If you are shot, you could suffer internal injuries or even wrongful death.

Recoverable Damages

Damages you might recover in a premises liability case include both economic damages and non-economic damages. The economic damages have a fixed price, while the non-economic damages have not. Both types are designed to help you recover and be whole again. If the court finds that the defendant was grossly negligent, it might also award punitive damages. That award is a punishment for the defendant’s actions or inactions.

Damages include:

  • Past and future medical expenses;
  • Past and future lost wages;
  • Burial and funeral expenses;
  • Loss of companionship;
  • Loss of consortium;
  • Inconvenience;
  • Disfigurement; and
  • Paralysis

In general, the court orders certain non-economic damages, such as loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and inconvenience if doctors expect your injuries to result in long-term disabilities. Injuries such as nerve damage from a gunshot wound or traumatic brain injuries from hitting your head in a slip and fall accident fall in this category. Your premises liability attorney at Marino Tye LLP can help give you a better idea of what damages may be compensable in your case.

Escondido Premises Liability Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

Residential and commercial property owners, as well as the managers of public properties in Escondido have a legal responsibility to give individuals visiting their premises the needed protection from foreseeable hazards. If they fail to do so, they can be held liable for the damages caused if their visitors get injured inside their premises. The legal course of action for obtaining this compensation is through a premises liability lawsuit. Read on for answers to the questions we are most frequently asked about premises liability.

What accidents involve premises liability?

Premises liability falls under the umbrella of personal injury, which means the legal action taken involves the recovery of damages relating to an injury suffered as the result of an unsafe property condition. There are several types of premises liability, including:

  • Slip and fall cases – The most common type of premises liability claim. Accidents from wet or freshly waxed flooring, loose or worn flooring materials, broken or improperly constructed stairs, cracked pavement are among cases that belong to this category.
  • Negligent security – Property owners are required to ensure that they provide the proper security to protect their visitors from becoming the victims of foreseeable crimes that could take place on their property.
  • Swimming pool accidents – Property owners have the responsibility to see to it that features such as swimming pools and other facilities with potential hazards – places that may entice young children to trespass – are properly secured. In addition to the hazards of backyard or public pools for small children, property owners are also required to ensure that they provide adult supervision, a lifeguard on duty, or prominent signs warning visitors to swim at their own risk or to supervise their children while swimming.
  • Elevator/ escalator accidents: Both elevators and escalators provide ease to visitors who wish to travel between levels in a multi-level building such as a hotel or department store. Property owners must ensure that elevators and escalators are safe and get proper maintenance.

How do I know if the property owner was liable for my injuries?

  • To prove premises liability, you have to establish the following elements of the case:
  • That there was a hazardous feature on the property that the owner knew about or reasonably should have known about;
  • That the property owner failed to repair this condition or warn guests of the hazard;
  • That there was a hazardous condition causing the accident, resulting in injuries and expenses.

I was told that I am liable for my injuries because the hazard was “open and obvious.” Is there an element of truth to that?

The protections afforded by the premises liability laws in Escondido (and in California, as a whole) do not usually extend to hazards that are open and obvious. Examples of this include a fall down a bluff on a property in which everyone can see and recognize the danger of the height of the bluff, or a properly functioning escalator or moving walkway that pose the obvious hazards of a fall from heights or tripping potential simply by their moving parts. An experienced Escondido premises liability attorney can help you understand if the hazard that caused your accident was “open and obvious.”

If I file a premises liability lawsuit, will I have to go to court?

The vast majority of civil claims, such as premises liability, personal injury, and medical malpractice claims, are settled out of court. Chances are, yours will be too. However, if the property owner’s insurance provider fails to offer fair compensation for settlement in your case, you deserve to have an attorney who is confident in his or her ability to battle it out in a courtroom. It should be noted that litigating slip and fall cases can be a costly endeavor, so before taking these measures, you and your attorney must show that the property owner or an employee’s negligent actions were instrumental in the cause of the accident.

How much is my premises liability case worth?

There is no average settlement or award in premises liability cases. That is because your case depends on its unique facts. But here are several factors that can affect the value of your case:

  • Your age and overall health before the accident
  • The severity of your injuries
  • The value of medical treatment needed to treat your injury
  • The time you miss at work due to the retained injury
  • The time spent on injury-related appointments
  • The impact that the injury has on your life

Each of these factors represents damages that you can recover through a premises liability claim. Damages you might recover include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity in cases involving permanent disability, and non-economic damages such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, or the overall deterioration of the quality of your life.

Will my settlement or award be subject to income tax?

As per Internal Revenue Service guidelines, settlements or jury awards in personal injury cases—including premises liability cases—are not taxable. However, if you receive punitive damages—damages unrelated to the injury that punish the defendant for reckless behavior—you may owe taxes on those damages. Our Escondido premises liability attorneys can help you understand any tax or personal finance implications of any settlement or award.

Work With A Marino & Tye LLP Attorney

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one because of a slip and fall or negligent security in a public place or business, contact Marino & Tye LLP today at (760) 741-7643 to schedule a free consultation and review of your case.