Los Angeles Premises Liability Attorney
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one due to a property owner’s negligence, you may qualify for compensation through a premises liability claim. The premises liability attorneys at Ellis Law will evaluate your case for no charge and advise you of any legal options available to you and your family.
Ellis Law’s premises liability attorneys have:
- Decades of experience helping injury victims in Los Angeles;
- The expertise and resources needed to take on large insurance companies and corporations; and
- A legal practice devoted to victims of personal injury accidents.
At Ellis Law, we are aggressive fighters for victims’ legal rights and fair and just compensation for victims’ injuries. We hold negligent parties responsible for the harm they cause innocent victims and can represent you in any premises liability claim.
Our premises liability attorneys will gladly answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you connect will local doctors, specialists, or other accident-related service providers you may need. Contact Ellis Law to schedule a confidential consultation with our legal team today.
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What Can a Los Angeles Premises Liability Attorney Do to Help Me?
Premises liability claims can be complex and require extensive knowledge of California law. Property owners and their insurance companies rarely step forward to admit fault for an accident. If they do offer you compensation, it is generally far less than you deserve.
Building a strong premises liability claim is vital to securing compensation in any claim for injuries. The attorneys at Ellis Law are grounded in the law and skilled at doing the following and more on your behalf:
- Investigating your accident. This can include taking photos of the scene where the accident occurred and documenting your injuries, ranging from back injury to brain injury.
- Interviewing any witnesses. If there were witnesses, this can be incredibly beneficial for your case. Our attorneys will contact and interview anyone who has information about the incident to see if they have information that would be helpful for your claim.
- Determining all liable parties and sources of compensation. In some cases, it might not be obvious who is responsible for your injuries. Is it the owner of the property even if someone else leases and runs the property? Our lawyers can help make this determination, especially if there is a complicated business situation affecting the property in question.
- Filing claims with any insurance company(s). Insurance companies typically try to pay out as little money as possible and as quickly as possible. When you have competent legal representation, you are much less likely to be taken advantage of by insurance companies.
- Handling negotiations with the insurance company(s); and
- Preparing your case for court; and
- If necessary, taking your case to trial.
Let Ellis Law handle your legal claim so that you can focus on your family, your health, and your well-being. Retaining an experienced attorney puts the insurance company on notice that you intend to fight for your rights and recover for your losses.
The sooner you meet with Ellis Law’s premises liability attorneys, the faster we can begin working on your case.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is an area of civil personal injury law. Premises liability holds property owners responsible for any damages arising out of injuries that occur on their property. It is a property owner’s responsibility to make a reasonable effort to maintain a safe environment for visitors to their property, and failure to do so results in premises liability.
A successful premises liability claim requires proving that the property owner, manager, or possessor was negligent in maintaining a reasonably safe property. It is the victim or victim’s attorney’s responsibility to prove that:
- The owner or possessor of the property was responsible for maintaining the property where the accident that caused the injury occurred;
- The owner or possessor of the property knew or should have reasonably known about the danger and was negligent in maintaining the property or warn of the risks;
- The victim suffered harm; and
- The owner or possessor of the property’s negligence was the reason for the victim’s injury.
Common premises liability cases include the following:
- Swimming pool drownings;
- Broken or unmarked stairs and other stair-related accidents;
- Animal attacks, such as dog bites;
- Negligent or insufficient security;
- Slippery floors;
- Unmarked holes or obstacles;
- Collapsed ceilings, decks, or building structures;
- Falling objects;
- Standing water;
- Broken sidewalks;
- Mold and mildew inhalation;
- Dangerous fumes;
- Inadequate lighting; and
- Torn or loose carpeting.
Proving a Premises Liability Claim
To bring a successful premises liability claim, it’s essential to prove that the property owner had a duty of care, otherwise there’s no legitimate claim. A duty of care is the responsibility of a property owner to keep certain groups of people safe. This duty can vary depending on whether the person on the property is permitted to be there or not. There are four classes of visitors under the law. A landowner or possessor owes each classification of visitor a different duty of care. Visitors to a property may include:
An invitee includes an invited guest or store patron. An invitee is someone that the owner of a property invites to their establishment for their own financial benefit. Owners owe the greatest duty of care to invitees, and liability is influenced by the invitee’s part in any injuries they suffer. The property owner must warn invitees of possible dangers and attempt to keep them reasonably safe from any risky conditions that are present on the property. Unlike property owners who have licensees on their property, a property owner who has invitees are required to routinely inspect the property for any potential risks. If they find anything dangerous on the property, they must address these risks in a timely manner. It may not be enough to simply warn the invitee of the danger; the owner needs to fix the issue.
Licensees enter the property for their purpose with the owner’s permission. Examples of licensees include party or dinner guests, or anyone the owner of the property invites to the property for a social engagement. The owner also has a duty to fix dangerous conditions if they aren’t warning licensees of the potential dangers. In the case of a licensee, though, the owner of the property has no duty of care to routinely inspect their property to ensure there are no dangerous risks. The property owner can only be held liable for someone else’s injury if the owner knew or reasonably should have known about a particular danger or risk on the property.
Trespassers do not have permission to enter the property. Despite the fact that trespassers are not allowed to be on the property, the owner still owes them some duty of care. Owners cannot willfully or wantonly injure trespassers.
