If you have been injured in a store when you were shopping, in an office building, or even at a private home, you may be able to recover money for your damages. If a business or homeowner has been negligent in maintaining their property, they may be considered responsible for your injuries in the eyes of the law. There are a few common types of injuries that our Orange County premise liability lawyers see the most. These include dog bites, slip and fall accidents, and negligent security claims.
In a nutshell, a property owner, business manager or homeowner has what is called a “duty of care” when they invite you on to their premises. A Duty of care is defined as a requirement that persons act towards others with the same watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence that a reasonable person would under the same circumstances. Proving that someone was negligent in their duty of care requires a trained lawyer, as “what a reasonable person would do” can be very subjective.
Slip and Fall Accidents
If you spill and fall at a business, you should take a good look around to see what caused you to fall. Was there any liquid on the floor? Did you trip over a discarded object that was lying in harm's way? If so, the owner or manager of the business may be liable.
Poor Property Maintenance
If you step on a nail at someone's home or business or fall through a step on a wobbly staircase, the owner or property management company that owns the property may be liable for any damages you sustained as a result of the accident. Moreover, in the state of California, a landlord is required to provide habitable housing. If you are injured due to their failure to maintain the property or if you get sick due to things like mold or a broken heater, you may be able to file a claim, and in addition, to be liable for any injuries you sustained, the landlord may be fined. Many landlords incorrectly tell their tenants that the tenant is responsible for maintaining the property, but the law says otherwise. If you have been injured in a commercial or residential property, give us a call. We can talk to the property owner and negotiate with their insurance company.
Swimming Pool Accidents
Drowning in swimming accidents is the most common cause of death for children from 0 to 4 years old in the state of California. Even if someone almost drowns, they can suffer permanent brain damage. A person can also dry drown from 1 to 24 hours after they have gone swimming because water can get trapped in their lungs.
Many drowning accidents are caused due to a property owner's failure to properly maintain the pool and keep the area surrounding a pool safe. Pool owners or property managers are required to put up fencing that is at least five feet high around a pool. It is recommended that they provide an alarm somewhere in the pool area. The area around the pool should be well maintained and free of loose tiles can cause slipping, tripping and drowning. Fault in a swimming accident may not be so easy to prove. Most pools have a swim at your own risk signs posted, and you are responsible for both your decision to swim and allowing your children to swim in a pool. If you have been injured in a pool or lost a loved one to drowning, you should speak with a personal injury attorney about the validity of your case as soon as possible.
In the Golden State, a dog owner is liable for damages from a dog bite if the bite took place on public property or if the victim was legally on private property. Unless the dog that bit you was a police officer in the line of duty, there is a good chance you have a solid case if you were bitten by a dog. As with any personal injury case, you have two years to file a lawsuit after being bitten.
Amusement Park Accidents
There are an awful lot of theme parks in California, and people come from all over the country to visit them. With all of those amusement parks, there are bound to be injuries and unfortunately, there are often deaths.
An amusement park or carnival owner has a duty of care to maintain their rides to keep riders safe. However, determining who is responsible for an amusement park accident is not always so black and white. The manufacturer or designer of the ride may be responsible or the amusement or theme park itself may be liable. If an amusement park hires a subcontractor and the subcontractor causes an accident, a company that was subcontracted may be liable any damages you sustained as a result of the accident. If an employee caused the accident, the park may be liable. Such cases are complex, and your attorney will be able to help guide you through the litigation and claims process.
What to do After an Accident
Whenever you are injured at a business, you should report the injury to the manager. The manager should fill out an accident report and provide you with the name and phone number of the company's insurance provider. The insurance company is likely going to ask you a multitude of questions that are designed to trip you up. If you don't remember something, it is best to just tell them so. Do not try to force yourself to remember. They may ask to record your conversation, but you are under no obligation to say yes. The insurance company will have 15 days to acknowledge your claim, and 40 days after that to tell you whether or not it has been accepted. They will then make you a settlement offer. You should never accept a settlement without talking to an attorney first as insurance companies will normally attempt to lowball you. Our attorneys are well versed in California law, and experienced in negotiating with insurance companies. So, if you have been injured in an accident, contact our office as soon as possible.
Reasons Your Claim May Be Denied
When you call a business' insurance company, they are going to have some questions about what you were doing when your accident occurred. If you were looking at a cell phone as you walked along, it could seriously injure your case. If there were signs all around warning you of danger and you ignored those warning signs, you may not be able to recover funds for your medical bills. If you were running or wearing clothing that was not appropriate for the business that you were visiting, an insurance company may try to argue that you were responsible for your own accident.
When to Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer
Landlords and property owners don't want to accept responsibility and pay you for their negligence: you have to hold them accountable. That is not easy to do without an attorney. At the very least, speaking with a premises liability attorney for a free case evaluation will provide you with much-needed information about pursuing a claim.
Our premises liability attorneys in Orange County have over 40 years of experience with every type of premise liability case and have helped to recover over $1 Billion. If you hire us, we will stay with you every step of the way to get you the money you deserve.