Have You Been Injured Due To a Negligent Property Owner?
Cases in which property owners are found liable (or legally at fault) for injuries are known as “premises liability cases.” Liability requires a showing that there was a dangerous condition on the property that caused the injury and the property owner (or person responsible for maintaining the property) knew or should have known of the hazard.
Common Causes of Premises Liability Cases
Common premises liability cases handled by the Dolan Law Firm include:
- Catastrophic deck failure
- Building Rot
- Dangerous roadways and sidewalks
- Falling objects
- Animal attacks and bites
- Slip, trip and fall
Premises liability law covers both public and private property owners, but if your injuries took place on state-owned property (like a roadway or sidewalk), you have a shorter period of time to bring a claim. Talk with a lawyer early — understand your rights to compensation.
Private Property Owners Are Responsible for Hazards on Their Property
Landlords, business and private property owners owe a duty to residents, customers and visitors to maintain their property in a safe condition and warn of any dangers on the property. This is why Home Depot closes its aisles when employees move products or a Costco at least one additional employee walks in front of any forklift traveling inside the store.
Likewise, when a floor is wet or being cleaned, a business owner should put out a caution/wet floor sign to warn people. Store aisles should be clean and clear of debris. Stairways should be level, even and well lit. Parking lots should be well lit and free of debris, oil accumulation and potholes.
Injuries At Government Owned Buildings And On Public Property
California Government Code § 835 provides that “a public entity is liable for injury caused by a dangerous condition of its property if the plaintiff establishes that the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury.”
Public properties extend far beyond City Hall. Any structure owned by a public agency, such as a municipal park or swim center, a theater at public high school or community college, a city or county community or senior center, football stadiums and basketball arenas on public universities, the Oakland Coliseum stadium and arena, etc., are considered public properties.
In regard to public sidewalks, most cities and counties have ordinances that require the property owner adjacent to a sidewalk to maintain it in a safe condition. However, if the adjacent landowner is a public entity, then the public entity can be held liable for an injury due to a dangerous property condition.
In California, most tort or injury claims must be brought within two years of the injury. This deadline is called the statute of limitations. For injuries occurring on public property, the statute of limitations is substantially shorter. A person injured on public property must file a claim within six months of the injury or risk losing the right to recover damages.
Common Premises Liability/Slip and Fall/Dangerous Property Injury Claims
When owners do not do regular maintenance or take care of property, injuries result. Lead attorney Christopher Dolan has handled many personal injury cases resulting from such negligence, including:
- Falls from a balcony collapse or stairway collapse
- Falls in potholes, on uneven or rotten stairs
- Falling down unsafe stairs that lack adequate handrails or lighting
- Tripping over tree roots or uneven sidewalks, over merchandise in store aisles, on frayed or loose carpet, or on cords, string, or wires on the ground
- Slip-and-fall accidents on slippery sidewalks, sloping driveways, from water on slippery marble floors, from food or spilled milk on supermarket floors, from oil or grease on garage and ramp floors
- Being struck by falling objects in a store
- Balcony and stair collapses: High moisture conditions in the California Bay Area cause wood to rot. This has made stairway collapse a common type of premises liability case in San Francisco and surrounding areas. Around a dozen Bay Area residents each year die in stairway collapses in buildings that are not properly maintained. It is a tragedy that could be avoided and owners need to be held responsible.
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured on a Dangerous Property
- Document the injury: If you have been injured because of the condition of someone’s property, it is important to document the condition in a way that will show the physical characteristics of the height, width, depth, nature of the substance, etc. before someone goes out and repairs the condition. There are a few things you should do:
- Take photographs: Use a ruler to photograph the dimensions of the defect. Get pictures showing the approach that you made to the defect, including what direction you were walking in. Many defects are not visible to even the most careful pedestrians.
- Put away your shoes: After you fall, do not wear the shoes that you had on at the time of your fall again. They may have evidence of oil or other debris on the bottom that can be lost by continued wear. We need to have these examined by an expert. The available traction on the bottom of your shoes at the time of your fall is also often a subject for expert review.
- Statute of limitations: It is important to act quickly if you have suffered an injury, as the statute of limitations for most personal injury actions is two years from the date that you were injured if you are an adult.
Free Case Review From A Premises Liability Attorney At The Dolan Law Firm
The premises liability lawyers of the Dolan Law Firm are dedicated to getting you the best result possible. Our premises liability attorneys have achieved some of the highest verdicts and settlements in California for people who have been injured because of dangerous property conditions.
- $2.4 million settlement for a 72-year-old woman who suffered a cervical fracture that led to complete paralysis (quadriplegia) after tripping on uneven sidewalk that was poorly maintained by the City and County of San Francisco.
- $2.25 million settlement with the City and County of San Francisco on behalf of a women who suffered a spinal fracture and other significant, permanent injuries as a result of falling at the Palace of Fine Arts rotunda on terraced planters that appear to be steps and lacked hand railings.
- $175,000 settlement for a San Francisco renter who was injured when a stair gave way as she descended an old staircase.
We do not charge a fee unless we recover damages so you have nothing to lose by talking with a lawyer about your case. Submit your case online or call us at 415-636-8160.