- Child trespassers
Children receive special treatment under the law, especially young children. When a child trespasses due to an attractive nuisance on your property, you could be held liable even though they aren’t permitted to be there. An attractive nuisance is something that a child notices that would compel them to walk onto someone else’s property. Examples of attractive nuisances include swimming pools, trampolines, basketball courts, or tennis courts. If any of these attractions are on someone’s property, it’s imperative that they have signs, fences, or gates that surround these areas in order to prevent trespassing by children.
Certain potential dangers on a property do not qualify as attractive nuisances, such as lakes and ponds. The general rule is that anything that is in a natural state (such as a lake or a pond), doesn’t qualify as a danger, and the property owner has no duty to warn the child trespasser and doesn’t have any legal liability if the child is injured as a result. Typically, to be held liable, the owner has to create or maintain the attractive nuisance.
Premises Liability Cases Against Government Entities
If you’re injured on government property in Los Angeles, in most cases you will be able to bring a premises liability case against the government agency. You have to meet the same criteria as you would have to meet if you were injured on private property. The significant difference with injuries that are suffered on government property is the statute of limitations. If you are injured on municipal, state, or federal property, you must file your claim within six months from the date of the injury. This is significantly shorter than the typical two-year statute of limitations for private property.
For this reason, it’s absolutely crucial that you contact an attorney right away. Six months may sound like enough time to make a decision about filing a lawsuit, but the time passes very quickly. If you don’t contact a lawyer right away, you could run out of time before you realize it.
Additionally, the longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to prove your case. As time passes, certain evidence can disappear. For example, if there was video footage of your injury, it probably won’t be available forever. It may automatically erase after 30 days. If you wait too long to contact a lawyer, you could lose out on evidence that otherwise would’ve proven your case. Additionally, your memory fades as time goes on, so it’s best to contact a lawyer right away when the events are fresh in your mind. The same holds true for witnesses if there were any. The longer you wait, the less likely they are to remember exactly what happened, and they may be unwilling to help you with your case as well. Finally, it’s also important to contact a lawyer right away because if the case goes to trial, the defense attorney may question you about why you waited so long to file a claim. In premises liability cases, the sooner you contact an experienced attorney, the better.
Compensation for Premises Liability
Compensation in a premises liability case depends upon the particular case circumstances, the severity and type of injuries the victim suffered, and their overall prognosis for recovery. Although the amount of damages awarded in premises liability cases varies on a case-by-case basis, a typical damage award includes economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are monies intended to compensate a plaintiff for calculable losses. These are amounts associated with out-of-pocket losses already incurred by a victim or those expected to be incurred due to the accident.
Economic damages may include but are not limited to the following:
- Medical bills
You should be able to recover all expenses related to your medical treatment that occurred as a result of your injury. This often includes any future treatment you may need, such as physical therapy or other types of rehabilitation. It can be difficult to determine what types of treatment you might need in the future, but an experienced lawyer can help you determine that information. A knowledgeable attorney will consult with medical experts who are experienced in working on these types of cases, and they will determine the kind of treatment you will need and what the cost will be.
- Lost wages
Any wages you miss out on because of your injury should be recoverable. This is from the time of the injury until the time that the trial is over or until a settlement is reached. However, it’s also possible to recover loss or future wages. Just because the trial is over or a settlement has been reached doesn’t mean that you suddenly are able to go back to work and earn money again. It’s important to determine how long you will be out of work so you know exactly how much money your claim is worth.
- Loss of Earning Capacity
In many cases, if you were severely injured, you won’t be able to go back to the same job you had. For example, if you used to work in construction, the injuries you suffered may prevent you from ever returning to that job. If you can return to another job but can’t earn as much money as you did before, it may be possible to collect compensation for the difference between what you used to earn and what you’re able to earn now.
- Home modifications;
- Physical and occupational therapy; and
- Psychological counseling.
Non-economic damages are monies intended to cover losses that are more subjective and not for billable damages. Non-economic damages include the following and more:
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental and emotional trauma;
- Loss of enjoyment of life; and
- Loss of consortium.
California has a third type of damages called punitive damages. These are damages awarded by the court. Punitive damages are a type of punishment for especially harmful behavior on a defendant’s behalf. Punitive damages are rarely awarded, and there is no set standard for calculating a punitive damages award.
In California, premises liability cases are governed by comparative negligence. This means that you can recover compensation for your injuries even if you were partially at-fault for your injuries. However, the amount of money you can recover will be reduced based on what percentage you are found to be at fault. For example, you were awarded $100,000 at the conclusion of the trial. The court determines that you were 30 percent responsible for your injuries. Your award will be reduced by 30 percent, so you will receive $70,000.
Statute of Limitations
For all civil lawsuits, there is a statute of limitations. This means there is a deadline by which you must file your lawsuit, otherwise you will no longer be able to recover compensation that you’d otherwise be legally entitled to.
The statute of limitations for premises liability cases against private property owners in California is two years from the date of the incident. In some cases, the statute can be extended. For example, if you were not aware of your injury until a later date, the clock usually starts running when you become aware of the injury.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Premises Liability Attorney
There is a two-year statute of limitations, or deadline, to file a premises liability claim in California. Otherwise, you may lose your right to recover compensation. Therefore, it is vital you speak with an experienced premises liability attorney, like ours at Ellis Law, today to ensure you do not miss your opportunity for recovery.
At Ellis Law, our goal is to provide you with informative, responsive client service throughout your case from beginning to end. We want you to realize your individual legal goals and provide you with honest, practical legal advice every step of the way.
Contact our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys today to discuss your premises liability claim and schedule a complimentary consultation. We look forward to meeting with you and hearing your story.