What is the Duty of Care for a Property Owner?
California property owners will be liable for negligence if they fail to use reasonable care to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. In southern California and elsewhere in the state, a Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer will use the facts of an accident to demonstrate how a property owner did not use that care and did not keep the property safe from conditions that lead to losses and injuries.
The slip and fall attorneys at Ellis Injury Law use knowledge garnered from representing accident victims for more than 25 years to help their clients. They want to help you receive compensation for injuries you may have suffered on another party’s premises.
What facts and factors go into determining if a property owner used reasonable care?
Each slip and fall accident presents a unique set of facts and factors that might show the presence or absence of reasonable care. Some of the more common elements include:
- the location and terrain of the property (e.g. paved urban areas, natural or hilly areas, etc.)
- whether the injured party could have been expected to be on the property (i.e. was the accident victim a guest, an invited party, or a trespasser)
- how likely were serious injuries and losses to occur
- did the property owner know or should the owner have known about a property defect that might cause an injury
- could a dangerous condition have been easily removed or remedied
- how much control did the property owner have over a dangerous condition
In general, property owners must inspect their premises periodically to uncover dangerous or high-risk problems, and must either correct those problems or erect barriers and warnings to prevent guests and invited parties from suffering injuries because of them.
Is the property owner the only party that owes this duty of care?
Several parties that have an interest in a property parcel might owe a duty of care to guests and other persons invited to be on the property:
- the owner
- persons or entities that lease space or buildings on the property
- property managers that have control over activities on the property
- contractors and similar parties that provide property services
A knowledgeable and experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will investigate the ownership of the property and the parties that have control over any activities or operations on it to assign liability for slip and fall injuries to the party or parties that ultimately failed to comply with their duty of care obligations.
What obligations does a slip and fall accident victim have?
California law applies a pure comparative fault standard in slip and fall accident lawsuits and personal injury cases. Under this standard, an accident victim can recover damages for injuries caused by a negligent party, but those damages will be reduced in proportion to the victim’s own contributory fault. For example, if the victim is deemed to have been 25% responsible for his or her injuries, then the total damages that the victim can collect will be reduced by 25%.
In premises liability and slip and fall accident cases, this standard generally means that a property owner does not have an obligation to insure against every conceivable accident, and will not be fully liable for damages when an injured party ignores obvious hazards and warnings, or fails to pay adequate attention to his or her own safety. If you do suffer serious injuries due to a property owner’s negligence, your accident and injury attorney will anticipate the potential arguments that a property owner might use against you in this regard and will prepare rebuttals to those arguments to recover a larger damages award on your behalf.
Call Ellis Injury Law for answers to property owner liability and duty of care questions
Please see our website or call Ellis Injury Law to speak with a Los Angeles accident injury attorney about property owner responsibility and duty of care to persons that are on the owner’s premises. We charge no fees for initial consultations and if we accept your case, we will earn our fees from the damages that we collect for you so you pay nothing out-of-pocket.
We represent slip and fall accident victims in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California in personal injury lawsuits against negligent property owners. We have proudly recovered more than $350 million in damages settlements for our clients, and we will tirelessly pursue your case to recover the damages you deserve from property owners that did not adhere to the proper duty of care.